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Old 04-11-2019, 04:03 PM
Llorgon Llorgon is offline
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Default My battle with dinoflagellates

Hey everyone, recently I finally won my battle with dinoflagellates! and I thought I would do a post about what I learned so hopefully it will help some fellow reefers who are going through the same issues.

In october 2018 I developed dinos in my 75 gallon reef tank. Nitrate and phosphate had been at 0 for awhile and triggered the bloom.

How to fight them:


GAC - carbon is your friend. Some strains of dinos are very toxic to snails and crabs. The carbon will help remove the toxin and keep everything alive. You may have to replace it every couple of days at the start.



ID the dinos - Get a microscope and look at them under it. Or take a sample to J&l and use theirs. Take pictures and get a positive ID on it. This will be incredibly important since different dino species can be fought in different ways. Some are killed by UV others aren't.


UV - Some species are susceptible to UV. If you have one of those species in your tank a UV sterilizer can take care of the issue in a few days.

The dirty method - This involves raising nitrates and phosphates to .1ppm phosphate and 10ppm nitrate. This is to promote algae growth to out compete the dinos. Some people have also had luck with dosing silicates.



Increasing biodiversity - Since a lot of the time dinos bloom in newer tanks with less biodiversity, increasing it can be beneficial, but make sure the tank can support it.



How I beat dinos:

I took a sample of the dinos to J&L and got some photos of them under the microscope. This helped me ID them as prorocentrum and amphidinium. It's not uncommon to halve multiple strains in the tank at once.

I bought a green machine in tank UV sterilizer and set it up in the tank. That killed all the dinos on the rock in about 3 days.

I started to dose nitrates and phosphates to bring them up from 0. You will have to dose alot at first. Like a crazy amount. If you are using the seachem nitrogen and phosphorus to dose buy 2 bottles at the start. You will need them. For the first week I was doing 4 caps of each 3 times a day. After that first week the need for it reduced drastically. Your aim is to get nitrate and phosphate to where they don't keep dropping. For me, this took months.


While I was dosing N&P I was also stirring the top layer of sand and blowing off the rocks every night. I would attach a 5um filter sock in the sump to catch everything and turn up the power heads to full and try and get as much of the dinos out at night as I could. For this you will need a 10um filter sock or smaller. Anything bigger and the dinos can get through.


Water changes. Do them! I started doing water changes with tap water and got a explosion of algae. It was great since that means less dinos. While doing water changes make sure to remove as many of the dinos as possible.

Dosing silicates. This seems to be most effective with amphidinium species of dinos. I saw the biggest improvement in my tank when I started dosing silicates. Like N&P you will have to dose a lot at the beginning. I was dosing 30 drops of sponge excel a day for my 75 gallon tank. Word of warning, the salifert silicates tests don't work. They always read 0.


Increasing biodiversity in the tank. Since the dinos are toxic, most likely your pods and other critters are going to take a big hit. In my case there were no visible things other than fish living in the tank for months. Adding pods, live rock from other tanks can help speed up the process. But make sure your tank is ready for it and the toxins are under control enough to support them. For me, this worked best near the end of the battle. Once there was some algae in the tank and I was down to replacing the GAC once a week I added some pods and some pieces of liverock from a fellow reefers tank.


Mistakes I made:

Not knowing what I was dealing with. At first I thought it was some gross algae so I added some snails and hermits. They all died... pretty much within minutes...

Doing a blackout. Corals were already stressed. The 3 day blackout cost me all my sps, didn't do much for the dinos and took a couple days for the other corals to turn around.

Adding biodiversity too soon. I tried adding pods and stuff like it 3 times. All three times they just seemed to disappear and never seen again. I think there was still too much toxins in the water and not enough algae in the tank to support them.

Not doing water changes. I stopped doing water changes to keep the tank with higher N&P, but I was getting no algae growth. Started doing water changes and algae started growing again. Also while doing water changes you can suck out the dinos which speeds up the process.


before and after pics coming soon!
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:22 PM
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Frogger Frogger is online now
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Good to hear. Great write up.

Bet you never thought you were going to be such an expert in such a short time.
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:05 PM
Llorgon Llorgon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frogger View Post
Good to hear. Great write up.



Bet you never thought you were going to be such an expert in such a short time.
Thanks. I definitely did not think I would learn so much already. The dinos haven't been fun, but I've learned a lot about tank balance.

Here are some pics of the tank today and when I had dinos. I no longer have dinos, but I have a ton of gha.

I can now start trying to get rid of the gha and focus some attention on a couple unhappy corals.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:35 PM
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Good luck, it always a process, manual removal outside the tank might be the best option.

Last edited by Frogger; 04-11-2019 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 04-11-2019, 08:47 PM
ReefMadness ReefMadness is offline
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it's amazing what can happen in 3 days with just a UV sterilizer when you're fighting amphidinium dinos.
I ended up having to deal with prorocentrum dinos for over a year until I could safely say I won. they were definitely a different beast as they never leave the substrate so UV isn't effective. I found success with algae and introducing some more established live rock.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:31 PM
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Hi Llorgon,
Congrats on winning the battle. What a process!
Not sure if you need any free chaeto (with pods, brittle stars, etc) - just let me know.
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Old 04-12-2019, 12:00 AM
Llorgon Llorgon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frogger View Post
Good luck, it always a process, manual removal outside the tank might be the best option.

I have been trying to manually remove some each night by hand. I haven't made much of a dent yet. Some spots are hard since it's attached to the rocks really well and doesn't want to be pulled off.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ReefMadness View Post
it's amazing what can happen in 3 days with just a UV sterilizer when you're fighting amphidinium dinos.
I ended up having to deal with prorocentrum dinos for over a year until I could safely say I won. they were definitely a different beast as they never leave the substrate so UV isn't effective. I found success with algae and introducing some more established live rock.

It is pretty amazing how well UV can work. I think it's the opposite though. Amphidinium are in the sand and don't go into the water column. That's what I had in my sand and the UV had no effect on them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dash View Post
Hi Llorgon,
Congrats on winning the battle. What a process!
Not sure if you need any free chaeto (with pods, brittle stars, etc) - just let me know.

Thanks! I may take you up on that soon. Although the last stuff you gave me didn't last very long. Maybe second time will work better!
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Old 04-12-2019, 02:16 AM
hillegom hillegom is offline
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Some people have success with Hydrogen Peroxide treatments for GHA

https://www.nano-reef.com/forums/top...on-and-photos/
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Old 04-12-2019, 03:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llorgon View Post
Thanks! I may take you up on that soon. Although the last stuff you gave me didn't last very long. Maybe second time will work better!
I have a great big ball I have to harvest soon.
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:57 AM
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Razor Ramon Razor Ramon is offline
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Great to hear you hung in there and won !
Big Mexican turbos eat the green !
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