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Cyno or dino's??

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davidborning

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Joined
Nov 24, 2003
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12
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Seattle
I have wierd bubbles.

For the last couple of weeks, I've been having more and more of these strange bubbles on my LR and substraight. I've also noticed various colors of algae surrounding the bubbles. In one place there were some bubbles surrounded by a silky purple algae, and in the picture you can see it seems to be associated with a green-brown algae. There are some places where there are bubbles where there seems to be very little algae at all.

I have heard that this is probably cyanobacterial but I fear it may be dinos because it is not very visable in the morning, and is very prominant near the end of the light cycle. Also, my PH has been crazy the last three days. On Friday it was 7.4, then Saturday 8.0 (I added buffer), and then the day after 7.6, and now today it's 8.2 (thank God). All the other parameters are fine and everything in my tank is acting healthy.

On advice from Below Sea Level, yesterday I set my refugium lights to be on 24/7 because I heard that when they are off something the calurpa does has a negative PH effect.

I'm trying to cyphon out the bubbles and algae but I have to do it when I have my normal water changes, don't I?? Maybe I could cyphon the water through carbon back into the sump?

Any help appreciated :exclaim:
 

NaH2O

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Couple of things....First, the bubbles you see could very well just be a product of respiration by the algae, trapped bubbles in the cyano, or end product of dentirification. Secondly, how is the water circulation around the area in question. The information I've read on dinoflagellates, is that it does tend to disappear after lights out, and by the end of the photoperiod, it is back. Also, it has a "snot-like" appearance. My understanding is a swing in tank chemistry can create a dino's outbreak. Depending on what time of day you measured your pH will determine the fluctuations. Having the 'fuge lit opposite the tank is one way to minimize the pH fluctuations. Now that I've rambled on and on, I'm not sure if this is making sense....what are your calcium and alk levels?

Hope i didn't cause more confusion?
 

davidborning

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Joined
Nov 24, 2003
Messages
12
Location
Seattle
I was having the refugium on when my tank lights were off and was told this was bad by BSL (mentioned above)! :confused:

The algae doesn't look too snot-like.

There is a lot of water circulation in my tank and there seems to be this bubble problem in heavy and light circulation areas. Maybe I don't have enough circulation as a whole?

My calcium is generally 400-450 (? measurement) and alkalinity was normal yesterday (I forget the number but it was OK).

The attachment is a picture of the algae :(
 

NaH2O

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I believe the caulerpa issue you are talking about is keeping them from going sexual. When caulerpa goes sexual it will release all of the bad nutrients back into the system at once, which will be detrimental. I'm not sure that having an opposite photoperiod will have this effect. Thinning out caulerpa regularly can aid in keeping it from going sexual. As far as your attachment, it appears to be cyano, IMO. The bubbles look as though they are coming from the substraight as a product of denitrification. Hmmm...I'm not sure about siphoning the water through carbon back into the sump. IMO, you would want to remove it - nutrient export.
 

Curtswearing

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Nov 20, 2003
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Good advice Nikki. I can see you are in good hands.

Cyanobacteria can also shrink back during the night like dino's so that doesn't necessarilly mean what you have are dinoflagellates (which thank God are rarely a problem in home aquaria).

I was wondering what time of day that picture was taken and what your normal maintenance routine is. To help you guys in your discussion I've included some info on cyanobacteria that I wrote on another site.

There are some critters that will eat cyano's. However, this is like giving your kid cold medicine to cure a cold instead of making your kid wash his hands often to prevent a cold. One of the things that never gets asked is how did I get my cyano bloom.

Cyano's are heterotrophic bacteria which basically means they get their food from dissolved organic compounds. Well, we certainly introduce a lot of those to our tanks don't we? We can remove some DOC's with Granular Activated Carbon and water changes but we can remove even more with a properly sized protein skimmer.

You can use E.M. to help rid yourself of cyano but it really is a band-aid approach and that's why I don't recommend it EVER unless someone is so frustrated they want to leave the hobby. Not only that, there are unintended consequences such as bacteria dieing that we want to live. E.M. doesn't only kill cyano's. It's an equal opportunity killer----it kills the good bacteria too!!!

Because cyano's are a blend between an algae and a bacteria, you should also do the normal things you do to prevent algaes. Such as......

Do not overfeed----ever. Normally, this revolves around uneaten food but in this case, the major problem IMO is excess fish waste (which will degrade into DOC's).
Always use RO/DI water if your municipal water supply adds phosphates to their water (as most do). You can request a water report from them.
Never overstock your tank.
Use a quality protein skimmer.
Check on the photoperiod you are using and make sure your bulbs aren't so old that they have experienced a color shift.
Increase circulation to get the waste suspended in the water column for your skimmer to pick up.
 

oregon gorge

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Sep 7, 2003
Messages
57
Okay, this thread veered away from Dino's, (because they rarely happen).

After 4 years of reefing, things have gone downhill. After a tank leak and putting everything in tubs a month ago, now I have cyano and dino.

I had a few mushrooms, what I thought were melting. Turns out now that it is the ''snot''! I siphoned it off a pocillapora and it had bleached underneath. It is back today in that spot.

Now, I am wondering what is the remedy and root cause again? I did find the tank was being overfed. I was, as well as my son clouding the tank with blender mush at least once a day. Oh my!

Things were looking a little wilted for a few days, but today all is looking very happy. Any words of wisdom will help here.

Thanks, Chris
 

mojoreef

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Jul 5, 2003
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yep its cyano, sounds like your in good hands.

On a side note the bubble are nitrogen, that are made by the actual cyano, they are one of the only things that can actually fix its own nitrogen.


mike
 

NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
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On the up side of cyano....it is the best exporter of excess nutrients, so just think of it as beneficial to the system and you aren't trying to get rid of it, but you are "harvesting" it. :D
 

NaH2O

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oregon gorge said:

Now, I am wondering what is the remedy and root cause again? I did find the tank was being overfed. I was, as well as my son clouding the tank with blender mush at least once a day. Oh my!

Things were looking a little wilted for a few days, but today all is looking very happy. Any words of wisdom will help here.

Thanks, Chris
I am far from a dinos expert, but understand excess nutrients + lighting = "bad" things growing. I would say there probably was a couple of things that led to a dino growth....over feeding the tank and possibly a few parameters out of check. Do you drip kalk? What is your pH? Are you over feeding? These are a few questions to ask yourself. Here is a link to an article by Dr. Ron http://www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/aqfm/1998/nov/wb/default.asp . If anyone has experienced "Red Tide"....this is caused by Dinoflagellates. This past summer in Florida, I had the opportunity to experience Red Tide, and what a deliteful experience that was.... burning eyes, coughing, dead fish, etc. There are different types of dinos and the parasitic ones are the type you don't want. OK, I'm rambling, and I'll let you get back to your regularly scheduled thread reading. :)
 

Alice

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Jul 18, 2003
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Dave, I agree, that looks like cyano and you're best bet is to find the root of the problem.

I battled dinos and I feel your pain, Chris. Dino's most often occur when you have a die-off in the tank (maybe from sponges when you were transferring rock to and from the tubs?)

I syhponed, scrubbed, stopped feeding, did myriad water changes, kept the alk on the high side, increased the water circulation, cut down the photo period...everything I could think of to beat the #^$@ stuff. I finally used a UV, properly calculated for flow to kill dinos and I think that combined with all of the above let me finally win the war. I was ready to give up and start over.

I hope things improve for you, Chris.

Alice
 

NaH2O

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Alice, awesome job beating the dinos!! I know 2 people that battled dinos, and both ended up turning off the lights for a few days, along with the other methods described. Nasty, nasty stuff
 

Alice

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Jul 18, 2003
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Thanks, Nikki.

It was very frustrating and really heartbreaking. I lost all of my herbivorous fish, most of my snails, some of my corals and it wiped out a good portion of the life in my sand bed.

I wouldn't wish dinos on my worst enemy!
 

oregon gorge

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Joined
Sep 7, 2003
Messages
57
Thanks gang,

I am holding my breath. I was using the turkey baster and sucking the stuff off the corals. Now, 2 days of no sign of it and all things in the tank are looking better. Still have nasty sand, but I can live with the cyano for a little while.

Oh, Alice, I did lose quite a bit of the bright white sponge in the shuffle. Its coming back now. Good call Alice!

Thanks again,

Chris
 

davidborning

Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2003
Messages
12
Location
Seattle
Thank you all for your sage advice! I'm glad to hear it is not dinos. I'm incresing water changes from 5 gal a week to 10 (50 gal tank with 20 gal sump/fuge). I think I was also over-feeding.
 

Curtswearing

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Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,203
Location
St. Louis, MO
David---Sounds like things are improving. Awesome!!!

Alice---Dino's are mean and nasty critters aren't they??? I know someone who was thinking of quitting the hobby over them but now he is a certified Dino-killer.

Oregon Gorge---if what you think might be dino's come back, give me a holler. I wrote a little info up on them but I need to go back and refine it. It's not well written because language skills are not my strong point.

FWIW---Here it is.....

Many times I have seen people worried about a film of cyanobacteria (slime algae). The helpful people post all of the proper questions to help a reefer solve their problem. I.E.---How old are your bulbs?, Do you use RO/DI water?, What are your nitrate and phosphate levels?, When was the last time you did a water change?, Do you have good flow in your tank?, Did your tank just finish cycling?.....

Then a week later, the same person will come back on and tell everyone that they did what they were told, and the slime algae still exists. This will start a round of questions like.....What test kits are you using?, When was the last time your RO/DI membrane and resins were replaced, etc., etc. They are told to do another waterchange and it will resolve itself---but it doesn't.

IF IT WALKS LIKE A DUCK AND IT TALKS LIKE A DUCK, IT IS ......

Usually a duck---but not always. Sometimes we think we are dealing with cyanobacteria and we are not. Sometimes we are dealing with dinoflagellates. Almost all of us with reeftanks, have dinoflagellates in our tank----Zooxanthellae. This symbiotic dinoflagellate is present in many of our corals. They are from the Kingdom of Protista and the Division of Dinoflagellata. This group possesses two flagella which move them through the water. They have additional pigments in addition to chlorophyll---usually brown or red. Some of them are bioluminescent. I'm sure many of you have heard of bays that glow when the water is disturbed. If you like to experiment, check out this link (BUT DO NOT PUT THIS IN YOUR REEF TANK---ONLY A SPECIALLY SET UP NANO). http://www.lifesci.ucsb.edu/~biolum...m/dinohome.html The brown dinoflagellates are present in many of our corals and that is the reason there are so many brown corals. The red dinoflagellates are sometimes known as the Red Tide. I'm sure most of you have read at one time or another about the Red Tide destroying a reef. You do not want this in your tank. Not only do dinoflagellates exist in many corals, they also exist in many Tridacna Clams, anemones, and some sponges. They are never a problem if they are existing in a symbiotic relationship. However, they are a HUGE problem if they are existing in a free-living form.

LUCKILY FREE-LIVING DINOFLAGELLATES ARE RARE IN REEF AQUARIA

Dinoflagellates (hereafter called Snot Algae or Dino's) are one of the meanest things you have ever met in your life. (I unfortunately have had first hand experience). You will follow all of the advice and the problem will keep getting worse and not better. On top of that, some Dino's are toxic (think red tide). If you have a poisonous type, any snail, conch, fish, worm, etc. that eats the bad Dino's will eventually die while you are doing [EDIT....everything] people are telling you to do. Then your clean up crew (bristle worms, crabs, etc.) will arrive for clean up duty and will die as a result of absorbing the toxins in the animals they are trying to eradicate. This provides more nutrients for the Dino's to grow.

They have one interesting characteristic. You will follow everyones advice and go to bed. Then you will wake up in the morning thrilled that the advice worked. It looks pretty darn good---almost everything thing is gone. You go to work---come home 9 hours later and the slime algae is even bigger than yesterday.

If nothing is working, you might have Snot Algae. This algae is different. It is usually brown, has ton's of oxygen and/or Nitrogen bubbles in it, dissapears to a great deal (or entirely) overnight. (Remember it is photosythenetic---that's how it helps your corals grow). It is often called snot algae because it has the same grossness and the same consistency.

HOW DID YOU GET IT AND WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT IT?

First off, the mere presence of bubbles does not mean it is Dino's or snot algae----cyanobacteria can trap bubbles temporarily that are trying to exit the sandbed or are produced by the cyanobacteria on it's own. As a result, some bubbles can be present with it too. Luckily, most of the time, it IS cyanobacteria. Dino's are usually caused by two things.....Bleaching of corals due to extreme temperatures or a major swing in tank chemistry.

Even if you have non-toxic Dino's, they are still dangerous and precautions must be taken. They have the ability to take up a lot of oxygen. Your fish can "drown" due to the lack of dissoved oxygen not to mention the pH impact.

Again, I want to remind you that this is rare. Usually it is cyanobacteria. However, if you follow a lot of advice and nothing improves, it might be snot algae.

Most of the treatments for cyano's applies to Dino's. However, Dino's require a little more. The pH must be bumped up (8.4 to 8.5) which can be accomplished by dripping Kalk faster than normal. This means your alkalinity is going to be raised higher than normal too. Sometimes you even need to leave the lights off for a couple of days. In short, what Alice said.

Here are a couple of links
http://bellnetweb.brc.tamus.edu/dinoflag.htm
http://www.reefs.org/library/article/t_crail.html
http://www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/.../wb/default.asp
 
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