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Dinoflagellates suck! Please advise

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christyf5

Active member
Joined
Jul 30, 2003
Messages
34
Location
Nanaimo, BC, Canada
Hey guys, I'm looking for some input to my problem. I've been having a hellish time with dinoflagellates for about the past month or so and my patience has come to an end with the advent of losing a goodly portion of my sps frags and all 3 cap colonies, over the weekend. I've tried: decreasing the lighting period (2x250W MH), actinics (2x40W NO) only for a few days, turkey basting the crap off the rocks, run carbon, chemipure and filter floss to collect the particulates and water changes after the turkey basting and cleaning the glass on all sides. I've increased the alkalinity to 3.5meq/L, calcium is at 380 (where it has always been, not for lack of trying to get it higher). My skimmer (aquaC-EV150) is pulling out some of the most disgusting black gunk I have ever seen or smelled for that matter. I have lots of flow in my tank which includes 2 802s and 2 MJ1200s. I also was doing regular water changes before this all started and increased the frequency of them during the first part of the bloom.

All of this seemed to start when I removed a lot of the rock (except for the main 4 on the sandbed) to get a foxface and bicolor blenny out. While I had them out I decided to change my aquascaping and reversed the position of two of the main rocks that sat on the sandbed. I think disturbing the sandbed was the cause of all of this.

So now I am faced with several options:

First of all I could just say to hell with it and sell off everything. I've really been waffling about this lately and I just don't think I could do it but these damned dinos just aren't going away (I'm a fence sitter on this one).

Secondly, I could remove the sandbed. Quite frankly its never been that nice white sandbed that everyone else seems to have. The first 6 months of this year it actually looked the best it ever has and had a ton of life which no doubt has been smothered by the dinos. However I have a wrasse that likes to sleep in the sandbed and I don't want him going all weird on me because he isn't getting a good nights sleep

Thirdly, I could replace the sandbed. Currently I have about 3-4" of aragonite sand (I suppose its the 1-1.7mm grade kind). I was thinking maybe to replace that with a couple inches of oolitic sand. Or I could rinse the sandbed that I have. The sandbed that I have now has currently been with me for 3 years and has been moved 3 times. I'm sure it could use a good rinse (?)

Anyway, please post your opinions on what you think I should do. Currently I am favoring option number 3. I'd really rather not spend any more money on the tank if its going to continue to be the PITA it has been for the past, well technically I guess about 3 years:razz:, but its that 3 month happy-with-tank window that I'm going for.

Christy :)
 

NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Christy - sorry for your dino issues. When you said you decreased your lighting...did you decrease or did you turn your lights off completely?
 

christyf5

Active member
Joined
Jul 30, 2003
Messages
34
Location
Nanaimo, BC, Canada
I did both, I did decreased lighting for a few hours a day, that didn't even slow them. Then someone suggested actinics only for a few days which did nothing as well. Then I did lights off for a few days which looked like it got the job done, the dinos were lighter in color and dusty looking like they were dead but within hours of having the lights on they started churning out bubbles again :( Now they're just encroaching on everything with their stringy yuck bits. :confused:

Christy :)
 

Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,203
Location
St. Louis, MO
If there's anything that can make you want to quit reefing, it is dinoflagellates. They are so frustrating that you just think that you will never beat them. However, you will so keep your chin up. I have had them and beaten them twice.

I'm glad you are running a skimmer because a dinoflagellate bloom can do horrible things to your dissolved oxygen.

Because most dinoflagellates reproduce through fission, the more of them you have means that the opportunity for even more offspring is increased. As a result, I would first try to siphon (not blow) as many of them as possible. Blowing them just spreads them around the tank. Then kick off the lights for a day or two while your pH and alkalinity are elevated. Kalk is great for this purpose.

Do you have any kind of mechanical filtration available like a canister filter? That can be very useful at night and UV is helpful if you have it.


PS....what do your phosphates test out at?
 
Last edited:

christyf5

Active member
Joined
Jul 30, 2003
Messages
34
Location
Nanaimo, BC, Canada
Phosphates test out at zero, I would imagine because the bloody dinos are using them all up. There shouldn't be any in the system though, I use RODI (not that that is the holy grail or anything but my RODI water does test 0 for phosphates). I always do a water change and run filter floss for a couple hours after doing the turkey baster thing. I get most of what is on the glass and rock off but the sandbed is just deadly as the dinos really cling to it, so pretty much short of removing the top layer of the sandbed there is just no getting rid of them there.


You know, I actually beat dinoflagellates before and beaten them. People gave me a long list of things to do and I did pretty much every single one. That time I pretty much did all of them and the dinos went away (not before killing a couple of corals and 3 fish though :() but I still haven't figured out
why they went away. I'm starting to wonder if maybe this one is like some sort of super dinoflagellate or something because it is one tough bugger to beat.

Oh and I forgot to add dripping kalk to that list. I have been doing that for the past 3 weeks or so with no change in dino growth. There was some speculation on RC that maybe my DSB was done and was releasing phosphates back into the water column. While the sandbed is technically 3 years old, its been disrupted 3 different times with moves and tank upgrades and such, I guess its still doing its job even with the breaks. Maybe there is some truth to this DSB controversy ;)

Thanks for the input! :D

Christy :)
 

christyf5

Active member
Joined
Jul 30, 2003
Messages
34
Location
Nanaimo, BC, Canada
Scooterman said:
Nice looking tank, any newer picks?

No, the tank has looked like hell this past month and I just haven't been all that jazzed to take a pic of it. Just imagine it as yellowy brown with and empty spaces where most of the SPS were. :(


Christy
 

DonW

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Dec 15, 2003
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Tacoma, WA
By the looks of your tank it doesnt look like you suffer from lack of experience. Personally I'd pull the DSB and go BB.
The last and final thing before selling, would be complete sterilization. You pull out all the life you can then nuke it with ozone raising your orp up to about 900. Then a huge water change and start over.

Don
 

Scooterman

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Control; ALT; Delete!

lol humm maybe so, but a plan must be laid before hand, the problem/s must be resolved to avoid the same thing in three years.
 

NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Christy, you can take a sample from your sand bed about a 1/2 inch down and see if you get a phosphate reading. That will help determine if there are any being released from your bed.
 

DonW

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Tacoma, WA
Scooterman said:
Control; ALT; Delete!

lol humm maybe so, but a plan must be laid before hand, the problem/s must be resolved to avoid the same thing in three years.
Obviously the final straw, but personally I would regret selling even more, and have to do it all over anyways.

Don
 

Ed Hahn

Life is A Highway...
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
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Location
Kennewick, Wa
I see what I call bubble algae in your tank pix. I just know when one of these suckers breaks they really mess up your tank. I too want to see what your tank looks like now too. Its in your Baddies. That little green bubble. I wonder if one of these burst inside your tank?
 

DonW

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Dec 15, 2003
Messages
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Location
Tacoma, WA
Its my understanding that they have two flagellates that propel them through the water. This being the case I would think UV or ozone would actually help. Also a bulb that is out of wack or leaking uv (I dont understand how) will really get them going.

Don
 

DisturbedReefer

Lionless :(
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Apr 29, 2004
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Location
Tacoma, WA
I have been going through some problems with what I thought was cyanobacteria, however after a week or so and trying unsuccessfully to eradicate the nasty stuff it has changed. Went from a redish brown color to a greenish brown and much more snot like...is this the same as your nemesis Christy? I'd really like to see what it looks like, but every picture I can find is a microscopic image.
 

DisturbedReefer

Lionless :(
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Apr 29, 2004
Messages
1,153
Location
Tacoma, WA
So I'm still not sure is it cyano or is it the dreaded dino? Sorry Christy didn't intend to take over your thread, just looking for some help for what I think is the same problem you have?
 
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