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Dinoflagellates

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NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Hey crystalreef! Dinos are nasty stuff. If you approach the dinos by looking at what they require then you will be able to beat them. Excess nutrients and light. I believe Alice on this board beat hers by utilizing a UV sterilizer.

Why don't you start by telling us about your set-up and we can make some recommendations from there.

Here is a post by Curtswearing on another thread (http://www.reeffrontiers.com/forums...=1112&perpage=15&highlight=dinos&pagenumber=2):

Originally posted by Curtswearing
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.

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
 

crystalreef

Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2003
Messages
5
75g Dutch

Lighting 400w 20k MH (4 months old)
2x40w NO (old)

Temp. 79-80
S.G. 1.026
Phosphate .5
Nitrate 0
Nitrite 0
Ammonia 0

Skimmer Excalibur (not getting to much skimmate from it but water is crystal clear no yellow)

RO/DI make up water

2 true black percula clown fish
1 yellow tang

Live rock fiji,tong,indo,cuba. 80 lbs
Coral sps,lps,soft

Tank is not new it has been running for about 1.5 years

I am planing on making a hang on the back fuge
because my tank is not drilled nor is there any room under it.
This will hopefull help with nutrient export out of the water.
 

jmaxwell

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
Messages
74
Location
Mill Creek, WA
I had an outbreak of Dyno (and I am positive it was dyno, not cyanobacteria) 1 month ago after adding a bunch of live rock and removing a sand bed from an established 120g tank. Here is what I had to do to get rid of them.

1)reduced photoperiod- left lights off for 24hrs and then reduced light to 4hrs per day for about 2 weeks
2)reduced phosphate and other inputs – I reduced feeding of my fish and stopped adding trace elements or any other additives.
3)bound existing phosphate in tank – by dosing kalkwasser and carbon filtration, I also added a refugium for macro algae growth
4) increased amount of current in my tank – I added a couple more power heads to get ride of “dead zones” in the tank
5) increased pH to 8.2-8.5 by dosing Kalkwasser – dyno’s do not like a high pH
6) added a UV sterilizer – this gets rid of the free swimming stage of dyno’s (other people have used mechanical filters w/ extremely small partical filter (<1 micron I think) to remove free swimming dynos but this sounded like to much of a pain to me. As they have to replace the filter multiple times as it clogs.
7) after I added the UV sterilizer I scrubbed loose what was left of the dyno’s from the rock w/ a toothbrush). There weren’t many of them left at this point.

This sounds like a lot of stuff, but it worked and I didn’t have any corals or fish die (just a couple of snails). Hope this helps. Let me know if you have questions.

Jim
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
crystalreef - 0.5 on the phosphates? This may be part of the problem. What is your photoperiod? Do you have any other nuisance algaes growing in the tank? Also, you did not mention what your substrate is - is it a bare bottom tank? Once we determine where your phosphates are coming from - this will help to keep problems away. Once you get rid of the Dinos (or any nusiance algae for that matter), you need to solve the problem and not just treat it....otherwise you will continue to have issues.

Yikes, sorry for all the questions...hope I'm not overwhelming you - I tend to think out loud :D

Nice post, Jim
 

jmaxwell

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
Messages
74
Location
Mill Creek, WA
thanx Nikki,

I agree about phosphate...if it is showing up at all w/ a test kit (this is inorganic phosphate) then chances are you have high levels of organic phosphate (which cannot be tested by a kit).

Jim
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
I'll use an analogy that Mike gave me about the difference between organic and inorganic phosphates.... the inorganic phosphates are like little cheeseburgers, when the burgers get ingested they turn into organic phosphates. When whatever eats them gets full...the burgers are left floating out there uneaten = inorganic readings. But it is really hard to resist the burgers, so things grow to eat them. Also, when the things that eat the burgers die, the organic phosphates turn into inorganic again....the cycle goes on and on.... Hope this helps understand a little about the different phosphates?
 

dnjan

alveopora
Joined
Sep 9, 2003
Messages
1,585
Location
Seattle
I would suggest (for the short-term) some aggressive carbon usage. Carbon in a power filter. You will probably need to change it every day or two. That will bring the disolved nutrients down fairly quickly (within a week or two), and give you a chance to get more permanent nutrient sinks (macroalgae, etc) in place and running.

Don't let a nuisance dino growth go too long. The stuff can coat almost everything, and can end up killing your snails by starvation (they can't get through the dino layer to eat the stuff they want). They can also be hard on other herbivores for the same reason.

Also, if your dinos have gotten bad enough that you have a film on the water by the end of the day (dino snot being floated by entrapped gas bubbles), you should probably use a fish net to remove them from the water surface. Otherwise, you will have reduced gas exchange, which will add stress to the tank.
 

B-Random

Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2004
Messages
23
Location
Spokane, WA
Crystalreef-

The refugium that you have drawn out looks pretty good, but how do you intend to hang it? Even three gallons would weigh about 25 pounds. Also, I prefer the CPR style refugiums opposed to the Ecosystems style. The CPR's pump the water from the tank into the refugium and overflow back into the tank. The Ecosystem's syphon the water into the refugium and pump it back into the tank. Then you have to worry about the syphon getting plugged up and snails crawling around in there, also when bubbles get trapped in the syphon tube, it's super hard to get them out, all of these things restrict flow and could lead to your pump pumping out faster than your refugium is syphoning in. Anyways, let me know what you're thinking about it, because I have been trying to think of ways to make your own hang on back refugium.

-Brandon
 

fishermann

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Joined
Jul 13, 2003
Messages
670
Location
Searcy, Arkansas
get some poly filters they are great for getting phos. down,and alot of other junk out of your system, rinse out often and they well remove stuff as good as carbon if not better. you can get indust strength ones from drsfostersmith.com, they are 12" x 12" pads, you cut them as to what size you need. rinse out as needed because they also catch alot of detritus which well greatly help also.
 

fishermann

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 13, 2003
Messages
670
Location
Searcy, Arkansas
To continue on, I had these things about a yr ago really bad, it was caused from feeding all this dt's and mark weiss black powder and golden pearls, anything else i was told corals needed to survive and flourish. I was even feeding this stuff at half the rate these things said too. I didn't have them bad , just little patches of brown slime with the bubbles here and there. I went to do a water change and brushed a few little patches of this stuff with a tooth brush, had to run downtown to the store before it closed, was gone for about 30 mins., came back and three very healthy fish were dead, a yellow tang was mostly white and a purple tang the same. I did a large water change after talking to mtndewman and grouperman on the phone. I talked to rob tunnen the next morning since he had just been here at one of our meetings and he said that some dino's can get the same toxin that is in red tide. He suggested doing frequent small water changes using a small 3/8 piece of vinyl hose like you get at any hardware store. Vac your rock with this small dia hose being real careful not to disturb these dino's anymore then you have too. The hose small hose well vac the dino's out and well give you enough time to do alot of vacuming of the rock without having to remove huge amounts of water. Be very careful not to disturb this stuff anymore then you need to. I had uv when i got this so i don't know if it helps or not, but can't hurt. Keep the vac thing up and it is best to do towards the end of your photo period when they are out the most. You need to get your phosphates down and the little water changes of say 4 or 5 gals a day along with vac'g these things out, along with carbon or better yet poly pads which since you don,t have a sump you can put in a big 500 series hang on Aquaclear box filter you can find at petco or alot of other places, and what makes it good is the it is the only easly accessable box filter that forces the water colume through the media you are using, they aren't real cheap but they work good and unlike cannister filters which i assume you must have they are easy to clean and rinse you filter media daily, which well help clean these critters out when they break up at nite and just become othewr detritus. Mine got worse for a couple of weeks and were pretty heavy, on every thing, but I kept this regemint and they finally after about three weeks were gone as fast as they showed up. I learned several lessons withthis ordeal. The first one is that except for some special target feeding corals,if you have fish in your tank you probably have plenty of food for your corals from the fish food that doesn't find a fishes mouth, the fish waste, invert waste and many other sources. The other was not to brush your live rock when doing water changes, I don,t even blow mine very often with a turky baster. I still use the small clear vinyl hose to vacuam my live rock every weekend when I do my 5% water change.

Crystalreef, I would be very careful not to disturb these things with a brush, jusr vac them out withyour hose, remember mine was not very bad when i hit mine with a brush, but they were toxic as canbe and by the way I have talked to several very savy people on this and they have seen what i had but still don't know why some become so toxic. Be very careful with these guys.
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
nice post fishermann. The only thing I disagree with is blowing off live rock. As a general rule, I think blowing off live rock is a good thing. You are removing the detritus that you want to have suspended in the water column to eventually be picked up by the skimmer. If the detritus sits on the rock without being removed, a nuisance algae may decide to take up residence in that area. I understand using airline with a small diameter to vacuum the rock, but it would be difficult to get a good overall cleaning. Maybe you meant not to brush or blow off the live rock where the Dino's are located? I'm very glad you mentioned about overfeeding, especially with corals. I think this is a trap many fall under. Great points, too, about the fish in the tank providing what the corals need (along with the proper lighting).

I had the opportunity to experience RED TIDE this past summer. Nothing like showing up at the beach and coughing every second, with burning eyes & nose...and on the days the red tide was terrible - the dead fish everywhere.
 

fishermann

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 13, 2003
Messages
670
Location
Searcy, Arkansas
Hi nikki---- I don't blow my rock off weekly, I vac weekly and blow off once a month, if you have proper husbandry , plenty of water flow, in my case i have not had anyproblems with this schedule.
 

crystalreef

Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2003
Messages
5
Well I got a new test kit for posphate I was not shure how old the one I had was and it turns out that according to the new kit it is 0-0.1 it is a RED SEA test kit.

As for the Refugium I should have been a bit more detailed (sorry):oops:
It will have a 2x4 frame work supporting it to handle the weight.
The Size is 18" high 36" long and 6" wide because it will be behind my tank and that is all the room that I have for it.
 
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