View Full Version : Dinoflagellates! Help!
03/13/2000, 04:24 PM
My 75 gallon reef tank seems to have a dinoflagellate outbreak. Its a light brown snot looking goo that traps a lot of air bubbles and collects on the live rock. Does anyone have exeprience dealing with this stuff? I've read that it dies off after a couple of weeks but its been about three weeks so far and its still hanging around.
My tank set up/parameters are:
-4x96 PC Lighting (2 daylight, 2 actinic)daylights on 6 hrs/ day, actinic 10 hrs/day
-Wet Dry Filter
-Berlin Classic Skimmer in sump
-4 300-400gph powerheads on a Red Sea Wavemaster
-Amonia, Nitrites, phosphates-0.00
Any ideas? I try to siphon as much off as possible but it comes back pretty quick. What can I do? Any advice would be greatly appreciated
03/13/2000, 07:24 PM
I had this Dinoflaggellate problem also a couple months ago. It was a light brown/tan mat of slime, with tons of tiny air bubles, covering substrate and glass. It formed long goopy strands. It blew off the rock easily.
It was way worse at 6 p.m. and would seem to subside overnight, but return with a vengeance every evening. It would cover things in a matter of minutes. Sound familiar?
In my case PH would rise every evening to 8.6 evening, but I also had low alkalinity
(High ph was probably caused by the daytime photosynthesis of the bloom (ie, lower CO2, higher Oxygen). Surprisingly nitrate had consistently tested very low on Salifert.
My tank was six months old, 75g, open tank, 175w mh (5.5k) with actinics, no sump, 80 lbs
live rock, and 4" aragonite "sand" bed, no plenum. Very little life in the "sand" as I
seeded it with on 3-4 lbs live sand because I thought live rock would seed it over time.
I thought a CPR bakpak would be enough given light bioload and 80 lbs live rock.
Anyway - there is the background and hear is what I did to finally lick this problem. I listed them in a possible order or importance in my case.
1. I upgraded my skimmer from the weak CPR Bakpak to a Turboflotor 1000 HO from Aqua Medic. Better skimming was very important.
2. Simple water changes and blowing it off the substrate (rock, sand, and glass) were not enough. Water changes are important, but I finally got wise and did direct siphoning of this gunk off the substrate with a 1/2" tube. Siphon the junk out of your tank into a bucket. Don't just swish the stuff around in the tank or simply do a water change - You need to suck this stuff out!. This also was very important.
3. I boosted alkalinity to recommended levels and resumed dosing kalk. I had made the rookie mistake of stopping kalk and alkalinity maintenance for fear my ph would keep rising beyond 8.6.
4. Use activated carbon. I used Kent at first and then switched to Two Little Fishies Hydrocarbon II - probably doesn't matter which one though. I used a little Kent Phosphate Sponge also.
5. I used a temporary mechanical filter (Aquaclear 300) to filter out the gunk which was strirred up and/or suspended in the water column.
6. I cut the photoperiod back on 175w mh to 4 hours a day.
7. I cut back on feeding a little.
8. I drank booze and prayed for patience.
These worked for me and my tank finally cleared up - crystal clear. I have since added a sump and a new improved sand bed, but these came after the problem had already cleared.
I think adequate skimming and direct siphoning of the gunk out of the tank were the key. I also believe that a truly live sand bed would have helped avoid this problem and I am still moving toward that goal. (Dead aragonite "sand" bed was a detritus trap).
03/13/2000, 07:27 PM
Siphon off as much of it as you can. Then do a 25% water change using RO/DI or store bought steam distilled water. Also use it for evap replacement and future water changes.
I am not sure about the wet/dry filter. I have heard it may turn into a nitrate and nitrite factory which may feed the slime. You register zero because it is being used up as quickly as it is being created. I just use LR and 3-4" bed of LS w/ a skimmer.
Increase water flow in areas where the slime is.
"Honey, put the bleach down and step away from the reef tank. I promise we will spend more quality time together."
My Bonsai-reef site (http://www.geocities.com/ktchinn)
03/14/2000, 05:09 AM
I recently went through this, too. Skim like crazy, siphon, water changes (lots of small ones worked for me), reduced photo period, and load up on carbon filtration - and clean the carbon/poly EVERY DAY - maybe twice a day - that's what I did and licked the problem in a little over a week.
03/14/2000, 06:19 AM
Good tips from Rinaldi, Tadashi, et al.
To be fair, the use of wet/dry's isn't completely bad, as ammonia is an infinitely preferrable food for photosynthesizers than nitrate. Of course, if your "LR" and/or DSB are up to handling the bioload, then by all means, yank the trick.
Never had dino outbreaks, but maybe that's because of my higher temps.
04/18/2000, 04:00 AM
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