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Old 08/01/2014, 05:11 PM   #301
Aquarist007
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Any opinions on how biopellets react with dinoflagellates? I have been dealing with dinos since April of this year, and am trying to formulate a plan going forward, but can't seem to find much info on the use of biopellets.

The dinos that I have had have had a minimal amount of the typical "snot" like build up on the rocks and sand, but have stayed mostly bubbles attached to the ends of the long hair like structures. About six weeks ago now, I removed my biopellet reactor that had been running for the previous 10 months just to see if it would help with the dinos, treated with Chemiclean, and did a lights out for 3 days. Once I brought the lights back on I was basically dino free, so I started the biopellets up again. Everything was looking good until last weekend when I decided to increase the flow thru my pellet reactor as I wasn't seeing much of a nutrient reduction yet, and the increase in flow caused a layer of biofilm to be released (noticed on the surface of the water in my sump). By the next day I could see the dinos popping back up...

So, wondering if anyone else has found that the dinos can feed on the bacteria being released from the biopellets? I do have the effluent from my pellets feeding directly into the skimmer, but the presence of the biofilm in the sump must mean that the skimmer wasn't processing all of the bacteria, and at least some of it was making its way to the water column. Now I'm not sure if I should leave the pellets going as they are now doing a good job of reducing nutrients, but are possibly feeding the dinos at the same time?
Both bacteria and carbon are being released into the tank not just the bacteria as originally thought.
Dino's could be stimulated by the carbon until the bacteria increase in numbers to compete. Try dosing with vodka and or vinegar instead of the pellets.this can increase the bacteria count faster in the water column itself then using the polymers outside of the water column


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Old 08/01/2014, 05:35 PM   #302
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Originally Posted by capn_hylinur View Post
Both bacteria and carbon are being released into the tank not just the bacteria as originally thought.
Dino's could be stimulated by the carbon until the bacteria increase in numbers to compete. Try dosing with vodka and or vinegar instead of the pellets.this can increase the bacteria count faster in the water column itself then using the polymers outside of the water column
Thank you for the feedback! Maybe I would be better off just pulling the biopellets, and dealing with nutrients another way. I thought that I had read that carbon dosing such as vodka would in fact feed the dinos? Thinking about setting up an external refugium and growing macro to reduce nutrients, instead of biopellets/carbon dosing to achieve this. Seems like guess work at this point, but maybe I'll stumble across the magic bullet...


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Old 08/01/2014, 05:38 PM   #303
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Thank you for the feedback! Maybe I would be better off just pulling the biopellets, and dealing with nutrients another way. I thought that I had read that carbon dosing such as vodka would in fact feed the dinos? Thinking about setting up an external refugium and growing macro to reduce nutrients, instead of biopellets/carbon dosing to achieve this. Seems like guess work at this point, but maybe I'll stumble across the magic bullet...
What is the level of your nitrates and phosphates


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Old 08/01/2014, 05:44 PM   #304
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What is the level of your nitrates and phosphates
Right now only using 600 ml of EcoBAK pellets, and a skimmer they are sitting at:

NO3 is 4 (Red Sea)

PO4 is zero - 0.00 with Hanna Phosphate, and 1 ppb using the Hanna ULR Phosphorus. This was around 0.02-0.04 last week, the drop to undetectable has just been in the last few days.

That PO4 worries me a bit being so low as I'm afraid this will start damaging my SPS corals, so normally I would bump up my feeding, but with the dinos, I'm not sure what to do?

Based on recommendations of a few other reefers local to me (Arizona, USA) I was planning to start increasing my alk number closer to 10 or 11, but with the pellets keeping my nutrients that low, I will end up burning up my SPS corals. So, I can take the pellets offline and let the nutrients rise a bit, and bump up the alk number, but not sure what approach is best honestly to fight the dinos: higher alk, or lower nutrients?


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Old 08/02/2014, 06:39 AM   #305
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Right now only using 600 ml of EcoBAK pellets, and a skimmer they are sitting at:

NO3 is 4 (Red Sea)

PO4 is zero - 0.00 with Hanna Phosphate, and 1 ppb using the Hanna ULR Phosphorus. This was around 0.02-0.04 last week, the drop to undetectable has just been in the last few days.

That PO4 worries me a bit being so low as I'm afraid this will start damaging my SPS corals, so normally I would bump up my feeding, but with the dinos, I'm not sure what to do?

Based on recommendations of a few other reefers local to me (Arizona, USA) I was planning to start increasing my alk number closer to 10 or 11, but with the pellets keeping my nutrients that low, I will end up burning up my SPS corals. So, I can take the pellets offline and let the nutrients rise a bit, and bump up the alk number, but not sure what approach is best honestly to fight the dinos: higher alk, or lower nutrients?
I would suggest water changes then to bring down the nitrate level and leave the phosphate level alone. With low phosphate levels carbon dosing won't be affective anyways


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Old 08/02/2014, 05:00 PM   #306
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I think that nitrate level should be safe enough. Water changes will help with the nitrate level only if there's no underlying source. I suspect the level will jump back fairly quickly after a water change, but there's only one way to be sure.

With a measured phosphate level that low, the kits are less useful than observing the tank for signs of problems. A bit more feeding might be fine at this point, but as long as the animals are doing well, I wouldn't bother.


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Old 08/02/2014, 05:31 PM   #307
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I think that nitrate level should be safe enough. Water changes will help with the nitrate level only if there's no underlying source. I suspect the level will jump back fairly quickly after a water change, but there's only one way to be sure.

With a measured phosphate level that low, the kits are less useful than observing the tank for signs of problems. A bit more feeding might be fine at this point, but as long as the animals are doing well, I wouldn't bother.

Thanks for the feedback Bertoni. I am looking at adding a frag tank (as a refugium) next to my display that will hold about 14 gallons, and basically filling it with live rock to help with the NO3. Figure it can't hurt. I can also add some rock to my sump (about 30-35 additional pounds in all, added to the approx 70 pounds in the display now). Also can add some chaeto for additional nutrients if I pull the biopellets offline. Eventually I would like to have things in place so I can transition from pellets to additional live rock and macro growth instead.

That being said, my dinos have never gotten too bad (knock on wood) just some strings/bubbles on the sand and rock, and any dead spots on the coral. Because of that I'm basically scared to change ANYTHING fearing that some minor tweek will cause an explosion of more dinos.

I know a lot of SPS keepers get color with some NO3, as long as it's under 5, but don't know if it is fueling the dinos or not. Guess I'll just keep moving forward leaving the system as is for now, and see what happens. I'm a few months out to add the external refugium anyway.

I will continue to blow off/siphon the dinos every day, skim wet, continue with a reduced light cycle, and keep trying to raise my ph (which is hard to do in Arizona in summer when the house is totally sealed up).

Thanks


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Old 08/02/2014, 06:47 PM   #308
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Taking the pellets offline might enable a macroalga to grow. That's hard to predict. I'd proceed slowly. Live rock should be safe to add.

I don't think anyone can predict what might cause the dinoflagellates to take off, so I'd be cautious. Siphoning out the dinoflagellates should be a lot more effective than blowing them off the rock, but I wouldn't count on either solving the problem. Exporting dinoflagellates will export nutrients, but maybe not enough to be useful.


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Old 08/02/2014, 09:04 PM   #309
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Zero PO4 would concern me but it could just be a testing ghost.Raising alk with zero PO4 could be an issue. Are you using any other PO4 reducers like gfo? If not I'd cut back on the pellets .

I'm not sure a soluble organic like vodka and vinegar would add more bacteria directly to the water column than pellet based polymers, but it might since it diffuses right away . There is still substantial visual evidence of benthic bacteria though. I've used vodka and vinegar for over 5 years(PO4 0.02 to 0.04ppm;NO3 around 0.2ppm,alk 9.5dkh/pH 8.15 to 8.35 daily swing) ) with no dinos m or burnt tips except a few I brought in by accident with a coral and they died off in a day.


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Old 08/02/2014, 09:19 PM   #310
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Zero PO4 would concern me but it could just be a testing ghost.Raising alk with zero PO4 could be an issue. Are you using any other PO4 reducers like gfo? If not I'd cut back on the pellets .

I'm not sure a soluble organic like vodka and vinegar would add more bacteria directly to the water column than pellet based polymers, but it might since it diffuses right away . There is still substantial visual evidence of benthic bacteria though. I've used vodka and vinegar for over 5 years(PO4 0.02 to 0.04ppm;NO3 around 0.2ppm,alk 9.5dkh/pH 8.15 to 8.35 daily swing) ) with no dinos m or burnt tips except a few I brought in by accident with a coral and they died off in a day.

I know that this seems like a super basic, obvious question, but is there any sort of consensus on high vs low nutrients to best battle dinos? I have always looked at low nutrients as being the best tool to battle algae, but I can certainly see that nutrients being low enough to prevent any competitive algaes from being present could give dinos free reign to take off...figured that I need to get a firm handle on that once and for all.

I do have a recirculating biopellet reactor, so I have already backed off the effluent rate a bit in hopes of increasing PO4 slightly so I can slowly bump up my alk. For whatever reason I have had LOTS of trouble with burned tips in the past, so I am fairly cautious, that's for sure.

I am still ultimately making plans to set up an external refugium so I can increase the total amount of live rock for filtration. Hopefully manually removing the dinos every day, keeping the reduced light schedule, increasing my alk, and boosting my ph will slowly turn the tide.


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Old 08/02/2014, 09:22 PM   #311
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rocknut,

I can share my experience with dinoflagellates, since I think it is at least partially applicable. My 40g system started off with an algal scrubber, which maintained undetectable PO4 and NO3. A month or two of this and the introduction of something that had the dinoflagellates on it led to a quick explosion. The initial bloom was so severe that it killed the entire scrubber within a couple of days--the filamentous algae literally turned golden and sloughed away. I also noticed that the dinoflagellates had a very unique smell--like they were emitting some chlorinated substance.

After that, I began trying a carbon source in the form of vinegar, which only made it worse. I was losing livestock and dinos seemingly getting thicker and healthier. Corals were getting extremely pale and wasting away.

After losing most things, I pretty much gave up, removed what was left alive and shut off the lights and most of the filtration in anticipation of completely dismantling it. Two weeks passed and I noticed that the bulk of the dinoflagellates were gone. As an experiment I turned the lights back on. The tank initially experienced a bloom of hair algae, then coralline algae, then turf algae. Keep in mind that this was a succession of algae, with the final phase being a return in the dinoflagellates (which also corresponded with disturbing the sand).

In noticing this, I thought it was interesting that they only appeared toward the end. I had also noted that nutrient levels slowly waned during the whole process. So, I blacked everything out again for about 10 days and started yet again. The only difference is that this time I fed heavily and maintained a higher level of nutrients. They have not been back to any real extent since, even after sand disturbances, for nearly 3 months. It's not that I don't think they are still there, but I think they are outcompeted in the situation I've created. The blackouts seemed to have knocked them down enough to allow other algae a bit of a foothold. Can't say that this will be the magic bullet for you, but something to consider, however briefly.

In any case, I wish you good luck.


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Old 08/02/2014, 09:26 PM   #312
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I don't think there's any consensus on dealing with dinoflagellates. They apparently can be awful.


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Old 08/02/2014, 09:35 PM   #313
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They apparently can be awful.
As long as I've been in the hobby, there are few things that I ever experienced that are remotely as bad and frustrating as dinoflagellates. Nothing has brought me closer to completely quitting as these have. They can be absolutely terrible .


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Old 08/02/2014, 10:14 PM   #314
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I agree they can be awful for the many posts I've read on them. There isn't any consensus either. Anecdotally, I had sucess with my friends display tank several years ago in his lfs by siphoning them out every two or three days, dripping kalk for increased pH per Randy's article and runing some polyfilter( I think we ran that IIRC). It took two weeks of persistent effort,. Maybe we were lucky. A month later there were more.Same process ,same result and they didn't come back after that.


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Old 08/03/2014, 07:51 PM   #315
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Hmm, poly filter, didn't people report help from cuprisorb and looking at that new TLF MetaSorb UHC?


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Old 08/03/2014, 08:05 PM   #316
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I think someone reported some luck with CupriSorb, but it's hard to be sure that the CupriSorb actually did anything. If I were desperate, I might try some. It's inexpensive, at least.


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Old 08/04/2014, 04:03 AM   #317
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I tried Poly filter for some weeks.
I replaced the sponge in my Eheim return pump and went through a whole sheet of it.
Sadly the results were unnoticeable.

- - -

Perhaps we should assume most tanks have those problem dinoflagellates and try to find out why they bloom in reef tanks and what they like since we have already failed miserably on finding out how to get rid of them.
Pants has documented the most common strains in the US as Ostreopsis, Amphidinium and Prorocentrum. That is a good start.
Know thy enemy. Send Pants a sample. http://www.algaeid.com/contact/

We are struggling to say the least and the link between reefers and the specialists in the field is missing.
Basic information is vague or hard to find and we fumble in the dark as individuals looking for a magic way out.

There has to be a denominator here that can be found with a systematic search.

- - -


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Old 08/23/2014, 05:02 PM   #318
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Well I've been fighting dinoflagellates for over 2 years in my 200gal reef, and I feel I've finally beat them. I've literally tried everything over the last 2 years. I replaced my sand bed, I did a 3 day blackout, I changed large amounts of water every week, I didn't change any water for months, I tried large amounts of GFO, I tried large amounts of activated carbon, I tried vodka dosing, I tried replacing the light bulbs, I tried UV, I tried adding a brightly lit refugium, full of caulerpa and chaeto, etc. I am a very educated, long time aquarist, and I've always had successful reef aquariums, but this tank has been a headache to say the least.

After trying everything I decided that I was going to go at the Dino's hard, or tear the tank down and start it over with new rock and sand. I figured that I would spend a large sum of money on starting over, and with my luck the Dino's would probably just come back.

So, my current tank is 7'x2'x2', with 2-vortech mp40's, one on each end facing each other. I normally have them on quick pulse, but changed them to 100% power on continuous mode, and increased the size of my return pump to increase turnover through my sump & skimmer. I added a filter bag to my sump, and added a aqua UV unit that I hung on the main tank w PVC and a mag drive to help sterilize the main tanks water quickly. I changed my dosing pump to dose the kalkwasser make-up water during the day instead of the night, to raise the daytime pH. I also added 2mL/10gal of fresh peroxide for 8 days. I also started blasting my rocks and whole tank with a power head, in the morning and evening.

Within 2 days the Dino's were almost gone. In 5 days, there weren't any Dino's to be found. I fully expect the Dino's to come back at some point. If and when that happens, I will follow the same procedure. I think ozone would really help, but it's a big investment that may or may not work. I know many others have this problem, and I hope this can help.

Leland Foley


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Old 08/24/2014, 04:47 AM   #319
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It gives us hope to hear success stories, but since it usually takes a massive effort or pure luck to get there, the missing information on what species of dinos you have could be misleading to all the reefers with some other species of dinos in their systems.

How long has it been?
Remember they produce cysts so don't open up the champagne yet.


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Old 08/24/2014, 04:50 AM   #320
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Here is a chemistry question.

I've noticed dinoflagellates can play the leading role in a reef tanks health.
The absence of dinos is just as import as any of the usual parameters.

Dinos most of the time go undetected and reefers don't realize why their corals look bad and don't grow.
Snails and fish can also perish and there is obviously something wrong with the tank.
The reefkeeper spends loads of time trying to figure out what it is and some eventually find out about dinos.
That is where it ends and an endless search for a quick fix wears them out.

A microscope seems to be out of reach for most reefers so a proper identification of the enemy is simply skipped.
I think dinos are overlooked and vastly underestimated in the hobby.

Why would we not want to check our water for the toxins they produce, since they are some of the most potant and are known to be leathal to marine life.
The reefers health can be affected and people with shellfish allergies are in danger.
These toxins are quite complex so I don't know if they could be measured with a test kit or at one of those specialized labs providing service to reefers.
I wonder if the big companies in the industry would find it interesting or luctrative to look further into it.
There are number of toxins so that could help identifying different strains.

Do you think I'm going over the top on this or could a way to detect and measure dino toxins be a wast leap forward in reefkeeping?


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Old 08/24/2014, 05:05 AM   #321
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It's been 2 months, Dino free. I'm obviously not sure which strain I had, I never looked at it under a microscope. Even if I did, I don't have any way of identifying a specific species, as I don't have any reference that points out how to identify which species it is. I do know I had it for a very long time, and tried everything to be rid of it.

As I said, I fully expect it to come back at some point. I'll be quick to use peroxide again to prevent it from getting to plague proportions again.

It's definately had an impact on the health of my corals, and clean up crew. I never lost any coral, but almost all of my snails are gone. Very little coralline algae remains on the rocks. I'm sure it will grow back quickly.

Leland


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Old 08/24/2014, 01:23 PM   #322
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I hit them hard quickly. Peroxide did the trick. The only noticeable side effect was some browning of my caulerpa.
This was 3 weeks ago and so far so good. I am keeping a watchful eye out for any signs of their return


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Old 08/24/2014, 02:59 PM   #323
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Here is a chemistry question.


These toxins are quite complex so I don't know if they could be measured with a test kit or at one of those specialized labs providing service to reefers.
If there was a single toxin that was of interest at a known concentration of concern, one could likely generate a method involving HPLC or a similar expensive machine assay. Definitely not a kit, unless it was a very expensive one.

If there are multiple toxins then this becomes impractical (assuming one thinks the above is practical).


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Old 08/25/2014, 10:34 AM   #324
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Devastating news.... I am 98% sure I have the Prorocentrum strain of dino's. I used a 400x microscope and the cells look exactly like the Prorocentrum shown on Pants id page. The reason Im 98% and not 100% is because 400x was max zoom and i couldn't rule out the sample being the Amphidinium strain but im 98% sure its Prorocentrum.

Sooo, does any body have a successful eradication story for this type of dino?

I am planning on an aggressive multi-prong attack consisting of ph 8.4, peroxide dosing 2x10 ml and complete entombment of dt with cardboard as well as remote sump blackout for 3 days. The sump might be difficult (100g stock tank) but what choice is there...lol

It is currently contained on the sand bed but vacuum doesn't really help its back in a day.

phos.-0 (gfo) hanna checker (not ul)
nitrate 5-7
ph 8.1
mg 1560 (tested 3 times with 2 different kits) no idea how this went high using IO Reef
calc 410
alk 8.8-9

been dosing baking soda in ato to maintain alk, but i will have to dose kalk(for ph) using a doser because evaporation rate has been inconsistant


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Old 08/25/2014, 12:44 PM   #325
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Zero PO4 would concern me but it could just be a testing ghost.Raising alk with zero PO4 could be an issue. Are you using any other PO4 reducers like gfo? If not I'd cut back on the .
Tom can you explain more? One of my tanks is going through a ton of alk and it has zero phosphates.. This maybe the answer I am looking for


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