Kessil

I have Dinoflagellates. Please help!

Purgo25

Guest
Hi All,

I recently noticed a brown algae covering my sand and I initially suspected Diatoms which wasn't going to be an issue to me. But then my corals weren't opening fully and soon enough some snails were dying. I checked all my parameters and everything was perfect. I could not figure out what it was until I came across dinoflagellates and I am convinced that this nasty stuff is making my corals close up and hurting my clean up crew.

I have read many articles and every person has a different suggestion on how to attack this. I wanted to hear anyone's suggestion on this forum before I start my plan of action. I have heard blackouts, chemical adds, etc. I have an Evo 13.5 gal so my tank is very delicate to changes, I want to make sure I do the right thing the first time.

Cheers,

Purgo25
 

Coral reefer

BOD
Staff member
The volume of your tank is all we have to go on here, so gonna be a bit tough.
What does perfect parameters mean? I’m guessing low to non existent phosphates and or nitrates? This can upset and even kill corals on its own. Is this tank fairly new?
A pic or a video may help to see what’s going on.
If indeed dinoflagellates I would suggest manual removal via siphon, 3 days black out, and addition of a uv sterilizer.
You need to have some phosphate and nitrate.
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
How new is the tank? Have you done anything different "recently" with your tank? (new lights, added auto feeder, etc). Do you have older lighting (fluorescent bulbs that may have color shifted?) or LEDs?
 

Purgo25

Guest
Sorry should have added more details:
0 phosphates and nitrates
8.2 pH
80 F Temp
1.024 Salinity
The tank it about 2.5 months old. I want to leave it but wouldn't siphoning remove water too and I would have to add more? Sorry if the photo quality is low I don't have a great camera.
IMG_2773.jpg
IMG_2774.jpg
IMG_2775.jpg
IMG_2776.jpg
IMG_2777.jpg
 

Purgo25

Guest
@sfsuphysics I have had the tank for 2.5 months, I changed some parameters thinking those are the culprits but have left it since figuring out the main culprit. The tank has LEDs currently.
 

ofzakaria

Supporting Member
Not sure this is dino, it look more like diatom. My advice is not to start treating dino before you are sure what you dealing with is dino. Dino treatments is like worm hole filled with myths and outlandish solutions that will take you to places you do not want to be in.
Do you have access to hobby grade microscope?
What's your po4 and no3?
Given your tank is less than 3 months old, I will more suspect diatom not dino..
 

rygh

Webmaster
Staff member
Might be Dinos, might not. Cannot tell from those pictures, but actually looks more like Diatoms.

Siphon it off the sand. Some sand will come up, but you can wash the sand or replace it.
Yes, that removes water, which is a big part of the benefit.
Water changes help. Pretty much ALWAYS.
For a small tank, you want to match Saliity, temperature, and Alkalinity in water you replace, but you can do large changes.
 

Squist

Supporting Member
There are other BA Reefers addressing similar challenges. There was an update to a thread just yesterday about hydrogen peroxide solution helping. You can find that thread here: https://bareefers.org/forum/threads/bar-bio-transplants.24945/page-5.

In my own very recent experience with my new tank I am dealing with the same thing. Take a look at my tank journal for what I'm doing about it; including: vacuuming, UV, increasing NO3 (I was at 0, like you, now I am at consistently 10) and P04 (I was at 0, now I am consistently between 0.03 and 0.05).

(And listen to the other guys re diatoms.)
 

rygh

Webmaster
Staff member
Specifically for a 13G tank:
You can do 1G water changes quite easily.
With 2G, you should mostly match Salinity and make sure temp is not way off.
With 5G, you need to match pretty carefully. Also double check PH, not just Alk.
I would not go larger.

So my suggestion:
Do 1G changes twice a day, siphoning that crud off sand/rocks, with a small 1/4" or 3/8" airline tubing.
Pick a small region, siphon-clean it, then do another region later.
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
+1 on the might not be dinos crowd. At 2.5 months I would almost say it's part of "new tank uglies" especially if you didn't use any bacterial "accelerator" products to get you through the cycle. And yes siphoning would pull out water, so add water back in, and call it a series of small water changes. Unless I saw what looked like stringy "snot" with bubbles holding it up off surfaces I wouldn't put my money on dinos, and the pictures you posted don't quite look like that.
 

Purgo25

Guest
So I am still very convinced its dinos reason being:

1. Water changes have been making things worse every time I do one.
2. When I initially started the tank I had diatoms and the corals were thriving, now with this they are all closed up.
3. I have siphoned everyday for 5 days and it always comes back stronger.
4. In the worst spot (one in the photo) it had bubbles the other day before I removed it.
5. Snails were dying

I was very confused after the water changes not working because I was not concerned with the brown algae at all at first it was my corals not opening that I was trying to fix. For the first 2 months they were perfect, even had zoas growing new heads, now they are all closed up.
 

Purgo25

Guest
I know I need to remove them eventually I am just concerned that when I add new water I am just giving them more fuel to thrive, so fair I have them slightly on some corals and just in the sand bed. I even Rx dipped all the corals and it didn't change anything.
 

Purgo25

Guest
I am using the premixed saltwater for water changes and RO water for top off both from Neptune Aquatics.
 

The_Lazy_Reefer

BOD
Staff member
My vote is on diatoms which always show their head when nutrients are bottomed out. Honestly I would leave it be and try to up your nutrients into a stable range and keep them there. If you can do that then in a couple months it should clear on its own.
 

Purgo25

Guest
See below for fish, I feed the once a day with LRS Reef Frenzy Nano.

Fish
  • Clownfish Pair (2)
  • Hectors goby
Inverts
  • Fire Shrimp
  • 4 Hermit Crabs
Clean Up Crew
  • 6 Cerith Snails
  • 2 Trochus Snails
  • 2 Nassarius Snails
Others
  • Green BTA
 

Squist

Supporting Member
If you are concerned, as I am in my case, that performing water changes to remove what is on your sand is stripping-out nitrates and phosphates -- what I did was siphon into a filter sock separating the bad from the good (keeping the water). If your tank doesn't have a sump, you can pour the bucket back in. If you have a sump (suspecting you do not, given 13g) you might be able to just siphon through the sock and into the sump while your return pump pushes the water back to the tank. This has been my approach (inconclusive so far, though tank's improving slowly) while I stopped performing all water changes and worked to increase tank's biodiversity, etc.
 
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