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paulsz

My dreaded dinos thread

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Hi all,

 

This thread will discuss my dinos case. For those who are battling it, feel free to follow along. 🙂 Your input is always welcome as well! For those who have tips, please do provide. However, please read the below to see what i have tried and what i haven't tried already.

 

Just a quick background on me and my tank:

- 35 g cube (20" all sides) with a 20 high sump (filled halfway)

- AI prime HD lights and 2 T5HOs as a supplement (currently off however, as i have no SPS left).

- Oct 2017: cycle started with a piece of live rock, a bunch of dry rock and using Dr. Tim's as a source of ammonia

- Dec 2017: First fish went in (firefish) and a CUC

- Jan 2018: FIrst coral went in (GSP)

- Up to July 2018: added a yellow clown goby and a blue chromis. The firefish died (i would think stress). Was always jumping, getting scared of everything... even snails would scare it. I also added a bunch of other corals, including a few mushrooms, some pulsing xenia, a torch coral, green slimer and birdsnest. All frags

- July 2018: realized the brown stuff on my rock/glass/sand was not algae, but was actually dinos (through microscope).

- Today: still battling it ☹️

 

Since the beginning, I have always had a very low nutrients. Coming from freshwater, I had the mindset that i wanted to keep phosphates and nitrates as low as possible (ideally 0). And so i've never had a trace of them. I would do 5 gallon water changes every week, and given the tiny bioload of my aquarium, never got the nitrates/phospates to show up on my test kits (doesn't mean they weren't there, but anything that was there was getting consumed by the tank). 

 

In March of 2018, I added my first piece of SPS. It was a purple cap monti. Loved the deep purple colour. Over the next few weeks, it had gotten pale and slightly brown. I didn't know why that was happening. I searched online and some said not enough light, others said too much light, some said not enough nutrients, others said too much phosphates. Given it was ~9" below the water surface with only and AI prime above it, i figured it couldn't be too much light. Especially since the guy i got it from had a huge T5HO+LED hybrid and the monti cap was only a couple of inches from the top. So i added 2 T5HO bulbs as a supplement. Nothing happened. After a few more weeks and more research, I thought it could have been too many phosphates. Even though they weren't showing up on the test kit, i was convinced the brown "algae" and corals were sucking it up too quickly (what was i thinking? lol). So I added a phosphate reactor and used GFO. Now I know that that was a huge mistake, but at the time I didn't. No more GFO 🙂

 

The tank looked like this at the time:

 

371888176_Dinos1.thumb.jpg.36949d3250eed25c65b5cd0465a10a33.jpg

 

Then in July 2018, while picking up some more corals, i asked the guy what he thought about the pale/brown corals, as well as the brown stuff on my sand/wall/rocks. We agreed that I was most likely lacking nutrients in the tank, and that the brown "algae" could be cyano. So i went home with the new corals and acclimated them. Treated the tank for cyano (chemiclean) but nothing changed... 

 

The frags were still doing well (good polyp extension), but the brown stuff was striving. My sandbed looked like this: 

 

1493875126_Dinos3.thumb.jpg.6f45f12132b65e0144c467d6622385bf.jpg

 

1758714120_Dinos2.thumb.jpg.dd254e5836dcb6635bc4b9262ea4bf22.jpg

 

So looking around online, I found a thread where someone had a similar case to mine. Turns out they had dinos (at the time, i had no clue dinos existed, nor what it was). Using the microscope that I got a while back, I was able to confirm that the brown stuff was indeed dinos. Prorocentrum to be exact:

Dinos.jpg.43ce674e5c6329dbdc3d60345bcc31eb.jpg

 

This was mid/late July. And by mid August, it had killed all of my SPS. 

 

Browsing online, i found a thread on Reef2Reef all about this. Created by mcarroll and a few other members, describing how to beat dinos. Very useful and very in depth. 

 

I decided to use the approach they recommended, which was to raise nutrients and encourage algae growth, so that it may out compete the dinos. From my understanding, dinos will always be there. But dinos can strive in low phosphate/nitrate tanks, while algae cannot. And so in my case, where i had undetectable nitrates/phosphates since day 1, dinos were having a huge party in my tank and algae didn't have enough nutrients to even compete with them.

 

I started dosing nitrates and phosphates (using seachem stuff). I was dosing insane amounts (4 ppm nitrates a day and 1 ppm phosphates a day). And for a month or more, nothing was showing up in my test kits. I figured it was binding to some of my substrate and rocks. So i kept dosing and eventually I got a reading. I kept raising them slowly until nitrates reached 10ppm and phosphates 0.1ppm. Kept it at these levels from September to November of 2018. Still nothing was happening. I kept manually removing the dinos (every day), and they kept coming back the next day. Algae was barely growing. I was losing hope, as the time frame for beating this stuff was supposed to be 2-3 months (based on what i had read). But after 3 months nothing had changed. I decided to keep going and not giving up. Kept dosing as needed, kept removing the dinos manually (as much as i could. That stuff sticks to sand as if it's holding on for it's life. Which it is... technically... i guess). 

 

In December 2018, while off from work for Christmas/New Years break, I decided to do a 5 day complete black out with hydrogen peroxide (3%) dosing. It had worked for some people i know. After 5 days, the dinos was killed for the most part. Given all this die off, my phosphates sky rocketed from 0.1 to 0.6 ppm by the end of the blackout. I removed the sand slowly over the next week or two, because it was a huge piece of real estate for the dinos to grow on. Since then, the phosphates came back down. Currently at .23 and going down still. 

 

The Dinos had not died fully. They came back. I am still monitoring my nutrients and trying to promote algae growth as much as possible. The tank currently looks like this:

 

421089989_Dinos4.thumb.jpg.329617690ec77e2a4a4d72b1cebd2393.jpg911296559_Dinos5.thumb.jpg.241c1795b79187fd80e2d2eaa205a84c.jpg1386282469_Dinos6.thumb.jpg.73bd9ee2ac54ee0bc8a3c059ea15f17a.jpg 

 

Looks much better than before, but it is still there. I am not adding anymore corals (especially no SPS), as i'm sure it would kill it too. Sorry for the bad pics, my glass is super dirty (in my attempt to promote algae).

 

So, if you've made it this far, good on you! It was a long read, and mostly a giant rant on how annoyed I am about the situation. I plan to keep fighting it using the nutrient method for the next 3-4 months. If you don't go through trouble, you don't learn. And so I would like to beat the dinos instead of running away. But if i don't see much change by summer, i'll throw the towel in and strip the tank to nothing and start over.

 

Thanks for following along. 🙂

 

Paul 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My first Dino's years ago I manually removed siphoning into a sock and replacing the water back into the tank. I did zero water changes and lots of 3-5 day repeated blackouts. It was getting pretty weak after awhile...then I accidentally overdosed alk which caused a alk and pH spike and that was the nail in the coffin and those particular Dino's never returned.

 

My 2nd battle was recently with a kind that goes into the water column at night. I manually turkey basted it off my rock and corals as it was trying to kill everything and changed floss frequently. I did a 1 day blackout because I wasn't home to baste that day and the biggest help was every night when the dino went into the water column I dosed homemade coral snow made from calcium carbonate. This bound to the dino making it easy for my skimmer to pull out. It is no longer visible in the DT but I can see tiny amounts in the floss at times. I now just dose snow one a week after a water change for clean up.

 

Good luck!

 

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I fought dinos in my 29 biocube. Tried everything chemical .....and cleaning. Tried 3 day black out. 5 day black out.  7 day black out.  It always came back. Finally I did a full 10 day black out. The only thing I lost was an urchin that must have starved. Never had dinos again after that.

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Wow, a 10 day blackout. I was on edge about the 5. Especially given then yellow clown goby and chromis are small and would require frequent feeding (especially the ycg). 

 

Can small fish like that last 10 days? The ycg comes out at dark and I could probably feed him a bit every other day, but the chromis goes into the to rock work and won't come out until lights are on again

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4 hours ago, paulsz said:

Wow, a 10 day blackout. I was on edge about the 5. Especially given then yellow clown goby and chromis are small and would require frequent feeding (especially the ycg). 

 

Can small fish like that last 10 days? The ycg comes out at dark and I could probably feed him a bit every other day, but the chromis goes into the to rock work and won't come out until lights are on again

Can you quarantine your fish during the blackout period?

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6 hours ago, paulsz said:

Wow, a 10 day blackout. I was on edge about the 5. Especially given then yellow clown goby and chromis are small and would require frequent feeding (especially the ycg). 

 

Can small fish like that last 10 days? The ycg comes out at dark and I could probably feed him a bit every other day, but the chromis goes into the to rock work and won't come out until lights are on again

Fish don't necessarily need light. As the lfs guy pointed out, huge tropical storms can last weeks. My fish did just fine with a lite feeding through the feeding hatch on the bc29. One possibility in thinking of right now is adding an air stone. I went into it with a last resort endgame all out all for nothing this is it do or die last t io me. As suggested, if you have ability to quarantine fish and you are worried, do what is best. I was at my wits end. I was crushed everytime the dam dinos came back. So go at your own discretion and God speed and good luck.

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5 hours ago, seabass said:

Can you quarantine your fish during the blackout period?

Didn't think about that! Would I move a piece of the rock into quarantine too, for filtration? I know most people just do large water changes daily when quarantining but I don't have the time for that at the moment. Can a piece of rock work? In a bucket with the fish, power head and heater?

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Hey @paulsz , What kind of rocks did you use for this set up?.... It kind of looks like the caribsea life rock.

 

The reason I ask is because I used the life rock, got dinos, along with many others who used the life rock.

 

Also, you might want to try implementing a UV sterilizer for this and run it during your blackout. The UV should kill the dino - at least it has with my aquarium so far.

 

Keep us posted.

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3 minutes ago, chett89 said:

It kind of looks like the caribsea life rock.

It's Marco rock. It just got dirty over the last year. 

 

I will look into a UV sterilizer if I decide to do the 10 day blackout in a few months (if I see no progress). Would I have to implement the UV sterilizer for good? Even after the blackout?

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1 minute ago, paulsz said:

It's Marco rock. It just got dirty over the last year. 

 

I will look into a UV sterilizer if I decide to do the 10 day blackout in a few months (if I see no progress). Would I have to implement the UV sterilizer for good? Even after the blackout?

It's really up to you. I initially got it for dinos but have left it running. From what I have researched, the dinos will go into the water - free swimming after the lights are out, that's when you want to hit them with the UV.

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1 hour ago, paulsz said:

Didn't think about that! Would I move a piece of the rock into quarantine too, for filtration? I know most people just do large water changes daily when quarantining but I don't have the time for that at the moment. Can a piece of rock work? In a bucket with the fish, power head and heater?

No you'll take dinos with it. 

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56 minutes ago, paulsz said:

It's Marco rock. It just got dirty over the last year. 

 

I will look into a UV sterilizer if I decide to do the 10 day blackout in a few months (if I see no progress). Would I have to implement the UV sterilizer for good? Even after the blackout?

The blackouts starve dinos. I've never had a uv. Hopefully if you kill them completely, they are never reintroduced. I suppose a uv after would help keep it from getting out of control again if they did come back. 

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Quick note for people with SPS heavy tanks that are dosing - If you are doing a blackout for more than 2 days, check your alk every single day. Your SPS will continue to grow for a day or two without light and then alk/ca/mg usage will drop off and you will have to turn your doser off entirely. Or better yet, turn your doser off when you blackout and dose by hand until the lights are back on. Monitor again every day after because usage will be off for a little bit.

 

If you leave your doser on for a 5 day blackout, your alk is going to skyrocket. I made this mistake the first time I got dinos. IME the best thing to do is to just keep sucking it out. Remove as much as you physically can - bust out a toothbrush and scrub the rocks and suck out what you can. Run a siphon through a filter sock so you can put the water back. The more you can get rid of before doing a blackout, the less chance you have of them making it through. Also the less nutrients you will have released into the water column as they die off.

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I killed my dino's and gha with Reeflux. Ran it for 3 weeks then did a big water change. Havent had either come back... 

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42 minutes ago, slowngreen said:

I killed my dino's and gha with Reeflux. Ran it for 3 weeks then did a big water change. Havent had either come back... 

unfortunately here in Canada, pet medication (including fish medication) is no longer sold in stores. You'd need a prescription from a vet.

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56 minutes ago, paulsz said:

unfortunately here in Canada, pet medication (including fish medication) is no longer sold in stores. You'd need a prescription from a vet.

 

Oh thats right, I forgot reading about that. Always gotta be someone ruining it for everyone. 

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I'm battling them right now. I think it was caused by bottoming out no3 and no4 so to start I've gone bare bottom, just fof future convince, and pulled chemipure, while upping feedings. I'm going to run dirty and simple going foward and see what happens, just filter floss and skimmer. I'll try a blackout next and poroxide if need be. 

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On 2/10/2019 at 8:40 PM, chett89 said:

The reason I ask is because I used the life rock, got dinos, along with many others who used the life rock.

My bad, at first i said Marco Rock. Turns out it is Caribsea South Seas Base rock. Not sure if people have been having issues with that one, or if it's just life rock

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21 minutes ago, paulsz said:

Not sure if people have been having issues with that one, or if it's just life rock

I believe that most people believe that it is the lack of biodiversity on all dry rock (or man made rock) which causes pests like dinos to thrive unchecked.  The dry rock is not actually introducing dinos into our systems, so it shouldn't be vendor specific.

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6 hours ago, seabass said:

I believe that most people believe that it is the lack of biodiversity on all dry rock (or man made rock) which causes pests like dinos to thrive unchecked.  The dry rock is not actually introducing dinos into our systems, so it shouldn't be vendor specific.

100% Agree, if I were to do it all over, I would never go full base rock in the beginning, maybe a 50/50 blend would have been okay.

 

 

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Yea, I went dry rock for the sole purpose of avoiding pests, but that didn't work. 

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8 hours ago, seabass said:

I believe that most people believe that it is the lack of biodiversity on all dry rock (or man made rock) which causes pests like dinos to thrive unchecked.  The dry rock is not actually introducing dinos into our systems, so it shouldn't be vendor specific.

This makes the most sense to me...there are a ton of things that will exist before dinos do since they out-compete them a biodiverse setup.

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Dosing nitrate and phosphate to out-compete dinoflagellates is a great strategy, but will only work if there is not another limiting nutrient preventing the growth of the algae you're trying to promote (iron, silica, etc). Your tank is old enough that it likely has a decent population of sponges growing within the rock and as a result is probably silica limited. Diatoms can quickly out-compete both dinoflagellates and cyano, but not in the absence of silica in the water column. One thing you could try is regularly dosing sodium silicate (e.g. Brightwell SpongExcel or generic water glass). It's used by some environmental cleanup organizations to clear cyano and dinos from eutrophic freshwater lakes and works wonders even on a large scale.

Established tanks uptake the stuff really fast. I dose about 1-2ppm per week to my nano (I just mix it into my kalkwasser reservoir) and have no visible diatoms whatsoever, but it completely eliminated any cyano or dinoflagellates in my tank since I began dosing about a year ago.

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10 hours ago, biophilia said:

Dosing nitrate and phosphate to out-compete dinoflagellates is a great strategy, but will only work if there is not another limiting nutrient preventing the growth of the algae you're trying to promote (iron, silica, etc). Your tank is old enough that it likely has a decent population of sponges growing within the rock and as a result is probably silica limited. Diatoms can quickly out-compete both dinoflagellates and cyano, but not in the absence of silica in the water column. One thing you could try is regularly dosing sodium silicate (e.g. Brightwell SpongExcel or generic water glass). It's used by some environmental cleanup organizations to clear cyano and dinos from eutrophic freshwater lakes and works wonders even on a large scale.

Established tanks uptake the stuff really fast. I dose about 1-2ppm per week to my nano (I just mix it into my kalkwasser reservoir) and have no visible diatoms whatsoever, but it completely eliminated any cyano or dinoflagellates in my tank since I began dosing about a year ago.

Thanks! i did not know that. The amount of sponges in recent times has boomed a lot. And i mean a lot! they're everywhere, especially those pineapple sponges. 

 

I will look into dosing of silica to help algae growth

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I've still just been feeding more and letting the glass get dirty, while running a shorter photo period, and it seems to be having an effect. Dinos aren't covering my corals as much and when I clean them off it takes longer for dinos to return. 

 

I think I'm going to keep this up until I get a po4 reading above 0 and then maybe do a black out to knock them out completly. That way once the lights come back on there will be enough nutrients to let other things take hold first. 

 

 

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