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FAQs on Dinoflagellate Algae, ID & Control 

Related FAQs: Diatom Control 1, Diatom Control 2, Diatom Control 3, Algae ControlMarine Algicide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green AlgaeSilicates

Related Articles: Algae Control, Marine Maintenance, Marine Scavengers, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Mithrax/Emerald Green Crabs, Sea Urchins, Blennies, Algae Filters, Ctenochaetus/Bristle Mouth Tangs, Zebrasoma/Sailfin Tangs, Skimmers, Skimmer Selection, Marine Algae, Coralline Algae, Green Algae, Brown Algae, Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria)Diatoms, Brown Algae

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

I.D. Cells   10/1/17
Hi!
<Hi>
Looking for some help identifying this brown stuff in my tank. Attached is a short video.
<Look and move like Dinoflagellates... could try starch/iodine staining...
Thanks!
Tarrell
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: I.D. Cells; now RedOx rdgs   10/1/17
Thanks for the quick response.
<Welcome>
Dino... that's what I thought it was too...
Do you still recommend ozone at 300 mg/hr for treating?
<... better a meter and 400 microsiemens/cm on the upper end. BobF>
Re: I.D. Cells   10/1/17

Just verifying, microsiemens/cm for ozone?
<Yeah; the Siemens co. so powerful, able to change the standard for ORP, µS/cm... Look it up>
I only find microsiemens/cm for EC and TDS.
<What? See WWM Re. B>

Help ID what is growing on our rocks.     7/11/17
Resize and re-send... your pix are two orders of mag. too big (39 megs...)
Help ID what is growing on our rocks. Without Video

I’m in need of some help identifying what is on our rock. I’m attaching pix to help.
300g
Sg 1.025
KH 8.3
Ca 412
Nitrate/Ammonia 0.00
Age 5months.
Temp 77.5 to 78.5
Neptune Apex controller used to control and monitor various things.
We were using Kent Marine Salt. BRS 2 part dosing ~1ml/gal day (Seems a bit high for a tank with not much in it).
Reef Octopus skimmer,
Reef Octopus vario-s 6 return pump.
2 MP40’s
1 of the original Gyre 150s
We have been working to get our levels to stabilize, we are there.
This stuff seems to have been there a while, didn’t start to take off until recently. The pix/vid are before pix. We vacuumed as much as we could 2 weeks ago, last week our A/C went out. Lights out on the tank, we put a portable A/C in the fish room and kept the temp about where it normally is. I climbed briefly to 81, but stabilized at 78.7. Right before the A/C went out we switch salts to the AquaVitro Salinity salt, about a 100g change.
After the A/C outage most of it went away. I think it is coming back, looks like a light film on the rock that is starting to bubble.
I was already thinking of changing salts, when our LFS told us he had never seen what we have before and did not think it was organic that is what pushed me over the edge.
Thanks,
William & Pegine
<Mmm; I'd sample a small bit and look under a microscope... You can read re on WWM including cheap 'scopes. This looks like a pest Dinoflagellate to me... Sometimes REALLY hard to get rid of; AND not palatable (to fishes, most invertebrates that eat macroalgae growths); SOME are VERY toxic. Friend Sanjay Joshi is having such an issue, and we're currently chatting up on Facebook... Jules (Sprung) gave this useful link: "A Quick reference Guide? Check out this interesting new site online: http://www.algaeid.com/about/ ". Denying nutrient, improving ORP... are the steps to go toward here. Bob Fenner>

Diatoms, PhosGuard and photo period; plus Euphyllia env. loss f'       2/23/16
Hello all and thank you for the kind service you do for us in the hobby.
<Hope to be helpful!>
I have had my 60 gallon reef tank since September 2011. For many years I ran a Marineland reef capable led light. I loved it. Eventually some leds began shorting out and I replaced it with a Kessil 350 led.
<Excellent product.>
After 8 months the Kessil stopped working.
<Uh oh! Any idea why or what specifically went wrong? I'd have looked into getting this fixed, it should be under warranty and in any case, failure like this is both uncommon and unacceptable with a light of that build and price.>
I went without a light for a month or two and lost my hammer coral.

<And probably a lot of other organisms great and small, certainly. What else was in there? And did it get window/external light? Did you feed the tank?>
I then bought another Marineland reef capable 48" led fixture and put it on my tank. Here is my issue now; I got a horrible diatom outbreak right away. I tried decreasing the photo period from 8 hours to 6 hours and then to 4 but nothing helped. My sand and my rocks were covered with horrible powdery brown growth. I tested my r/o water with a tds meter and discovered I needed new filters. I ordered these and began using purchased r/o water that tests ok in the meantime. I rinsed my rocks in old tank water and did a 15% water change and kept the light off for a week and started running PhosGuard Saturday. My tank looks amazing again. Can I put my light back on? Will I get another outbreak? Was it my water? I'm so confused and unsure what made the positive difference, the lack of light or the PhosGuard. I appreciate any insight.
Thank you for your time,
Sarah
<Well this is certainly a combination of factors but can be boiled down to "nutrients" from die-off, possibly your source water as well, lack of water changes, disrupted biological filtration. All these will cause all sorts of nuisances to crop up. Your best weapon here is simply more frequent/larger water changes. Say 20% a week. This will get things back on track, especially alongside the PhosGuard and good ro/di water. If it were me I would set the light up normally; diatoms/slime algae and their ilk love low-flow, "dirty" water and usually, low lighting. There's no mystery or trick here, just keep up your water quality with water changes, keep the tank as stable as possible, understock it for a while and don't feed any more than you need to. Then go from there. As you have seen, coral is known to be "fragile" but it often surprisingly tough! Anything that survived
this disaster is likely to do great again if you stick to the above concepts. -Earl>
Re: Diatoms, PhosGuard and photo period

I also want to add I run a reef octopus hang on the back skimmer that produces maybe half a cup of dark skim a day.
<Excellent! Invaluable tool and it seems like you have it tuned in well.>

any idea what this is? SW Alg. ID         9/10/15
Hi,
<Howdy>
Thank you for your time! I wonder if you can tell me what this is (I suspect some form of Dinoflagellates) and if it is good or bad. If it is bad, what can I do about it? This is from a SW reef tank that is about 1.5yrs old.
<From the golden color; my guess is on Dinoflagellates... easy to test for w/ commonly available household chemicals.... Or a more resolved pic... with girdling and apical flagella.... See WWM re ID and control. Bob Fenner>
Michael
Re: any idea what this is?

Thank you!
<Welcome. BobF>
Michael

algae? Dinos? bacteria? alien life form?      7/8/15
Dear WWM crew,
<Ivy>
Your site has been a huge help to me in setting up my saltwater aquarium in land-locked Saskatchewan!
<Ahh!>
I'm currently having a problem that I can't quite identify. I've searched wwm pretty thoroughly but without a definite id I'm unsure how to proceed. There's something growing on one pane of my aquarium glass. It started 3 weeks ago. It's spreading quickly though! It's very gelatinous and clear, frondy at the ends, but seems to grow from a brownish pin sized circle attached to the glass. The fronds disintegrate when scraped or suctioned, the circles require some scraping to remove.
<I do so like these mysteries! Could be.... algal; perhaps a Ctenophore/comb jelly, or a Hydropolyp of some sort, or...
Any chance of a high-res. photo? Do you have a USB-ready microscope (like the Intel-Mattel ones plugged on WWM?)>
It doesn't produce bubbles and the fronds are thicker than the pictures of Dinos I've seen. It comes back 2 days after I scrape/siphon it out. I put a filter on the system whenever trying to clean it. The reason I'm concerned is that as soon as it started, I started losing my Astrea snails.
<Ah, all good clues>
They are now all dead. I suspect it took out the tiny snails that came in on a frag too, I haven't seen them. Nothing else is currently affected, in fact the pods seem to like hanging out in the stuff, but I really don't want this toxic whatever it is to spread! I have the typical red Cyano.
<Bunk; and dangerous at times. This along could account for your snail losses>
I've only started to see green nuisance algae last week, in one spot on my rock. Ideally you'd wave your magic wand and make this stuff go *poof* but if it's on the recharger, I'd really appreciate a more definite identification. I'm hesitant to go crazy against algae if it's bacteria and vice versa. I hope it isn't Dinos.
<They are not the "end of the world" (have seen it/this and they're not there)>
What I've been doing to manage it: manual removal every 4 days, 20% water changes after scraping, running filter cloth on return, activated carbon in sump. Cut down feeding (mix of tiny amounts tiny frozen mysis, oyster eggs and oyster ovarian tissue, new life teeny pellets mixed with tank water. I use a 5ml dropper to feed and fill it maybe half full.) I haven't added
any supplements except alk/calcium- tailored aquatics is the brand name.
Nutrients have always been low in this tank, I only added the goby a month or so ago. Pre fish I put in 5 or so nls pellets a day to give the worms/pods something to eat. I notice an odd smell from the change water.
Not rotting or sulphur, ocean-like or that soft-coral reek, but sharp.
(Does Chaeto smell?)
<Do we smell them you mean I'll take it: sometimes>
Tank info:
JBJ 28g gallon all in one. Stock lighting-compact fluorescents, 105 watts, half actinic half white, on for 7 hours a day. (Have ordered a new bulb, waiting for it to be delivered)
<I'd sub another "white" of use for the actinic m'self>
No skimmer. (Worried about stripping already low nutrients in tank) Usually do Weekly 10% water changes, bumped up to
20% every couple of days for the last few weeks. Been running for 5 months.
Chemistry: Temp 78F, Salinity 1.025, Alk 8.2, no ammonia, nitrite, nitrates >5 (tough to read kit),Ca 450, phosphates 0.03. Waiting for Mg test. I add alk supplement about every 10 days. Running small amounts activated carbon.
Nutrients have been very low since the cycle. Started with dry rock and dry sand due to unavailability of live stuff.
Livestock: Yellow clown goby.2 sexy shrimp, brittle star I haven't seen in a few weeks and hope is ok, hermit crab added a week ago. 5 very tiny Euphyllia frags, Discosoma mushrooms, 1 toadstool,
<Yikes; Sarcophytons can get very large and quite toxic>
1 Ricordea. Lots of copepods- they are all over the suspect goo. One of my shrimp hangs out on it also. Ball of Chaetomorpha algae which hasn't been thrilled with all the water changes.
Relevant tank history: 6 weeks ago a period of wild alk swings ended. It lasted 3 weeks, alk would drop 3+ dKH a day. This tank has been weird for not getting green algae. Lots of brown stuff (diatoms probably) but no green. I take out half the ball of Chaeto monthly. Coralline was starting to grow but has stopped and is vanishing since this goo started.
<Mmm; more poss. clues.... You need to stabilize water quality... if needed through larger, more frequent water changes; the new water bolstered through supplementation if needed>
Pictures:
http://s1164.photobucket.com/user/Quiet_Ivy/media/28g%20Reef%20Tank/sunday%20tank%20001_zpsj3bvygwl.jpg.html (close up)<Oh.... this does look like a Dinoflagellate mess... I'd have you read re these on WWM; and...>
http://s1164.photobucket.com/user/Quiet_Ivy/media/28g%20Reef%20Tank/gunk2_zpsnsxhpop1.jpg.html when allowed to grow undisturbed for a week
http://s1164.photobucket.com/user/Quiet_Ivy/media/28g%20Reef%20Tank/full%20tank%20shot%20june_zpsqycrqixe.jpg.html  (full tank shot, early June. The suspect goo is on the left side panel, near the sand. I believe this is day 2 since removing it. Have moved frags around since but added only 1 Ricordea)
Thanks very much for your wonderful site and sorry about the length of this,
Ivy in Canada
<No worries; and the mention of a new "algae" manipulating product, "Nualgi"; a promoter of diatoms; that deprives other, noisome algae of nutrients.... have met w/ the owner/distributor; and though it works almost always in ponds, and off/on in aquariums (mainly dependent on their make up bio/chemically); I would try this out here. Bob Fenner>

Question about tearing down and rebuilding a tank after dinoflagellates       3/19/15
Hello, esteemed purveyors of fine aquatic knowledge.
<Hey Steve>
Dinoflagellates have wreaked havoc on my 20 gallon nano, despite my diligence in periodic blackouts, combined with water changes and other methods of nutrient export, including those provided by WWM. After my tank inhabitants have been reduced to 2 perculas and three small frags of Zoanthids, I even resorted to H202 dosing. I could only temporarily control the outbreak, but I have been unable to eradicate the plague.
<Mmm; am almost tempted to type the keywords... lanthanum, quinine...>
At this point, it seems like it would be much easier to break the tank down and replace all of the water, rock, and sand, since all I am doing is struggling and not enjoying the tank as much as I should be enjoying it. My question is whether or not I can save the few Zoanthid frags, since they have some dinoflagellates on the plugs where they are glued.
<Mmm; maybe>
If I give them various treatments, possibly including CoralRx and/or H202 dips, combined with isolation and some blackouts, am I introducing too much risk in bringing the dino plague back?
<A tough question... I would (VERY carefully; wearing gloves AND eye protection when handling the Zoanthids) give them a more concentrated hydrogen peroxide bath enroute....>
That is something I certainly want to avoid. Thanks for your time.
Steve
<Good luck mate. Bob Fenner>

Sarcophyton coral, closed with brown mucus      3/10/15
Hi there!
<Em>
We recently noticed our Devil's Hand leather has developed some irritated/pale tips and what appears to be brown slime accumulating on the "fingers" (please see attached photos).
<Looks like the colony is failing; algae growing at the burnt tips>

Water parameters:
180 gallon
pH: 8.2
water temp: 78 degrees F
kH: 7
Ca: 380ppm
Nitrate: ~2ppm
Phosphate: 0.03ppm
Salinity: 1.026
<All above is okay... note that this is not ALL involved. e.g.; what re Potassium?>
This leather has been in the tank for over a year now and we've never seen this brown mucus before or the pale bruised tips.
<Well; I see evidence of similar "burning" on the Sarcophytons shown...>
I've recently changed the GFO/Carbon reactor which caused a drop in phosphate from 0.2ppm to 0.03ppm.
<I'd remove this...>

There are two other leathers in the tank that have full polyp extension  but a couple of the polyps appear to be spitting out some zoox.
<Perhaps the low HPO4, rust burn, low K; a reaction to the reacting Zoanthids...>

Out of curiosity, we suctioned out some of the brown slime and placed it under our scope. Are the brown organisms in the slide Zooxanthellae, diatoms, or something else?
<The former likely; the shape and color is indicative; though I swear I can see two nuclei and cilia in some>

Other reef keepers have suggested dipping the leather, but I don't want to move it in case it gets stressed further.
Thank you for your time,
Emily
<I'd ditch the ferric oxide, add iodide-ate and a KCl or other K soln and hope for the best.

Bob Fenner>


Difference between Calothrix and dinoflagellates?        1/5/15
Hello and happy holidays. I have a (hopefully quick) question: how can I tell the difference between Calothrix and dinoflagellates?
<Mmm; well; the former, Calothrix, is a genus of multicellular Blue-Green Algae (BGA), Monerans; more closely related to bacteria (Cyanobacteria) than the true algae; which includes the single-celled Dinoflagellates. The only way to really "tell" is to sample a bit and look at under a microscope... Both are best controlled through nutrient deprivation...
which can be brought about in a few ways.... gone over and over on WWM.
Read there re>
I have what is, most likely, one of the two on my rocks, and I am not sure how to tell the difference.
Thanks,
Steve
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Difference between Calothrix and dinoflagellates?       1/6/15

Thanks for the reply, Bob. I have been doing my best to deprive it of nutrients, and I have been using Chemiclean and UltraLife red slime remover in addition.
<Mmm; can be of use; though these antimicrobials are NOT my first choice/line of attack. Again, SEE/READ on WWM RE>

Those products don't seem to be doing much, except that they seem to be making the stuff extra stringy. But thanks for the info and I'll keep at it. I guess that discerning the difference doesn't matter with regard to the treatment.
Thanks again,
Steve
Re: Difference between Calothrix and dinoflagellates?       1/6/15

For whatever it's worth, those two products don't contain any erythromycin or antibiotics.
<... see my resp. below.... what does it state? Antimicrobials>

I am fairly limited in the amount of techniques that I can employ because my tank is an Innovative Marine
Fusion 20, which is an all-in-one with a rear chamber. I can run a small media reactor/fluidizer and a small skimmer. There are a couple of chambers to run sponges for mechanical filtration where I might be able to place small amounts of other types of media.
<Stop writing and start reading. B>
Thanks,
Steve

Dinoflagellate ID      9/8/14
Hello crew!
I've attached a picture of what I believe to be dinoflagellates in my tank.
<Appears to be>
They grow in brown strands that contain air bubbles.
<When they really get growing, reproducing>
Growth occurs in high flow areas of the tank, subsides when the lights go off, and comes back during the day. When detached from substrate/rocks, they float to the surface. When flow is reduced, they become less stringy and more like a veil. I've read various strategies for getting rid of them on wwm and elsewhere. I am running biopellets, doing 10% water changes every 2 weeks, running GFO, using filter socks, and siphoning the dinos every few days.
<Then time going by>
Water parameters are: sg= 1.024Nitrate/Ammonia/Nitrite= 0Ca=380Mg= 1300Alk=3 mEq/LpH=8.0 to 8.1Phosphate= 0
First, is there anything you recommend I do in addition to what I'm doing already?
<Mmm; a few things... do you have a refugium? A DSB?>
Some people report that a tank "blackout" helps, but I am worried about my pH and dissolved oxygen levels going down if I do this. One thing to note is that I do feed quite a bit (equivalent of 8 frozen food cubes, rinsed, daily) because I have some new fish that need to gain weight. All food is eaten before hitting the bottom. Could my waste levels be 0 because the dinos are absorbing all the nutrients?
<Oh yes; almost a certainty>
Also, do these dinoflagellates look like a toxic species?
<Only in high concentrations>
Thank you for what you do, Lil Bri
<Ahh! Good to see/read you again. BobF>

Re: Dinoflagellate ID     9/15/14
Thank you for your advice! I did not previously have a refugium or DSB, so I am now looking into proper ways to set these things up.
<Oh! Many benefits... a friend (Anthony Calfo) and I produced a book back in 2003 (Reef Invertebrates) ostensibly to urge folks to consider these...>
I'm thinking I will grow Chaetomorpha in my sump to start… Again, thanks for the tips! I'll let you know how things go.
-Lil Bri
<I thank you, BobF>

erythromycin as last resort? Risky?      1/19/14
Hello Crew! I so need some concrete advice, as there is too much to sort through on this subject and I want to know what YOU would do!
<Will do Pam>
I'm about to dose my reef tank with erythromycin.
I've been battling Dinos for four months, and have done everything, from 5 day blackouts, to keeping the pH high (8.5), to no feeding and taking out the fuge that contained Miracle Mud,
Also, NO water changes for a month(Julian Sprung),  to siphoning and scrubbing , to melting down on Facebook, nothing has worked!
<"Running a large country is like cooking a small fish">
The Dinos have subsided, I'd say quite a bit , but in the last week, they seem to be on the move again. I must mention, I also have some sort of algae on the rock that hasn't budged at all.
I've had the advice of many knowledgeable people (ones YOU know !) and I fear that erythromycin is my last hope.
Please, with  all due respect, don't send me a link on Dinos, I've been reading about them for so long, I  know them inside out, I just don't have a cure, if one even exists.
My parameters are excellent, something I've perfected (this is my third attempt at keeping a beautiful reef!) Each tank was plagued with algae.
I do use ro/di ONLY.
I have included pictures of  the Dinos, before and after various treatments as  mentioned above, (the computer put them in reverse order, so you'll see the "after" photos first.
Also, I'll include a picture of the algae on the rock, hopefully you'll be able to identify.
<Have to look at under a 'scope... this is likely a mix of species... some BGA>
Thank you so much for your help, as you guys are always my "go to" people before I take the final plunge!
Pam
<... I'd be reviewing my system... possibly boosting pH (with Kalk) to 8.6-8.8 temporarily to precipitate out HPO4... Do you have a refugium/sump?
I'd deepen the DSB there... culture some macro-algae via RDP. Bob Fenner>





 
Re: erythromycin as last resort? Risky?      1/19/14
Bob,  I removed the refugium (HOB unit)  that contained "Miracle Mud" because I felt it was adding too many nutrients
<... Do you have test kits for... what? N, P, K?>
to the system (under the advice of one of your friends :) ) So no RDP going on for about 2 weeks.
<I'd put it back on, run it>
But initially, that is the way I set up the system, with loads of Chaeto added to the fuge. And this tank has been set up new since May 2013!
Maybe it was a coincidence, but since I took down the fuge, the Dinos subsided.
No sump, unfortunately. Some day......
The sand bed is 4 inches right now,....  you recommend adding (on top) of the Dinos?
<Yes I would>
Also, I DO use Kalk and throughout the four months can't seem to get the system above 8.6.
<.... something... is your Calcium very high? Like over 450 ppm?>
Ahhh, so aggravating.
<Patience. B>
Re: erythromycin as last resort? Risky?      1/20/14

> <Patience. B>
Is a virtue, ugh! I know
Thank you Bob!
<Welcome. B>

Dinos!     11/4/13
Hi Crew!
I'm keeping it simple.
My reef tank is plagued with Dinoflagellates.
Someone told me NOT to use Kent's super buffer DKH to raise my pH.
<Mmm, the temporary raising of alkalinity (and pH along with... to 8.6 or so) is a useful technique (and safer than other means) to remove (insolubilize) phosphate>
As part of my plan to rid my tank of this algae, I am;
 a.. Keeping lights on for only 3 hours a day.
 b.. Raising pH  from 8 to 8.4
 c.. lessening organics, waste,
 d.. using gfo and gac
 e.. dosing Kalk day and night.

<Oh, okay... may well do the same as using "super buffer">
I've read and read about this subject till I'm cross eyed.
So tired.
Any advice about the Kent's and what else i could use?
My source water is (ro/di)
Thank you!
Pam
<Really? Just not worry period. Dinoflagellates, Diatom "outbreaks" just come and go of their own accord. Other than being a bit unsightly, they're not problematical. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dinos!

Bob,...look at my rock! The "Dinos" are an inch thick!
<Mmm, the sand may be mostly Dinoflagellates, but not the rock... IF interested, I'd take a sample under a 'scope... You have a larger "nutrient, lack of competitor, predator... issue>
And the sand is thickening and becoming, "snotty," with bubbles attached to thin threads raising upwards.
You still say don't worry? The may come and go, but in my case, they keep coming and NOT going!
I forgot to mention, that this "friend" said the Kent's super buffer DKH, releases CO2 into the water.
<? What? Even if so, not problematic>
Do you agree with that statement?
<No; what ingredient/s would do this specifically? Not Speedy (Alka Seltzer)>
And, sorry, but,...you didn't quite answer my question,... what can I use to
raise my pH?
<... Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm
Scroll down to Algae Control.... B>



Re: Dinos!     11/4/13
Whoa! Nice link,...lots of reading!
Thanks!
Re: Dinos!     11/4/13

LOL Bob,... "our " friend, XXX told me that Kent's releases CO2 . and not to use it!
So I guess I'd have to ask him "what ingredient/s would do this specifically." :)
I don't have a scope, stethoscope yes, but not microscope, unfortunately.
The rock also has the bubbles,
<Rapid photosynthesis by something...>
 but I agree, it's not the same.
There is a massive "dead spot" in the sand bed that I'm going to siphon out and clean.
<Good>
Maybe this will help a bit. Will also siphon the sand.
Thanks Bob, and please, don't publish this one, I don't want XXX to feel bad that I went over his head!
<I will run it sans their name. B>

Last time Bob, I promise,...for now!
Found a GREAT picture that represents my sand!
Cyano, right?
<Most likely most of it yes. B>

"borrowed" pic
Re: Dinos!   11/5/13
Bob, am I on the right track by saying that Carbonic anhydrase, catalyzes the hydration and the reverse reaction (dehydration) to allow organisms to process carbon dioxide more rapidly that can lead to rapid photosynthesis?
<Yes... why do you ask?>
I read it here.  http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-10/rhf/  And am still reading/ learning.
Pam
<Of what pertinence... B>
Re: Dinos!   11/6/13

Yikes, I feel really stupid now.
I asked because you said what seemed to be going on in my system was;......"<Rapid photosynthesis by something...>
I 'm trying to figure out (the)  "something"
<... Ahh, "is" the BGA>
I'm not a chemist ,just trying to understand the process.
Does the statement below have nothing to do with rapid photosynthesis?
"Carbonic anhydrase, enables organisms to process carbon dioxide more rapidly "
<It does; as the biochemical pathway; mechanism. B>

Re: Help Needed!!
SW, induced Dinoflagellate issue      8/3/13

Hello again to all !!!
<Big K!>
I need your help AGAIN on a matter for a friends aquarium.
Here is the set up.
300 Lt , equipped with Deltec MCE 600 skimmer. He runs prebiotic method every other day , 30 ml special blend and 4 ml vodka.
<Mmm, is there a good rationale for this? What water readings? What's he trying to do here?>

He uses T8 lights 1 watt per litre for 12 hours a day.
Red sea Salt
KH 7 - 7,5
PH 8,1
NO3 0,1
PO4 0,007
Mg 1380
Ca 400
<All okay>
The problem is Dinoflagellates
<Not surprising...>
Any idea what the problem is or any prevention methods??
<Stop dosing the vodka (and possibly the probiotic) for a few weeks...>
Best regards
Kostas
<And you; Bob Fenner>
RE: Help Needed!!
Friends SW...      8/3/13

Hello Big K
Thanks for your reply.
<Welcome. Please send a real title; our spam filter is booting your incoming>
Honestly I do not know what he is trying to do. Also I do not really know how prebiotic works.
<Ask and look up?>
Please be kind enough to explain me why you are asking that " Mmm, is there a good rationale for this?" , you believe that the tank is too small or what??
<Mmm, no; am asking what your friend is hoping to achieve by this water treatment protocol. See WWM re carbon/vodka dosing. B>
Best regards

query for growing pure culture of Amphidinium carterae    3/5/12
Hello,
<Mona>
I am a MSc student working on a project for growing PHAs. I wanted to test PHA genes in marine Dinoflagellate Amphidinium carterae and wanted to know the quickest, easier and reliable method for growing pure cultures of Amphidinium carterae.
Waiting for your reply.
Many thanks
Mona Joshi
<Mmm, well, I did have three semesters in phycology back at SDSU, including one/last in culture... but this is way back, and am sure that there have been improvements in the last few decades. Have you been to a large/college library, searched for standard works, scientific papers on Dino culture? Even this species, or genus?
I would re-address your question to a school w/ algology/phyco. course/s, or contact the folks at the Southwestern Fisheries Center (NOAA) here in San Diego... which is where I procured my help all those years back. Bob Fenner> 

Dinoflagellate id and help    12/30/11
Mr. Fenner,
<Jeff>
I again turn to you for a little help.  I had a recent outbreak of what appears to be Dinoflagellates.
<Appears so>
  The glass and rocks are covered in a brown goo with very long thin strands trailing from it.  I took a scraping, looked under a microscope, and compared it to images in Julian Sprung's Algae book and it looks like Dinoflagellates to me.  I have included two images, one at 100x and one at 200x magnification.  Not the sharpest pictures but hopefully enough to positively identify.  Now if they are in fact Dinoflagellates, I am a little confused on the treatment.  Julian Sprung recommends discontinuing water changes and let it run its course.
<Mmm, I wouldn't do this; IF the type and population of these algae is toxic, can have disastrous effect>
 On your site, I read through the posts on Dinoflagellates and you seem to recommend frequent water changes.
<I do... for the same result Jules is shooting for... weakening the population such that it crashes... allows other microbial life (predators, competitors) to hone in>
 Some people recommend reduced photoperiod, even total blackout.
<What about other photosynthetic life present?>
 Some recommendations range from raising the pH, to adding hydrogen peroxide to raise ORP, to raising nitrates which seems crazy to me,
<All worth considering>
or lowering nitrates.  There are so many conflicting recommendations <Mmm, not really conflicting... all these control approaches have their advantages, proponents as you now know>
I was hoping you could clarify which approach would work best and possibly why some books say no water changes and some say extensive water changes.
<Let's see... because each of these techniques/paths has been successful... for me, the safest, surest is the serial water changes>
  So far I have increased my GFO and activated carbon, added finer filter socks, and adjusted the skimmer to skim a little wetter.  Yesterday I siphoned out every bit I could find, returning the water back to my sump after filtering it through doubled up filter socks, carbon and GFO.  I am hesitant in resorting to a dark period as I am afraid of loosing <losing> my corals, many of which are SPS.  Would a UV sterilizer help with this situation?
<Mmm, yes... would improve DO, ORP, zap a good deal of the (more likely problematical) micro-life>
 As of now the situation isn't too bad.  However, I am getting tired of constantly sucking the strands off my corals and 2 or 3 times a day siphoning this stuff out so I wanted to jump on it fast to keep it from getting out of control.  My nitrates and phosphates both read as 0 but I am assuming that is because they are being used up as fast as they are going into the tank.
<Likely so>
  Other parameters: Sg 1.025, ammonia and nitrite undetectable, Calcium, 450, Alk 8.2, pH around 8.1 or 8.2 midway through photoperiod, and temp a consistent 80.  Any advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
Jeff
<Mmm, do you have a refugium? W/ a DSB? Live macro-algae culture? If there w/ RDP? I would.>
P.S. I got your book for Christmas and am enjoying reading it so far.
<Ah good. And you have read on WWM re Dino control I take it. Bob Fenner>

Dinoflagellates and the effect of a black out to corals  11/13/10
Hello Crew,
<Ian>
I have been battling Dinoflagellates for a few weeks, and consistent advice for success seems to be a complete blackout for a minimum of 10 days.
<Mmm, not the only or best approach. Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/dinoalgcontrmar.htm
I am wondering what the effect of this will be on my corals? (I would remove the fish to a temporary holding tank).
<If they're photosynthetic (not all are), this may well kill them, possibly only cause them to bleach>
I may be able to detach some colonies and remove these, however others have calcified over adjacent rockwork so these would be impossible to remove.
The tank is a mixed reef, but predominantly SPS, with some large LPS (hammers, frogspawn). All corals are established and healthy showing growth, strong colour and moderate polyp extension. Parameters are stable and within advised ranges (I use the balling method) and nutrients are low even though the tank is well fed with a good mix of foods.
If you think this period is survivable, would you continue with the odd small feed to at least enable them to catch 'organic' food in the absence of photosynthesis?
<Perhaps... but/unless you address a/the root cause/s allowing the Dinoflagellates to grow... you'll be wasting your time>
Your advice would be appreciated.
Regards,
Ian Wilkinson
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Dinoflagellates and the effect of a black out to corals 11/14/10

Bob,
many thanks for the advice, and prompt response - especially at the weekend!
I will read the link carefully.
Regards,
Ian
<Real good Ian. Give us "a ring" if summat is unclear, incomplete. Cheers, BobF>

Dinoflagellates atop DSB... 10/27/10
Hi gang,
<Hello>
Through water changes, stingy feeding habits, and aggressive skimming, I have all but eliminated a Dinoflagellate overrun of my 220 gallon reef tank's live rock and glass walls. My question concerns the top of my sandbed... the reef is set up with high/vertical live rock 'pillars' that hold my corals... but most of the tank floor is a 'beach' of fine grain aragonite. The problem is, within hours of MH lighting after a cleaning, a
brown 'stain' starts forming on the pure white sandbed. It never accumulates significant biomass... and vanishes if disturbed -- not even tinting the water brown when I vacuum the area. I was wondering if a sand-sifting starfish/chocolate chip star or some other sort of starfish (preferably something other than a predatory green brittle star) could work the bed, do some cleaning, and ingest (or at least displace) the dinos without harm to itself?
<What is the water flow like in this area? Increasing this would probably be more effective than adding a starfish that does not eat the diatoms anyways.>
The alternate I was thinking of is a small horseshoe crab to go scooting about. I'd heard they don't do too well in reefs, but a buddy has had one happily running around in his tank (which runs very warm -- often
82-84 degrees) for nearly a year, and it seems to be doing fine.
<These do terribly in reef tanks, usually dying within a year, or outgrowing the tank quickly if properly housed, I would not get one.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hshoecrabsart.htm >
My reef temp doesn't go much above 80 degrees... usually more like 78-79 degrees.
<Still too warm for Limulus polyphemus, which is likely what you would get.>
I also run an active 26 gallon refugium, so I'm not too worried about a starfish 'sterilizing' the bed of microfauna.
<They are still probably not going to solve your issue.>
Turbos aren't an option for me right now;
<They won't help with the sand bed anyways.>
between the 120 degree ascents on my live rock and dino toxicity, they don't last very long. Thanks in advance for any help on this...
Chuck
<Welcome>
<Chris>

sick tang with brown spot and Dinoflagellate bloom, Misty's turn  9/30/10
<Hi Roger, Misty here>
I have a few problems going on. My phosphates are through the roof, and I have Dinoflagellates cropping up everywhere. I'm working on getting the phosphates out...2 reactors running Phosguard. <Yuck! I've had some fun with Dinoflagellates in the past...I'd recommend a couple of 25% water changes in the next 2-3 days (both water changes in that time frame), and then maybe 10-20% every day until the problem clears up - the water changes will cut the phosphate/other nutrients as well as give you the chance to syphon out a lot of that goo. Cut your pumps/powerheads when doing the changes to make it easier to suck that stuff out. If you haven't already, increase the photoperiod of light on that sump/refugium 24/7 to help keep the pH stable/8.2-8.4.>
My yellow tang is sick. He's breathing heavy and wont eat or come out of the rocks. <I'm not a sick fish expert, so hopefully one of those on crew will chime in. But, if it were me, I'd set up a QT to have ready when someone does reply. Have you tried target feeding him in the rocks some garlic-soaked Mysis or Nori? If he still won't eat, I think I'd try getting him out into a QT where you can get a better look at that spot and maybe coax him to eat in solitude...that's just my opinion. I responded to your query more for the dino information, and because I didn't want you to think your email had not been received.>
He has a large brown spot with a white dot in the middle. Do you know what this is? He hasn't eaten in many days and is looking very sickly/skinny.
The other fish seem fine. ( 1 powder blue, lawnmower blenny, a green mandarin, yellow watchman in the sump, and 2 Ocellaris). The powder and the yellow were purchased together out of the same tank. They have not had any issues with fighting. They actually sleep in the same area which I think is a little strange. I did get a some emerald crabs, one of which has set up camp in their bed. I wondered if he might have injured the fish <not likely, in my experience...unless they are some BIG emerald crabs.>. I was worried that this might be velvet Oödinium. It wont be easy to catch the fish, but I I wondered if I should set up a hospital tank and run copper <I'd wait on the copper until you hear from another crew member...copper is very difficult for tangs to handle, kind of a sad irony. Someone might have a better treatment than copper.>.
The tang was eating well, and this seemed to happen out of nowhere. The brown spot showed up, and he stopped eating completely about 5 days ago. The spot has grown some, and now that white spot appeared on it.
Can you offer suggestions on what to do to get him well, and also to get him to eat?
140 gallon tank, 25 gallon fuge, 20 gallon sump
ammonia:0
nitrites:0
nitrates:0
ph: 8.2
Alk: 11
phosphates .7 ppm ( I know!)
calcium: 450
temp: 81
<Sorry I couldn't offer more advice about your tang. I hope you're able to treat him and that he makes it.
Cheers, Misty>
Roger
<PS...I deleted your personal contact information since this post will go on the internet...didn't want you to get spammed to death :)>

Diatom growth - 0 ammonia, nitrites, nitrates 5/15/10
Hello Crew,
I'm a bit unsure as to why I continue to have diatom bloom.
<"Because they can">
I know the fact that I have a small tank (14 gallons) doesn't help, but if I have 0 ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates then why would they be growing?
<Lack of competition, predation... conditions that allow>
I have to get them off of my liverock with a turkey baster, which kicks up my live sand and doesn't make it look awfully good.
Any other likely causes?
Best regards,
Sam Sutton
<... time going by. B>

dinoflagellates?
Continuing Algae Issues- Addressing Nutrient Control and Export Techniques  7/5/09

Hi all,
<Hey there! Scott F. with you this morning, about to go out for an early surf!>
This is my third instance of having to ask for help; hopefully the last for a while.
<I hope so!>
The brief history:
I recently upgraded the lights on my 90g reef from 4x54 to 6x54w T5HOs.
Shortly thereafter, I also added one more piece of live rock for aesthetics.. I rinsed it in saltwater (it had no visible... well, anything... on it). Apparently what it DID have was detritus, some of which blew off indicating its presence.
<Almost inevitable when you're dealing with a porous structure such as live rock.>
I mention this because I have had what appears to be an outbreak of dinoflagellates (brown, spider-web look, often with air bubbles. Covering some corals from time to time, even the Anthelia and Xenia are closed and have this stuff in their openings). I don't know if the unintentional "nutrient" import was the catalyst or if it was the light upgrade, or both.
<You are correct in assuming that there a re possibly multiple reasons for the appearance of this stuff...almost always nutrient related, but other factors can contribute...>
My tactics so far:
The first action was 48 hrs lights out/no feeding. Almost totally gone to the eye.
The current tact is are aggressive skimming (in place the whole time), Chaeto in the refugium, added PhosBan reactor as my phosphates showed .5ppm, 10g/day water changes (RO/DI w/ Seachem Reef Salt) and reduced feeding.
<I like strategy #2 better...>
Since returning the light cycle to normal, I have seen it starting to slowly come back. I am still feeding VERY lightly, but I'm trying to strike a balance between driving this stuff out and making sure the fish and RBTA have at least a morsel now and then.
<A very good decision.>
So, my questions are, am I missing anything, and should I repeat the lights out cycle?
<I like your water change schedule and aggressive protein skimming.
Continue this tactic. I think that the "lights out" is more of a band-aid than a long-term solution. You need to address the root problems associated with the outbreaks, IMO. Just a thought here: When was the last time you replaced the membrane/cartridges on your RO/DI unit? Depending on your source water quality, these filter materials can become saturated rather quickly. Do check. Phosphate is obviously a problem- and it gets into our systems from two primary sources: food and source water. Since you have addressed/are addressing the source water issue, do review your feeding, too. Are you getting lots of the packaging juices from frozen foods into your aquarium, or do you strain/rinse it ahead of time? Just a simple adjustment in feeding habits that can help contribute to the fight against phosphate accumulation. Also, I'm wondering a bout the possibility of yet another factor, such as insufficient circulation, as a contributor. Yes, you probably have decent circulation, but is there brisk current in the areas where the outbreaks are taking place? Often, something as simple as an adjustment to the flow within the system can help reduce, or even eliminate such outbreaks. Do think about other environmental factors, such as consistent high pH, alkalinity, and relatively stable temperatures in a narrow range, all of which may have some degree of influence. In the end, though, as you suspect- multiple factors will contribute to the appearance and to the elimination of these algae in our aquaria. I would also make regular use of activated carbon as a chemical filtration media, as it can absorb a rather broad spectrum of substances from the water, many of which can contribute to your issues. If you are using filter pads or other prefilter materials, change/replace these items very often, as they can lock up organics and continuously contribute to the problem if left unattended for extensive periods of time. Perhaps even growing/harvesting some competitive macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha, some where in the system can help compete with the nasty stuff for available nutrient sources...There is only so much to go around, right? With some minor tweaks to your already good husbandry habits, I have little doubt that you will see this problem fade away permanently in the very near future!>
Thanks for enduring my long-windedness,
Barry
<Trust me Barry, I've answered queries during my 7 years with WWM that make your query look like an introduction! We need good information to help solve your problems...you did fine. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Dinoflagellates-Addressing Nutrient Control and Export Techniques- 7/6/09
(Cont'd.)
Thank you. Just to answer some of the issues you raised, my RO unit is very young (has made less than 200g total). I have 0 TDS at the output.
I am growing Chaeto in the sump/fuge... well, really "housing" because it hasn't shown much growth. I run the fuge light 24/7. I do use activated charcoal in the system as well.
<Glad to hear the RO membranes are relatively new...An oft-overlooked contributor to nutrient accumulation issues is neglected RO membranes. As far as your refugium lighting schedule is concerned, I'd light on a "reverse" schedule from the display (ie; refugium lights on when the display lights are off). I see no advantage to 24/7 refugium lighting- indeed, this may be a contributing factor to your lack of Chaetomorpha growth and it's apparent "stasis".>
Flow seems to help this stuff. "Help", as in help it to grow. It is proliferating at the highest flow areas, and is at its healthiest on rocks that are right in front of powerheads. That's what led me to dig deeper because it was clearly not Cyano.
<Interesting...>
I'll take your advice to resume lighting schedules and still work on reduction of nutrients.
<I see no disadvantages to doing so, really.>
One question, though, is this stuff only irritating my soft corals and LPS (SPS is mostly perfectly clean), or will it do long term damage? My manual removal efforts seem to be ineffective unless I move 15g via turkey baster... 3 times per day.
Thanks again.
<I honestly cannot say if only the soft corals are being irritated or damaged, although the evidence at hand seems to indicate that they are the only specimens being affected. Long term damage is possible if the corals remain closed for extended periods of time and cannot function properly (ie; metabolic functions), so it is important to get to the bottom of this.
I am still convinced that it is nutrient related, and for now, I would pursue the course of action towards refined nutrient export that you have embarked upon. Give it a little time and see if we're getting some results.
Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Getting rid of a toxic dinoflagellate, Marco's go -- 05/08/07 Hello I am hoping you guys can help me out with this or refer me to someone that can.  This is a copy of a email that I had sent to Randy XXX. I have not heard anything back for some time and my local fish store told me about this site. I really hope someone has experience with this dreadful stuff. Thanks in advance for your help. Hello and first let me say how helpful your articles on reef chemistry have been. I've been in the hobby for 15 years and have learned more in the last year from reading your articles than in the rest combined. It's good to hear solid answers about a lot of things that are often misconstrued in this hobby. I am writing today to try to get some answers on a very unusual problem I have been having with some of the tanks i maintain. Out of all the research I have done you are the only person who seems to have heard of this problem. I have been killing fish when I scrub troublesome algae off the sides of these tanks. I thought it was contamination with my equipment for the longest time. After taking a sample of this stuff to a veteran biologist up at CSU he identified it to me as Amphidinium carterae a toxic dinoflagellate that is capable of producing neurotoxins. I found your article on dinos doing a search and found that they don't like elevated pH. I dosed numerous Kalk slurries, covered tank, and turned light off. I also did vigorous nutrient export using Pura PhosLock, PolyFilters, and Chemi-clean. It seemed to have worked for a while, however now with lights on and pH back to normal it's coming back.  All water parameters check out well alk 3-4 meg/l cal 350-380 and phosphate less than .03 yet this stuff still grows. It is dark brown in color and if let to grow for awhile will develop small hair like structures on it. Coral and Coralline all do well. it only affects the fish which will go into shock breathing rapidly and darting around soon dying of asphyxiation if a lot of this stuff gets into the water column. I desperately want to get rid of this stuff and cant believe that i am the first to ever encounter such a thing. I am hoping that you have heard of others having such problems and would love to hear some success stories on how they managed to eradicate this stuff.  Any info or links you may have would be greatly appreciated. If you need more info or some pictures of this stuff I would gladly forward them to you. I have posted numerous threads on reef central but nobody seems to know what I'm talking about. I apologize for tracking you down like this, but I am very eager to get some professional answers. Thanks in advance for your help. Sincerely, Justin <Hi Justin. I am no expert with dinoflagellates, but can confirm that Amphidinium carterae produces fish toxic substances. Please read this paper www.uwm.edu/~berges/Publications/Franklin_Berges_2004.pdf that deals with the mortality of your species. I would remove fishes and corals from the system, remove as much as possible mechanically and leave it in complete darkness for at least 4 weeks while filtering with fresh activated carbon. Possibly someone else has something to add or knows of less dramatic measures or which other specific parameters could limit the growth of the dinos, but would not harm the corals. Cheers, Marco.>

Toxic dinoflagellate Amphidinium carterae, Bob's go    5/9/07 Hello I am hoping you guys can help me out with this or refer me to someone that can.  This is a copy of a email that I had sent to Randy Holmes-Farley.  I have not heard anything back for some time and my local fish store told me about this site. I really hope someone has experience with this dreadful stuff. Thanks in advance for your help. Hello and first let me say how helpful your articles on reef chemistry have been.  I've been in the hobby for 15 years and have learned more in the last year from reading your articles than in the rest combined.  Its good to hear solid answers about a lot of things that are often misconstrued in this hobby. I am writing today to try to get some answers on a very unusual problem i have been having with some of the tanks i maintain. Out of all the research i have done you are the only person who seems to have heard of this problem. I have been killing fish when i scrub troublesome algae off the sides of these tanks. <Mmm... can be a real issue, yes>   I thought it was contamination with my equipment for the longest time. After taking a sample of this stuff to a veteran biologist up at CSU he identified it to me as Amphidinium carterae a toxic Dinoflagellate that is capable of producing neurotoxins. <Interesting: http://www.google.com/search?q=Amphidinium+carterae&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7PCTA>   I found your article on dinos doing a search and found that they don't like elevated Ph.  I dosed numerous Kalk slurries, covered tank, and turned light off. I also did vigorous nutrient export using Pura PhosLock, PolyFilters, and Chemi-clean.  it seemed to have worked for  awhile however now with lights on and Ph back to normal its coming back.  All water parameters check out well alk 3-4 meg/l cal 350-380 and Phosphate less than .03 yet this stuff still grows.  It is dark brown in color and if let to grow for awhile will develop small hair like structures on it.  Coral and Coralline all do well. it only affects the fish which will go into shock breathing rapidly and darting around soon dying of asphyxiation if a lot of this stuff gets into the water column.  I desperately want to get rid of this stuff and cant believe that i am the first to ever encounter such a thing.  I am hoping that you have heard of others having such problems and would love to hear some success stories on how they managed to eradicate this stuff.  Any info or links you may have would be greatly appreciated.  If you need more info or some pictures of this stuff i would gladly forward them to you.  i have posted numerous threads on reef central but nobody seems to know what I'm talking about.  I apologize for tracking you down like this but i am very eager to get some professional answers.  Thanks in advance for your help. Sincerely, Justin ErwinOwner/OperatorReefscapes Service Co6489 S Xenophon StLittleton, CO 80127720- <Mmm, I would take the same approach you mention... environmental intervention... Cleaning up, enhancing skimmer performance and increasing ReDox (likely through the use of a Ozonizer... if not this, then a serious ultraviolet sterilizer)... And possibly a one- or two- shot increase of pH with Kalkwasser (to about 8.6 during the early day... to precipitate phosphate et alia. res. Bob Fenner>

Dinoflagellate Control 6/17/09
Greetings,
<Well met>
I've been battling a brownish slime over the past two weeks. I was hopeful (in denial) that it was just garden variety Cyanobacteria,
<Mmmm, need a microscope to ascertain>
temporarily blooming following the RTN of a large Pocillipora colony,
<From? Too high alkalinity?...>
but after little head way, I finally took a sample and examined it under a microscope.
<Ahh!>
Much to my dismay, I saw perfect nuclei. Yup, my aquarium is overrun with dinoflagellates.
Over the past two weeks I had already begun aggressively limiting nutrient input (by reducing feeding) and dramatically increasing nutrient export with protein skimming, granular ferric oxide, "Purigen" media by Seachem, 15% water changes and carbon. I have a refugium (about 10% of the system volume) on RDP with Chaetomorpha that has so far, been able to resist dinoflagellate growth. I've also been attempting to maintain saturated oxygen levels with airstones. I stopped all supplementation of my aquarium save for daily additions of Kalkwasser.
<Dripped... at night...>
Now that I know exactly what I'm up against I plan to gradually increase the pH from 8.3 to 8.4+, perform a 30% water change (should I increase this amount?)
<No; I would not>
and turn off all sources of illumination this week.
I'm also considering raising the ORP, it's currently low at about 240,
<Ah, yes... way too low...>
with drop-wise addition of hydrogen peroxide. Normally, I know that you would recommend using an ozonizer but I fear my aquarium is too small (about 30 gallons total) to adequately control the O3 dosing not to mention the risk to my girlfriend or myself if it were to leak into our apartment.
<Not a worry with a "too small" unit>
Despite all these measures, because my aquarium is small, was setup as a lagoonal biotope with a deep sand bed and high food inputs, I fear that there are far too many nutrient pools already in existence and that I'm fighting an untenable rearguard action (to borrow a military term). And I think that without significant disruption and elimination of existing nutrient sinks, which would basically require breaking down the aquarium, I won't be able to overcome this scourge.
<Mmm, persistence pays...>
Fortunately, my new system (about 2.5 the size of the current one) should be complete in two weeks. Should I wait until the current outbreak is completely eliminated before subjecting the system to additional stress by moving everything?
<Yes I would>
Or, will the massive dilution of water, disruption of existing nutrient sinks, and additional new sand and liverock act synergistically, causing the dinoflagellates to die out?
<Hopefully to a goodly extent>
Any additional advice would be immensely appreciated.
Regards,
Sean
<I urge your "keeping on keeping on" here... Re-orienting biological systems is often akin to steering large ships with small rudders... Bob Fenner, full, too full of sound aphorisms this morn>

Re: Dinoflagellates? 6/25/09
Hello,
<Kiet>
One thing I did forget to mention in my original email (please see below) was that I switched to Reef Crystals right around the same time this outbreak occurred. I apologize as this would have been useful in my first email.
<Might be... take a read re some issues in recent times re A.S. salts: Oh, wait, I see you've done this below>
After reading a couple of other posts here on WWM, it seems as though a few others have had similar issues after switching to RC. I have only been using RC for a couple of months, so I am a little hesitant to switch to another brand. If I did, what brand would you recommend for a reef tank?
<Tropic Marin, SeaChem, Marine Environment, BioSea...>
Any thoughts/advice will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Kiet
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Dino's 6/11/09
I have been battling dinoflagellates for about a month and a half now doing 15g water changes (90gtank w/30g sump about half full). At first I was using my home RO water for ATO which had a high TDS
reading which I figured out after buying a handy dandy meter.
<Good move.>
So I have bought a "the filter guys" RODI unit with double DI to battle my TDS & silicates. So my new water for the tank now is zero TDS. I believe the Dino's started from my crappy water before hand. My
silicates in tank are now at zero ( I use RowaPhos and carbon in two Twolittlefishes reactors). My new water I have been using for about three weeks now. The rocks don't seem effected heavily yet but I
attribute that to the hard work of my lawnmower blenny whom at the end of the day looks ready to explode. The sandbed is still an orange/brn color. The seemed to recess when my natural Alk of about 6 is in the tank but when I boost the Alk to 9 they come back in an amazing bloom. I am just not sure what else I should be doing.
<What are you using to boost your Alk? Is it possibly contaminated?>
All other levels are zero (nitrite, nitrate, ammonia, phosphate) pH is about 8.0-8.3, calcium is slightly low at 350, and magnesium is about 1300.
<Acceptable values, though that is getting in the area of too large a ph swing.
How is your circulation/aeration in the system?>
Not sure what to do from here. I don't know what they are feeding off of other that my MH lights, there is no nutrient to speak of in my tank that I am aware of.
<It is being consumed as produced.>
I have heard not to do water changes as this gives them fuel for growth, is this true?
<Not unless you have bad source water, it sounds like you have gone to great lengths to assure you don't. Many water changes for you!>
I just have been siphoning up the top layer of sandbed, rinsing it and placing back into the tank. Not sure if I am on the right track. After a month and a half it doesn't seems to have progressed but doesn't seem to be better either. The higher Alk of 9 seems to not help my situation at all.
The Dinos dye back at 6 but corals don't seems too impressed. The pulsing xenia, mushrooms, and galaxy coral don't seem to mind the 6 Alk but the candycanes, plate coral, and open brain are not so happy at 6. What should I do next??
<Keep doing what you are doing. More water changes, don't be afraid of it.
Also, do take a look at your feeding, be sure all food is actually consumed. If you are feeding frozen foods you will want to thaw it first, draining off the liquids before feeding.>
thanks for your response.
Penny
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Dino's 6/19/09
As soon as I raise the Alk the dino's flare up bad. And yet my BioCube 14g has the exact same readings (to the tee) and I have grafted(fragged) some candycanes in there and they are doing great.
<Are you dosing the tank with the same Alk supplement? I again would look at the supplement and test kit.>
I wonder if my 2x250MH's are too hot and bright?
<It can be if your corals were not acclimated to the light. As for fueling dino/pest algaes,
the lighting contributes, but there are other controllable fueling factors at play too.>
I know everyone loves MH's and they say corals prefer them, my BC has the standard lighting and everything is growing crazy in there. Could the lights be killing the corals? Is that possible?
<It is possible. Either a coral used to subdued lighting placed too close to the light or improper acclimation of any coral to the light can bleach the coral.
See:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm
Scott V.>

Dinoflagellates... Algae issue, env....  06/02/09
Hello Crew!
<Michele>
We need help! We are at wits end with a presumed dinoflagellate problem in our tank. We have not done a microscopic look, but grossly, the stuff looks
<Can be, often are, deceiving>
identical to pictures of dinoflagellate and definitely produces gas bubbles.
<Many algae in profusion can, do>
It covers both the sand bed and the liverock. If we vacuum or blow it off, it reappears in a few hours. I have tried to read on Wet Web and have not found a huge amount,
<... take another look...>
so please feel free to refer me if I'm missing something in the archives. The system is about 600 gallons total: 250 gallon display, 50 gallon fuge with Chaetomorpha, 150 gallon sump, and several in line frag tanks. The system has been up for over a year and was an upgrade from a well established tank. The problem started about four months ago. Tank inhabitants: Naso tang, Yellow tang, Rabbitfish, Sargassum triggerfish, and pair of Clarkii clowns. All fish have been in the tank for several years. Corals are all SPS with a few LPS placed far away from each other. Nothing new has been introduced to the tank except for a clam about 5 months ago (and yikes, no quarantine). We have also been fighting an Aiptasia problem that seemed to sneak in on some liverock added about a year ago. We are using Aiptasia X (in case it relates to our big problem).
<Perhaps indirectly... by releasing nutrients from the dissolved anemones>
Tank stats:
250 pounds liverock (2/3 in display, 1/3 elsewhere in system), sand bed of about 3 inches (I know...the dreaded "end between" depth), pH usually runs 8.1,
<This is a clue>
alkalinity usually 2.5,
<Too low as well>
temperature 79, ammonia/nitrate/nitrite 0, silicates/phosphates 0, calcium 350, ORP 240.
<Way too low... And the best clue thus far>
Currently the pH has been raised to 8.4 after reading about this as a possible fix for the dinoflagellates. The alkalinity has been fluctuating up and down from adding Kalk to raise the pH. Lighting is 3 x 250 watt halides (14K spectrum) plus actinics. All bulbs were changed about one month ago to rule that out as a problem. Typically we run a Phosban reactor and a calcium reactor. Both have been stopped during the last month to rule them out as a source of the problem.
<They are not>
The skimmer is a Reeflo orca and produces substantial skimmate. The water return goes through filter
socks. We have tried running carbon, although we are not currently.
Water changes are about 10% every week using RO/DI water. We have other tanks that do not have a problem, so we do not think the RO/DI unit or source water is the issue. The only other difference with the problem tank and our other tanks is that we have a foam (aquarium safe supposedly) sprayed on the back wall that gives the appearance of liverock.
<Also not an/the issue>
I cannot recall the product name as it was done over a year ago before the tank was set up. What has helped the most is keeping the tank in the dark for 3 days (no lights, tank covered to keep ambient light out). The dinoflagellates completely disappeared (well, grossly anyway). However, 2 days back with actinics and ambient room light (still no halides), the dinoflagellates are coming back. Sorry if I have left out any needed information. Any advice or reference referrals would be greatly appreciated!
Michele
<For whatever reasons, your RedOx is too low... along with pH, alkalinity... I would re-start your calcium reactor, and for what you have invested here... the size/volume et al., look into/get/use an ozonizer...
For the rationale et al. posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/redox.htm
and the linked files above, part. the related article/ppt. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dinoflagellates 06/02/09
Bob,
<Mich>
Thanks for the reply! As always, the website is great and the service is invaluable. We thought the low ORP was a result of the dinoflagellate as opposed to a potential cause. I am ordering the Ozotech Poseidon 200 mg/hour now unless you recommend otherwise.
<I would look to something a bit larger production-wise. Please read where you were referred to. RMF>
Our skimmer is not ozone safe, but apparently we can change the seals ($80 kit) and correct that. Thanks again...will let you know how it works.
Michele

Re: Dinoflagellates, ozonizer sel.   06/03/09
I must have missed something in the reading.....I truly did read the articles and FAQs you referenced.
<Mmm, well... do take a look again... I would opt for at least a 300 mg/h unit...>
I'm a huge fan of the website and would not have ignored your reading suggestions. I will look through them again for a better recommendation on brand/size of ozonizer.
Thanks as always for the help.
Michele
<Oh, and please do seek out the opinions of other earnest aquarists (the hobby bb's are best here) re current likes in the way of brands/manufacturers. Cheers, BobF>

Need some help and at the same time I have information of extreme importance -- 4/30/09
I have been fighting dinoflagellates
for 2 years. After trying everything I found out that what it works is to remove the sandbed.
But I found something else, by reading a biology essay on dinoflagellates:
http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0oGkwvZMvlJg.UAG8hXNyoA;_ylu=X3o
DMTEzMGZhMzE3BHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDNARjb2xvA3NrMQR2dGlk
A0gzMjZfMTM3/SIG=126amfdl7/EXP=1241154649/**http%3a//www.revbiolmar.cl/resumenes/v382/382-57.pdf
It suggested that dinoflagellates thrive under non existent nitrate concentrations and die when nitrate is present in low concentrations.
<Can>
So by avoiding water changes the problem got fixed, it also seemed that when nitrates started reaching the 2 ppm mark on the test kit dinoflagellates were disappearing really fast.
<Yes... other species/Divisions of Thallophytes become favoured>
With a minor quantity of Dinos left, I did a water change and again a bloom appeared next day right away, that sort of lasted for 2 months and quickly almost disappeared.
You can read the whole deal with pictures here:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=14923729#post14923729
But a horrible thing just happened, After 2 months since last water change Dinos were almost gone, but today the main pump´s hose got loose and started to push water out of the tank. I lost about 15 gal (That´s the amount I normally change when I do water changes!!!). And of course I had to add new water and salt.
Its very likely that tomorrow my tank is going to have another 2 month lasting dino bloom.
<Not really a big deal.... perhaps a bit unsightful... but... not very deleterious>
I can either wait or try adding nitrogen.
<Mmmm>
I have potassium nitrate (Seachem's Flourish nitrogen) should I add it?, what do you think?
<I would not do this. Too likely to cause other troubles... I urge patience (along with caution of course) here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Need some help and at the same time I have information of extreme importance -- 4/30/09
Thanks for your reply Bob, one more question, what do you think of shutting down the skimmer?,
<I would not do this either>
as you said perhaps adding nitrogen products could cause other problems, but what if I let it these parameters go up naturally by avoiding skimming to the point where nitrate reach the level it was before the 15 gal loss incident, (It was about 1 ppm)
<Mmm... very likely you'll suffer much worse consequences by doing so Arturo... I would look to other means of limiting nutrient, allow your system to cycle more... succession to occur... aim for some green, perhaps beneficial red algal species. What I'm trying to express is that all systems "do" what yours is doing... you want to coax them along towards the sort of dynamic equilibrium that fosters the health of your purposeful livestock, and appearances for you... But, most all folks have a "run in" period with diatoms, dinoflagellates... that almost always "passes" with time, other life forms coming into prominence. Do you understand what I'm trying to convey here? BobF>

Culture of Pyrodinium bahamense -- 03/18/09
Greetings of peace!
<Hello.>
I have visited your website and I'm interested with the information you are posting in your web. I am a 3rd yr. college student from the Philippines. I have read that many are sending comments or questions to you. I am currently having a study about the bioluminescent dinoflagellate Pyrodinium bahamense, may I ask some advices on how to isolate and culture P. bahamense and the nutrients needed in culturing this organism. Thank you very much, hoping for your kind response regarding my questions. God Bless!
<P. bahamense from the Philippines was subject to several studies. It's culture was described in detail by Azanza-Corrales and Hall in 1993 in the paper 'Isolation and culture of Pyrodinium bahamense var. compressum from the Philippines'. Please search your university library for this paper or order it by inter-library loan. You also may want to have a look at 'Growth and toxin production of the toxic dinoflagellate Pyrodinium bahamense var. compressum in laboratory cultures' in the journal 'Natural Toxins', volume 2, issue 5, pages 254-262. If open questions on culture exist after reading these two papers, you want to contact the authors of these or more recent scientific papers on Pyrodinium. For bioluminescence a bunch of papers from the late 1960s exists, one of them being this one: http://jgp.rupress.org/cgi/reprint/54/1/96.pdf . Good luck with your study. Marco.>

KNO3 additions to treat against dinoflagellates? 2/14/09 <Hello Arturo, Minh at your service.> I´m having what it seems to be a massive dinoflagellates problem, this has been going on for almost 2 years, I did everything during this time to treat against algae (constant water changes, addition of fuge with Chaeto, improved water movement, PO4 reactor, sucking detritus out, sea hares, etc).All these measures failed, mysteriously my sea hares cleaned some rocks that were more hairy and less bubbling, and then they starved to death or something, but they just died, that´s what made me believe I had dinoflagellates also after showing some pictures in reefcentral. [IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y131/avillax/IMG_0695.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y131/avillax/IMG_0696.jpg[/IMG] <Unfortunately, the gelatinous, slimy, snotty and gooey mass filled with oxygen bubbles does appear to be a type of dinoflagellates. A side effect of dinoflagellates is the toxin it possess may be deadly to many animals that eat them, including snails, fish and your sea hare.> PO4 and NO3 test readings have been 0 for this time period and it should be since my constant water changes, skimming, detritus removing etc has been very very constant, also very low bioload and feeding. They say that when someone has dinoflagellates, test always show 0, probably because the dinos consume it way to fast, but there are people who say they don´t even consume NO3 and PO4 but an alternate compound. <There exist many types of dinoflagellates and some behave differently than others. However, I am not aware of many scientific studies concerning dinoflagellates' nutrient uptake capabilities, aside from this one: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-11/rhf/index.php#1.> Right now my lights are off for the second day, and PH is 8.6 keeping it that way with Kalk additions, they say this is good way to treat them. But today the second day I see no difference, I don´t see dinos dying yet, lights are still off and might be that way for one or two more days. <Reducing available nutrients, shortening photoperiod, aggressive use of granular ferric oxide (GFO) and granular activated carbon (GAC), elevated pH and manual removal are some of the weapons aquarists have used against dinoflagellates. However, in severe cases, it may need to be a multi-pronged attack with multiple methods employed. I see that you have been doing most of these suggestions, however, I don't see that you are using GFO/GAC. I would strongly suggest for you to consider using GFO/GAC while maintaining elevated pH more a longer period of time. More detail can be found in this article: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-11/rhf/index.php#1.> But if that doesn´t work I want to try another approach. And that is KNO3 additions, they say that in some studies it shows that dinos showed to be more invasive under low NO3 levels, here´s the discussion: http://www.ultimatereef.net/forums/showthread.php?t=220082&page=2. So raising the NO3 level is supposed to kill Bryopsis and dinoflagellates, this seems interesting due to the fact that my levels have been 0 for almost 2 years and the tank is full of dinos, I´m wondering if the NO3 approach would work, what is your view on this? <That's an interesting discussion on the use of KNO3 to combat dinoflagellates. I am not aware of any studies supporting this theory specifically in the context of reef aquaria. However, it could be a worthwhile avenue to pursue if the suggestions above do not work. If so, please update us on your success. Good luck, Minh Huynh.>

Vodka dosing and Dinoflagellates? 02/09/09 Is vodka dosing recommended for treating dinoflagellates? <Mmm, no... at least, not by me. Such alcohol use can be proscribed for other, more noxious algal types (e.g. BGA), but I would look to other means (covered on WWM...) to prevent, limit Dinoflagellate proliferation> I´m increasing the ph with Kalk and using lights out, I have Rowa phos in a reactor, my only doubt is if I should do vodka dosing too. Thanks. <I'd be reading: http://wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm and the linked files where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Getting rid of a toxic dinoflagellate, Marco's go -- 05/08/07 Hello I am hoping you guys can help me out with this or refer me to someone that can.  This is a copy of a email that I had sent to Randy XXX. I have not heard anything back for some time and my local fish store told me about this site. I really hope someone has experience with this dreadful stuff. Thanks in advance for your help. Hello and first let me say how helpful your articles on reef chemistry have been. I've been in the hobby for 15 years and have learned more in the last year from reading your articles than in the rest combined. It's good to hear solid answers about a lot of things that are often misconstrued in this hobby. I am writing today to try to get some answers on a very unusual problem I have been having with some of the tanks i maintain. Out of all the research I have done you are the only person who seems to have heard of this problem. I have been killing fish when I scrub troublesome algae off the sides of these tanks. I thought it was contamination with my equipment for the longest time. After taking a sample of this stuff to a veteran biologist up at CSU he identified it to me as Amphidinium carterae a toxic dinoflagellate that is capable of producing neurotoxins. I found your article on dinos doing a search and found that they don't like elevated pH. I dosed numerous Kalk slurries, covered tank, and turned light off. I also did vigorous nutrient export using Pura PhosLock, PolyFilters, and Chemi-clean. It seemed to have worked for a while, however now with lights on and pH back to normal it's coming back.  All water parameters check out well alk 3-4 meg/l cal 350-380 and phosphate less than .03 yet this stuff still grows. It is dark brown in color and if let to grow for awhile will develop small hair like structures on it. Coral and Coralline all do well. it only affects the fish which will go into shock breathing rapidly and darting around soon dying of asphyxiation if a lot of this stuff gets into the water column. I desperately want to get rid of this stuff and cant believe that i am the first to ever encounter such a thing. I am hoping that you have heard of others having such problems and would love to hear some success stories on how they managed to eradicate this stuff.  Any info or links you may have would be greatly appreciated. If you need more info or some pictures of this stuff I would gladly forward them to you. I have posted numerous threads on reef central but nobody seems to know what I'm talking about. I apologize for tracking you down like this, but I am very eager to get some professional answers. Thanks in advance for your help. Sincerely, Justin <Hi Justin. I am no expert with dinoflagellates, but can confirm that Amphidinium carterae produces fish toxic substances. Please read this paper www.uwm.edu/~berges/Publications/Franklin_Berges_2004.pdf that deals with the mortality of your species. I would remove fishes and corals from the system, remove as much as possible mechanically and leave it in complete darkness for at least 4 weeks while filtering with fresh activated carbon. Possibly someone else has something to add or knows of less dramatic measures or which other specific parameters could limit the growth of the dinos, but would not harm the corals. Cheers, Marco.>

Toxic dinoflagellate Amphidinium carterae, Bob's go    5/9/07 Hello I am hoping you guys can help me out with this or refer me to someone that can.  This is a copy of a email that I had sent to Randy Holmes-Farley.  I have not heard anything back for some time and my local fish store told me about this site. I really hope someone has experience with this dreadful stuff. Thanks in advance for your help. Hello and first let me say how helpful your articles on reef chemistry have been.  I've been in the hobby for 15 years and have learned more in the last year from reading your articles than in the rest combined.  Its good to hear solid answers about a lot of things that are often misconstrued in this hobby. I am writing today to try to get some answers on a very unusual problem i have been having with some of the tanks i maintain. Out of all the research i have done you are the only person who seems to have heard of this problem. I have been killing fish when i scrub troublesome algae off the sides of these tanks. <Mmm... can be a real issue, yes>   I thought it was contamination with my equipment for the longest time. After taking a sample of this stuff to a veteran biologist up at CSU he identified it to me as Amphidinium carterae a toxic Dinoflagellate that is capable of producing neurotoxins. <Interesting: http://www.google.com/search?q=Amphidinium+carterae&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7PCTA>   I found your article on dinos doing a search and found that they don't like elevated Ph.  I dosed numerous Kalk slurries, covered tank, and turned light off. I also did vigorous nutrient export using Pura PhosLock, PolyFilters, and Chemi-clean.  it seemed to have worked for  awhile however now with lights on and Ph back to normal its coming back.  All water parameters check out well alk 3-4 meg/l cal 350-380 and Phosphate less than .03 yet this stuff still grows.  It is dark brown in color and if let to grow for awhile will develop small hair like structures on it.  Coral and Coralline all do well. it only affects the fish which will go into shock breathing rapidly and darting around soon dying of asphyxiation if a lot of this stuff gets into the water column.  I desperately want to get rid of this stuff and cant believe that i am the first to ever encounter such a thing.  I am hoping that you have heard of others having such problems and would love to hear some success stories on how they managed to eradicate this stuff.  Any info or links you may have would be greatly appreciated.  If you need more info or some pictures of this stuff i would gladly forward them to you.  i have posted numerous threads on reef central but nobody seems to know what I'm talking about.  I apologize for tracking you down like this but i am very eager to get some professional answers.  Thanks in advance for your help. Sincerely, Justin Erwin Owner/OperatorReefscapes Service Co 6489 S Xenophon St Littleton, CO 80127720- <Mmm, I would take the same approach you mention... environmental intervention... Cleaning up, enhancing skimmer performance and increasing RedOx (likely through the use of a Ozonizer... if not this, then a serious ultraviolet sterilizer)... And possibly a one- or two- shot increase of pH with Kalkwasser (to about 8.6 during the early day... to precipitate phosphate et alia. res. Bob Fenner>  

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