kinetic Reefer 170

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by kinetic, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. kinetic

    kinetic Supporting Member

    Hmm, so not sure if there's an end game here?
    • Algae scrubber will totally take out all nutrient (and starve the coral), but no dinos.
    • Chaeto won't do anything
    • NO3/PO4 will just fuel dinos anyway since algae growing won't outcompete
    So should I just save all the trouble and restart the tank?
    1. toss all the sand
    2. dry out the whole system, clean what I can
    3. QT all the animals
    4. fw + bleach rock
    5. New sand, new water, rock back in for a new cycle to start all over
    6. Try to prevent dinos hitch-hiking back in?
    What would be the best way to prevent dinos hitch hiking back in?
  2. Gablami

    Gablami Guest

    IMO, starve out the dinos. Doesn’t sound like you have much to lose on the coral side of things. Continue to feed your mag. Once the dinos are controlled, if you want to move away from the ATS back to an chaeto reactor, you can. Or you can just run the ATS on a shorter light cycle and bring nutrient levels where you want them.

    An ATS is not magic. But like @rygh says, it has the ability to outcompete more complex algae for nutrients. It can take some time to really kick in, since a base amount of hair algae needs to colonize the filter.

    I don’t think we understand why dinos happen in one tank and not another. I imagine I’ve got some dino dna in my tank, it just hasn’t had the opportunity to take off yet (knock on wood).

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  3. scuzy

    scuzy Supporting Member

    I think your system is small enough to restart. Bleach everything.

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  4. capescuba

    capescuba Supporting Member

    I spun up my new system back in December, I transfered from another tank so LR was already fully cycled. I did add new sand and within a month I had a dino carpet. Rather than pull it out piecemeal I've let it be for a few months. I'm only now starting to syphon, and from the areas I have done, I am not seeing any return.

    No treatments, and I only run a skimmer + drip my top off with Kalk+2 and vinegar.

    Sucks that you seem to be fighting this constantly :(
  5. kinetic

    kinetic Supporting Member

    Yeah, I've seen two different types of situations I've seen people have with dinos: easy to get rid of or almost impossible to get rid of.

    Lots of people on R2R have distilled it down to the fact that higher NO3/PO4 will ultimately help regular algae outcompete for what the dinos need. Sometimes there is a lull in the algae growth which creates the dinos, but overall the system shifts towards maintaining the higher NO3/PO4 so it goes away on its own. Otherwise those who struggle are finally able to remedy it with consistent (higher) levels of NO3/PO4.

    I couldn't get either to work, and maybe I just didn't have the patience. After it killed my SPS, I was ready to go to war.

    But here goes an update:

    Day 16:
    Dosing: Eighth dose of DinoX, eight 20% water changes (to manually remove dino), 1 ml NoPox a day (3 doses so far). No Alk/Ca etc dosing.
    Filtration status: No UV, no GAC. Only filtration: dark skim and a filter pad for my filter cup that is changed out every 2 days
    Goal: manual removal as much dinos as possible while starving out the rest with NoPox induced bacteria, lots of water changes, and low nutrient input.
    Improvement: instead of 1/4" mat of dinos, today I'm seeing just a thin film of it on the sand! This is a huge improvement. I believe this is because I increased my DinoX dosage by 10% and started NoPox to starve things out.
  6. kinetic

    kinetic Supporting Member

    Day 19:
    I didn't do a water change / manual removal yesterday as I usually do every two days. There is a lot less dinos on the sand now, so I wanted to see what would happen if I just dosed DinoX again. Interestingly overnight the dinos seem to have receded a bit and got a lighter brown color. I guess I don't usually see this since I remove as much as I can right before the next dose of DinoX. This is a good thing because I feel like I won't need to constantly do water changes!

    Now here's the big question for the end game, should I:
    1. run a ULNS by dosing NoPox and Amino Acids to not starve the corals
    2. Dose NO3/PO4 and grow chaeto to get algae to outcompete dinos

    Number 1 seems to possibly work better in my system especially if it tends to run ULNS without much help. Thoughts on these approaches long term?
  7. ashburn2k

    ashburn2k Webmaster Staff Member

    yay! thats a progress.
  8. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    Me personally, I wouldn't make it my plan to do either. Once you clear up your current dino problem, get the algae reactor setup with chaeto, feed regularly, see if you can keep nutrients stable from feeding, do some water changes, and sit back and relax. See what happens.

    I completely understand the need to take some kind of action, but after recent 2.5 month battle with GHA, sometimes you just need to let things run their course and stabilize. Gotta keep up good husbandry though
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  9. JVU


    I agree, I would avoid extremes.

    I would:
    - Keep beating back the dinos with low nutrient system and manual removal.
    - Add chaeto and a powerful refug light.
    - Feed normally (which isn’t much for your tank), keeping nutrients low like they were before.
    - Try to seed your tank with desired surface algae such as coralline and even green film algae. Perhaps by borrowing a friend’s encrusted rock or shavings from one.
    - Then just keep up with normal good husbandry including manual removal of undesirables.

    I for sure would not dose nutrients directly in your situation.

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  10. Kremis

    Kremis Guest

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  11. kinetic

    kinetic Supporting Member

    Thanks for the input.

    I don't think I can live without the extremes, and they're not too extreme to begin with? The NO3/PO4 doses will basically keep my tank from turning into ULNS, and the other spectrum will keep the dinos from being the consumer of the low nutrients.

    The tank sits stable at undetectable levels. It was algae at first that kept the levels low, but that somehow shifted to dinos. From reading the whole thread that @Kremis talked about, it's very likely that prolonged low nutrients allowed the dinos to take over. The idea is that before the dinos would take over, I could supplement enough NO3/PO4 to allow algae to overpower any dino growth by outcompeting them in that zone of NO3/PO4 levels which algae thrives much better in. Since my tank suffers from a need to drop to 0 N/P levels, I was considering just letting it drop to those levels again, but throwing NoPoX to combat the dinos that could surely come back. The amino acids dosing would basically help my corals from starving, while the bacteria from nopox would quickly consume any leftover N and P.
  12. JVU


    If you are feeding your fish, anemones, and coral adequately and have near-0 NO3 and PO4, that is not an ULNS, that is just normal. Like the ocean.

    Trying for ULNS (underfeeding, very aggressive export) is extreme and not advised, because like you said it will inhibit healthy algae growth that would otherwise occupy the niches that unwanted microbes will occupy.

    Likewise, aggressively overfeeding and dosing NO3 and PO4 to try to quickly add more nutrients than what your blooming microbes can consume is also extreme and not advised. That’s what I mean by avoid extremes.

    In my opinion what allowed the dinos to take over was that you kept your rocks and sand pristine-white and nutrients very low (not just measuring low, but adding very little) so that there was a huge amount of real estate (ecological niches) available to the first microbe that could get a foothold. Unfortunately it was dinos, because they kill CUC and therefore make the issue worse, whereas more benign algae run their course without causing a lot of damage.

    I mentioned it a few posts ago but just to reiterate, chaeto and bacteria from NOPOX won’t occupy the surface niches in your tank that you need to get occupied. They just reduce ambient nutrients effectively.

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  13. kinetic

    kinetic Supporting Member

    I think we're saying very similar things. I guess I use the term ULNS incorrectly.

    My tank had constantly undetectable N and P with even A LOT of feeding. I fed 5x as much (my fish wouldn't even look at food anymore), dosed amino acids and also fed reef chili every single day. Still undetectable N and P. I ended up removing all sorts of filtration, including marinepure blocks and so on, nothing helped and I could never bring up N and P levels.

    When I say I overfeed, this is what I did with my little tank:
    • 1 whole cube of PE mysis a day
    • 4x a day, AFS that fed three drum rotations of TDO Chromaboost Small pellets on the smallest AFS setting
    • 5x the recommended reef chili dose
    • 2x the recommended amino acids dose
    • I had very slowly raised all those amounts over a few weeks.
    Eventually I just dosed N/P straight to get those levels up since the above did nothing with the levels.

    Keeping my sand/rocks pristine was probably less about trying to NOT feed, but more because I took great lengths to avoid hitchhikers. I QT'd, scrubbed snail shells, and even went with cleanly grown chaeto. Ultimately dinos made its way in (not surprised I guess, things are going to hitchhike regardless). Also, my filtration with the marinepure block may have been too aggressive.

    I'm not sure how else I will be able to beat the dinos. You said I need to occupy surfaces. They are already covered with green algae (they're not white), but on top of that they're also covered in dinos.

    Since dosing N/P to get them to acceptable levels is making dinos worse, I'm going to go the way of trying to outcompete with chaeto and NoPox. Though I'm pretty sure my chaeto will just die if I use NoPox since there will be close to zero N and P available... A simple system would be just feed regularly, use aminos to feed the corals, and dose NoPox to outcompete.

    If I go the route of just defeating the dinos then running the tank as usual, I'm pretty sure the dinos will come back. My tank will not have the available N/P levels to sustain algae that will outcompete the dinos.
    JVU likes this.
  14. JVU


    Well I am certainly rooting for you!

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  15. kinetic

    kinetic Supporting Member

    Thanks John! Your advise have been wonderful. Talking through it all really helps.
  16. kinetic

    kinetic Supporting Member

    Update, I think I'm on day 23 of battling dinos:

    My geometric pygmy hawkfish has died. Not sure if it's the dinos, but he's been looking sluggish and didn't seem interested in eating lately. He often had strands of dinos on him, though all the fish and anemones do these days.

    My anemones look like they're back to normal, which is good. Digitata frag is still alive somehow.

    Going with DinoX + NoPox, I've had better results after 2 days. Enough where I don't feel like I have to do manual removal. But after 4 days it develops another 1/4" to 1/2" mat of dinos everywhere. The DinoX + NoPox method doesn't seem to be working, though it's much better than the other direction.

    There doesn't seem to be an endgame. Wait and let itself work out will probably lead to a complete crash of the tank. Constant N and P dosing will also kill everything with the suffocating dinos unless I constantly remove dinos by hand. Stripping nutrients and DinoX seem to keep the tank from dying completely, but is also not finishing the job. I thought by now I would be close to not seeing any Dinos grow back.

    Other options:
    1. ATS - but I don't feel like investing more on equipment that might not work
    2. H2O2 - but I keep seeing so much livestock die from other people's tanks, I'd rather shut the tank down
    3. Breakdown and restart - bleh
    I ordered the cheapest microscrope I could, to see if I can get a closer identification to see if there's anything else I'm missing. I know this is dinos, and I've tried everything people have suggested for eradication of all types.

    I'm considering breaking down the system and MAYBE restarting.
    1. Cycle a 40G breeder tank with pinwheel HOB filter running carbon, put the gyre in there.
    2. Livestock into breeder (3 anemones, 3 clowns, orchid dottyback pair, tiny sailfin blenny)
    3. Pull all the sand out and throw it away.
    4. Pull out the rocks and bleach them
    5. Run H2O2 in remaining tank water through the whole system. Then run with Freshwater. Let dry for a couple weeks.
    6. New sand, new rocks, let cycle.
    7. Add back non-fish. Wait 75 days fallow.
    8. TTM the fish back into the tank after 75 days fallow (just in case).
  17. Gablami

    Gablami Guest

    MAYBE restarting? Uh oh, that’s horrible. Restarting wouldn’t be too bad. It is a small tank, not much livestock. Just hope you don’t transfer the dinos into the 40B with you. Unless you start cycling a tank first and keep the old rock out.

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  18. kinetic

    kinetic Supporting Member

    Yeah it's going to be hard to not have the dinos hitchhike all over the place. The biggest worry is they'd just come right back. Even if I don't transfer anything other than livestock, I feel like it'll still somehow find it's way. If I net the fish, maybe the dino would attach to the net.

    Let's hope there's a way not to restart! =)
  19. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    If you do restart, no need to run a fallow period if you dry the tank. People do TTM leaving 3 days for tank to dry without any disinfectant in between transfers. If ich and ich cysts don't die after three days of being dry, a lot of people are doing TTM for nothing.
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  20. Gablami

    Gablami Guest

    Oh I thought when you said “breaking down the tank and maybe restarting” you meant you were considering breaking down the tank and quitting.

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