View Full Version : what is this

03-22-2010, 04:01 AM
I have something growing in my tank. It looks a lot like Cyanobacteria except that it is brown. Also the snails seem to eat it, though reluctantly. Could I have help naming it and what I can do to get rid of it. My tank is fairly new, but was set up with (all) sand out of an established tank.

03-22-2010, 04:06 AM
looks like dinoflagellates. Im having the same issue in my tank:sad:

03-23-2010, 03:49 AM
Thanks, do you have any suggestions on what maybe causing it. There is something wrong in my tank and I can't put my finger on it.

03-23-2010, 04:12 AM
Dinoflagellates can be pretty brutal IMO. I fought with them for a year before I finally figured it out. I tried everything and my "cure" was removing my sandbed which was basically a nutrient sink and powerwashing the rock. I have no idea what causes it but the cure for it could be on this list:

reduce photoperiod
increase alkalinity
increase pH
add refugium
increase skimming
feed less
increased waterchanges (frequency and volume)

Good luck!

03-23-2010, 05:21 AM
I searched it on the net. It maybe the dinoflagellates. One thing tonight I watched as a snail did his best to avoid it. I have a few corals that are showing signs of stress. And I had tufa rock that I threw out because it was giving of something into the water. I will empty my tank tomorrow and start again. I have a large batch of diy rock that should be ready for the beginning of April. It is hard to see but there are long hair like structures that break of and float around the tank.

03-23-2010, 08:12 AM
Hi I would not empty the tank as you have not found the cause,but I would call it lights off for 2-3 days this will not hurt the corals. before doing the lights off clean as much as you can out of the tank vacuum the sand and rock as good as you can do a partial water change. are you using ro/di water , tap water or filtered water. if using tap get some prime it will help with the bad stuff in the water. +1 Christyf5 has listed everything you need to do from here on out. skim a bit wetter do a 25% water change and lights out for 2-3 days then have a shortened light period for a few months till your tank adjusts and ages a bit more. I have found once a tank is established and not much more will be added to it the whole thing stabilizes it's self. As long as you have enough LR and LS or LR and fuge, test your parameters more for the next while.

Everyones system is different.
In my 110g I have never had any problems with this just a HA bloom from a digital timer being messed up found out the connection on the inside of their time was wired wrong. Now I can't grown the stuff in my tank this I can not figure out PH04 is 0.1

But since I upgraded my kids tank to the Bow front I have had some dinoflagellates on the gravel no where else there is lots of flow as the dinoflagellates is not in a carpet but long strings if I cut the flow it becomes a carpet in a day or so. Its not the red algae I have no HA in that tank either so I don't know I just lights out every now and again it goes away and comes back alittle less each time so sooner or latter it will get sorted out.

I would go with what you have and monitor and keep a file on what you are doing to improve the tank and algae problems this will help also document what the out come was after the change. This gives you a reference as to what is working and not you will find the right combination faster this way.

I keep a log on my tank so I know what is happening and what is changing this includs what fish I have and corals when added and if died that is recorded and of what it died of.


03-23-2010, 04:29 PM
Ya know, looking at that third pic you posted I'm not convinced its dinoflagellates. Is the algae producing bubbles at all because that is a telltale sign.

I would try to get your water parameters in order first. Go with what Bill said about the lights off for a couple days or reduced photoperiod. Try the list I posted and get all your parameters in order. If the algae still persists and is that much of a problem then I'd think about some more drastic measures.

03-23-2010, 04:51 PM
I think its probably a combination of a few things.. the first two are typical dinos.. had them in my tank a few weeks ago and they have not come back yet.. (fingers crossed)

I blacked out my tank for a day and a half (towels up),
fed less,
and then ran my tank on a 3 hr photo perdiod for about a week.
Started dosing Sodium Bicorbonate for alkalinity and starting CA and MG this week.

Bubbles are the ID (+1 to christy) if they're making bubbles, its Dinos. but i also agree that that last photo doesnt really look like dinos to me.

03-23-2010, 05:27 PM
I'm glad you posted those pictures cause I have the same problem in my tank. Mine is producing bubbles. I can assume it is dino's for sure?

You said to raise the alkalinity. How high should it be raised?

Thanks, Tyler

03-24-2010, 02:26 AM
Thanks so much for the advice. For the comments that you folks made it makes me quite sure that it is dinoflagellates. Here are some of the things that I have observed in my tank. It seems to be less after the lights are shut of over night. Little pieces tear of and float to the top(air bubbles). Although it looked a little different and it might of been a diatom bloom there was a fuzzy brown growth on the rocks that had lots of bubbles in it, but that growth was short about 1/4". I am not sure it is related, I guessed that it may have been diatoms. That stuff also really responded to the MH lights and had tons of bubbles. It didn't do much under the actinic lights (420 and 460) About the last photo it was taken shortly after the MH turned on and only one day after I had syphoned the stuff of the glass. Also it is in the highest water flow in my tank.
Today it seems a tiny bit better. I adjusted the KH or carbonate hardness. It is a new tank and I just didn't think I would be short so soon with new water, but it tested at 90mg/liter so I added the max it said on the instructions 1teaspoon to 40gal. once per day. I now have shut out the lights. I also use prime.
A new question when putting the lights back on how much should I start with. I have actinic and MH. on different timers.
Thanks and I will keep posted.

03-24-2010, 05:25 AM
what you have here is Dino's on the rocks and sand the stuff on the glass may be the start of HA bloom because of the Dino's. classic new tank don't worry leave the lights off till the Dino's are gone from the sand and start with actinic lights only for a couple of days and see what happens MH will just start the Dino's again if they are not completely gone do a water change before you turn the lights back on. I my self do not do black out unless the tank is in direct like of a window indirect light is diffused allot but the time it gets to a tank. The Dino's will go way with indirect light and it means you can have the lights off a bit longer unless you have a Nem in there. Corals will last along time without light huge storms can last weeks and black out there world for the entire time of storm. Just think of it like you are recreating a large storm and they have to weather it out they will bounce back. back to the lighting I would ditch the MH and borrow a T5 unit for a bit a bit less intense and will give the tank a bit of time to balance out and age. remember to go slow MH are great for corals but a good T5 unit will do the same in a small and shallow tank as long as you are dealing with softies and lps monti caps seem to do well under them also. After a few months go back to the MH and you should not have any problems. If you can not borrow or afford a different light fixture do a couple day with the actinic only and then have the MH on for 2 hrs at hight noon on your setting so if you run 10 to 10 the some where around 3pm to 5pm or 4pm to 6pm would do the trick. I know a guy that only has run his MH for 3 hrs and the rest of the time it 2 10K T5 for about 2 hrs each side of the HM and 2 actinic T5 for the remainder of the daylight setting split on both sides of the MH. He does not run T5's when he has the MH on I'm not sure why. just my 2 cents, I have experimented with this lighting scheme and the corals don't seem to mind one bit they are nice and colorful and brighter than before under the actinic lights.


03-26-2010, 03:37 AM
On my reef builder it says 2.9-4 meg/liter or 8-11dKH
Here is what I use Hagen test kit:
105-125 mg/liter = The ideal range for saltwater conditions.
<105mg/liter = Carbonate Hardness needs to be raised. Adjust with an appropriate buffer.
>125mg/liter = Carbonate Hardness is unusually high. Consult your aquarium care specialist.
I hope this helps.

03-26-2010, 04:17 AM
Dinoflagellates, I am quite sure that is the problem. Also the hair stuff on the glass might also be dinos, because after being in the dark it looks a lot like gray hair. My tank has greatly improved except for the xenia. I put the actinic lights on for 2.5hr. It helped some.