Dinoflagellates

Discussion in 'Algae' started by Pants, Feb 8, 2014.

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  1. Pants

    Pants Plankton

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    I am a reefkeeper (just 3 years now) and a biologist studying dinoflagellates. I saw a number of active threads here where people were struggling with dinos blooms in their tanks. If you have dinos you've probably already spent many hours reading about them online so I won't reiterate info I see everywhere, but I do want to stress that dinoflagellates are an incredibly diverse group of species and your dino might be a wildly different species than the one someone else is fighting with. I think this is why the reefkeeping community has had such a hard time finding a simple solution. What works for one person may not work for others since there are big species differences (rasing pH for example).

    I'd like to help ID you dino species. if you can post a picture of your dino from a microscope or jewelers lens I might be able to ID it for you. I'm hoping people will be able to start talking about which species of dino they have rather than just using the term dino. If you mail me a sample of your dino I can also ID it and it would give me a chance to grow some in the lab for experimentation.

    I have some videos posted on youtube of two of the 4 species I've identified in many peoples tanks. I'll post more videos if I get more dinos in the mail.
     
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  3. Vinnyboombatz

    Vinnyboombatz Giant Squid

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    Very cool. Welcome to 3reef.We not only welcome scientific data. We crave it.lol8)
     
  4. Billme

    Billme Eyelash Blennie

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    This could be very helpful. Welcome.
     
  5. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    I'm battling what I believe to be some sort of some dinoflagellates right now in my tank - it's not huge problem yet, but definitely getting worse. I look like dark red/brown slime with lots of little air bubbles on it. comes in during the day and then fades away at night.

    I'll try and get some photos. I have one of those cheapy digital microscope that connects to a computer, so I'll also try and get some image of it with that. hopefully it's enough power to ID it.
     
  6. Servillius

    Servillius Montipora Digitata

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    I've fallen victim to these enough times. The next time I see them, you're getting a picture. My question is this. Can you take us through it backwards? There are a series of home remedies out there from higher pH to lights out to hydrogen peroxide treatments. Can you evaluate under what circumstances and with what general types these might have an effect?
     
  7. Pants

    Pants Plankton

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    Could also be cyano. Have you ruled that out? I've been able to ID some of the more obvious dinos from pictures taken through a child's toy.

    I've still just barely scraped the surface of IDing which species are causing problems in people's tanks. I'll need to get living cultures going in the lab before I can evaluate different extermination techniques.

    So far I've found Ostreopsis in several people's tanks. Its a really nasty dino that causes harmful blooms in the wild as well. It produces a toxin very similar to palytoxin. It forms cysts.

    I've identified Gambierdiscus from one person's tank. It is closely related to Ostreopsis and like Ostreopsis is thought to be a toxin producer and cyst former.

    I've found Amphidinium from one tank. It is not not thought to form cysts but can be toxic and is not closely related to Gambierdiscus and Ostreopsis.

    There is some tiny dino I've found in several tanks that I've yet to ID. I'd like to get a nice live culture again to get some DNA sequenced.

    A lot of the scientific articles that have found their way into internet forum discussion have been on the genus Alexandrium. This is a benthic toxic species (so its possible it is in people's tanks, but I haven't seen it yet) and is related to Ostreopsis and Gambierdiscus (we think).

    All of these will die almost instantly if you do freshwater dips (or half strength seawater for sensitive corals/fish). So if you want to avoid dinos freshwater dips are a good idea. Raising pH will work for some and not others, but since it shouldn't harm your tank to bump it up to 8.4 - 8.5 its worth a shot as an easy fix. Since even within genera some species will be susceptible to a pH increase and some won't you would need DNA sequencing first to know if your dino will react. So its probably just easier to try and see. Peroxide dosing should kill any algae but like freshwater dips, won't touch cysts. Raising nitrates, phosphates, or silica should let other algae grow and outcompete your dinos - but then you have other algae to contend with and your SPS may not be pleased with you. Ultimately this is a nitrate/phosphate issue. You've managed to get your levels low enough that other algae can't thrive, but there is still enough that the dinos can go nuts. Solutions like wet skimming and UV will get them out of the water column, but these dinos are all benthic so you'll only catch some of them.
     
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  9. Av8Bluewater

    Av8Bluewater Giant Squid

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    It's hard to tell why my Dinos went away. I made so many changes I can't say it was one thing but maybe a combo of many.
    I did not do the black out for 3 days trick. Just basic nutrient control. Water changes , Increase GFO replacement, increase ALk and Prodibio.
     
  10. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    No I have not, but I have not positively IDed it as either one or the other yet. I tried getting some close ups with the "Child's toy" I have ;D. unfortunate, I don't believe the magnification has enough power to really tell much. Attached are the results.

    for the full size images - you can follow these links:
    http://onlytono.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Image2.jpg
    http://onlytono.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Image3.jpg
    http://onlytono.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Image4.jpg

    this was a small sample I pulled out of the tank during todays water change. It tends to cover both rocks and sand in both areas with lots of light and areas with little to very low light.

    My display tank has a sandbed made up of the Caribe Sea Indo Pacific blend, which is a mix of white and black (volcanic) sand. When growth appears on the sand bed, I've observed that the growth will begin only on areas where the heaver black particles tend to group together, and not so much on areas of mostly white sand - that is, until it gets a good hold, then it spreads.

    My water parameters and history can be views on my AquaticLog.com profile:
    [​IMG]

    I could not get any good pictures of it in the display tank though - it all grows in he back, and my Camera can get a good clean shot. I'll again in the next few days

    EDIT - I should also note - this problem did not appeared until AFTER I got the nutrient issue under control with a better skimmer, liter feeding regimen, and more frequent water changes. Once my Nitrates had finally dropped down below 10, this stuff started to appear. not sure if that's related or not, but figured I should mention it.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Pants

    Pants Plankton

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    If the color is accurate I'd be more inclined to say that is cyanobacteria.
     
  12. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    It's pretty accurate - at least on my monitor anyway. :-/