If, like me, you are unfortunate enough to get a Dinoflagellate outbreak in your aquarium, you will probably soon be at the end of your tether!
You have invested time and money into your aquarium, just for it to become covered in a snotty brown substance with air bubbles trapped within it.
Dino’s are a reefers nightmare, there is no one cure to work for all, unfortunately it is a bit of trial and error to see what will help the situation. There are many tales of reefer’s re-booting their entire system or giving up on the hobby completely thanks to these persistent pests!
Below are the things I have tried so far that seem to be making a difference to the look of my aquarium. I feel like I am finally getting hold of the situation thanks to these techniques.
5. The 5 Day Blackout
Stop all light from entering your aquarium for at least 5 days. If you can go for 7 days, even better.
Dino’s thrive in light, that’s why your Dino ridden tank doesn’t look so bad in the mornings when your lights first come on.
You need to turn off your lights and stop all natural light from getting into your aquarium. The majority of your fish and corals should be fine for 5 days. If you have expensive or sensitive corals, I wouldn’t recommend going over the 5 day mark, but hardy corals should be fine (even if they do sulk for a few days after turning your lights on)
4. Running Your Lights at 100% Blue and 1% White
Dino’s like white light, unfortunately so do your corals!
Running your lights at 100% blue and only 1% white for a maximum of 6 hours per day will help reduce the amount of Dinoflagellates in you tank, while helping to sustain your corals.
You can expect coral growth to slow down, and if like me you have an Aussie Torch, you can expect that to slowly turn white, which is never a good thing! Now that I am getting a bit more of a handle on the Dino’s I am starting to ramp my lights up a little bit each day just to try and save my Torch, I will update you if it makes it through.
3. The Turkey Baster
At least twice a day use a turkey baster to blow off any Dino’s off of your rockwork & walls.
Some will argue that this just spreads the Dino’s but in my experience it also helps push the little so & so’s down the overflow and into the filter sock. As long as they are not in my display tank, I am happy!
It will also help stop them producing great big long strings, significantly improving the appearance of your tank.
You should also change your filter sock once a day & try to increase the flow around your rockwork with a powerhead or two, to reduce the chances of the Dino’s settling in your display tank again.
2. The Dirty Tank Method
As reef keepers we try to keep optimum water quality. We change out a percentage of water every couple of weeks in order to keep our parameters in check.
STOP doing water changes. I know it’s hard, but let your phosphates and nitrates creep up a bit. Dino’s love fresh, clean water so don’t give it to them.
To clarify, I am not saying neglect your tank! I am saying rather than keeping your nitrates at below 10ppm, keep them closer to 20ppm. Don’t let your tank have a huge spike and kill all your inhabitants, but try to run it a bit dirtier than what you currently do.
1. Employ A Massive Clean Up Crew
Double your clean up crew. This has been the thing to work best in my tank.
If the Dino’s are in your sand bed get Conch Snails, Rounded Turbo Snails & Nassarius Snails to keep turning your sandbed over.
If they are on your rocks, the single best Dino Eater I have come across is the Spiny Astraea Snail. These snails have been absolute machines in clearing my rocks of both Dino’s & general algaes. They are not a fan of sand, so they will spend the majority of their time on your rocks, eating away the nasties. I can’t recommend these snails enough!!
My Final Plan
To finish the last of my Dino’s off, I plan to do another 5 day black-out & add at least another 10-15 Astraea Snails. I am confident this will finish them off. I will update you all if this final kick works, but I have been battling this now for 2 months…. The end has to be in sight, for my own sanity!