Fighting an algae looking problem

KatesReef

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Hi all,

I don't usually post too often, but I'm out of ideas for how to beat this stuff:
20200521_152725.jpg
20200521_152743.jpg

I don't have a microscope so I can't look at it on that level. It comes off the rock really easy and is slimy. It's brown with a slight green tint.
The tank has been running since January, the rock had finished its cycle in December (cycled in a Brute trashcan). I just added GFO to the tank last week to try to help. I also spent a little more than an hour scrubbing if off of the rocks last week, but it seems to be coming back. I've been dosing Vibrant for a few weeks too, not sure if it's helping though.
Here are my parameters:
20200522_143132.jpg

Any ideas or should I just try waiting longer now that I have the GFO running?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
 

35ppt

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Looks like dinos, if you got a cheap microscope (I got mine for $10 on OfferUp) I could ID the dinoflagellates you have (or if it's something else) and depending on that ID a UV might knock them out but for some species of dinoflagellates it wont help at all. I feel like the GFO is more likely to cause problems than solve any. You want your NO3 to be about 10-15ppm and your PO4 to be about 0.03-0.08 under normal circumstances but when battling dinoflagellates I'd advise to go a little higher. 0.08-0.1ppm PO4 I think should be your target and you don't want to be at zero NO3, let that rise to about 10-15. You want to encourage the growth of other organisms to out compete the dinoflagellates and when you keep NO3 and PO4 low/undetectable you provide the circumstances dinoflagellates are able to thrive in while other organisms cannot. Additions of healthy live rock from a mature system, macro algae and bacteria like the Vibrant you're already dosing can help provide competition for the dinoflagellates. Also manual removal is helpful, you don't want to let the dinoflagellates smother and kill corals.
 
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KatesReef

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Looks like dinos, if you got a cheap microscope (I got mine for $10 on OfferUp) I could ID the dinoflagellates you have and depending on that ID a UV might knock them out but for some species of dinoflagellates it wont help at all. I feel like the GFO is more likely to cause problems than solve any. You want your NO3 to be about 10-15ppm and your PO4 to be about 0.03-0.08 under normal circumstances but when battling dinoflagellates I'd advise to go a little higher. 0.08-0.1ppm PO4 I think should be your target and you don't want to be at zero NO3, let that rise to about 10-15. You want to encourage the growth of other organisms to out compete the dinoflagellates and when you keep NO3 and PO4 low/undetectable you provide the circumstances dinoflagellates are able to thrive in while other organisms cannot. Additions of healthy live rock from a mature system, macro algae and bacteria like the Vibrant you're already dosing can help provide competition for the dinoflagellates. Also manual removal is helpful, you don't want to let the dinoflagellates smother and kill corals.
Oh okay, I didn't realize an inexpensive microscope would work, I'll see if I can find one.
I thought that the NO3 and PO4 were low, but I was wondering if it might have been because the algae was consuming it. Just a couple of months ago NO3 would hover around 8-10ppm and PO4 would stay pretty close to 0.11, then it started to drop and the algae started growing more.
I have NO3 that I could dose to bring that up, but I don't have anything to bring up the PO4 right now. I'll remove the GFO then if you think that might do more harm than good. I do have a Pentair UV running and it's been on for at least a month now.
I usually run automatic water changes at about 2 gallons a day, but I turned those off for other maintenance the last 2 days, would it be good or bad to turn them back on?
 

35ppt

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Oh okay, I didn't realize an inexpensive microscope would work, I'll see if I can find one.
I thought that the NO3 and PO4 were low, but I was wondering if it might have been because the algae was consuming it. Just a couple of months ago NO3 would hover around 8-10ppm and PO4 would stay pretty close to 0.11, then it started to drop and the algae started growing more.
I have NO3 that I could dose to bring that up, but I don't have anything to bring up the PO4 right now. I'll remove the GFO then if you think that might do more harm than good. I do have a Pentair UV running and it's been on for at least a month now.
I usually run automatic water changes at about 2 gallons a day, but I turned those off for other maintenance the last 2 days, would it be good or bad to turn them back on?
Yeah my microscope is one you'd be more likely to see in a highschool biology class rather than a real labratory. I want to get a nicer one with more features but what I have is plenty for IDing dinoflagellates and other algae. Check your local adds and lets first make sure this is even dinoflagellates, I believe it is but lets make sure.

What is the wattage of the UV and what is the flow rate being pushed through it? What size tank? Bulb still good? Also I have heard people have the best success with knocking back dinoflagellates with UV by plumbing the UV to directly to the display tank, not the sump or AIO compartment. From the visual appearance of the algae I would assume it's not Large Cell Amphidinium so the UV should help if implemented correctly, assuming it is dinoflagellates. If it turns out to be Prorocentrum a blackout can help persuade them to enter the water column and get sucked into the UV.

Just keep monitoring your nutrients and only use GFO if you need to knock the PO4 back below 0.1ppm. As for NO3 I would get some food grade sodium nitrate and dose up to 10ppm. Potassium nitrate can also be used but then you have to worry about adding too much K. You could alternatively increase feeding of fish and/or coral but that is less controlled. You don't know how much you're adding as well as what ratio of NO3 and PO4 you're adding while adding more DOC to the water that you don't need. As for water changes leaving them off for now will help get some NO3 in the water. It's also thought that water changes can introduce some trace element (Iron being the main suspect) back into the water that was depleted and limiting the dinoflagellates growth. But that's just a theory right now.
 

KatesReef

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Some dinos can be knocked back with a 3 day lights out period. But that doesn't work with all species.
I read about this, was considering doing it this weekend, but I just added a trachy to the tank that has barely survived QT so I was reluctant to try right now. I'll keep it in mind though to try later.

Yeah my microscope is one you'd be more likely to see in a highschool biology class rather than a real labratory. I want to get a nicer one with more features but what I have is plenty for IDing dinoflagellates and other algae. Check your local adds and lets first make sure this is even dinoflagellates, I believe it is but lets make sure.

What is the wattage of the UV and what is the flow rate being pushed through it? What size tank? Bulb still good? Also I have heard people have the best success with knocking back dinoflagellates with UV by plumbing the UV to directly to the display tank, not the sump or AIO compartment. From the visual appearance of the algae I would assume it's not Large Cell Amphidinium so the UV should help if implemented correctly, assuming it is dinoflagellates. If it turns out to be Prorocentrum a blackout can help persuade them to enter the water column and get sucked into the UV.

Just keep monitoring your nutrients and only use GFO if you need to knock the PO4 back below 0.1ppm. As for NO3 I would get some food grade sodium nitrate and dose up to 10ppm. Potassium nitrate can also be used but then you have to worry about adding too much K. You could alternatively increase feeding of fish and/or coral but that is less controlled. You don't know how much you're adding as well as what ratio of NO3 and PO4 you're adding while adding more DOC to the water that you don't need. As for water changes leaving them off for now will help get some NO3 in the water. It's also thought that water changes can introduce some trace element (Iron being the main suspect) back into the water that was depleted and limiting the dinoflagellates growth. But that's just a theory right now.
The UV is a 40watt, I have a ~185 gallon tank (Waterbox 190.5). For algae I know it's supposed to be between 943GPH - 1574GPH, I need to confirm the flow rate, but I have Leopard L75 pump feeding it and that has a max flow of roughly 1700gph at the height, so I put a gate valve on it and closed it about a 3rd of the way. I wanted to plumb it so that the outlet went into the display, but short of running it so it was very obvious I couldn't do it without redoing the return plumbing which I don't want to do right now (just have way too much going on and getting overwhelmed with general life haha).

It's getting to the point where it's growing over corals that's why I started scrubbing it. Luckily I don't have a lot of corals and they're not glued down yet, so I've been just taking them out as needed and cleaning them off. It's a bit tedious but wasn't sure what else to do.

I will continue to watch nutrients and will get a microscope soon so I can post the results.

Thanks to both of you!
 

KatesReef

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So I just thought about this, I dunno why I didn't before, but I might just use my return pump to feed the UV and plumb that outlet into the return outlet. I'll need to change out some fittings but it would be way easier to do than redo my return plumbing. I can check the flow then too.
 

35ppt

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I read about this, was considering doing it this weekend, but I just added a trachy to the tank that has barely survived QT so I was reluctant to try right now. I'll keep it in mind though to try later.


The UV is a 40watt, I have a ~185 gallon tank (Waterbox 190.5). For algae I know it's supposed to be between 943GPH - 1574GPH, I need to confirm the flow rate, but I have Leopard L75 pump feeding it and that has a max flow of roughly 1700gph at the height, so I put a gate valve on it and closed it about a 3rd of the way. I wanted to plumb it so that the outlet went into the display, but short of running it so it was very obvious I couldn't do it without redoing the return plumbing which I don't want to do right now (just have way too much going on and getting overwhelmed with general life haha).

It's getting to the point where it's growing over corals that's why I started scrubbing it. Luckily I don't have a lot of corals and they're not glued down yet, so I've been just taking them out as needed and cleaning them off. It's a bit tedious but wasn't sure what else to do.

I will continue to watch nutrients and will get a microscope soon so I can post the results.

Thanks to both of you!
The recommendation for UV to fight dinoflagellates is 3w per gallon and 1-3x system volume flow rate, so for you that would be a ~60w UV with a feed pump of ~185-555 g/h. I think the cheapest and easiest option may be to get a 55w Jebao UV small pump to feed it directly from the display. And just leave the Pentair as is.

So I just thought about this, I dunno why I didn't before, but I might just use my return pump to feed the UV and plumb that outlet into the return outlet. I'll need to change out some fittings but it would be way easier to do than redo my return plumbing. I can check the flow then too.
It's really best to feed the UV from the display directly for dinoflagellate control.
 

KatesReef

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The recommendation for UV to fight dinoflagellates is 3w per gallon and 1-3x system volume flow rate, so for you that would be a ~60w UV with a feed pump of ~185-555 g/h. I think the cheapest and easiest option may be to get a 55w Jebao UV small pump to feed it directly from the display. And just leave the Pentair as is.


It's really best to feed the UV from the display directly for dinoflagellate control.
Oh I didn't know that. So would you recommend to just get the extra UV and plumb it off the display just to treat this then take it down?
 

35ppt

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Oh I didn't know that. So would you recommend to just get the extra UV and plumb it off the display just to treat this then take it down?
That's what I'm thinking because the UV you have is a good one but a little bit lower wattage than what is recommended for dinoflagellate control and the pump you have for it is very nice too but better suited for algae control. Plus I don't know if you hard plumbed it in or what, how much of a hassle it would be to change it just to temporarily use it in the display tank and you'd want to add another to get up to 60-ish watts. The other problem would be trying to hook a 300ish g/h pump to a 1.5" PVC fitting. But whatever works.
 

KatesReef

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That's what I'm thinking because the UV you have is a good one but a little bit lower wattage than what is recommended for dinoflagellate control and the pump you have for it is very nice too but better suited for algae control. Plus I don't know if you hard plumbed it in or what, how much of a hassle it would be to change it just to temporarily use it in the display tank and you'd want to add another to get up to 60-ish watts. The other problem would be trying to hook a 300ish g/h pump to a 1.5" PVC fitting. But whatever works.
I could do that, I'll look into getting the equipment then. I still want to redo the return pump so it feeds the Pentair UV tho, that accomplishs the same goal I was going for by redoing the return plumbing but in a simpler way. That will be for another time tho :p

Thanks!
 

35ppt

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I could do that, I'll look into getting the equipment then. I still want to redo the return pump so it feeds the Pentair UV tho, that accomplishs the same goal I was going for by redoing the return plumbing but in a simpler way. That will be for another time tho :p

Thanks!
No problem! Let us know how it goes.
 

mggray87

Dino man
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Jaebo 55w is like 90 bucks on Amazon. I bought it for my Dino's but my Dino's didn't really go in water column at night so it's sitting in my closet. If ur local to bay area, CA. Come snatch it up lol
 

KatesReef

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Jaebo 55w is like 90 bucks on Amazon. I bought it for my Dino's but my Dino's didn't really go in water column at night so it's sitting in my closet. If ur local to bay area, CA. Come snatch it up lol
That would have been awesome, but I'm in the Seattle, WA area :/
I really appreciate it though!
 
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