The Salty Side: Saltwater Aquariums for Beginners

Essential items needed to get rid of dinoflagellates in a saltwater tank.

This page is to used in combination with How To Get Rid Of Dinoflagellates In a Saltwater Tank. Please read through the article and find your requirements below. I personally have had great success in ridding my system of Dinoflagellates using information on Mack’s Reef…Dinoflagellates support group, on Facebook. For more information, I have provided the downloadable pdf available from that page. Please use the button below to access.

How to Get Rid of Dinoflagellates in a Saltwater Tank

Dinoflagellates identification

In order to accurately identify dinoflagellates, you will need a telescope with at least a x400 magnification. Don’t buy electronic microscopes as they do not tend to give you the magnification required. The two microscopes below tend to be the better models to use.

AmScope M150C-I 40X-1000X All-Metal Optical Glass Lenses Cordless LED Student Biological Compound Microscope, Silver, White, Black
  • This is an ideal microscope for home school or for students in elementary to high school to learn sciences
  • 360 degree rotatable monocular head offers five magnification settings 40X, 100X, 250X, 400X & 1000X
  • Widefield all optical glass elements includes single lens condenser with disc diaphragm
AmScope - M102C-PB10 40X-1000X Biological Compound Microscope with Prepared and Blank Slides for Student and Kids
  • Monocular offers five magnification powers up to 1000X
  • Single lens condenser with disc diaphragm
  • LED Illumination powered by wall-power

Adding Copepods and Phytoplankton to help get rid of dinoflagellates

By adding phytoplankton and copepods you are encouraging more diversity, and ultimately competition in your aquarium.

AlgaeBarn Live Copepods & Phytoplankton Combo Pack Tisbe & Tigriopus Pods + Live Phytoplankon (16oz)
  • Seed Your Aquarium & Feed Finicky Fish
  • Contains nutritious Tigriopus & Tisbe Copepods plus 4 strains of live phytoplankton
  • Premium live food for Mandarin Dragonets, Seahorses, LPS, SPS & NPS Corals, Wrasses, Anthias, Pipefish, Clown Fish, Blennies, Clams, & other Finicky Fish & Inverts

Raising Nutrient levels to ensure they do not bottom out

Dinoflagellates emerge most commonly when nitrate and phosphate levels hit zero. If this happens, you will need to raise them by dosing. 

Brightwell Aquatics NeoPhos - Phosphorus Supplement for Ultra-Low Nutrient Reef Aquarium Systems, 500ml
  • Recommended for advanced reef aquarists for maintaining low nutrient reef aquariums
  • May be used with MicroBacter7 Reef BioFuel NeoNitro or Katalyst to improve health and coloration of inhabitants
  • Lowers ammonia nitrite and nitrate concentrations without the use of chemical filtration media and pollution
Brightwell Aquatics NeoNitro Balanced Nitrogen Supplement - Reef Nutrient Enhancer for Ultra-Low Nutrient Systems - Aquarium Water Treatments, 16.9 fl oz
  • SALTWATER AQUARIUM - NeoNitro Nitrogen Supplement is a nitrogen source for nitrogen-limited, low-nutrient saltwater tanks. It works well with Microbacter7, Reef Biofuel, Katalyst, and NeoPhos to achieve the desired nutrient content in a reef aquarium
  • NATURAL PHOSPHORUS UPTAKE – NeoNitro balances carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus for improved health and coloration of inhabitants. It balances without resorting to polluting the reef aquarium with additional organic material, for a clean ecosystem
  • MICROBIAL BIOMASS ENHANCEMENT - Facilitates removal of organic material, converting it into microbial biomass. Microbes exported from the system are captured by corals, recycling the once-latent organic material

Dose sodium silicate (water glass) to outcompete and get rid of dinoflagellates

By dosing water glass, you are introducing measured amounts of silicate to your system on a daily basis. Silicate will encourage an increase in diatoms, which in turn will outcompete and get rid of dinoflagellates.

High Temperature Adhesive, 2000F Rated, Sodium Silicate, Water Glass, 40% Solution, 4oz Bottle, 5602
  • PRODUCT INFO: Sodium silicate solution, also known as waterglass, or liquid glass is a colorless water-based liquid. Dries to a clear solid form that can withstand temperatures up to 2000F
  • Uses: Commonly used as a high temperature adhesive for ceramic fiber blanket, boards and other refractories. Sodium silicate is also used in making pottery, ceramics, concrete sealing, automotive repair and fire protection.
  • Size: 4 oz bottle

Testing phosphate when you are dosing Sodium silicate

A known result of adding sodium silicate to your aquarium, is that it can throw your phosphate readings out when using a Hanna Checker. To get an accurate reading use the test kits below.

Salifert Phosphate Test Kit
  • The phosphate test kit will detect lower concentrations of phosphates
  • The phosphate test is highly reliable and accurate
  • The phosphate test kit includes a professional colorimetric comparator
Red Sea Fish Pharm ARE21425 Saltwater Phosphate Pro Test Kit for Aquarium, 100 Tests
  • Phosphate pro test kit is an advanced colorimetric test with comparator
  • Measuring the level of phosphate in reef aquarium to an exceptionally high resolution of 0. 014 ppm P-PO4
  • This test kit, when used in conjunction with the nitrate pro test kit, enables accurate dosing of NO3: PO4-X (biological nitrate and phosphate reducer)

Accurate ICP-OES analysis of your water

To gain invaluable insight into your system, and ensure you are not lacking, or indeed have too much of something untoward, sending your water off for analysis is a good idea.

ATI ICP-OES Complete Saltwater Water Test Kit
  • Includes a Prepaid Label to Ship your Water in
  • Includes Salinity and KH unlike competing test kits
  • Major elements: chloride, sodium, sulphur, magnesium, calcium, potassium, bromine, strontium and boron
Triton Labs ICP-OES Water Test- Full Panel of 32 Elements - Saltwater Reef Testing Kit
  • Testing Elements Include: Na, Ca, Mg, K, Sr, B, Br, S, Li, Be, Ba, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Al, Si, As, Sb, Sn, Cd, Se, Mo, Hg, P (PO4), Pb, I.
  • The results of this test provide you with the most detailed analysis of marine aquarium water you've ever seen, enabling you to understand exactly what's missing, what's excessive, and what to do about it.

Adding a UV Sterilizer to get rid of dinoflagellates

The final piece of the puzzle to get rid of dinoflagellates is the addition of a UV Sterilizer that is suitable for your system volume. Ensure that you purchase a sterilizer that can equates to 1W per 3 gallons of aquarium water. For example, if you have a 100g aquarium, make sure that the sterilizer is at least 36W. Please do not buy the Green Killing machine.

Scroll to Top