Dinoflagellates – Part 2

As promised in Part 1 of Dinoflagellates, in Part 2, we are going to explain: How to avoid getting dinoflagellates in your tank and how to get rid of them when they do appear. Hopefully this article will round up your overall knowledge of the creatures and help you have a better understanding of how to control them in your aquarium.

Common ways dinoflagellates get in tanks

There are some dinoflagellates which are parasites on fish or on other protists. However the most likely ways you got dino in your tank are from:

  1. Where you buy your fish, corals, macroalgae and where you get your saltwater from. Most stores obtain there saltwater from the nearest natural saltwater source. They bring in a marine species which “bloom” during the warm months of summer. Then you bring home your water along with the dinos.
  2. The more professional or shops further away from the sea make theirs from RO and salt. You will not get dino’s this way.

How to put your new aquaria in your tank to avoid Dino’s:


  1. Tip straight into your tank
  2. Net out your new item and place in your tank
  3. Sit the bag in your tank then empty into your tank
  4. Acclimate in the bag in your tank and tip into your tank


  1. Acclimate in a bucket then remove the item with a net and place in your tank
  2. Acclimate then net out into a hospital tank before adding to the display tank

The last two are what you should be doing, if you want to keep your display tank as free as possible from unwanted pests and diseases.

How to rid your tank of dino’s

Dinoflagellates behave just like algae and absorb your tanks carbon dioxide and convert it to oxygen. That’s why you see so many bubbles on and around them. If you lower your tanks Co2 and take that source away and remove the light source for a few days, one type of dinoflagellate will suffer. However, as you haven’t identified the type or types (you could have more than one) you have in your tank you will not know the best way to get rid of them.

Here is our suggestion to rid your tank of dino’s:

  • Reduce feeding of live foods
  • Reduce lighting for 3-4 days
  • Stop doing water changes
  • Stop any C02 you may have running.
  • Siphon and sieve the water in your tank
  • Once the bulk of the dino’s are removed, place a sieve under the overflow from the main tank (keep an eye on this for the first 3-4 hours as it will clog up quickly.
  • Rinse the sieve under hot water and then treat with a bleach solution rinse again and replace under the outflow pipe. It will require a lot of cleaning at the start however it will slow down and only need cleaning every few hours or longer.

If you are still having issues, please contact sales@aquaticlivefood.com.au for other options or analysis.