Brightwell to Smirnoff - a change in the manner of carbon dosing

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by steve wright, Jan 9, 2011.

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  1. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Chapter 2
    the transition
    having used Bio fuel for a period of 6 weeks, I came to realise that I had probably exhuasted its capabilities in terms of what it could do for my reef tank in terms of that final stage, getting rid of nuisance algaes and turning my tank from a algae based nutrient utilisation system into a bacteria
    dominant nutrient utilisation system

    my test kits - Salifert and Red Sea ( phosphate and nitrate respectively)
    where telling me levels where low and in all honesty, I would call the results I had for both of these nutrients - 0
    Im sure with better testing equipment this would not be the case
    and the frequent glass cleaning required confirmed the fact that despite the good numbers , those nutrients where indeed present.

    I had started dosing Bio Fuel using the dosage required for a low nutrient system - which in my set up meant using 3ml on a daily basis
    the instructions also make it clear that an increase of up to 50% on the low nutrient dosage was also an acceptable course of action
    I tried increasing to 5mls per day (slightly above the additional 50% I know but its an easier amount to measure , hence my choice)

    despite the above, I still found myself at an impass in regards, the bio fuel was failing to deliver any extra benefit and seemed unable to complete the work it had started so well

    within 1st 2 weeks - algae production had decreased and glass cleaning had reduced in regularity, but after that it just stopped delivering any further improvements


    I had read a number of articles on Vodka dosing and the often quoted or attached link to
    Notes from the Trenches - Vodka Distilled - by Genetics and Stony Corals
    was the basis for me wanting to change the method of carbon dosing I had been doing

    my 1st concern was naturally
    "I have been dosing an unknown ingredient carbon source for 6 weeks
    how does that relate to the suggested dosing plan for Vodka as contained in the article"

    I decided to ask said question in an area that any one of the 2 people who wrote the article , may notice it, and offer me assistance in this situation

    Genetics - Nathanial Walton , did respond and made the following suggestions
    reduce the dosing of Bio fuel, whilst bringing in the dosing of Vodka

    this was the plan
    day 1 - dose 2ml of Bio fuel and 0.1ml of Vodka
    day 2 - dose 1ml of Bio fuel and 0.2ml of Vodka
    day 3 - dose 0.3ml of vodka

    thus day 3 was my 1st day of following the plan as per "Vodka Distilled"
    a plan that has me dosing that amount for 3 days
    days 4 - 7 - dosing 0.6mls
    week 2- add 0.5mls and thus dose 1.1 mls
    week 3 - add 0.5mls and thus dose 1.6 mls

    tomorrow is day 4 for me - I will be dosing 0.6mls of vodka only, zero bio fuel

    I have had no negative reactions from the corals
    testing today, still reveals 0s for both parameters N and P

    I will update this thread as I progress through this carbon dosing regime

    I will give an honest account, the good, the bad and the ugly

    if I mess up, you will all know about it

    Steve
     
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  3. loneracer05

    loneracer05 Clown Trigger

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    Interesting....have u given any thought to bio pellets in a reactor?
     
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  4. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I did loneracer05
    I got B and P bio pellets some time ago
    I looked into both methods and actually made a desicion to go with Carbon dosing due to fact I dont have sump - using HOB skimmer
    and research told me that the effluent from a reactor run with bio pellets, should go into the skimmer in order the bacteria sloughing can be removed

    not having a sump, gave me an immediate problem with my ability to do that, and one person I know, using Bio Pellets in a reactor HOB on his set up, is not getting very positive results from them

    thus being in same situation as he is, with regard equipment tank is run utilising

    I have left the bio pellets in the packet and explored the alternative

    Steve
     
  5. jrwoltman

    jrwoltman Skunk Shrimp

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    Steve, I have been considering vodka dosing for some time now. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us. I will be anxiously following.
     
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  6. barbianj

    barbianj Hammer Head Shark

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    Steve, personally, I believe the need for extreme skimming is over blown. Maybe in a tank with sensitive SPS, but I have not seen an excess of skimmate in either my reef or FOWLR tanks. The only hard part of vodka dosing, IMO, is simply remembering each day to dose it. For those who can't do that, bio pellets is the way to go. I'd rather not spend the extra cash, they do the same thing.
     
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  7. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    thank you jrwoltman
    give me a few weeks on it before you make a decision
    that way you may benefit/ learn from any mistakes I make


    Thanks Barbianj

    that was another 1 of my thought processes
    missing the odd day is not an issue I believe
    dosing twice on the same day or double dosing the day after as you may have forgot today - could be a problem based on the reading I have done

    Its a case of having a daily routine and just after feeding time seemed ideal to me, as I do this daily between 6 and 7 pm every day manually anyway.

    and also having someone who can take over that responsibility if I am not around at the scheduled time (business trip etc) and I do have that so Im very confident it wont be many, if any, days that get missed

    Steve
     
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  9. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    How will you know when you hit your target dose?

    Parameters of 0 for nitrates and phosphates for an extended period of time?

    Seeing the same results when increasing the dose, no visual improvement noticable?

    Based on volumn of water alone?
     
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  10. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    great question and thank you for asking it

    my situation is different from the accepted norm
    the accepted norm assumes you have measurable N and P
    and the methodology is

    you increase the amount of Vodka you dose by 0.5mls (irrespective of tank size) by each week, after week 1 (week 1 is an intro dose to asses the corals reaction to the carbon source)

    once you have reduced your P and N to 0 or undetectable
    you then half the dose you where on at the point of reaching

    example
    if you where dosing 15mls of vodka , at the time you tested and got 0
    then the following day you dose 7.5mls daily as your maintenance dose
    if the levels start to increase again, you go back to adding 0.5ml to that 7.5ml dose until they zero again, and then resume with the new maintenance dose


    my situation is different in that I already have the 0 readings on nutrients
    so my case is

    I use the dose as per suggested in Vodka distilled and watch the algae that I have
    I dose weekly at the same level and then increase by 0.5ml each week until I have acheived the cosmetic effect that I am looking for
    coral colours improved, overall cleanliness improved
    and at that stage, half the dose that I got up to at the point the tanks appearance was right for me

    Steve
     
  11. schackmel

    schackmel Giant Squid

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    all I know is smirnoff taste better then biofuel! LOL!!!
    Good luck..... we are considering dosing vodka in our big tank now! The reason we have not yet is because of all the crap that is still in the tank from the heater fire.....we are still loosing coral from it!
    I was doing it before the last tank broke and was having great response to it! good luck
     
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  12. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I will have to take your word for the taste test schackmel
    although I must admit I naturally smelled both bottles
    because I did want to know if there may have been any alcohol in bio fuel
    dont think there was, at least it did not smell like there was

    Thanks for the encouragement
    the more success stories I read, the more confident I get

    Steve