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. Nismo400rgtr

    Nismo400rgtr Teardrop Maxima Clam

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    I'm running EcoBaks with a HOB eshopps. I drilled a hole large enough into the skimmer inlet pipe(a portion that's still inside the tank) for my reactor output line to fit into.I'm not exactly sure if this is eliminating the beneficial Nutrition my coral are supposedly supposed to be getting with bio-pellet use,though I'm sure some makes it into the DT,at least I hope :worried:. I didn't plumb the reactor outlet that way out of necessity though,as I hadn't noticed any bacterial slime growth anywhere in the tank.Just out of suggestion. Running the pellets for the last 2 1/2 months I can say my Nitrates remain @ 1ppm tested with Elos. My PO4 has been 0 as tested with Salifert for the last 4 months at least. I perform weekly 5 gallon WC's and feed daily. I'd like my Nitrates to be 0.Still develop the film algae as well that requires scrubbing at least once every two weeks so I know their's nutrients available.

    Following along to witness your experience with dosing.
     
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  3. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    great contribution Nismo

    Im 100% positive the pellets work as I have read so many positive experiences using them during my research

    Steve
     
  4. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    updated on Vodka dosing situation

    days 4, 5, 6 and 7 using 0.6ml Vodka completed
    with no negative reaction from inhabitants and no visible bacterial bloom or cyno outbreak


    today dosed 1.1ml broken down into am dose of 0.6ml
    and then additional 0.5ml 6 hours later

    early findings from this transition

    1) the water is certainly clearer and because if this tank is brighter
    2) GHA algae on the powerheads - is receding , and on 1 of the 4 its almost completely gone
    3) I have only cleaned the glass on one occasion since starting Vodka dosing which was 8 days ago today - I was previously cleaning twice in any 7 day period
    4) the tips of the SPS corals seem to be more intense in colouration, this may be due to improved water clarity, rather than any improvement in the corals condition

    I will be dosing 1.1ml daily for the next 6 days, and thus Tuesday 18th will be the next incriment of 0.5 to take the total amount to 1.6mls per day (which again I will divide into 2 doses of 0.8ml)

    I will update again in 1 weeks time

    Steve
     
  5. barbianj

    barbianj Hammer Head Shark

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    Steve, do you think that you are seeing a slight improvement using vodka vs Biopellets, or an improvement because the Biopellets were becoming exhausted?
     
  6. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    hi barbianj
    I was on bio fuel - which is a liquid carbon dosing product by Brightwell
    my opinion is that they certainly helped to improve the aesthetics of the reef , but that it had its limitations in what it could ultimately achieve

    I had used it for 6 weeks dosing 3ml every day (the dose for a 70 gallon tank with low nutrient levels) and for the last 2 - 3 weeks I noticed no visible improvements using it

    I have already noticed improvement on day 8 of a Vodka dosing course
    and Im only just up to 1.1ml of this today

    thus whatever the source of carbon, used in Bio Fuel
    it does not compete with 40% ethanol by volume that is present in the Vodka

    my opinion is - Bio fuel can encourage more bacterial activity - I witnessed the effects of that
    but that Vodka is capable of encouraging more bacterial activity at a fraction of the dosage


    Steve
     
  7. pink4miss

    pink4miss Panda Puffer

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    Steve, from what i have read skimmers play a very important role in this process. what type of skimmer do you have? i seen its a 70 gallon tank. but what is the skimmer rated for, how many gallons?
    im thinking of trying this or the bio pellets, vodka would be cheaper. i wonder if my skimmer will handle it since my gallon rating on it and my water volume are very close.(note to all others buy a skimmer rated higher than your tank water volume is, at least double)
    back on subject.... i did use the bio fuel for a bit and it did knock out the hair algae in my tank. but never really seen a drop in nitrates.

    Also im reading about using a drip to add the vodka. can it be done threw your ATO?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
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  9. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey Pink4miss

    Ill answer the questions I do know the answers to
    and give my opinions on other aspects - but there are people with far more experience of this than me so research before doing anything

    Skimmer I have the Octopus BH1000 which is for 100 gallon tanks
    thus 1.3 times tank volume

    both forms of carbon dosing - Vodka and pellets have been reported as having a positive effect on levels of Nitrate and phosphate in addition to improving water clarity
    Bio pellets are considered by many that use them as a safer alternative
    as you cannot overdose using the pellets as you could if you dose Vodka

    both sets of user do experience some issues on occasion with either method
    bacterial blooms have been noted by some users of either method

    dosing - when you start, depending on the % proof of the Vodka you are dosing very tiny amounts ( for me with 75 gallons dosing 40% Vodka its 0.1ml per 25 gallons thus or me 0.3ml per day for 3 days) with that kind of dose, a test kit syringe - well its 30% full? so I dosed it in the same manner as I would to perform a water test - just held the syringe with the tip just below water level and gradually released the Vodka

    adding 0.5ml each week after the 1st week - until you get zero readings of nitrate and phosphate can in some cases mean people get up to 10 weeks or 20 weeks or longer depending on how high the nitrate and phosphate was when they started
    which means by then they have got to this stage - a drip system to gradually drip 5ml or 10 ml into 75 gallon tanks would be a good idea IMO

    having said all that - there are certain criteria that you should consider before embarking on Vodka dosing regimes

    and this is for other peoples benefit who may see this thread and consider Vodka dosing

    1) is yours a new tank going through a typical parameter inconsistency period and thus adding additional chemicals may not be a good idea?
    2) is yours a young tank experiencing typical algae cycle issues that will pass in time via more natural processes?
    3) is yours a mature set up that has nitrate and phosphate issues that could be cured just as effectively with a GFO filled reactor, a fuge with macro and better maintenance routine?

    if the answer to all the above questions is yes - then Vodka dosing is not for you

    1) if you have a low nutrient system already in an established tank and are looking for a fine tuning system that can put the finishing touches on that tank - then Vodka dosing could be worth considering




    please bear in mind that some of the best known reef keepers in the hobby are not convinced about Vodka dosing

    There is a school of thought that believes and I am paraphrasing now from Eric Borneham

    "a number of people are adding something to their aquarums and reporting favourable results from doing so, there is no control and as such no way of knowing for certain that the addition of the Vodka is the reason for these reported improvements and in fact there may be other factors involved that could account for these results

    the fact that this has encouraged a number of other people to do the same is worrying because as yet, its not even been proven that availability of free carbon is the limiting factor in achieving extra bacteria capacity"


    so research, consider, decide
    before pouring the Vodka

    Steve
     
  10. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    3rd day of dosing 1.1ml today

    split between an AM dose of 0.6ml and PM dose of 0.5ml

    water clarity has improved ( photos taken today verify that)
    sand bed has also started to look brighter

    All corals looking fine, no negatives as yet even from the LPS corals
    which I did suspect may show negative signs from the reduced nutrients in the water


    Steve
     
  11. Nismo400rgtr

    Nismo400rgtr Teardrop Maxima Clam

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    What kind of signs would LPS show with reduced nutrients? -curious
     
  12. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    they may fade in colour Nismo as the symbiotic algae vacates the coral due to nutrient deprivation - and also polyp extension might become an almost constant thing as they search for food to compensate for what is lacking in the water


    update
    stayed at 1.1ml for 10 days rather than just the 7
    had to be out of town for 4 days so asked my partner to administer the 1.1ml dose which I had been doing ( did not want any increase during my absence as the lack of experienced monitoring concerned me)

    increased to 1.6ml yesterday and will dose at that for a further 7 days

    tank is looking very well
    ambient cleanliness and clarity is improving

    with 0 registering nitrate and phosphate at start of process
    I do not believe it will be long before I find my maintenance dose
    (which will be 50% of the amount I am using at the point when my tank looks as I want it to look)

    Steve