Bubble Magus BM-TO1 Doser Review

Discussion in 'Filters, Pumps, etc..' started by crank2211, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. crank2211

    crank2211 Purple Spiny Lobster

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    Well I've been asked a couple times to post a review on the Bubble Magus BM-TO1 doser here on the forum and am finally getting around to it now. I first caught wind of it from a post by Matt on the Radar Forum here.

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    I was seriously getting sick of manual dosing the BRS supplements on a near daily basis and constantly chasing my params all over. I needed a better alternative. Most of the automatic timed dosers I looked at were quite expensive, and at the time BRS was sold out of their 1.1mL/min dosers with an indefinite restock date. Biting the bullet, I jumped on NuOcean's pre-order list and got a unit from their first shipment from China. So far it's been one of my best reefing decisions next to an RO/DI and ATO. I wouldn't hesitate to purchase again.

    The following were my initial thoughts on the purchase posted on the BM Doser thread over at RC. They still hold true today:

    Right now it's only dosing CA and ALK but I'll be putting Mag online shortly as well. The expandability aspect is nice also. You can get up to 8 additional pumps (2 units) online and controlled via access ports on the back of the controller unit.

    I'm running sump-less currently and have the unit mounted beneath my tank in the stand. The unit comes with its own clear and black acrylic stand. You mount the doser stand with two screws in the back where you need it elevated above your supps, while the pumps hang nicely over the edge.

    The pumps aren't exactly quiet but aren't super loud either. You'll know they're running, which I actually like because when I hear a pump kick on I can take note of the time and in my situation, they run for a whole 3 or so seconds for each dose so no big deal. So far every dose has been right on. I currently dose 25ml of cal and alk daily broken up into 8 increments. Meaning the unit will dose 3.1ml of cal and alk every 3 hours. Since I need the pumps to push the supplements up around 3' up to the DT I need to dial up the requested amount. For pump1, with the headloss, 26ml programmed into the unit will give me 25 in the DT. Pump2 requires 27ml programmed into it I believe. The acrylic tubing mount is a nice piece. It's designed for the rimless sumps though. I had to dremel a bit of the sides to allow it to fit on the trim of my tank.

    The unit seems solid enough, the pumps are a bit chinsey though. They are controlled via spinning rods coming out of the unit. You can snap off the peristaltic pump units, then remove the face of the pumps themselves allowing access to the rollers (3) and tubing should you need to replace it. Two out of the pumps worked fine out of the box. Pump 2 needed a little wiggling to make a better connection onto the spinning rod then worked fine. All three pumps fit nicely on the unit and wobble around a bit when running. Nothing serious, doesn't hinder performance from what I can tell, just mentioning it.

    When the power goes out, the unit will remember the time and your dosing schedule so you don't have to worry about that either.

    So far I'm extremely happy with the unit. I originally wanted to go with 2 or 3 BRS dosers hooked up on timers, but they didn't have them in stock at the time and I was getting sick of dosing everyday and got antsy. This is essentally 3 pumps and 11 timers that can be set to dose 1ml - 1999ml broken up into 24 increments if you like.

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    The unit requires soft mini airline tubing and the controller lets you set how many mL of a supplement you want to dose per day on a certain pump. It then let's you choose how you want to break up that mL amount into smaller doses during the day and when to start it.

    So for instance:

    If you wanted to dose 30mL of alk all at once on Pump1 at 22:00 you can do so.

    Alternatively, you could break up that 30mL dose of Alk through the day into 3 smaller ones if you wanted. So the controller will break it up evenly across a 24 hour period. So in this case.

    10mL dose at 22:00
    10mL dose at 06:00
    10mL dose at 14:00

    Depending on the amount of supplement you want to dose, the controller will let you split them up to a maximum of 24 smaller doses through out the day.

    You can break them up in the following manner:

    Dose amount (mL): Cycles/day
    1: 1,2
    2: 1,2,3,4
    3: 1,2,3,4,6
    4-5: 1,2,3,4,6,8
    6-11: 1,2,3,4,6,8,12
    12-160: 1,2,3,4,6,8,12,24
    161-319: 2,3,4,6,8,12,24
    320-479: 3,4,6,8,12,24
    480-639: 4,6,8,12,24
    640-959: 6,8,12,24
    960-1279: 8,12,24
    1280-1919: 12,24
    1920-1999: 24

    The controller also forces you to pick start times for a pump based on the other pumps settings. Meaning you can't have 2 pumps run at 12:00. The closest you can dose 2 pumps between each other is 5 minutes. So you can setup a calcium schedule to start at 12:00 on one pump and the closest you could dose alk on a another pump to 12:00 is 12:05. This is a built in feature and can't be overridden.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2010
    3 people like this.
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  3. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Great review. I was curious about this doser and appreciate all the details. I like that it handles power outages well and you can spread the dosing out like that over the day. Since you can take the pumps out - will it be easy to clean?

    matt
  4. crank2211

    crank2211 Purple Spiny Lobster

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    It should be pretty easy to clean once the pump heads are off and the faceplate removed. That would give you access to the tubing also should you need to replace it. Admittedly, I've never take the pumps off to do either since I've owned it. Maybe in another few months I'll try and replace the tubing for good measure.
  5. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    That would be cool to know.
    Were the instructions easy to follow?
  6. bje

    bje Long-fin Bannerfish

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    good review thanks for the useful info!
  7. stoney waters

    stoney waters Fire Shrimp

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    i was looking into one of thes but i have a quick question not to jack your review,when you do a water change and the calcium and alk get buffered wouldnt it keep dosing so your calcium and alk get off?meaning the numbers would be higher then what its set or am i wrong?
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  9. crank2211

    crank2211 Purple Spiny Lobster

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    Since the doser is capable of many smaller doses throughout the day it keeps parameters very stable. The doser keeps my alk and calcium at a pretty consistent 9dKh / 425ppm respectively. Ideally the water coming out of the tank and water going back in will have identical parameters making any detectable swing negligible. Unfortunately, the salt I use has a higher alk level, so to compensate I will usually stop dosing alkalinity for 24 hours prior to the water change. I believe this, combined with the relatively small amount water I try to change on a weekly basis in relation the total volume in the tank keeps the swing minimal.

    I've found that directly after a water change, any noticeable difference in parameters will shortly work itself out and stabilize as consumption and supply of supplements will remain consistent.

    With that said, it's an unfortunate side effect and well debated topic regarding water changes. The argument being that once all parameters finally stabilize for a period of time in the tank, they are immediately skewed again, even slightly, by a water change. Leading some to spread out water changes to monthly, quarterly or if ever. On the flip side, you have a constant depletion of beneficial trace elements in the water column that get replaced with fresh salt and a water change. Pick your poison.

    For me, I've finally beat a very problematic case of GHA, in large part due to consistent water changes. I used the aforementioned method of trying to keep params consistent, and while maybe not ideal for some, it has worked for me. The small swings I did see during those changes hasn't shown a negative effect on my corals that I can tell. I'm seeing great growth across the board and can finally sit back and enjoy the tank instead of chasing parameters all over. I find myself worrying less about small swings during WC's as I don't notice any problems.
  10. stoney waters

    stoney waters Fire Shrimp

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    so i have a 15g i was thinking about doing an all sps with a clam and i was planning on doing a 1g waterchange every day instead of the one big one once a week,would this effect the swings with the doser or does it apply to what u said abouve, both water should be pretty equivelent sense u are doing so many frequent water changes it wouldnt even have a big swing.
  11. crank2211

    crank2211 Purple Spiny Lobster

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    Well if you're going to do water changes every day then you most likely won't even need a doser. Essentially your 1 gallon water change water will replace the doser and you could supply all the cal/alk you would need during the change.

    Honestly though, daily WC's, especially manually, will get pretty tiresome quickly. If you start missing a couple days in between changes then you might indeed need the help of the doser to keep up. If you can definitely keep to that kind of demanding schedule then once you get your water where you want it, every water change with the desired alk/cal levels should be able to keep up. At least until you get large colonies and demand increases.

    Either way, like I said I don't worry about small fluctuations too much. Get WC water as close to DT levels - keep DT levels as consistent as you can and you will be fine. If you can't keep up with daily WC's or daily manual supplementation then I would recommend the Bubble Magus.
  12. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    great review and write up Crank2211

    and the timing is excellent for me
    I have 2 choices out here
    Aquamedic triple doser @ 3600 local currency
    Bubble Magus TM-01 @ 1250 local currency

    question - do you just use standard air line tube to connect the doser to the liquids and then the tank? ( I assume so based on images and the fact there was no tubing supplied in the pack I saw)

    Steve
  13. crank2211

    crank2211 Purple Spiny Lobster

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    Thanks Steve,

    The unit came with 10 or so feet of "mini airline tubing". I needed a bit more for my application and found it easily at the lfs. The regular airline fits loosely and would probably be okay if you can't get the mini tubing. You'll probably see different flow rates as well as small pockets of air in the lines near the pumps and will need to adjust if you were mixing and matching . Again, it comes with enough line if you were running a standard sump setup and kept this hanging over or next to it.

    I used this: comes with adapters to attach to regular airline tubing:
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  15. yellojello

    yellojello Plankton

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    I used some airline tubing I had leftover, not sure if it's mini or regular, but it works fine.

    The instructions are a little confusing if you just read it, but after you try the steps on the device, there isn't really a lot of stuff to press. Set Clock | Set Pump Schedule | Manual Dose. That's it!

    The manual dose doesn't do a measured manual dose, just runs fluid through the pump. Use it to feed the liquid when first starting to take out all the air in the tube.

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  16. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    joined the ranks of the Bubble Magus owners today
    I cant say user as yet, need a translator on the instruction leaflet LOL
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    Got 2 x 2.5 litre containers at same time might get a 3rd in the future for Mag

    looking forward to setting it up at the weekend

    Steve
  17. crank2211

    crank2211 Purple Spiny Lobster

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    Congratulations Steve,

    I think you're really going to like it. The canisters was a nice pickup too, I might look into those as well. At one point I did come across the digital version of the English manual online, but I'm having some trouble finding it again. I have no idea what happened to my copy otherwise I would copy it down for you. It's pretty easy to get setup though. ESC brings up the menu selection - Enter/Up/Down to enter the settings for an individual menu. ESC will back you out of the menus and back to the home screen.

    A good tip is once your finished setting up your dosing schedule, to remember to ESC back out to the main menu screen as this process will save your settings and begin dosing properly. If you forget to back out and leave the doser on the "Setup Program" screen, it will remain there not dosing until you back out. I've adjusted mine a couple times and forgot to back out and wondered why I didn't hear it kicking on when it should have.
  18. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Steve I assumed you could read Chinese since you live there. :)
    I look forward to your review!
  19. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you crank2211 - Ill remember that , I intend to set up and dose RODI in both cannisters 1st time around, with maybe just 200mls in each cannister, making sure I release just what I want before having the made up solutions in place.

    I can understand the spoken language, and speak it, but never learned to read or write it. so my options are A) ask my good lady to read it to me and see if I can make sense of that or B) pass it to my Chinese friend Jack Liu who is more technically adept and excellent at English

    Ill try A - but if that fails B will sort it

    Steve
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  21. Magnus

    Magnus Kole Tang

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    I'll look around for this unit. I think this is exactly what I need.

    It is all controlled by one power cable, right?

    I have problems with available outlets and this would be a plus.
  22. ingtar_shinowa

    ingtar_shinowa Giant Squid

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    nice review, i think you sold me on it too boss!
  23. crank2211

    crank2211 Purple Spiny Lobster

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    One power cord, correct. The adapter plug is a little bulky, but a nice feature is it swivels - so you can rotate the boxy part around to fit your power strip.


    Cool beans, I think you'll like it.

    I've had it going now for 7 or 8 months now and haven't had a single issue with it yet. Definitely a great budget auto-doser
  24. Magnus

    Magnus Kole Tang

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    If anyone finds this for the $240 Steve Wright was mentioning on his post at the 3reef radar forum, please point me to it. I can't find this for anything less than $299.99.

    I've asked this already in a thread I had started to find a good dosing pump on the pumps forums, but I figured I'll ask here as well:

    What's included in the box? Is it just the unit and the mount bracket? What about the little clear bracket that holds the dosing hoses on the edge of the sump?

    Thanks for your insight.