ecoBAK biopellets clumping

Discussion in 'Warner Marine' started by OnlyTono, Aug 25, 2014.

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  1. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    So I've been running the ecoBack pellets since around May (Almost 4 months) and Ive had pretty good success with them. Tank is clean, algae issue have subsided, and NO3 and PO4 levels are all looking really good: N03 1 - 2.5ppm and PO4 .015 - .02ppm

    I run about 600mL of pellets in a NextReef SMR1 Solid Media Reactor with a MaxiJet 1200 pump and have for the past 2.5 months with no real issues.

    About 3-4 days ago, I noticed the pellets started to really clumping up.

    Well now - they clump up and basically stop tumbling all together. I can go in a break the clump apart and within about 5-10 minutes the whole mass of pellets solidify with little channels of water running through them.

    I'm going to try a larger pump, but I'm not convinced that will solve the issue since the pump I have used to tumble them perfectly.

    My main question is - can the pellets get clogged with too much grown and eventually just stick together, and if so, do I need to take the pellets out clean them?

    Also - what are the possible ramifications if I don't keep them constantly tumbling? What should I watch for in my tank.

    As it is right now, ever few hours I go in there and break of the clump with a little magnet I installed buit that's getting supper annoying.

    Any advice you can provide would be helpful.
     
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  3. DSC reef

    DSC reef Giant Squid

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    What a pain man. I'm not sure about the negatives of biopellets clumping but I can't imagine it's good since they need to tumble. I haven't had clumping issues yet but I'm not running ecobak. I tried but my maxi jet 1200 on my phosban 150 reactor just couldn't tumble it enough and they would stick together. I'm sure Jon Warner will respond soon, he's good about answering questions. Good luck man, you deserve smoothness in your system with the recent battles you've encountered. If I could I'd give you some karma.;)
     
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  4. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    I ended up pulling the pellets out this evening and "washing" them in the RODI. A ton of semi-clear whitish slim came off the pellets. They didn't smell or anything, just really slimy. I also cleaned the entire reactor, (which wasn't very dirty) and put it all back together.

    The pellets are now tumbling, but there are a few dead spots already forming again and you can see them trying to stick together.

    I also noticed a slight cloudiness in the tank water this afternoon. I'm not sure if that was a small bacterial bloom or the result of the pistol shrimp doing some of his weekly remodeling. I threw on a filter sock to see if that helps. I don't normally run felt socks, but rather a mesh sock - so we'll see if that helps at all with the cloudiness.

    Either way - NO3 and PO4 are still in line, if not a tad lower than I would expect them to be.
     
  5. DSC reef

    DSC reef Giant Squid

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    I would think it's a bloom of some sort. The slime that comes off the pellets normally comes off the pellets from tumbling and actually feeds the tank. Maybe the clumping has to do with the shape of the pellets? When I'm ready for another batch of pellets I'm gonna look into the all in one pellets. The reviews I've read are excellent in phosphate and nitrate removal. Also if you have to rinse the pellets again try using salt water so you don't kill all the bacteria, should prevent a bloom in the future
     
  6. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    Normally I would, but I didn't have any extra saltwater handy last night. The tank has cleared up, and the pellets are not total stuck together, but, they aren't tumbling as nicely as they used to either.

    I'm going to try and grab a stronger pump later this afternoon and see if that helps at all.
     
  7. Dyonopses1

    Dyonopses1 Skunk Shrimp

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    Following to see what Jon says. I change my EcoBak every 6 months. The last time my pellets clumped it was because the flow plate in my reactor was getting clogged, but I guess you already checked on that. Good luck .... it's a great product.
     
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  9. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    Just wanted to give a quick update - so got back to the house this afternoon to find the media tumbling away, just like nothing ever happened. It has a better tumble going than they have for days. And, the display tank is crystal clear.

    It seems what ever kicked the pellets into high gear has passed - at least for now.
     
  10. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    spoke too soon - this morning the media is now stuck together again with lots of the bacterial growth gluing together. I can break it up, but it sticks right back together and almost appears to solidify in a minute or two.

    I have not tried the bigger pump yet but I guess I should.
     
  11. FaceOfDeceit

    FaceOfDeceit Hockey Beard

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    I would suggest a larger pump first. Second, I would suggest a better reactor. I ran EcoBak in a NextReef a few years ago, and never could nail the tumble. It is an old design, and a lot of the newer reactors have created tumble solutions with conical intake plates. I tried to modify my NextReef with a "funnel mod", and still wouldn't work right. Upflow reactors are better, and upflow's with conical plates are perfect for pellets.

    I am currently using a CAD Lights Recirculating Reactor, but I would not recommend it due to poor craftsmanship. I had to re-do all plumbing for it to operate at my expectation.
     
  12. OnlyTono

    OnlyTono Spaghetti Worm

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    I ordered a new Eheim Compact+ 2000 yesterday - should be here tomorrow. It's rated for about 528ghp, and I have only a short run with about a 22in rise, so very little head pressure. Hopefully that will be enough.

    I agree - I did my research, but nothing beats personal hands-on experience. After getting it setup I was somewhat disappointed that the design produces some dead spots. I'm hoping the larger pump will help, but I'm also concerned that it may require over tumbling the pellets to get rid of the dead spots.

    I guess we'll see and I'll update this thread in a few days.