Vodka dosing - when should I start to see results?

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by jlongwell, Jan 16, 2012.

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  1. jlongwell

    jlongwell Spaghetti Worm

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    I have a standard 29 that is currently stocked with two false percs, a GBTA that recently split, hammer coral, caulastrea, various mushrooms and a healthy zoa colony. I have about 30 pounds of live rock with a 1.5" CC (yuck, I know) sand bed. I feed the fish regularly twice a day with either Prime Reef, mysis or Hikari Marine S. I feed the GBTAs a cube of mysis split between the two of them every other day, and spot feed my corals twice a week. The tank has been running a little over a year, and I've been on this feeding routine for about 6 months.

    I began dosing vodka about 4 weeks ago (maybe two weeks before my clam died?). At the start I was getting nitrate readings of 5-10ppm (im guessing here, API test kit and the color looks slightly lighter than 10ppm but slightly darker than 0ppm). Phostphates have always read 0.

    I began with .12ml of vodka per day (as per these instructions). I derived that number from a total water volume of 33.5 gallons, rounded down for ease. After 3 days, I doubled the dose to .24 and continued for another 4 days when I added .5ml each week for two weeks, bringing the dose up to 1.24. I did not increase my dose the past week as I feel 1.24ml is already fairly large for a tank my size (based on the experience of others, anyway) and I'm not sure how much more I should be increasing.

    Since I began dosing, I have noticed a marked decrease in the amount of algae growing on the walls of the tank. I can go 2-3 days without scrubbing the walls as opposed to doing it every day prior to dosing. My phosphates have remained at 0. My nitrates, on the other hand, have risen slightly to 10-20ppm (again, kinda hard to read the color). I'm not sure if this is related to the death of my clam (pyramid snails, could they be starving and causing the spike?) or if there's something else amiss. I should also mention that my nitrates were reading 5-10ppm the day before the death of my clam, and 10-20ppm with the next test I did three days later.

    Anyway, should I begin to see nitrates fall soon? Is there something entirely askew with the increase in nitrates? Am I feeding too heavily, or am I just being impatient?
     
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  3. sticksmith23

    sticksmith23 Giant Squid

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  4. jlongwell

    jlongwell Spaghetti Worm

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  5. sticksmith23

    sticksmith23 Giant Squid

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    Yes you will. I have read that whole thread lol. A lot of good info in there. Some it is way over my head though.
     
  6. Cole_lol

    Cole_lol Flamingo Tongue

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    I have been doseing for about a year and I out 5ml of vodka in my tank that has a total of 130ish gallons... 90 gal plus 55 gal sump. I would say my tank if very well stocked and I feed a ton (the reason i decided to vodka dose). From when I started I tested my water almost every day if not every other day and it took some time for the Nitrates to move up and down... The only time that I have seen my Nitrates go up was when I went on vacation and I didnt trust the person feeding the tank with doseing vodka with fear of doseing to much and causeing a bacteria boom. But I did notice it go down week after week. It was a slow process so I would just keep up with what you are doing. If you think your doseing to much just stop increasing the dose and stay at what ever dose you are confident with. After time it should decrease your Nitrates as most people say once you get to 0 nitrates to cut your dose in half and that should be your maitnence dose.

    I have been very happy with the vodka doseing I have not to this day had any real issues with it as some people may say. Just stick with it and try to be consistent.
     
  7. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Can you tell us a bit more about what corals you are keeping?

    you mention spot feeding them, what are you spot feeding
    your feeding does seem a bit on the high side to me, and with the nitrate levels being relatively high, I would certainly look to reduce that 1st

    how long has the crushed coral been in, could that be a source of your nitrate issue, due to some uneaten foods etc dropping where fish/ inverts cannot reach it (how deep is it?)

    The death of the Clam could account for an increase in nitrate as clams are know for their nitrate consuming abilities, so with the clam not assiting in the removal of nitrate any longer that could account for a partial increase

    Vodka dosing is not instant, and it can take many weeks for the benefits to be realised
    the higher your levels are when you start the longer it will take for them to reach the test kit 0 figure

    I would look to reduce your feeding
    fish once per day
    nems once per week
    spot feeding of corals ( depending what they are, if they are NPS corals then continue but reduce amount and or frequency, if they are softies, LPS or SPS, then cut out the spot feeding until nitrates are reduced)

    next few water changes select an area of the crushed coral and try and clean that area with vacuum syphon to remove any accumulated debris
    if you take 3 or 4 weeks so as not to disturb to much at any one time, that would be best idea IMO

    if it is not deep or has not been there long, syphoning some of it away each week and when it has all gone, replacing with new dry sand, would also be a good long term investment at nitrate reduction IME (again if you decide to go removal route, taking 3 or 4 water changes to remove the substrate allowing your bacteria in other areas to increase to compensate what is being removed with the CC is best way to go about it)

    Steve
     
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  9. jlongwell

    jlongwell Spaghetti Worm

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    The only one I spot feed is the caulastrea. It's the only one that seems to require it for growth (and the only one that produces tentacles). The others do just fine without spot feeding.

    I generally feed mysis, two or three per head per feeding, but will occasionaly feed a small chunk of krill to mix things up.

    It's been in for the lifetime of the tank (a little over a year). It's about 1.5" deep.

    Makes sense, lol. I didn't think about that.

    I'll try this.

    I'll also stop spot feeding the caulastrea and see if its current growth continues. I didn't spot feed it at all for the first 3 months or so that I had it and growth was pretty much non-existant. I started to spot feed it, and the single head that I had has now split off into 6.

    I think I'll try this as well. I originally picked CC for aesthetic reasons, but didn't realize what a detritus trap it was until the tank had been running for a couple months.

    I've got two bags of sugar-fine aragonite (actually for a cichlid tank) that I will probably use to replace the current sand bed.

    Thanks for the input.