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Biopellets/carbon dosing.

Discussion in 'General Reefkeeping Discussion' started by Andrew_bram, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Andrew_bram

    Andrew_bram Shark M.A.S.C Club Member

    Not that I am considering either but how many people on here are doing some form of this. How much benefit do you see? What benefit? What do you keep your alk at?

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
  2. ReefCheif

    ReefCheif Shark Platinum Sponsor M.A.S.C Club Member

  3. jda123

    jda123 Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    I only ever it did it full-scale on a FOWLR - worked very well. I did not worry about alk on a FOWLR.

    It is too risky on a reef tank for me. I cannot risk driving the nitrate down to near-zero.

    The benefit is that it can lower nitrate... not so much phosphate, but it can lower a bit. The most successful implementations monitor nearly every day and use organic carbon to keep their levels very low through massive export, but also massive import - ZEOVit is the most common example of this. In these tanks, there are tons of building blocks available to the animals, but the residual values are kept low. The people who do carbon dose on a reef keep their alk at NSW levels in the 6s.

    Keep in mind that carbon dosing does not really do anything. You need to use a good skimmer to remove all the bacteria that you are growing from the tank. If you do not have a good skimmer, then some of this could be for naught since the bacteria just die and recontribute to the N cycle if you cannot remove them.

    Without strict monitoring and control, you can grow too many bacteria which will outcompete the corals and algae for building blocks and they can suffer - this is quite common in the post-BRS video era of reef keeping where people put bio pellet reactors on their tanks when they were brand new when they had no excess of building blocks to remove. If you add too much too fast (overdose), then the bacteria will QUICKLY (and I mean quickly) multiply and use up all of the oxygen and suffocate your fish and inverts.

    On my FOWLR, nitrate got up over 20, which stopped all coralline algae growth. I dosed sugar quite aggressively for a few months and got it down to about 1, then kept it there with a smaller dose. My only goal was to get the coralline growing again, which it did. I went really slow because I did not want to use up all of the oxygen.
  4. TheRealChrisBrown

    TheRealChrisBrown Tuna Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. B.O.D. Member-at-Large

    @jda123 What about the opposite, weaning off of carbon dosing? I've been dosing vodka for 5+ years, and would like to stop. Could I just reduce the daily vodka over time? Stopping cold turkey sounds like a bad idea in this hobby.

    My intention was to eventually switch to biopellets, but as @Andrew_bram and I were discussing this yesterday I started to realize that perhaps stopping the vodka, letting the nitrates and phosphates increase a bit then slowly bringing the biopellet reactor online might be the way to go.
  5. Andrew_bram

    Andrew_bram Shark M.A.S.C Club Member

    Few things I noticed when using biopellets in the past.
    1. Alk has to be very stable otherwise poof the corals are gone.

    2.the output of the reactor should pretty much be right at the input of skimmer. This help to make sure bacteria are taken care off as well as oxygen levels. This did not matter if I was using low or high quality skimmer.

    3. Feed like crazy. The tank always seemed to do better being polluted by food. I would assume do to high feeding it allowed more nutrients uptake for the corals. Also fish pop more which I am a firm believer that fish poo helps coral.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    TheRealChrisBrown likes this.
  6. jda123

    jda123 Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    If you want to stop, then just slowly cut the dosage over about a month. Stopping cold turkey can kill off a lot of your bacterial population and you might have an ammonia issue (mini/major cycle).

    Your tank should be able to handle nitrate on it's own if you have established good rock (not fresh dead/dry) and a few inches of sand. When you dose organic carbon, the rock and sand are starved of building blocks and cannot populate these areas with anoixc bacteria, but they will come after a while. Most tanks should be able to hand nitrate unless they are bare bottom (or maybe a very shallow sand bed) or have dense or dead/dry rock. If you let nature go to work, you might not need either - the whole supposition that organic carbon is necessary from the get-go (BRS Video) is kinda dangerous and not necessary at all.

    Nitrate and Phosphate are building blocks for growth and repair and do NOT give nutrition to corals. Nutrition comes from sugars supplied by the zoox. Both are technically "nutrients" if you follow the strict definition of "essential for growth and the maintenance of life", but then so is salt, lights, your power heads and the reefer. Once you have enough building blocks, then you are not growth-limiting and you have enough. There is no real benefit at having nitrate of 5 if you have .5 - they will do the same. I would not sweat nitrates of 5, but I also would not dose to get them there. The recent trend is that more is better, but I think that this will go the way of many reefing trends and be mocked a few years later - this is mostly based on misinformation.

    I do not use anything on my tank and my nitrates are at .1. I also did nothing to interfere with the anoxic bacterial populations in the rock and sand. I do use real, porous live rock that is good at denitrification.

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