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Christyef

Bio pellet reactor

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Yay or nay? I currently have a BRS dual reactor and have for 3 years with little success. Don’t notice it doing much of anything actually. I saw fightinghippo’s tank last night (beautiful tank), and saw a pellet reactor. He’s had great success with this. I’d like more feedback. Thanks
 
 
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Yay or nay? I currently have a BRS dual reactor and have for 3 years with little success. Don’t notice it doing much of anything actually. I saw fightinghippo’s tank last night (beautiful tank), and saw a pellet reactor. He’s had great success with this. I’d like more feedback. Thanks
 
 
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I run one Christy. I'd only use it if you have higher than normal nitrates and they don't stay under 10 ppm for you even with regular water changes.

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6 hours ago, FarmerTy said:
9 hours ago, Christyef said:
Yay or nay? I currently have a BRS dual reactor and have for 3 years with little success. Don’t notice it doing much of anything actually. I saw fightinghippo’s tank last night (beautiful tank), and saw a pellet reactor. He’s had great success with this. I’d like more feedback. Thanks
 
 
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I run one Christy. I'd only use it if you have higher than normal nitrates and they don't stay under 10 ppm for you even with regular water changes.

Would you say they are more important for SPS dominant tanks? The one I'm looking at will run Gfo media and a carbon type media also

 

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What cryptic sponges do you have in your system?   The problem with any form of carbon dosing is cryptic sponges are capable of removing the DOC added to a system faster* than the bacteria can and there's no way to verify or test for it.  

 

*de Goeij, in his groundbreaking research, showed cryptic sponges remove in about 30 minutes the organic carbon that bacteria take 20 days to remove.

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Would you say they are more important for SPS dominant tanks? The one I'm looking at will run Gfo media and a carbon type media also
 
Not so much the type of corals you keep but just really all about your nitrate levels. If you find it keeps climbing and climbing, even with water changes, biopellets may be useful in your system.
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Ty left out carbon dosing also reduces phosphates#.   It was with corals maintained for years with carbon dosing the researchers at Southampton* discovered how phosphate deficiency screws up the coral/zooxantheallae symbiosis.  You can get corals to display very nice colors by carefully manipulating the phosphate/nitrate ratios.  Doing so, however, can make them very sensitive to changes in temperature and lighting levels.  And as a significant part of a corals immune system is derived from their zooxanthellae, tightly controlling phosphates and nitrates to restrict zooxanthellae also runs the risk of compromising a corals ability to deal with new microbe strains from another system.

 

# Assuming it is actually bacteria that are being grown.  If it's cryptic sponges they are putting phospholipids back in the water column and nitrogen rich detritus back in the food chain.

 

* Nutrient enrichment can increase the susceptibility of reef corals to bleaching
http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/Nutrient enrichment.pdf

Ultrastructural Biomarkers in Symbiotic Algae Reflect the Availability of Dissolved Inorganic Nutrients and Particulate Food to the Reef Coral Holobiont
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2015.00103/full

Phosphate deficiency promotes coral bleaching and is reflected by the ultrastructure of symbiotic dinoflagellates
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X17301601?via%3Dihub

 

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I think there’s an assumption going on also that carbon dosing will automatically drove nitrogen and phosphorous levels in the water down to zero by virtue of dosing alone. While it’s possible they can, you don’t have to be that aggressive with it. You can simply use it to control those levels to not climb excessively high.

I don’t use a pellet reactor, I favor vodka dosing, but it’s the same concept. I don’t drive my N and P out entirely with it. I have the dose dialed to keep my NO3 between 4-10 ppm and my PO4 between 0.03-0.1 ppm on any given test. Just figuring out how much you’re feeding regularly and how aggressive you are with your carbon dosing you can keep those values present but not depleted. That sentence didn’t make a ton of sense but I think you get the idea.

I have a cryptic fuge that is probably about 10-15% my total water volume loaded with Fiji mud and Tampa bay rock and I still have to dose about 4 ml of vodka a day or my nitrates climb up past 40 ppm and my phosphates will easily get up past 0.4 ppm. Been there.

Yes....I am fully aware that there are examples of tanks running those kinds of numbers with attractive corals. I have not been able to do such a thing. Nutrient levels that high made it wildly difficult to keep any skeleton building coral alive


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Excuse the lack of proof-reading on that post. It was late.


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Biopellet reactors is a tough topic to understand. Basically, a decade or two ago someone figured out that you could increase the bacteria within the water column by manipulating carbon. The increased bacteria would consume nutrients and allow you to stock more heavily or go longer without water changes. Going from least to most potent, you can dose sugar, vinegar, or vodka. Biopellet reactors are an automated way of dosing carbon by keeping food for the bacteria available at all times. This is similar to kalkwasser reactors that automate the mixing of kalk that was previous mixed by hand and dosed separately. Like Ty, Tim and others have said, if your husbandry practices make it hard to keep nitrates and phosphates within acceptable levels then there are several proven solutions to help. Generally, carbon dosing is more effective at removing NO3 and is not recommended for removing PO4 alone.

  1. Reduce your bioload (easier said than done :lol:) People in this hobby are natural collectors and it's very hard for most people to keep a low bioload. I keep a reef for the fish and the corals are background material, so it's especially hard for me. 
  2. Increase manual export through water changes, skimming, or filtration (i.e. socks, canister filters, etc.). I used to do weekly water changes and it's a ton of work unless you have enough money to automate it. It's easier for smaller tanks than bigger ones. 
  3. Increase natural export by adding a refugium, DSB, scrubbers, etc. DSB, refugiums and scrubbers are heavily debated because they need to be substantial in size to make a great benefit. IMO DSB are an disaster waiting to happen, I've never seen a scrubber work long term, and refugiums are beneficial no matter what size.
  4. Increase chemical export by using binders. I'm in the camp with Tim when he says people over filter their water with chemical binders and I stopped using them 2 years ago. Every so often I add carbon short term, but not permanently.
  5. Increase bacterial load by getting a bigger tank, adding LR, or carbon dosing. A hoarder that buys a bigger house doesn't suddenly have somewhere to put their stuff, they just fill the empty space with more stuff :lol:. Twenty years ago everyone had rock walls filling half or more of their aquarium volume to get as much biological filtration as possible. With the advancements of filtration its extremely rare to see this kind of tank today and I don't find them aesthetically appealing. Whatever anyone says, carbon dosing is hard! Sugar is nearly impossible to use, vinegar isn't that much better, and everyone has bleached their corals at least once with vodka. Biopellets are easier to use, but the manufacturer instructions will crash your tank in a hurry! The pellets that I use say to add 4 cups for every 125 gallons. I used 1/2 cup for 300 gallons and bleached my corals! Every reef is different, but I would start down around 1 tbls to 100g, wait three months and work up from there if you need to. 
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Biopellet reactors is a tough topic to understand. Basically, a decade or two ago someone figured out that you could increase the bacteria within the water column by manipulating carbon. The increased bacteria would consume nutrients and allow you to stock more heavily or go longer without water changes. Going from least to most potent, you can dose sugar, vinegar, or vodka. Biopellet reactors are an automated way of dosing carbon by keeping food for the bacteria available at all times. This is similar to kalkwasser reactors that automate the mixing of kalk that was previous mixed by hand and dosed separately. Like Ty, Tim and others have said, if your husbandry practices make it hard to keep nitrates and phosphates within acceptable levels then there are several proven solutions to help. Generally, carbon dosing is more effective at removing NO3 and is not recommended for removing PO4 alone.
  1. Reduce your bioload (easier said than done :lol:) People in this hobby are natural collectors and it's very hard for most people to keep a low bioload. I keep a reef for the fish and the corals are background material, so it's especially hard for me. 
  2. Increase manual export through water changes, skimming, or filtration (i.e. socks, canister filters, etc.). I used to do weekly water changes and it's a ton of work unless you have enough money to automate it. It's easier for smaller tanks than bigger ones. 
  3. Increase natural export by adding a refugium, DSB, scrubbers, etc. DSB, refugiums and scrubbers are heavily debated because they need to be substantial in size to make a great benefit. IMO DSB are an disaster waiting to happen, I've never seen a scrubber work long term, and refugiums are beneficial no matter what size.
  4. Increase chemical export by using binders. I'm in the camp with Tim when he says people over filter their water with chemical binders and I stopped using them 2 years ago. Every so often I add carbon short term, but not permanently.
  5. Increase bacterial load by getting a bigger tank, adding LR, or carbon dosing. A hoarder that buys a bigger house doesn't suddenly have someone to put their stuff, they just fill the empty space with more stuff :lol:. Twenty years ago everyone had rock walls filling half or more of their aquarium volume to get as much biological filtration as possible. With the advancements of filtration its extremely rare to see this kind of tank today and I don't find them aesthetically appealing. Whatever anyone says, carbon dosing is hard! Sugar is nearly impossible to use, vinegar isn't that much better, and everyone has bleached their corals at least once with vodka. Biopellets are easier to use, but the manufacturer instructions will crash your tank in a hurr! The pellets that I use say to add 4 cups for every 125 gallons. I used 1/2 cup for 300 gallons and bleached my corals! Every reef is different, but I would start down around 1 tbls to 100g, wait three months and work up from there if you need to. 

Thank you for that! I had to read that three times!


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