My Biopellet lessons

Discussion in 'Water Parameters and Additives' started by williet, 26 Mar 2012.

  1. williet

    williet Look at the shiny LEDs!!!

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    I have been using Biopellets since October last year and it has been great. How ever I have learnt a lot of things I would like to share. Some might not agree, hence me posting this thread so it can be discussed.

    I will list by topic and discuss below

    Basic Parameters

    Alkalinity

    Interesting parameter when using Biopellets. Anything above 8dkh causes Tissue necrosis on most SPS corals. I find that unless you have a HEAVY alkalinity consumption, Kalkstrirrers/reactors are not the way to go as you cannot control your dKH at all. This is not a good thing when using this method. Using a control dosing system is the best way.

    NO3

    Drops very quickly as soon as a bacteria source is added in the mix. It then gets to a threshold which thereafter goes down slowly. Once these nutrients dissappear, you need to start feeding you Corals or they WILL starve !!!

    Po4

    I found this interesting. Without phosphates no nitrates will be consumed by the bacteria. However in an already established system you may find that the balance is out in that you have more P than N as described in your Redfield Ratio. Use GFO very careful only after your N is where you want it and do not remove ALL Po4


    Elements

    K

    This is where I got my biggest surprise.:eek: It seems that the Biopellet systems also have correlation to the Zeovit system in the sense that it is very potasium hungry. With regular waterchanges (20% every second week) I was still able to deplete my K down to 290 (NSW is 390). My Monti's stopped growing and their colours faded. They are making a recovery now.

    I

    With the strong skimming and lots of Activated Carbon, I have found my Iodine levels were waaayyyy below par. So bad that my Acroporas got "Sun Burn". I have dosed Potasium Iodide from KZ (Korallen-Zucht) and it is already starting to look better. This is a very dangerous element and should only be dosed with a test kit and a lot of reading and research!!!

    Equipment

    UV and Ozone

    This was the most interesting discovery of all. Firstly it is not recommended with these systems. The bacteria does not get all captured by the skimmer even if its outlet goes directly into it. So it flows into the system. They have got the P and N inside of them and once they are killed by the UV sterilizer, they die and only return the P and N back into the system. (Sort of defeats the object). With Ozone it does the same however it also then becomes present in all of your water column which gets ack into your reactor and hence makes the reactor less effective than what it would have been.

    Pellet reactor

    I cannot over emphasize how important it is to get the right equipment for the job. You need a proper NP Pellet Reactor as you can control the flow. The flow should be slow, just enough to get the pellets moving. It allows for a bigger contact surface. You do not neccesary want to get water turn over as you want them a chance to multiply.

    Check my tank thread to see my progress. Once I have my tank recover from it's mineral shortages will I add updated pics !!!!

    My new 2M 1200L Ocean - Page 2 - Marine Aquariums of South Africa

    This has been a great journey I have learnt a lot and it seems to be paying off now !

    Your thoughts.....
     
    Last edited: 26 Mar 2012
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  3. erratiC

    erratiC

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    I haven't started running my NP Reactor yet but will be doing so shortly so it's always good to get opinions from people that are already running them.

    Thanks a bunch Willie, appreciate you taking the time to post your experiences.
     
  4. Tremayn

    Tremayn

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    Thanks for the insightful review! What do you have to say about the skimmer?
     
  5. zak

    zak

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    Nice review, thanks. I've just added a reactor to my system, few questions:

    Wrt flow, this seems to be an important parameter, can you shed some more light, possibly a vid?

    The recommended dose for my setup is 300g(300litre volume of water), I started a week ago with 50mg, any suggestions?

    How long after you started did you see results?
     
  6. red pepper

    red pepper

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    very interesting feedback. Some food for thought, maybe it explains the problem I have had!
    thanks for posting.
     
  7. Achilles

    Achilles

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    Very true i have found 9 to be ok but over 9 i have issues and as alk test kits may not always agree in accuracy your measure of 8 might be very true the border- still not sure why this happens but i have observed it time and time again with biopellet use. I would like to understand why it causes necrosis though
     
    Last edited: 26 Mar 2012
  8. Michael B

    Michael B

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    A great review - many thanks for the info
     
  9. williet

    williet Thread Starter Look at the shiny LEDs!!!

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    Sorry I forgot to talk about it -Skimmer is Key !!!!! I have one that is sized 2.5 times my volume I have 950L Total volume Water volume is about 750? and I have a skimmer rate for about 2300L. You need it more to get the mulm with the N and P out of your water hence you need a VERY powerful skimmer when you go with biopellets.

    Only thing is with big skimmers come complications with the skimming of elements out of your water !
     
  10. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    C:N:p 106:16:1. = 6dKH : 16ppm : 1ppm

    An area to consider is that corals could consume C,N and P in the red-field ratio. So the NP pellets could be limiting this consumption/uptake in C reduction resulting in burning of the corals. Just my thoughts. Might be worth asking RHF.
     
    Last edited: 27 Mar 2012
  11. williet

    williet Thread Starter Look at the shiny LEDs!!!

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    Thanks to all the guys! Flow is very important. imagine a small colony of bacteria. You try to grow but the flow is soooo strong that you get bumped off the pellet you are on and oops you are in the skimmer cup!

    The slower you pellets move the more time it has to grow and consume more N and P and then be able to grow the colony easier accross all pellets. Also you get more surface contact area as the water flows through slowly.

    I have had an incident with a power outage and lost my whole culture. I sould have everything better again by next week monday as I am dosing with Zeobak every day. I will post soon !!!

    Also pellets cannot stand still as the bacteria dies and starts developing sulphur which is not good for your tank !!!:eek: So be careful!

    They say 50ml-200ml of pellets for every 100L(Depends mainly on your bioload). Start with 25 - 50% of the dosage you want to use and then add in increments every 3-7 days. I also recommend dosing a good bacteria as it gets things just going a lot faster ! I have used Microbacter 7 and Now trying out the zeobak and I am very impressed!
    @Achilles I have a theory which I will discuss later about the necrosis....(At Work at the moment!)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  12. williet

    williet Thread Starter Look at the shiny LEDs!!!

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    @Nemos Janitor and Achilles - This is my theory

    When you increase DKH and Calcium to the highest possible balanced state, what happens is that the percipitation of skeletal structure happens quicker than was the coral tissue can grow due to a lack of nutrients. Low nutrient systems can limit the amount of coral tissue that grows, in which case you do not want growth of skeleton to be in excess of the growth of flesh - think of it as bone growing through your fingers due to your flesh not getting enough nutrition to grow at the same pace. Ouch !

    No matter how much we feed, lns systems can be very desolate but pretty !

    Well this is my theory anyways !:p
     
    Last edited: 27 Mar 2012
  13. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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  14. williet

    williet Thread Starter Look at the shiny LEDs!!!

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  15. williet

    williet Thread Starter Look at the shiny LEDs!!!

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    @Nemos Janitor ok......so much for my theory. At least it confirm a few of my other observations that skeletogenesis takes place during the photo period. Bloody interesting read !!!!
     
  16. Achilles

    Achilles

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    i do think the pump that runs biopellets due to it's increased flowrate needs to be one of the first equipment to be battery powered in event of a power failure as it is like a bomb on your tank if the power is out even 2 hours and then it pumps all the hydrogen sulfide back in your tank on restart of power.

    Something to consider for all who are trying biopellets ;power outages will be even more deadly with biopellets hooked up if you dont take back up steps! I think it will go totally anaerobic much faster than even a dsb would
     
    Last edited: 31 Mar 2012
  17. williet

    williet Thread Starter Look at the shiny LEDs!!!

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    @Achilles I agree but must note something. I had a power outage for about 6 hours. No backup power. I then for interest sake smelt the water and pellets inside the reactor and there was no sulphur smell. When the power came on it just went on like nothing happened. One thing though I have my Pellet reactor connected directly to my external skimmers feed pump. Fired up the skimmer first then the pellets. It pushed out a bit of foam but that was it ! So I think the worst thing that happened with me was bacteria die-off.

    Lucky I guess. Won't be taking a chance like that again !
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  18. Toolboysa

    Toolboysa Moderator

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    @williet what make and model of reactor are you using? and what brand of NP pellets?

    I used NP pellets on prev tank and will def be using it on my next tank, just going to change the reactor wasnt to happy with it
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  19. williet

    williet Thread Starter Look at the shiny LEDs!!!

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    Hi Toolboysa

    I am using the NP pellets from D van Houten. They are common here in Durban. The Vertex Pellets should also be good ( I think they are mostly all the same thing.) I use the reef octopus 1300ml media capacity. ( The new generation version). They also have a 400ml one. I got mine from Marco. They are awesome and specifically built for NP pellets. They come with an adjustable pump (To get that flow just right)and can be installed internally or externally. Comes with a whole kit of fittings and best of all it was cheap and value for money !!!

    Here is what I got - the big one !!!


    New Reef Octopus Hang On Media Reactor Kit with Feed Pump
    These Fluidized Media Reactor kits have everything you need but the media itself for you operate. Comes with a feed pump, hoses and all fittings required for installation.


    [​IMG]
    Item #: MF300B
    MF-300 Hang on Media Reactor with l/h feed pump
    Diameter: 2.5″
    Height: 15″
    Footprint: 4″ x 4″

    [​IMG]

    Item #: MF800B
    MF-800 Hang on Media Reactor with 2000l/h feed pump 500gph
    Diameter: 4″
    Height: 18.5″
    Footprint: 5.5″ x 5.5″

    Hope this helps
     
    Last edited: 4 Apr 2012
  20. williet

    williet Thread Starter Look at the shiny LEDs!!!

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    Hi all

    I gave this a lot of thought and this is what I came up with


    everyone should bare in mind Biopellets are not the replacement for waterchanges. It is there to compliment good husbandry practises that you must have already in place. It is not there to fix a problem. It is a form of filtration that can give very good results if used correctly.
     
  21. williet

    williet Thread Starter Look at the shiny LEDs!!!

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    Ok it seems you cannot add to an old post.

    One of the things I forgot to discuss is the Algae outbreaks. It is part of the process and is also situation dependent. You will have some cyano and you will have diatoms at some stage. Just work through it, dose your bacteria and one day you will wake up and it is all gone !!!!!!
     
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