Vodka Dosing Warning

Discussion in 'Water Parameters and Additives' started by irie ivan, 23 Jan 2008.

  1. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    Whilst browsing through the local forums, I have come across regular references to the vodka method here and there. Just the latest example which has caused me to become very concerned and quite frankly, annoyed : Quote:
    Ive done a 75l water change jsut now, what else is there i can do to get rid of these bubbles and to reduce nitrate? (Add vodka???)
    (Not from masa, but irrelevant IMO)
    The way in which vodka seems to be percieved as fix to nutrient issues, magic cure all or shortcut by newbies is alarming to say the least. If you are new to the hobby, and have heard about vodka,vinegar or sugar being used in tanks, take this post to heart.
    There is no quick fix for algae, or nutrient issues. There is no subtitute for patience, hard work, dilligence, sound husbandry techniques and.............. research. And in your research you have come across dosing of vodka, sugar etc.... Thats where the problem lies! The dosing of any carbon source is a very controversial aspect of the hobby to say the least...... Do you really know what it does, how it does it and why it does it??? I am sure most of us can say yes to most of these questions if asked about our skimmers???? And how many to these w.r.t. vodka?

    Don't get me wrong, dosing of a carbon source has its place in the hobby, there are some systems with great results which uses it as an integral part of their husbandry (think Prodibio, Zeovit, Fauna Marin). The difference between these systems and the newbies is years of testing, experience, R&D and ...............many dead corals..... There are many reefers using carbon dosing without the abovementioned systems (me included), but once again, patience, research, experience and then some more research is the key.
    Furthermore:The scientific literature is out there, but trust me when I tell you, the jury is still out on this one...
    Before you even start contemplating using vodka to get rid of nuisance algae/cyano bacteria, first understand what the algae is, why it is there, what you did to allow it to be there..... As you learn, you will learn how to effectively control, reduce and iliminate unwanted species from your tank.....You will learn about the tried, tested and trusted methologies employed by sucessfull reefers. Surely a better place to start........?

    Guess what I am trying to say is that if you have algae or nutrient issues, you have husbandry issues! a problem which vodka is NOT going to solve! (I know there is a belief that the deeper you look into the bottle, the easier you forget your problems........and who enjoys hangovers?) Re evaluate your husbandry techniques, stocking levels, feeding regime, flow and filtration method. Do some water changes, blow clean some rock, do whatever it takes....

    Like I said, there is a place for systems which employ a carbon source, but only start dabbling in the real dark side once you have a thorough understanding of nutrient fluxes, nutrient and bacterial fluxes, once you have come to grips with parameters, you have managed to maintain relatively low nutrient values, and most importantly, you have achieved STABILITY in you tank. Then and only then, use carbon dosing, trace element and amino acids to tweak colours for example.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 24 Jan 2008
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  3. Kanga

    Kanga Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Very Very true, even if the Vodka did work, its much more important for the newcomer to understand what is happening with his tank and why rather than some perceived quick fix. Nice thread Ivan.
     
  4. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Hello Ivan - I too have got the t-shirt - BUT, I found that detritus WITHIN my live rock was the cause of nitrate and phosphate issues, which in turn caused nuisance algae to grow.

    SO - I think we should propose "cleaning out of detritus from within rocks and other hidden places" - as a substitute for vodka - Vodka is like a placebo for the real problem - it seems to work in a limited fashion, BUT, ONLY if utilized by someone who has been in the game for at LEAST 2 years or more! And who has learnt their way through the game....

    BUT, only as an experiment and not as a religion either - I mean - there's no VODKA in the sea, is there?!?!?!
     
    MistaOrange likes this.
  5. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Thank you for those very wise words Ivan, definitely something to take note of, the use of vodka is not to be taken lightly at all, it's not simply "Add Vodka" and that's the end of the story, it is much more involved and requires a lot of understanding behind it.
     
  6. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    Not going to call it a rant at all, as i fully agree with what you say.
     
  7. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    As a newbie, thanks for the info. To further add, with my journey of understanding my marine system, I have never been advised by MASA members to dose the tank with Vodka.

    Get the basic parameters right and algae will go away
     
  8. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    vodka doesnt get rid of problems it irrigates them
     
  9. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    I can confirm that Glenn - I had terrible cyano bacteria grow, when I dosed Vodka - I ahve stopped with this now, though completely - the cyano bacteria is also now completely gone - you saw, hey ;-)
     
  10. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    Well said Ivan.

    Carbon dosing has nothing to do with correct husbandary, and is far more likely to cause losses and heartache than bring any positive result.

    Even in hands that have done the research, and there is a lot to do and plenty more to be done in this field, problems occur.
     
  11. cybervic

    cybervic

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    Yeah there is :p Think of all the drunken sailors spilling on rough seas.

    Very valid point though, alot of the things we do to/put in our tanks does not exist in the sea and normally can do more harm than good. *pfft just had to say something <eg>*
     
  12. irie ivan

    irie ivan Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Thank you for the complimets.
     
  13. IMarine

    IMarine

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    I agree and dont, but i have used only .3mill per 100lts and it works,not 1mill per 100 lts, it works as well but will not recommend it @ 1mill for a new reef but @ .3mill it works as well,i now a freind that started his system 4 weeks later had a problem with cyno bacteria and then dosed .3mill for 10 days all gone now he only does .3mill every 2-3 days and it works,if you over dose you will have a problem be very, very carefull.
     
  14. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    The problem is that there is a LOT more to understand than just a really rough thumbsuck of the correct dose.

    Unforseen problems crop up that are unlikely to be understood without a proper understanding of the mechanisms involved. I don't think anybody has a complete understanding, and experimentation is still being undertaken by the top guys in the world.

    To jump in because some guy said "he never saw his tank look so clear" is asking for trouble. You might get lucky for a while or you might not.
     
  15. IMarine

    IMarine

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    Yes you might be right or not but i whent as low as .1mill and did not work and at .3mill it works, as you going to 1mill it works as well but why use 1mill when .3mill does the same job i only does every 2-3 days only,please the new reef set ups must give thear tank at least 4-6 weeks to mature due to cycle and then they can decide to use or not, but do not over does it can be dangerous.Goodluck to all that tried vodca .
     
  16. irie ivan

    irie ivan Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Exactly why I started this thread...... No offence IMarine, please. There is nothing wrong with your dosage, but it is specific to your tank, your bioload your filtration and your nutrient levels and bacterial population! Not something inexperienced (and most fairly experienced) reefers should be dabbling with.
     
  17. IMarine

    IMarine

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    You so right bra,as long as there water levels is correct take it easy low does, and as i said wait to cycle you water before doseing, and lots of good bacteria
     
  18. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    Imarine, what you're doing is unlikely to harm your tank too much, ie low dosage etc.

    But its unlikely to be helping your tank either. The whole idea as followed thus far by this methodology is to feed constantly and some people even feed four times a day to build up and then keep the bacterial bioload constant.

    Feeding every 3 days is likely to cause fluctuations in conditions in your tank, which is a basic error in husbandary ie. we try to keep our conditions as stable as possible.

    Please do not feel that I am trying to pick on you Imarine. I feel partly to blame for the thinking that carbon dosing could be used as a nutrient reduction method. Although I have tried in my posts to explain the need for extreme caution and much research before trying the method, I feel that the idea has caught on by some as a kind of cure for nutrient problems, and a replacement for good tank maintenance.

    People were trying it without even knowing what their phospate levels were. Testing this and many other important levels is a cornerstone of this method which was proposed by Swiss and German scientists.

    There is some complicated stuff happening here, and adding Vodka like some people add trace elements, in the hope that it will do something good to your tank is very dangerous.
     
    Last edited: 25 Jan 2008
  19. irie ivan

    irie ivan Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Thanks Bob
     
  20. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    Sure thing Ivan.
     
  21. Tony

    Tony

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