Carbon dosing via pellets

jda123

Dolphin
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#2
What do you want to know? You will likely remove much more nitrate than phosphate and will still need some other way to remove phosphate. I would not do it on a new/newer tank where the whole nitrogen cycle is not yet complete - anoxic areas converting nitrate into nitrogen gas. Any carbon dosing can be useful on an established tank with an experiences reefer who needs to address one or two things.

Just remember that high tide lifts all ships - the extra organic carbon will make all kinds of things/bacterial multiply and not always just good things.

Vinegar, Vodka or Sugar can/will do the same thing in a different form. I uses sugar on my FOWLR and it worked great - cheap and pure.
 

Reef Passion

Cyano
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#3
Thank you for the reply. With my 3 tanks and heavy load. I use GFO and dose Brightwell Phosphat-E Liquid Phosphate Remover. I want a more natural and consistent way of controlling Nitrate and Phosphate and GFO removes more than phosphate like other trace elements from what I read.
I was looking for someone other than a manufacturer that sells a product, to give me some feedback and experience.

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SynDen

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#4
I have personally never carbon dosed, although have considered it before, but for me the cons out weigh the pros. I have seen a lot of crashed tanks as a result of carbon dosing. Either they accidently overdose it and they end up with a huge bacterial bloom, and everything dies, or they end up stripping far to much nitrates/phos out of the water and then their corals lose color and wither away.
I have seen a few use it quite successfully though, although most were expert level reefers, like JDA, who understand the precise balances and take the time to make sure they maintain the balance. If you are a lazy reefer who doesn't test or pay close attention to your water chemistry, or a newer reef then carbon dosing is a recipe for disaster
Although seeing the pics of your tanks, it appears that you may likely have what it takes to be successful at it, so if you decide to go for it, just go slowly, and test often and you should be fine
 

Reef Passion

Cyano
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#5
One thing for sure I would start slow with probably a quarter of what would be recommended. I do want to keep my Phos around 0.05
I was hoping someone had experience with the Tropic Marine as they state their pellets are better than others do to the fact they are made out of seaweed. Could make sense or maybe it's just really good marketing.
 

SynDen

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#6
Haven't seen their pellets but if you considering doing carbon dosing, like using sugar, all natural is the best way to go imo.
 

jda123

Dolphin
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#7
There are probably better ways to control nitrate and phosphate. Bio Pellets and adding in organic carbon is far from natural. If you have room, add another skimmer, fuge with chaeto is natural. 2+ inch sandbed should be able to handle most nitrates if it is mature and left alone.

Otherwise, you are down to media and chemicals.

If you have a good amount of phosphate on a test kit, then you can bet that your rocks and sand are bound with much phosphate. It binds to equilibrium with the water in an exponential way. It can take a lot of time to get the level down to where it stays down - you remove some from the water and then the aragonite just releases more into the water and brings the level right back up again. For example, I helped a dude with a 150 or 180 that had about .25 phosphorous on Hannah and it took him like 9 months changing the media every day and 2 5 gallon buckets of GFO to get it all out for good.

Phosphate binds to lots of things, but also can unbind. GFO, Al Oxide, aragonite, calcite, just to name a few. Always change your GFO if you change water since if you leave it in there, the GFO will unbind to equilibrium with the fresh water that you added. Nitrate has no such binding, but bacteria can use the oxygen in the no3 and release nitrogen gas - this happens deep in sand and rocks that are mature and not gummed up with gunk or terrestrial stuff (like with dry/dead rock).

If you really want to carbon dose, start with vinegar, sugar or vodka. Each have their pros and cons - some grow cyano, some grow grey film, etc. Nothing is prefect and each will grow more than just waterborne bacteria for you to filter out. Also, you have a skimmer right? Carbon dosing will not really work without one unless you want to change mechanical media a few times a day. Too much will cause too many bacteria to grow and they use up all of the oxygen and can kill your fish, inverts, micro fauna which can sometimes lead to a crash if enough stuff dies - fish are usually first to go even if there is not a crash. Start slow and start smart. The growing bacteria (and other things) also need trace and major elements, which can starve corals some... water changes are a good idea if you are heavy into organic carbon dosing.

Just for an example, I have a very heavy bio load in my 240 - I buy food by the kilo and feed a lot. I keep acropora and clams so I like to have as close to NSW water as possible. I have 4 skimmers in the sump, 2-3 inch sand bed and run a 10g tank where I have to prune the chaeto every 2-4 weeks (depending on how much iron I add). My no3 stays at like .1 and my po4 is at 1-3 ppb on Hannah. This is where I like it. About a year ago, I "rescued" some anthias that were shipped to the wrong store. I fed them like crazy to get them acclimated. This caused my po4 to raise beyond what my fuge could handle to like 5-12 ppb. I saw my coralline growth slow down and some of my acroproa - most acropora did not care at all. I used a single drop of seaklear twice a day for about a month to get the po4 back to where I like it and it has stayed there. This was purposefully slow since I wanted no risk to my corals. The stupid anthias were savages and slowly killed each other down to a pair I have only one left now after one jumped. That is what I get for trying to keep them alive.

Lan Chloride is a good way to lower po4, but you have to go slow. It is cheaper than GFO. Nitrate is best handled by anoxic bacteria. Water changes can help no3 a bit, but is hard to sustain long term. Water changes don't seem to make a dent in po4.
 
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