For marine aquarists in Hampton Roads and beyond!

Vodka/Sugar

16 replies [Last post]
dkoernert
dkoernert's picture
User offline. Last seen 7 years 17 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 04/17/2009
Points: 139

Just curious to see who here doses either vodka or sugar? I am thinking about starting sugar to bring down nitrates, but am still a little leery about the whole thing. Any input?

Woody (not verified)
Drew, I'm dosing Brightwells

Drew, I'm dosing Brightwells Reef Bio-Fuel. It's much safer than sugar and I can tell a big difference in my Nitrate/Phosphate reduction. It's the same as a sugar or vodka carbon source just safer. I'd tend to lean that way instead of sugar/vodka considering the size of your tank. You have a much more narrow margin of error than with a larger tank. Oh, and you NEED a good skimmer to do any of the above.

That's just my 2 cents Smile

Woody

dkoernert
dkoernert's picture
User offline. Last seen 7 years 17 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 04/17/2009
Points: 139
That is the suggestion I got

That is the suggestion I got from a few other people too. Looks like I will be ordering some of that, and upgrading the skimmer as well. I put a tiny tiny pinch of sugar in my tank this morning almost couldnt see it it was so little, and my skimmer went nuts. Nitrates are a little lower, but I have been reading about the dangers of sugar dosing and it seems too risky.

Patrick
Patrick's picture
User offline. Last seen 3 years 22 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 04/16/2009
Points: 473
Sugar dosing is NOT the best

Sugar dosing is NOT the best choice. IMO, it is not really even a good or decent choice. You really should use ethanol if you are going to do this. It really is not any more risky than Zeovit, Biofuel or any of the other products out there. The others may have added benefits that I cannot ascertain from not having used them. But, I can tell you that Vodka does work. I add 4 mL to my 55 gallon here....of course I worked up to that......some reading is in order if one is gravitating towards ethanol use......and I brought my nitrates and phosphates down to nothing.....from ~ 20 ppm. It really is hard to keep a volume that small in check.....especially with as many fish as I have had the fortune to collect.

The reason Vodka is the best source is that it is about 80% pure ethanol and clean.....this is due to the distillation process used to make vodka. Other sources of ethanol and sugar as well....are all processed and have other ingredients/impurities that you are adding with the ethanol. That is the main reason that vodka is chosen over say, rum or whiskey ......or whatever else has ethanol.....plus it can be bought very cheap.

I cannot speak to the Brightwell or Zeovit systems other than to say I know the claims and the science behind what they claim. I cannot in good conscience tell anyone that they are better or that you will achieve the denitrification and phosphate reduction better or safer with what they offer than you can with vodka.......and at a ridiculously lower price. Again, there may be other things in these expensive supplements that give an added benefit.....like trace elements or coral food.....but if your main aim is to promote bacterial or plankton proliferation, and lower your dissolved organics, then vodka is certainly the best route.....just for the cost savings alone. If you want the other things that products provide, then buy /by all means have at them. Just make sure you read up on these systems too as they all have a program to achieve best results.

Vodka works for me.......I was really surprised how well it worked and I had no issues at all.

The enemy of good enough is better.

Woody (not verified)
Whatever you do....research,

Whatever you do....research, research, research. I've read of people crashing tanks with all the above mentioned methods. Also, I didn't mean to say that Reef Bio-fuel was better than sugar or vodka, but from all my research, it's a lot safer. Jeff seemed to give me the same impression. That's the great thing about this hobby....err...addiction. The end results can be accomplished in so many different ways.

Patrick
Patrick's picture
User offline. Last seen 3 years 22 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 04/16/2009
Points: 473
Woody, I am curious as to the

Woody, I am curious as to the claim that Bio-Fuel is "safer".

If it adds a carbon source to increase that available for cell wall synthesis and proliferation of bacteria. then I am just curious as to the claims....not necessarily by you personally....but the claims that it is safer.

The whole gist to adding ethanol or the the asundry of other products is to add a nearly pure carbon source.....since it tends to be a rate limiting step in the creation of new bacteria or plankton. Typically, there are about 112 carbons to 14 nitrogens to 1 or 2 phosphorus atoms in a typical bacterial or plankton cell wall. The theory to adding the carbon source is to allow the carbon ratio to be proportionate to that ratio so that bacteria can proliferate, and use up the nitrate and phosphate in the process to gain the nitrogen and phosphorus sources they need. So, whether you add a relatively pure source like ethanol, or you add sugar or zeovit or Bio Fuel........if they contain a significant carbon source and are added too much too soon, they all can cause the bacterial bloom and quickly deplete oxygen and crash the tank. That is what "can" happen with vodka dosing. Other that that, it is a pretty harmless addition. Just based on the mechanism of action, I am curious as to how adding any carbon source would vary in safety......unless something like Bio Fuel just comes with extremely tapered instructions that prevent you from overdoing it too soon?

Just inquiring so that statements are not made that throw folks off of the real issue at hand.

FWIW, I am up to 4 mL maintenance dose on my 55 gallon and I have not had any issues or cloudiness.

The enemy of good enough is better.

Woody (not verified)
RBF

Patrick. My interpretation of "safer" is basically that Reef BioFuel is not as aggressive, and does not have any ethanol products in it. Also, it has specific directions so that the not-so-advanced hobbiest can use it without overdosing . I didn't mean to imply that RBF is better than Vodka, or safer if Vodka is done by someone who understands exactly what they are doing and doses slowly enough at the start. If someone is comfortable dosing vodka and have done their research, then by all means belly up to the bar Smile

Maybe Jeff can shed some light on the "safer" thing with RBF. That was the way he described it to me when I first inquired about it.

Woody

Patrick
Patrick's picture
User offline. Last seen 3 years 22 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 04/16/2009
Points: 473
I see. I figured it might be

I see. I figured it might be something along those lines......or it could even be a marketing thing.

All I was getting at is that a carbon atom is a carbon atom is a carbon atom. The way it is packaged may or may not be an issue at all.....as long as it does not contain any type of harmful additives. Personally, I like to know............ to the percentage point...........what I add. In that way, I can truly be cognizant and responsible. Vodka for me allows me that knowledge. Once these companies start listing exactly what they place in their products, I will feel more comfortable with them. Of course, I am sure that with all the DIY mentality in the hobby, they fear folks will do it themselves and save their money. I do understand that.

The enemy of good enough is better.

Woody (not verified)
I agree with you Patrick.

I agree with you Patrick. Vodka is a heck of a lot cheaper than these specialty products Smile

dkoernert
dkoernert's picture
User offline. Last seen 7 years 17 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 04/17/2009
Points: 139
I moved the Chaeto I have to

I moved the Chaeto I have to an area with a little more flow in the back chamber, and the nitrates have started dropping. I also found some pretty nifty lights at Wal Mart for macro in a refugium, they are little 2-watt LED fixtures (dont know the color temp). They are super bright, and I think one fixture is like seven bucks, you can also chain them together.

Im not too sure as to why I even thought of doing either of the two methods. I realized I have such a small system a water change should drop the nitrates as well.

Here is a pic of the light:

klieb70
klieb70's picture
User offline. Last seen 19 weeks 3 days ago. Offline
Joined: 04/19/2009
Points: 1059
wal mart light

dkoernert wrote:
I moved the Chaeto I have to an area with a little more flow in the back chamber, and the nitrates have started dropping. I also found some pretty nifty lights at Wal Mart for macro in a refugium, they are little 2-watt LED fixtures (dont know the color temp). They are super bright, and I think one fixture is like seven bucks, you can also chain them together.

Im not too sure as to why I even thought of doing either of the two methods. I realized I have such a small system a water change should drop the nitrates as well.

Here is a pic of the light:

How is the light working with the chaeto?


Does anyone else use krylon to keep their corals looking good?