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View Full Version : Vodka dosing going no where??


mike810
06/09/2010, 11:17 PM
I've been dosing vodka for a month or more. I have a 65 G tank with 15G sump,40lbs of LR, I estimate my water volume to be around 70-75 Gallons. I'm running GAC and GFO. I do not have a refugium. I run a over sized skimmer rated for up to 160 gallons (swc cone 160) My nitrates have been at 20ppm and has not dropped once during my vodka dosing time. It has climbed a bit but not much. I am now at 3ML daily, am I doing something wrong?

mike810
06/10/2010, 01:53 AM
forgot to mention im dosing 80 proof vodka, feeding once a day with spectrum pellet when i get home from work. a pinch or two. fishes usually eat it all up within a minute

re_vogel
06/10/2010, 05:54 AM
It takes time. Just follow the directions in the article and you should start to see a change soon.

Randy Holmes-Farley
06/10/2010, 08:50 AM
Maybe the nitrate value is not accurate.

Has anything apparently changed in the tank?

tmz
06/10/2010, 10:28 AM
In my opinion you can probably keep ramping up slowly to abut 5ml. It can take months for nitrate reductions to show up in some tanks. 20ppm NO3 is not an urgent issue. Some say sugar goes faster. Beware, it may but in my experience some corals like scolymia and lobophylia don't do well with it.

mike810
06/10/2010, 01:29 PM
Maybe the nitrate value is not accurate.

Has anything apparently changed in the tank?

Haven't seen any changes. Nitrate staying steady at 20ppm. Noticed a diatom bloom but that's probably cause I ran out of gfo for 2 weeks

Randy Holmes-Farley
06/11/2010, 04:46 AM
Then it is probably OK to up the dose a bit. :)

mike810
06/11/2010, 08:19 AM
what is a safe dose to up it to?

tmz
06/11/2010, 09:36 AM
Systems are different so it's hard to make a specific recommendation as one size fits all. FWIW I've been dosing what amounts to .065ml (90 proof vodka)per gallon to a 550 gallon system with a relatively high biolaod for about 17months without any discernible ill effects. NO3 holds at between 0.2ppm and 0.5ppm. That would be .065 x 70 or about 5ml for 70 gallons. Others dose more. Some dose less.

mike810
06/11/2010, 01:04 PM
Thanks for the info. I will bring it up to 4ml and see how that goes. Thanks!!

mal1099
06/11/2010, 08:02 PM
i just skimmed thru the post but if your dosing vodka you need to be replacing your bacteria that the vodka is getting rid of. MB7 is a great product to use. That the reason your nitrate isnt coming down. I have heard you can cause a system crash if you dont replace the bacteria with vodka dosing.

UnknownFish
06/11/2010, 08:08 PM
Not to hijack this thread but what might be MB7?

UnknownFish
06/11/2010, 08:10 PM
Never mind it's late and I'm not thinking, microbacter 7, I wasnt thinking.

mike810
06/11/2010, 08:46 PM
So it's a must to dose mb7 when dosing vodka? I thought that was just an option but that is good to know!

mike810
06/11/2010, 11:59 PM
bump, is mb7 a must when dosing vodka?

HighlandReefer
06/12/2010, 06:21 AM
Dosing bacteria may help, but it is more likely that other bacteria naturally present in your system will be the dominate bacteria responsible for braking down the excess wastes in your system. A reef tank contains many 10's of thousands of different kinds of bacteria, IMHO. The likely hood that a few species added to a system out-competes the others is very low. This has been demonstrated in many research articles I have read when using known bacteria in a reactor to reduce nitrates. Now if one were to artificially manufacturer a bacteria, this may change (super bacteria). Super bacteria are what are being researched with now in waste water management. I don't believe that any of the bacteria sold currently are super manufactured bacteria at present, due to the extreme costs in making them. :)

Randy Holmes-Farley
06/12/2010, 07:01 AM
I do not dose bacteria of any kind, and I dose organic carbon. So it is not a must. Some may think it useful, and perhaps in some situations it is. But I've not felt any need or potential benefit in my system.

Haksar
06/12/2010, 07:13 AM
I don't dose any bacteria and my nitrates are undetectable.

tmz
06/12/2010, 09:40 AM
I do not dose any bacteria. There are plenty of viable bacteria in the aquarium that will respond to the carbon dosing, in my opinion.

mike810
06/12/2010, 01:07 PM
Thank you all for your input. That other post about the system crashing kinda scared me. I will continue dosing vodka and hopefully see some results soon. I bumped up my dosage from 3ml to 4ml last night

tmz
06/13/2010, 12:11 PM
Good luck.
For clarification, the vodka does not get rid of any bacteria it feeds them. Aggressive skimming is needed to remove the excess bacteria and excess organics..Using gac is a good idea too. A "crash" is likely to occur from too many bacteria depleting oxygen as may occur when too much carbon is dosed; not too few.

Some use commercial bacterial concoctions to boost bacteria short term with the hope that they will out compete less desireable carbon consumers such as cyanobacteria for example. I prefer to rely on the bacteria in the tank and let them grow into the task without outside competition. Varying the carbon source( such as switching some vinegar for vodka )may help promote some beneficial diversity in the indigenous bacteria.
Most dosing regimes for bacteria involve ongoing dosing which suggests that the bacteria dosed are not viable long term in the aquarium, a circumstance which requires continual purchase of the product.

aquaph8
06/13/2010, 12:19 PM
I was always told not to run GFO with vodka dosing. Maybe something to look into. There are many smarter guys then me in this forum and Im sure they will comment but its just what I heard.

mike810
06/13/2010, 01:38 PM
I was always told not to run GFO with vodka dosing. Maybe something to look into. There are many smarter guys then me in this forum and Im sure they will comment but its just what I heard.

He said GAC (carbon) not GFO. Anyways, from what i've read, GFO is not needed but many still tend to run it due to the vodka lowering nitrates and the increased feedings. Increased feedings means more phosphates entering the system so ppl continue to use it. I'm Still running GAC and GFO. When I was out of GFO for 2 weeks, I saw a lot of algae growth on my glass.

aquaph8
06/13/2010, 02:59 PM
read the whole thread it says GFO and GAC in the first post.

tmz
06/13/2010, 08:04 PM
No reason not to run gfo. It's likely needed to ensure low PO4 levels even with carbon dosing( vodka.vinegar ,etc.)since plenty of
PO4 comes in with food and waste. The bacteria will consume some PO4 along with nitrogen and organic carbon but likely not enough to keep PO4 very low. Keep in mind reef water levels of PO4 are a scant .005ppm. I have been running gfo and gac alongside carbon dosing for about 16 months. Don't know where you heard you shouldn't use it. Many do and I need it to keep PO4 under .05ppm.

aquaph8
06/13/2010, 08:26 PM
Good to know. Dont quote me on this but I think it was Sunnys thread. But like I said, its just what I heard. Did you notice a change in your PO4 well before your nitrates like I did?

Genetics
06/13/2010, 08:58 PM
Also, remember that phosphate tests measure inorganic phosphate and not total phosphate in the water. I would up see how 4mL of vodka goes on your tank.

Side question, do you have a sandbed?

tmz
06/13/2010, 09:01 PM
Yes, it seems to take longer for the NO3 to go down. I suspect bacteria in the water column respond quickly to the extra carbon and use phosphate as well as some nitrogen from the NO3 for food. I think it takes longer for the carbon to enhance anaerobic activity where the oxygen from the NO3 is used for respiration and may be used in larger quantities. In my case I took down high nitrates with a sulfur denitrator and then maintained them at very low levels with carbon dosing.

Well, wherever you heard not to use gfo when dosing carbon I disagree with it. Living things need organic carbon(C)( sourced to heterotrophs and produced by autotrophs via photosynthesis),nitrogen(N) and phosphorous(P). They consume CNP in certain proportions which vary somewhat by organism. For perspective a general ratio of 116C to 16N to 1P ( redfield ratio) is useful. As you can see very little phosphate is taken in relative to nitrogen or carbon . This coupled with the extremely low natural level of PO4(surface reef waers hold about .005ppm) makes it very unlikely that a PO4 deficiency inhibiting nitrogen reduction could occur in a tank receiving any food.

aquaph8
06/13/2010, 09:59 PM
TMZ, thanks for the follow up as well as the extra info. Very imformative.

mike810
06/14/2010, 12:51 AM
Also, remember that phosphate tests measure inorganic phosphate and not total phosphate in the water. I would up see how 4mL of vodka goes on your tank.

Side question, do you have a sandbed?

I do have a sandbed, a couple inches of aragonite alive sand. I'm due for my 1 week WC but I will hold off on that. I want to see how my tank responds to 4ML of vodka dosing. If there are no changes for the week i'm dosing 4ml. I will do my WC and bump the dosage up to 5ml. Does this sound like a good plan?

Genetics
06/14/2010, 05:53 AM
Sounds like a plan. Have you noticed any increase in your skimmate?

tmz
06/14/2010, 08:30 AM
TMZ, thanks for the follow up as well as the extra info. Very imformative.


You are welcome.

mike810
06/14/2010, 12:08 PM
Sounds like a plan. Have you noticed any increase in your skimmate?

I have noticed increased skimmate, but I noticed this before I bumped my dosage up to 4ML. I recently added a few fishes which increased my bioload. I had a relatively light bioload before so my skimmer did not skim very well. I would consider my tank to be a heavy bioload now. Tons of new sps and a few fishes within a month. anthias eat a lot :beer:


BTW: is that a mystery wrasses in your avatar?

Genetics
06/14/2010, 04:05 PM
I have noticed increased skimmate, but I noticed this before I bumped my dosage up to 4ML. I recently added a few fishes which increased my bioload. I had a relatively light bioload before so my skimmer did not skim very well. I would consider my tank to be a heavy bioload now. Tons of new sps and a few fishes within a month. anthias eat a lot :beer:


BTW: is that a mystery wrasses in your avatar?


Increase in skimmate is a good sign that it is reaching levels that work in decreasing nitrates.

Yes, it is a picture I took of my mystery wrasse. It took me a little while to photo edit to a form I liked and that would post on RC. :)

mike810
06/14/2010, 11:10 PM
just did a test for nitrates, still at 20ppm. been dosing 4ml for 4days now. Safe to say I should bump it up to 5ml?

shandy_say
06/15/2010, 04:21 AM
Im no expert with vodka dosing since I myself have been experiencing the same thing...but patience bro...only bad things happen quickly in this hobby!

mike810
06/15/2010, 12:47 PM
i have been patient, the only reason why I'd consider bumping it to 5ml is cause some of the people who posted here said it was most likely safe to do so before I bumped it up to 4ml.

shandy_say
06/15/2010, 07:13 PM
Do you mean you dosed it up to 5ml then when your nitrates hit 0 thats when you will go back to the maintenance dose of 4ml?

I myself am dosing 6ml of vodka per day already and have not yet seen any decrease in nitrates.

mike810
06/15/2010, 11:24 PM
what is your total water volume? i have been dosing per the vodka dosing guide. bumping it up .05ml every week. but i have not seen any results even though i am at 4ml now. I am thinking about jumping up to 5ml and see if that has any results on my nitrates after about a week. If I see no results i will bring it up to 5.5ml or maybe 6ml if there are no objections from the vodka dosing pros on here.

shandy_say
06/15/2010, 11:31 PM
my total water volume is about 100gals. I read through melevs reefs thread and saw it took him about 7 months before he saw any decrease in his nitrates cause of his dsb. Do you have a dsb? I think what you're doing now is what has been recommended and is actually what ive been doing also. I know how it feels to not see any difference despite the time it has taken already.

mike810
06/16/2010, 12:54 AM
I don't have a dsb, if i remember correctly when reading melevs thread. I think he said he had a bad nitrate test kit. he used a needle to make the hole bigger in one of the test bottles cause it wouldnt drip for him. after he got a new kit i think his nitrates read 0 or close to it.

shandy_say
06/16/2010, 01:00 AM
I think that was a different thread. Here is the thread - Melevs Reef (http://melevsreef.com/vodka_dosing.html). HTH.

mike810
06/16/2010, 01:37 AM
oic, I was referring to Melevs build thread here on RC, can't seem to find it

shandy_say
06/16/2010, 01:45 AM
well anyway hope everything works out for you. Keep us posted!

NicholasP
06/20/2010, 01:07 PM
http://www.melevsreef.com/vodka_dosing.html

Genetics
06/20/2010, 01:54 PM
oic, I was referring to Melevs build thread here on RC, can't seem to find it

Yeah, his thread on RC was closed the last time I checked.

5mL should be fine to increase at this point.

mike810
06/20/2010, 06:18 PM
right now i'm doing 4.5ml. couple more days and i'll bump up to 5ml. nitrate seems to be holding steady at 20 ppm. using api test kit. the test color seems to be getting a little lighter. I still haven't done a wc. I want to see what happens when i get to 5ml. I think 5ml might drop my nitrates. the skimmate coming out of my skimmer has increased significantly. It was a light see through tea color skimmate before. Now its a dark black skimmate that i cannot see through even when shining a flash light to it.

Isayso
06/26/2010, 12:55 PM
it will take time and patience
I had my nitrates at 80>out of scale lol
I have a 90g with a total of 110 gal system
been dosing for almost two months now
and they are down to 20..still holding Im using the 3 parts recipe (vodka sugar vinegar)
I'm up to 9.4 mils /day ,....started very slowly Im looking forward to see the zeroes
skimmer is putting out black skimmate the water clarity is incredible

mike810
06/26/2010, 01:50 PM
it will take time and patience
I had my nitrates at 80>out of scale lol
I have a 90g with a total of 110 gal system
been dosing for almost two months now
and they are down to 20..still holding Im using the 3 parts recipe (vodka sugar vinegar)
I'm up to 9.4 mils /day ,....started very slowly Im looking forward to see the zeroes
skimmer is putting out black skimmate the water clarity is incredible

i'm up to 4.5ml daily right now. Water clarity is clear but I could owe that to my rox carbon also. But nitrate is holding at 20ppm still. Waiting to see it drop down to zero one day. I'm only dosing vodka right now. Skimmer is producing a lot of black skim. Loving my skimmer to say the least

Genetics
06/26/2010, 02:44 PM
You should double check your nitrate kit with a reference of some sort. Black skimmate and clear water means you are there with dosing.

bertoni
06/26/2010, 05:26 PM
You could try testing some RO/DI water with the nitrate test kit. If that doesn't read zero, I'd pitch the kit.

hawaiian_boi
06/26/2010, 07:09 PM
i started dosing vodka on feb 1st of this year and only 3 weeks ago did my n and p start to drop. but i did have a deep sand bed and i feed a lot and my tank has been up and running for almost 2 years . the week i noticed my n and p dropping i noticed all my corals starting to color up like i have never seen before.

Isayso
06/26/2010, 07:47 PM
i started dosing vodka on feb 1st of this year and only 3 weeks ago did my n and p start to drop. but i did have a deep sand bed and i feed a lot and my tank has been up and running for almost 2 years . the week i noticed my n and p dropping i noticed all my corals starting to color up like i have never seen before.

same here with deep sand bed.. its 4" and my tank is 9 years old
plus Im dosing 3 ml a day of hydrogen peroxide 3% to help with oxygen

bertoni
06/26/2010, 08:11 PM
I wouldn't dose hydrogen peroxide, personally. It is an oxidizer and can damage animals, especially fish gills, for example, and it's not going to add a significant amount of oxygen. The tank flow and skimmers should be enough. People have used it to make the water clearer.

Isayso
06/27/2010, 07:08 AM
I wouldn't dose hydrogen peroxide, personally. It is an oxidizer and can damage animals, especially fish gills, for example, and it's not going to add a significant amount of oxygen. The tank flow and skimmers should be enough. People have used it to make the water clearer.

from a not recent study/research was said that 5 mils per a 100 gal system is still safe wanted to go with a lower dose and went with 3 ml
Ive been dosing since I started with VSV dosing ...I personally don't think that would cause really damage in a 100 + gals system:hmm2: but I could be wrong
so far all living creatures seems to be fine

mike810
06/27/2010, 03:18 PM
You could try testing some RO/DI water with the nitrate test kit. If that doesn't read zero, I'd pitch the kit.

sounds like an idea, i'll try that

bertoni
06/27/2010, 08:48 PM
Hydrogen peroxide might be safe, but I wouldn't count on it, and it won't add a useful amount of oxygen.

Genetics
06/28/2010, 01:01 PM
Hydrogen peroxide shouldn't be used to increase oxygen levels but it will make your water more clear.

d0ughb0y
06/28/2010, 03:47 PM
its possible your 40 lbs LR may not have sufficient area for enough bacteria to handle your tank's bio load. you can always use zeolite rocks in a tlf reactor for more bacteria to grow without adding LR.

mike810
06/28/2010, 04:04 PM
do you think that could cause my nitrates not going down? i have 6 fish, 1 cleaner shrimp and a bunch of sps some lps and some rics. fishes are small, should i add some more LR to my sump? I dont really have any more space in my DT for rock as my sps is all glued down and encrusted.

bertoni
06/28/2010, 04:26 PM
More live rock might help with the nitrate, depending on the cause of the problem. Adding some well-cured live rock to your sump shouldn't hurt anything, although live rock can have a fair amount of die-off during transport from the store.

mike810
06/28/2010, 10:30 PM
test kit tested fine per bertoni's suggestion. But I went out and got a salifert kit anyways. I have good news to report. nitrates has dropped from 20 to 10ppm. I have been dosing 4.5ml a day for about a week and a half. I ran test half way dosing 4.5ml and it was still at 20ppm but tonight it reads 10. I will start dosing 5ml as of tonight to see if it will go down to 0 and will cut the dose in half and go from there.

StevenKJ
06/29/2010, 05:59 AM
I thought I would jump in and tell you all my success with Vodka Dosing. Like MIKE810, no matter how many times I changed the water, my Nitrate levels wouldn't drop below 20ppm. I spent days researching vodka dosing to ensure that it was not a fad and it would work. Here are my results, using 80% proof Vodka:
first day - 0.5ml skimmer starting to generate black scum
seventh day - 1ml
14th day - 2ml
21st day - 3ml
8th week - 8ml nitrate starts to drop (sorry but I did not record the drop in nitrate levels)
9th week - 4ml, nitrate reading 0 ppm (50% reduction in dosing levels)
10th week - 2 ml etc..

As my results suggest, I did not see a positive change in the Nitrate levels until the eight week, so stick to it.

Mike810 - Is your skimmer working? Why I ask is that my skimmer wasn't working very well - only generating a small amount of skimmer waste. To improve the performance of the skimmer I had to generate additional air bubbles with two supplementary air stones inserted into the skimmer body. This temporary mod keeps my Nitrate level to 0ppm so I do not have to dose anymore.

mike810
06/29/2010, 10:12 AM
Yep, my skimmer kicks fish poo in the arse. I can't wait till my nitrate hits zero. It's very exciting to see good results. Heres my skimmer to work. This pic was taken 3 days after cleaning my cup.

http://i49.*******.com/2q3uf7k.jpg

Genetics
06/29/2010, 05:32 PM
Looks like its kicking along!

mike810
07/16/2010, 12:22 AM
i've finally reached less than 5 ppm nitrates. havent tested with salifert yet. i'm lazy but I guess I'll cut my dose from 6ml daily to 3ml. If nitrates starts to climb again, i'll set my doser to dose 1ml extra till it reaches zero again. THANKS GUYS!!

Genetics
07/16/2010, 02:43 PM
Glad to hear it!!