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Old 01/08/2011, 02:38 PM   #1
romanr
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Bio Pellets compared

I figured I start a thread to list and compare the various products available. I've done the hard part now let's see other's fill in the rest of the information like prime ingredient, sizes available, pricing, availability, etc. Oh and feel free to add any product I might not have listed.
  1. Vertex Pro Bio Pellets
  2. Brightwell Katalyst
  3. Warner Marine EcoBak
  4. NPX Bio Beads
  5. BRS Bio Pellets
  6. NP Bio Pellets
  7. Bio Aquatek Marine Bio Pearls
  8. Two Little Fishies NPX Bioplastics
  9. Reefing Evolution Bio-Snak Pak
  10. H2Ocean Nutri-Fix NP
  11. Instant Ocean Natural Nitrate Reducer
  12. ATB HQ Bio Pellets
  13. Tetra NitrateMinus Pearls
  14. SWC Xtreme NP Reduction Bio Media



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Old 01/08/2011, 06:28 PM   #2
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Blimey thats like chucking a bunch of needle's in a haystack and looking for the first one that landed ? Im using np pellets and have lowered my nitrate to 0 ,still using phosphate media to lower it to 0 ! I have had different corals react and my nutrient levels dropped slowly my sps are doing great ! softies i.e leathers struggling unless in better direct flow ! lps lost a goni and loosing a hammer probably down to a LNS ??? They certainly lower your nitrate but imho if your keeping a mixed reef perhaps a higher than 0 NO3 would be better ???????
Thats my findings and it's getting silly imho you have listed 14 looks like there all on the band waggon perhaps the cheapest might be better ?


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Old 01/08/2011, 07:46 PM   #3
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Most are the same material. I first used NPX and switched to Katalyst because they were smaller and I figured they would be easier to get tumbling. And they really have worked out very well for me thus far. I feed like a mad man (about 6 times per day) and I have zero algae problems


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Old 12/23/2011, 07:10 AM   #4
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I'm been using bio pellets for 2 years now.
I've tried NPx bio beads and worked very well but were bigger so, harder to make them tumble
I also tried BRs which are small, worked great also
my next batch will be the TLF see what they can do (I,m wondering why the price is cheap too)


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Old 12/23/2011, 09:12 AM   #5
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feel free to add any product I might not have listed.

I prefer vodka and vinegar and have used it for3 yrs. Not a fan of the pellets.


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Old 12/23/2011, 09:20 AM   #6
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Reef Octopus Bio Spheres.


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Old 12/23/2011, 01:50 PM   #7
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NPX pellets here .... BRS GFO + Carbon....
I run my pellets to a suspended tumble (TLF 150 + MJ1200), and I got my carbon & GFO in a BRS reactor and its at a much slower flow...

don't know how long this will last but I have so little algae my CUC is starving, PO is .25, nitrate is undetectable

... no clue how many SW/Reef tanks I've had, but I'd describe this one as almost
"pristine"... gravel, rocks , glass are algae free


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Old 12/24/2011, 12:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmz View Post
feel free to add any product I might not have listed.

I prefer vodka and vinegar and have used it for3 yrs. Not a fan of the pellets.
Tom
Curious why you don't like the pellets?


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Old 12/24/2011, 09:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmz View Post
feel free to add any product I might not have listed.

I prefer vodka and vinegar and have used it for3 yrs. Not a fan of the pellets.
Tom- Im curious why you don't like the pellets?


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Old 12/24/2011, 09:39 AM   #10
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I don't think we want to clog up a biopellet comparison thread with reasons to not use them, but these are mine:

1. Harder to quickly control and adjust dosing than soluble organics.
2. More tendency to potentially cause cyano than some soluble organics such as acetate.
3. More expensive and requires equipment purchases for use (although a doser for soluble organics also costs if you use one)
4. Not as easy to control where and when the dosing takes place in the overall reef system
5. The released organics are perhaps not as widely bioavailable to reef creatures as things like acetate or ethanol
6. Possibly more of a concern for hydrogen sulfide production during a power failure.


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Old 12/24/2011, 10:36 AM   #11
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Tom
Curious why you don't like the pellets?


I agree with Randy's list .
I also don't wan't to clog up this thread but there are alternatives to pellets for folks to consider and th OP asked for alternatives.
Here is my response to a querry about why I don't favor pellets from a thread a few days ago:





Several reasons:

They are polymers(carbohydrates) which first go to monomers( predominantly sugars) in the anaerobic digestion process as certain bacteria break them down and then moer bacteria work on the sugars Sugar dosing hurts my corals and others report issues including recission,cyano ,bacterial blooms etc when using them. There is one study linking high glucose to coral mortality.Ethanol comes further down in the chain of bacterial activity avoiding sugars ,acetic acid (vinegar ) is even further down The end product acetate is likely useful to corals.

It is clear that the bacteria and their by products don't confine themselves to the reactors as was originally claimed based on all the in tank effects reported.

Controlling the amount of organic carbon being dosed is difficult with the pellets since you have to rely on the volume of pellets, flow rates ,tumbles, variable volumes of pellets as they are consumed ,etc. All of which make it impossible to know how much of exactly what is going into the tank . When using directly dosed sources I know exactly what I'm dosing and in what amount. With vinegar and/or vodka,for example I know how much acetic acid and /or ethanol I'm adding .,So precision in setting and maintaining a dose is possible.

No reactors or pumps are required ,although direct carbon dosing can be automated via a dosing pump if desired.




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Old 12/24/2011, 01:57 PM   #12
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i have been on the fence of bio pellets or carbon dosing....

i had tried no pox for approximately 30 days... i had a crazy cyano outbreak and i think that the carbon was feeding it..

in fareness i was running gfo equivalent and had 0 phosphates at the beging of carbon dosing...i think maybe that was the reason the carbon dosing never brought the numbers down..and fed cyano...i think\

so now i stopped carbon dosing and did 3 days lights out.. 95% of the cyano is gone...

so do i go back to carbon dosing or pellets..??? thats the big question....


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Old 12/24/2011, 04:02 PM   #13
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Do you want to put these questions/responses in a new thread?


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Old 12/24/2011, 06:44 PM   #14
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I've ran NP Bio Pellets for over a year. NO3 dropped from 20ppm to .25ppm. My GFO last longer too. Two months ago I switched to BRS Bio Pellets due to it being less costly. My NO3 has remained the same with no noticeable differences. I have switched a 525 gallon fish only tank out as well. Same results. The 525 has a custom Next Reef Reactor that holds 4L of media. The lower price helps.


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Old 12/25/2011, 09:59 AM   #15
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My tank is 4 months old. I started NPX Bio Pellets from day one. Never had trouble ti'll yesterday. I notice the Maxi jet wasn't working that made pellets tumble in reactor. About 8 hours I would say I caught it. In that window I had a outbreak cyano starting on sand Bed. The lights were off . I have alot of water movement in my 90 gal tank. I have 40 gal sump/refug. I feed about a cube & 1/2 to tank once a day. I can only image want would happen if a power failure did happen. This is also a reef tank. Now what should I do? Get rid of pellets or keep them going. I like them but don't want a problem if my power goes out..


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Old 12/25/2011, 10:39 AM   #16
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heres a hardware question for you pellet guys..
one of the vendors released a recirculating pellet reactor with a affluent line similar to calcium reactors..

the theory is you can tweak the affluent so that if you want it to not completely strip nitrates you can slow it down while the recirculating pump maintains the internal motion...

thoughts on this concept? do you think it will work as claimed to be adjustable how much you strip???


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Old 12/26/2011, 05:20 PM   #17
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That approach might allow some adjustment, but I'd be careful about encouraging anaerobic growth in the reactor by reducing the flow.


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Old 12/26/2011, 05:35 PM   #18
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I am running two little fish bio pellets. Have been running them for 6 months. so far very good results. I still run rohaphos to help control phospahtes. I have noticed the roha last much longer now. I also feed my fish and tank more


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Old 12/26/2011, 05:36 PM   #19
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Only down side is zoas and soft corals seem smaller. I think it is because the water is so clean.


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Old 12/26/2011, 10:44 PM   #20
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I have tried the ATB and NPX pellets. These pellets look different both in color and size. The ATB pellets seem to last a lot longer. Both seem to do a good job.


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Old 12/27/2011, 10:17 AM   #21
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So if you are using Bio Pellets. Should I also be using use some form of ferric oxide hydroxide in other reactor?


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Old 12/27/2011, 12:03 PM   #22
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In general, I think that GFO is a good accompaniment to any sort of carbon dosing as those generally seem unbalanced to more nitrogen removal than phosphorus.


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Old 12/27/2011, 03:32 PM   #23
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I am still using NP's and no longer run them in a reactor. I noticed that with the reactor they degraded quickly, I think this is from the friction of them grinding against each other. I just add some into my canister filter at the bottom, no tumbling, no grinding, my nitrates and phosphates are still under control and they seem to be lasting longer. I don't believe the reactors are needed, they came about after people were making their own, no real science is behind the use of a reactor, but marketing is. In the early days of this product, people had just as positive results from hanging them in a bag and periodically stirring them up. If friction is grinding up the pellets and those small quantities are free floating in the tank, it could be a plausible reason why people have the issues with them that seem to pop up daily. I have had no cyano but did use too many and managed to strip my water to the point where even chaeto died and my glass never had any algae on it. I only use about half a cup of them now and have no issues at all. YMMV


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Old 12/27/2011, 10:57 PM   #24
t.trezona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmz View Post
Tom
Curious why you don't like the pellets?


I agree with Randy's list .
I also don't wan't to clog up this thread but there are alternatives to pellets for folks to consider and th OP asked for alternatives.
Here is my response to a querry about why I don't favor pellets from a thread a few days ago:

Curious why you think there is anerobic digestion of Biopellets? This generally will be a highly aerobic environment where respiration should be the predominant mode of metabolism. Has anyone actually cultured the bacteria digesting Biopellets?



Several reasons:

They are polymers(carbohydrates) which first go to monomers( predominantly sugars) in the anaerobic digestion process as certain bacteria break them down and then moer bacteria work on the sugars Sugar dosing hurts my corals and others report issues including recission,cyano ,bacterial blooms etc when using them. There is one study linking high glucose to coral mortality.Ethanol comes further down in the chain of bacterial activity avoiding sugars ,acetic acid (vinegar ) is even further down The end product acetate is likely useful to corals.

It is clear that the bacteria and their by products don't confine themselves to the reactors as was originally claimed based on all the in tank effects reported.

Controlling the amount of organic carbon being dosed is difficult with the pellets since you have to rely on the volume of pellets, flow rates ,tumbles, variable volumes of pellets as they are consumed ,etc. All of which make it impossible to know how much of exactly what is going into the tank . When using directly dosed sources I know exactly what I'm dosing and in what amount. With vinegar and/or vodka,for example I know how much acetic acid and /or ethanol I'm adding .,So precision in setting and maintaining a dose is possible.

No reactors or pumps are required ,although direct carbon dosing can be automated via a dosing pump if desired.




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Old 12/28/2011, 12:46 AM   #25
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Curious why you think there is anerobic digestion of Biopellets? This generally will be a highly aerobic environment where respiration should be the predominant mode of metabolism. Has anyone actually cultured the bacteria digesting Biopellets?

"...The bacteria will use up the carbon from the BioPellets, whilst nitrogen and phosphorus are taken from the water as nitrate and (ortho)phosphate. This conversion of organic BioPellets (together with inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus) into microbial biomass is called immobilization. In addition, anaerobic layers will develop, resulting in additional denitrification...."

The above is from the manufacturer ,here:

http://npbiopellets.dvh-import.com/




From my perspective, The bacteria that perform denitrification are facultative heterotrophs, . They use the oxygen ;form layers (mulm/film),)and; when the oxygen is depleted, use the nitrate for the oxygen leaving N to form N2 nitrogen gas. It takes very little layering for hypoxic conditions to be formed particularly with so much organic carbon available to spur their oxygen consuming growth.


Don't know why folks bounce them around so much anyway. Granted they need aeration via some flow to prevent anoxia and a lack of oxygen and nitrate leading to sulfate reduction but they ae designed for anearobic digestion:

Here is more from the manufacuters site:
How it works
NP-reducing BioPellets are consumed by bacteria, which is why new pellets need to be added every 6-12 months to compensate for digested filtermedia. This can be seen during inspection of the filter or when you measure a increase of nitrates. These figures however depend on aquarium conditions and are strongly influenced by feeding regimes and livestock. Taking regular measurements of both nitrate and phosphate levels in the aquarium is recommended, after which dosages may be increased or decreased.Of Note, NP-reducing BioPellets consist of a higher molecular mass than most competing products resulting in a longer filter retention time and thus requires less frequent refill then other low molecular weight products which are currently being marketed.

Overview of biological activity on NP-reducing BioPellets.
We suggest placing the outlet of the pellet filter in front of a protein skimmer, to limit the amount of bacteria entering the system. This has the additional benefit of increased gas exchange (CO2-removal and O2-addition). The pellets should never be used without sufficient aeration, as this may lead to low oxygen and pH levels, especially during night time. Proper aeration can be established with air pumps and protein skimmers.
The NP-reducing BioPellets will allow more feeding (See figure) and thus more livestock, however, when heavy feeding is required, it is recommended to combine the pellets with standard phosphate adsorbents. The reason for this is that most aquarium feeds contain higher levels of phosphate than is consumed by bacteria, fish and invertebrates, when compared to nitrogen. Some phosphate adsorbents however deplete alkalinity and may reduce pH. Using phosphate adsorbent media based on iron hydroxide does not have this disadvantage.
Example of nitrate and phosphate reduction in experimental 500 L tank set-up with 2 liter of BioPellets. In week 10 we doubled the feed input.
You can't overdose* the NP Reducing BioPellets. Once your filtersystem is working optimal, the number of bacteria fluctuate according to the availability of nitates and phosphates. When the availability of nitrates and phosphates is low, the numbers of bacteria will decrease. When more nitrates and phosphates come available due to eg. feeding the numbers of bacteria will increase again as you can see in the example below. * When you have high nitrates levels when you introduce the NP Reducing BioPellets to your system, please click here.

Example of availability of nitrates when you introduce the NP Reducing BioPellets. Up from week 9 extra feeding started which cause extra nitrate in the system.


Example of numbers of bacteria after introduction of NP Reducing BioPellets. When most nitrate and phosphate are removed by the bacteria, their numbers will decrease. When more nitrates and phosphates come availeble (up from week 9 in our example) their numbers will increase again. *Number of bacteria fictive.

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