Can BIOPELLETS reduce PO4 and NO3 holistically?

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Saltyanimals

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I decided to go ahead and bring my pellet reactor online during my next month's sump maintenance window and will do my own experiment. Problem right now is the carbon dosing finally caught up in my system after my frustration that it wasn't doing anything the first 30 days. Now it bottomed out my PO4 with NO3 coming down 5ppm every 3 days. Current NO3: 25 PO4: 0.0. The zero PO4 is concerning because I don't want a return of dinos/cyano. It's been zero for about 3 days and I've given my tank ReefRoids for 2 nights back to back as this usually gives me a PO4 spike instead of PO4 dosing. Cat and mouse game on chasing numbers. lol. Should stabilize again in the next couple days where I'll move to weekly dosing to see if I'm able to maintain it before next months maintenance.
 
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I decided to go ahead and bring my pellet reactor online during my next month's sump maintenance window and will do my own experiment. Problem right now is the carbon dosing finally caught up in my system after my frustration that it wasn't doing anything the first 30 days. Now it bottomed out my PO4 with NO3 coming down 5ppm every 3 days. Current NO3: 25 PO4: 0.0. The zero PO4 is concerning because I don't want a return of dinos/cyano. It's been zero for about 3 days and I've given my tank ReefRoids for 2 nights back to back as this usually gives me a PO4 spike instead of PO4 dosing. Cat and mouse game on chasing numbers. lol. Should stabilize again in the next couple days where I'll move to weekly dosing to see if I'm able to maintain it before next months maintenance.
What are you using for liquid carbon dosing?
 

Saltyanimals

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What are you using for liquid carbon dosing?

Did 30 days with Biofuel with almost zero movement on NO3. Just swapped over to DIY NoPox last week and started to see deduction in readings. I am not saying the swap to NoPox over BioFuel is related as liquid carbon dosing takes weeks before benefits are seen which likely coincided with the reduction at week 4-5.

I stayed consistent with instructions between both products per my system volume, but will reduce liquid dosing amount over time when I start the reactor and allow it to seed. I am actively measuring both N/P at least every 3 days thus should be able to record changes. I'm also committed to zero other tank changes to help localize this experiment.
 
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Just did a nutrient check to see any immediate effects and ensure nothing drastic is happening. Looks encouraging so far:

Day 0: NO3 = 32.3, PO4 = 0.13
Day 2: NO3 = 31.9, PO4 = 0.10

No other changes were done that would affect nutrients. In fact my GFO looked close to depleted and PO4 started rising prior to deploying the new reactor, as shown below. Hoping this trend keeps up. Will post results once a week.

PNG image.png
 

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N03 and PO4 results for the past week shown below after deploying the new biopellet reactor. Definitely seeing an effect on both. My GFO reactor is still in, but will remove it today. The GFO must be depleted by now, so it looks like the biopellets are keeping PO4 in check.

Also keep in mind that before deploying the biopellet reactor, PO4 went up quite fast when GFO got depleted. It would go from 0.07 to 0.31 within a few days. That did not happen this time.

There were a few issues that may have negatively affected performance:

The 2nd day there was a slight bend in the skimmer air hose, which caused my Ph and skimmer foam level to drop, which probably pulled less bacteria from the reactor for that day.

It took a few days to dial in the flow rates between my return pumps, the new reactor, and the skimmer. So skimming has not been as efficient as it could have been. But I think I've got it now.

Also, when I first fired up the new biopellet reactor, some of the pellets floated up to the top strainer, and stayed there, which blocked some of the flow out of the reactor to the skimmer. I took the reactor off and cleared those out yesterday. I know now to slowly raise the water flow to the biopellet reactor when starting it back up so that pellets don't quickly shoot up to the top strainer.

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 8.27.42 AM 2.png
Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 8.26.45 AM.png
 
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Saltyanimals

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Awesome. I just looked back a couple pages here to remind myself that you've been running pellets for a couple months now. You had an earlier reactor that wasn't outputting to the skimmer and since brought online a new reactor about 10 days ago using that couple month old seeded pellets if I follow the thread correctly. This explains that your results are over months to remind me to be patient. =)

I find it interesting that it's maintaining your PO4 w/o GFO or anything else. Nitrates we all expect to be a good solution with biopellets. PO4 haven't seen the same results with pellets.

I'm officially one week into my pellets. Not expecting any movement for at least another month. I started with 1/3 of the target pellet volume. I may add another 1/3 over the weekend taking it to 2/3 total pellets. I did soak my initial pellets in Bacter7 overnight before turning on. Not sure if that speeds things up, but hopefully it'll speed up the maturity time especially with the liquid carbon dosing continuing for now. I'll also share when I have interesting findings. For now.. I'm following.. Thanks!
 
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N03 and PO4 results for the past week shown below after deploying the new biopellet reactor. Definitely seeing an effect on both. My GFO reactor is still in, but will remove it today. The GFO must be depleted by now, so it looks like the biopellets are keeping PO4 in check.

Also keep in mind that before deploying the biopellet reactor, PO4 went up quite fast when GFO got depleted. It would go from 0.07 to 0.31 within a few days. That did not happen this time.

There were a few issues that may have negatively affected performance:

The 2nd day there was a slight bend in the skimmer air hose, which caused my Ph and skimmer foam level to drop, which probably pulled less bacteria from the reactor for that day.

It took a few days to dial in the flow rates between my return pumps, the new reactor, and the skimmer. So skimming has not been as efficient as it could have been. But I think I've got it now.

Also, when I first fired up the new biopellet reactor, some of the pellets floated up to the top strainer, and stayed there, which blocked some of the flow out of the reactor to the skimmer. I took the reactor off and cleared those out yesterday. I know now to slowly raise the water flow to the biopellet reactor when starting it back up so that pellets don't quickly shoot up to the top strainer.

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 8.27.42 AM 2.png
Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 8.26.45 AM.png
Good for you! I am getting slower PO4 creep, given my GFO is also depleted. I'm into biopellets for couple of months now. Your readings prompted me to top up my reactor, it's no common for Dr Tim's Active Pearls here, perhaps I will give the DVH All in One (brown pellets) a second look, they claim to remove both PO4 and NO3.

Last week, I had the refugium and ATS removed in favour of the REASEA REEFMAT 1200, though its too early to expect any drop in nutrients, its drawing a lot of gunk from the water column and keeping my sump clean too, helps a lot.
 

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NO3 continued their descent this past week (very nice!).

With the GFO reactor removed (which was exhausted anyway), PO4 continued their slow climb, although much more slowly than before when GFO was depleted without the biopellet reactor. So the reactor is definitely having an impact on PO4, just not as dramatic as the NO3.

I'm hoping that the NO3 and PO4 reach an equilibrium at some point, and they both level off.

Charts below start from Nov 1 when the new biopellet reactor was deployed.
The last 2 data points are from this past week.

Screenshot 2022-11-17 at 6.53.33 AM.png


Screenshot 2022-11-17 at 6.56.04 AM.png
 

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Awesome! Your down trending graph seems to follow the curve nicely. My own tank is continuing down a similar NO3 curve. However I'm only day 13 of and continuing to do daily NoPox dosing. Are you dosing any carbon at all or is this all biopellet for you?

I'm testing every 2 days because I'm carefully watching the curve to ramp down noPox if I see a more dramatic curve suggesting the BPs are starting to work. I also doubled my BP volume after 1 week. Went from 250ml initially to 500ml total on day 7. 500ml is the target for my 180G. I know we're suppose to take it slow in ramping up BP, but I just couldn't see how that might crash a mature tank since we're all basically waiting for the population to grow. I think the speculation is that it'll zero out No3/PO4 which would lead to a crash. If that's the case, the worst than can happen is dinos or cyan. One can immediately dose the levels back up if they zero out overnight. Side note. I have noticed in my more frequent testing that I have testing errors every so often. I'll get a much more dramatic drop (non zero) but it'll return back to the curve 2 days later. I wonder what is causing those if I test the same way and it's happening at least once a week.
 
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All I'm doing now is biopellets. Lots of biopellets. According to the instructions, I should use 1 cup per 50g, so in my 200g tank, I have a net water volume of about 150g, so I should be using 3 cups. But I threw those instructions out the window and went with about 10 cups. Looks like I have a while to go before my nutrients ever approach zero, but if that happens, I will remove some of the biopellets from the reactor until I reach a nice steady state. Maybe keep them in a bowl in the sump so that they are available in case I remove too much.
 

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I removed and cleaned my skimmer cup today as part of my weekly maintenance, and wow! I have never before seen the amount of nasty slime built up on the sides and on the cover! I wish I had filmed it, but it was like caked on thick brown jelly that came off in clumps whilst cleaning. I will clean it twice per week going forward. But just as a note, this is obviously a direct side effect of the new biopellet reactor and skimming off its output.
 
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NO3 continued their descent this past week (very nice!).

With the GFO reactor removed (which was exhausted anyway), PO4 continued their slow climb, although much more slowly than before when GFO was depleted without the biopellet reactor. So the reactor is definitely having an impact on PO4, just not as dramatic as the NO3.

I'm hoping that the NO3 and PO4 reach an equilibrium at some point, and they both level off.

Charts below start from Nov 1 when the new biopellet reactor was deployed.
The last 2 data points are from this past week.

Screenshot 2022-11-17 at 6.53.33 AM.png


Screenshot 2022-11-17 at 6.56.04 AM.png
I'm tempted to double down on the biopellets, but I'm keen to see when the PO4 starts to drop. Not using GFO.

21D50AEA-044A-4288-BE0C-4FB060EBF926.jpeg
 
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BTW, I just ditched my ATS and Refugium in favor of the REA SEA REEFMAT 1200 to export the nutrients before they have any chance to dissolve. So I don’t have to spend more to have they removed downstream. Let’s see if it helps with the numbers. My skimmer doesn’t seem to be pulling much outta the water.

8D69D520-9B77-4C6C-879C-33ED9718FC14.jpeg
 

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All I'm doing now is biopellets. Lots of biopellets. According to the instructions, I should use 1 cup per 50g, so in my 200g tank, I have a net water volume of about 150g, so I should be using 3 cups. But I threw those instructions out the window and went with about 10 cups. Looks like I have a while to go before my nutrients ever approach zero, but if that happens, I will remove some of the biopellets from the reactor until I reach a nice steady state. Maybe keep them in a bowl in the sump so that they are available in case I remove too much.

Wow that's significantly more than the recommended amount. Our tanks are about the same size total water volume (150 gal vs 180 gal) which is suggested to be 3 cups or 750gram as you said. Unfortunately my Reef Octopus BR110 has a max stated 400gram capacity. I have 500g in it now and it's still moving fine, but that means I've topped out. I've had this reactor in storage for years and hoped to make it work. Your post makes me question if it'll be sufficient long term if you're using that much more pellets.

I've read elsewhere to plan on using less than recommended. However those were years ago....Time will tell in the next several weeks/months when these settle in.
 
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Whilst I have not yet doubled my pellets over the manufacturer’s recommendation, I see NO3 dropping but not PO4. In fact, the rise in PO4 coincide with the removal of GFO. I'm still not seeing biopellets' ability to get a grip on my PO4 holistically. It could also be my REEFMAT reducing NO3 production.


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@ReefKeeperElite following your footstep, I’ve added 400gm of DVH AIO ADVANCED biopellets, it sank right to the bottom of my NYOS TORQ 2L displacing all the DR TIMS ACTIVE PEARLS to the top, now I have the full 2L chamber of suspended pellets! Hope to see some serious drop in nutrients holistically!

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Approaching 4 weeks on new BP journey, I've stopped manual NoPox dosing a few days ago. I'm starting to see the NO3 curve starting to level out. Based on feedback, the BPs start "taking off" weeks 4-6 so taking away the NoPox makes sense to let the BP do it's thing at this point. My NO3 target is 10-15ppm. At this curve, I may end up dosing a little nitrate if it does take off.

1669656488686.png


Are you guys seeing any real PO4 reduction in your testing? I'm not seeing any real impact to PO4 with BPs. 2 week old passive GFO bag is still in place and my PO4 is solid at 0.08. Not sure if it's the bag or BPs that is maintaining PO4.
 

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Approaching 4 weeks on new BP journey, I've stopped manual NoPox dosing a few days ago. I'm starting to see the NO3 curve starting to level out. Based on feedback, the BPs start "taking off" weeks 4-6 so taking away the NoPox makes sense to let the BP do it's thing at this point. My NO3 target is 10-15ppm. At this curve, I may end up dosing a little nitrate if it does take off.

1669656488686.png


Are you guys seeing any real PO4 reduction in your testing? I'm not seeing any real impact to PO4 with BPs. 2 week old passive GFO bag is still in place and my PO4 is solid at 0.08. Not sure if it's the bag or BPs that is maintaining PO4.

Although I was hopeful the PO4 would eventually level off after removing GFO, it has continued to gradually increase over the past couple of weeks, and is currently at 0.25. BP have been quite effective on NO3, which is currently at 22.3.

I have gone the other direction as you, and started a low dose of Nopox, at least for the time being, so that my PO4 does not go back to where it was before. My original intention was to see if it leveled off and started to balance out with the NO3, but I also have to keep the tank inhabitants happy, and didn't want to experiment to their detriment.
 
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I found that NoPox had very little impact on PO4. Several other threads have commented on the same, so it may not help your PO4. It appears carbon dosing is only useful for NO3 from our experiences here since you've confirmed that your PO4 creeps back up after your GFO removal.

I was hoping for a one-stop shop in BP for both, but looks like I'll have to continue passive GFO. Yes tumbling media reactor is better, but just swapping passive bags monthly is much easier. Folks do this for years with the whole Chemipure maintenance. GFO just happens to be much cheaper for the larger systems even in a passive sump bag. I just bought a 10lb GFO bag just now at $90 should last me a while.
 
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I found that NoPox had very little impact on PO4. Several other threads have commented on the same, so it may not help your PO4. It appears carbon dosing is only useful for NO3 from our experiences here since you've confirmed that your PO4 creeps back up after your GFO removal.

I was hoping for a one-stop shop in BP for both, but looks like I'll have to continue passive GFO. Yes tumbling media reactor is better, but just swapping passive bags monthly is much easier. Folks do this for years with the whole Chemipure maintenance. GFO just happens to be much cheaper for the larger systems even in a passive sump bag. I just bought a 10lb GFO bag just now at $90 should last me a while.
Right. I was hoping the PO4 and NO3 can and will find an equilibrium, which is why I took the GFO offline. I’m also planing to start NOPOX, but after reading your reply, I will have to reconsider. I’ll however manage PO4 with my LaCl should it climb higher. IMHO, it should table off, if the BP is working as per advertised.

FWIW, the DVH AIO BP may contain some form of PO4 absorber… so PO4 should table off sooner. Also it’s density is heavier cos it quickly went beneath Dr Tim’s Active Pearls even they were added above initially.
 
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