Numerous questions about carbon dosing with vinegar

yoki46

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Hi everyone,

My first time posting on this forum. Looking for help regarding carbon dosing with vinegar. My total tank volume is 39 gallons and I'm also dosing ESV 2 part. I started the vinegar dosing schedule on November 1st so this is the beginning of my 4th week with vinegar dosing. Total daily vinegar dosing is now 18.5 ml. I spread the dosage in the morning from 8 to 12 @ 3.7 ml with a doser. I see a 0.2 pH fluctuation when the vinegar is dosed. It comes back up to it's original pH value after around 30 mins. This morning my goniopora was not happy and retracted.

Parameters on October 31st:

Nitrates @ 25 ppm (Hanna HR Nitrate)
Phosphates @ 0.14 ppm (Hanna Phosphate ULR)
Alkalinity @ 8.1 dKH (Salifert and GHL KH director)
Calcium @ 420 (Salifert)
Magnesium @ 1320 (Salifert)

Parameters on November 13th:

Nitrates @ 14.3 ppm (Hanna HR Nitrate)
Phosphates @ 0.06 ppm (Hanna Phosphate ULR)
Alkalinity @ 8.5 dKH (Salifert and GHL KH director)
Calcium @ 410 (Salifert)
Magnesium @ 1350 (Salifert) <-- I increased dosage

Parameters on November 29th:

Nitrates @ 17.9 ppm (Hanna HR Nitrate)
Phosphates @ 0.1 ppm (Hanna Phosphate ULR)
Alkalinity @ 9.6 dKH (Salifert and GHL KH director)
Calcium @ 410 (Salifert)
Magnesium @ 1335 (Salifert)


Now my questions are:

1) Should I spread the dosage from 5 to 10 times a day so that the pH doesn't get as much affected?
2) I wasn't expecting a rise in Alkalinity with vinegar dosing and I saw my Alkalinity rising yesterday by 0.5 dKh which got me worried. My alk has always been rock solid and hardly fluctuating. The goniopora probably retracted because of this. Should I stop the Alkalinity part dosing when raising the vinegar dosage or just continue with it? Looks like I'm gaining 0.x dkH something every time I increase the weekly vinegar dosing by 4 ml.
3) I am using Pure White vinegar (5% acetic acid) and not distilled. The distilled vinegar seems to be out of stock everywhere these days and where it's available, it's listed at 90$ for 1 gallon which is totally ridiculous for vinegar. Does the Pure White vinegar make a difference or does it absolutely need to be distilled?
4) What should I expect in terms of nitrates and phosphates dropping? Should I expect a drastic drop with those parameters once bacteria really start to kick in? I'm worried about zeroing those values.

Alright, that's it for now. Very much appreciate anyone's help regarding this!
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Vinegar doesn’t raise alk, but falling nitrate will, and lower pH may reduce demand so if you are dosing alk, you may need less.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Nitrate declining is usually slow, but your vinegar dose is quite high for a starting dose. Phosphate responds much more slowly for a variety of reasons.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Where do you live? A gallon of distilled vinegar at my local store is usually just a few dollars, but any drinkable white vinegar should be fine.
 

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Vinegar doesn’t raise alk, but falling nitrate will, and lower pH may reduce demand so if you are dosing alk, you may need less.
Interesting! I did not know that! Explains why mine is up now! Ugh lol.. been battling nitrates with vodka and chateo
 
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yoki46

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Nitrate declining is usually slow, but your vinegar dose is quite high for a starting dose. Phosphate responds much more slowly for a variety of reasons.
Hi Randy, thanks for responding back! Well I followed the vinegar chart and started at 1.2 ml daily for the first two days, then 2.5 ml for the remainder of the first week, then 6.5 ml the 2nd week, 10.5 ml 3rd week, 4th week 14.5 ml and now this week at 18.5 ml. Unless I got my numbers wrong? I didn't see any bacterial bloom since I started.
 
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yoki46

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Where do you live? A gallon of distilled vinegar at my local store is usually just a few dollars, but any drinkable white vinegar should be fine.
lol in Canada...been looking around the web and look at this price tag on amazon.ca...crazy
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Hi Randy, thanks for responding back! Well I followed the vinegar chart and started at 1.2 ml daily for the first two days, then 2.5 ml for the remainder of the first week, then 6.5 ml the 2nd week, 10.5 ml 3rd week, 4th week 14.5 ml and now this week at 18.5 ml. Unless I got my numbers wrong? I didn't see any bacterial bloom since I started.

Which chart?

If you mean this one, I think the small tank end of the chart after a few weeks seems quite aggressive. Not sure how it was put together. Look at the bottom row (week 16). A 25 gallon tank has half as much as a 1000 gallon tank.

 
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yoki46

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Vinegar doesn’t raise alk, but falling nitrate will, and lower pH may reduce demand so if you are dosing alk, you may need less.

Which chart?

If you mean this one, I think the small tank end of the chart after a few weeks seems quite aggressive. Not sure how it was put together. Look at the bottom row (week 16). A 25 gallon tank has half as much as a 1000 gallon tank.

Yea, that's the one I was using...dang I didn't notice this. Was there a revised one? What numbers for a 39 gallon system should I be dosing then? There should be a more in-depth guide on carbon dosing for either small or big systems. The alk swing on my end was totally unexpected and none of it is mentionned anywhere in all the guides I followed and all guides were pointing toward this chart.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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I’d just stuck with the current dose unless the nitrate declines too much. Are you dosing alk now?

I’m not aware of a revised chart. FWIW, I wasn’t involved in the making of the chart.
 

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lol in Canada...been looking around the web and look at this price tag on amazon.ca...crazy

Hurry only 8 left in stock!! If that's the normal price in Canada then I need to start a smuggling operation. :rolling-on-the-floor-laughing:
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Hurry only 8 left in stock!! If that's the normal price in Canada then I need to start a smuggling operation. :rolling-on-the-floor-laughing:

The Al Capone of vinegar. lol
 
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madmarks

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lol in Canada...been looking around the web and look at this price tag on amazon.ca...crazy
I don't like the Heinz bottles with the platinum caps....prefer the silver ones:winking-face:

1670463402836.png
 

Belgian Anthias

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Dosing organic carbon promotes fast heterotropic bacterial growth needing and using ammonia as a nitrogen source, NOT nitrate. Because less ammonia is left available, less or no nitrate ( if overdosed) is produced , slower growing organisms normally using nitrate may consume the nitrate reserve., lowering the level, this if all other essential nutrients are still available and not used up by adding only organic carbon and not other essentials. Your skimmer is removing other essential nutrients constantly. One must be aware of the effect of too much organic carbon on the holobiont of corals.
If heterotropic bacteria are forced to use nitrate due to adding organic carbon, then one is overdosing, and the nitrification capacity previously installed by conditioning the tank may be lost. Dosing organic carbon, vinegar , vodka, or sugars, based on the nitrate level, is a very bad idea. It only should be used for balancing the 3 pillars of the carrying capacity, and not for making the carying capacity dependable of heterotrophic growth only. The other pillars will not give enough support when needed and the system may collaps.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Dosing organic carbon, vinegar , vodka, or sugars, based on the nitrate level, is a very bad idea.

That's a fine opinion to have, but I do not share it.
 

Belgian Anthias

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That's a fine opinion to have, but I do not share it.
Nothing wrong with adding some organic carbon, if it is done correctly . If one does not not know how to use carbohydrates correctly and how to prevent overdosing one should not use it. Adding carbohydrates based on the nitrate level, inclusive vinegar, does not prevent overdosing, It has been shown is not safe to use . Not sharing my opinion is one thing, promoting good and safe nutrient management is an other.
Correct nutrient management starts with what is going in, the C/N ratio or protein content of food added. No need for in reefaquaria unnatural and dangerous organic carbon additives to increase the natural carbon content of feed and to limit the natural nitrate production.
 

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