• GBD videos on vimeo
  • subscribe : rss feed
  • Entry

    Solid Carbon Source Grows NO3 and PO4 Reducing Bacteria

    With the onslaught of the organic carbon source craze, new ideas have been discussed and are now being developed. The solid carbon source idea is one of these. Jean Paul of Reef Interests in the Netherlands that has made this into a practical reality with his NP Biopellets–a bio degradable polymer / organic carbon source media. […]

    np biopellets

    With the onslaught of the organic carbon source craze, new ideas have been discussed and are now being developed. The solid carbon source idea is one of these. Jean Paul of Reef Interests in the Netherlands that has made this into a practical reality with his NP Biopellets–a bio degradable polymer / organic carbon source media.

    np biopellets

    Aerobic and some anaerobic growth occurs on the pellets, creating a nutrient rich biomass to be exported

    The photos above are from our reef friend and fellow blogger Tatu Vaajalahti, showing the np biopellets in their normal operation and then agitated releasing bacteria (“mulm”) to be skimmed out.

    The benefit of a solid carbon source is location. Rather than disperse the growth of bacteria throughout the entire water column it can be relatively localized into one area, which will likely prevent harmful and annoying bacteria to grow in the aquarium–namely Cyanobacteria (Red Slime). This has the power to create a contained nitrate reactor. Aqua Medic has marketed a similar product named DeniBalls for use in their own Nitrate Reactors–however these new NP BioPellets from Reef Interests seem to cultivate much more bacterial growth and quicker.

    We have not yet used the NP BioPellets, but that’s not to say we won’t be giving them a try in the future in conjunction with VSV. For more information on these carbon source pellets check out the product description below from Jean Paul:

    NP BioPellets are composed of biologically degradable polymers that can be placed in a fluidized filter, or simply in a porous bag in the filtration compartment. The pellets will allow aerobic growth of bacteria which consequently will consume nitrate and phosphate simultaneously. In addition, some anaerobic layers will develop, resulting in additional denitrification. The surplus of bacteria will be skimmed off or eaten by filter and suspension feeding organisms, such as corals and sponges. For this reason, we advise to place the outlet of the pellet filter in front of the protein skimmer. This has the additional benefit of increased gas exchange (CO2-removal and O2-addition).

    On average this “solid wodka method” takes a few weeks to give rise to sufficient bacteria to allow nitrate and phosphate levels to drop. The pellets are consumed by bacteria, which is why new pellets need to be added every 3-6 months. This can be seen during inspection of the filter. We advise using 0.5-1 liter of pellets per 500 liter of system volume, and adding 100 ml of pellets every 3-6 months. Of note, these ratios depend on tank conditions and are strongly influenced by feeding regimes and livestock. When heavy feeding is required, we advise to combine the pellets with standard phosphate killers. The reason for this is that most aquafeeds contain higher levels of phosphate than is consumed by bacteria, fish and invertebrates, when compared to nitrogen sources in the food.

    Special thanks to Tatu for the photos and information.

    9 Comments

    1. Jim
      August 31, 2009 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

      is this safer than vodka?

    2. David Abbott
      September 1, 2009 at 4:43 AM | Permalink

      Sounds great – but where (in the UK) can we buy them? i cant seem to find anyone stocking them.

    3. Andrew
      September 1, 2009 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

      The real benefit of a solid carbon source is that if it works as well as vodka and other carbon sources this will revolutionize carbon “dosing” by taking the “dosing” out of the equation and making the process less onerous. You could probably set this up to run in a fluidized reactor and then set the feed pump up on a time to shut off for a minute each day so that when it restarts and fills it burps the media and releases the bacterial mulm.

    4. Greg Carroll
      September 1, 2009 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

      Seems logical. I hope to see it in the US soon. I know I would give it a try.

    5. Leonardo
      September 3, 2009 at 5:33 AM | Permalink

      This product is used in the Netherlands for quite some time now.
      Originally the carbon source media is used in freshwater tanks, but after tests from SW hobbyists they promote it for SW use now also.
      I will look for the product name. They are already available.

      Leonardo

    6. Kevi
      September 3, 2009 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

      Looks promising
      Can’t wait to see it here

    7. September 3, 2009 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

      Leonardo: This product is not yet available in stores. Actually, the material used is a very recent innovation so I don’t think it is the same product.

      This one is called BioPellets from Reef Interests (http://www.reefinterests.com/content/view/18/36/)

    8. Leonardo
      September 4, 2009 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

      Tatu, do you know how it differs from the solid carbon source material that is already used in fresh and saltwater aquariums?

      Leonardo

    9. September 4, 2009 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

      Leonardo: No, I have no experience with other similar products. The only one I know of is Aqua Medic “Deniballs”.

    3 Trackbacks

    1. September 2, 2009 at 7:53 AM

      […] It would be nice to run this stuff in a reactor and just have to add more a few times a year. Solid Carbon Source Grows NO3 and PO4 Reducing Bacteria | glassbox-design.com __________________ Paul Pittsburgh Penguins – 2009 Stanley Cup Champs!!! "A liberal is a […]

    2. […] PCL will be incorporated by many aquarists going foward. It is relatively inexpensive and like NP BioPellets, does not require daily […]

    3. […] Reef has come out with a new specialized reactor for NP Biopellets, or similar biodegradable medias. The SMR1 NP holds 1 liter of np biopellets and a suggested flow […]

    Post a Comment

    Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

    *
    *