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View Full Version : NP "Solid Vodka" Pellets - Is it Really Something New?


viperfish
02-16-2010, 01:14 AM
It seems some people are pushing the "solid vodka" dosing pellets as being revolutionary. I am very interested in the concept and before I soak the bucks into a new reactor, pump, and media I figured I would do a little research. Aqua Medic makes a nitrate reductor that appears to use the same concept. The Deniballs are a carbon based media which fuel the bacteria needed to reduce nitrates. The setup seems to be very reasonably priced at around $300 for the reactor, media, and it even includes the pump. Here is the link http://www.aqua-medic.com/nitrate_reductor.shtml#manual. I may be missing something here and these pellets may in fact be as innovative as they are made out to be but I don't see a huge difference in the NP and Aqua Medic approach. Actually, Aqua Medic seems to put it together in a nicer package. If I am wrong someone please comment, I can go either way, I would just rather spend my money on quality instead of marketing (Microsoft proved to us that you don't need a quality product, just marketing genius, LOL).
One more thing, one of the drawbacks to dosing vodka was stopping and the after effects associated when there wasn't an abundance of carbon to support the bacteria colonies. Would this not be the same if dosing with pellets were to stop?
I really want to jump on this bandwagon but I can't help but be a little skeptical. I would love to set up a reactor and never have to worry about nitrates again, and I do realize that in this hobby, people like NP help advance the technology needed to keep these precious animals alive with the least amount of effort. I guess my dilemma is why haven't we heard anything about the Aqua Medic system? Has anyone used it with success? You know what they say "if its too good to be true, then it probably is".

globaldesigns
02-16-2010, 01:20 AM
I cannot comment on the Aquamedic method, however I am a NP BioPellet user and will give it a thumbs up. I am a Zeo Tank, and there are benefits to these pellets even over the Zeolites I still also use. the biggest is that the pellets do not need replacing after 6-8 weeks, you just top up your fluidizer with pellets every 6 months or so.

Now in saying this, I have a heavy bioload, my tank is beautiful but I always had one issue, and that was some algae. After using the NP BioPellets, this is the first time I can see results of algae dying off and staying away. Others like Delphinus (Tony) can testify to the results as many others.

So I would suggest using what others have already tested for you. If you choose the Aquamedic way, please let us know how things go.

banditpowdercoat
02-16-2010, 01:58 AM
Never heard of the Aqua Medic's reactor before. ANd if it's like any of the other Aqua Medic product's i've used, No thanks.

I am also using the Bio pellets. Two thumbs up here as well

kien
02-16-2010, 02:15 AM
Obviously the aquamedic approach failed due to inferior marketing because I have not heard of it either :lol:

I have been on the NP BioPellet bandwagon for over a month now and can report pretty much the same results as, it does work to reduce nitrates. The latest tell in my tank is the last patch of cyano that I could
not rid myelf of for the life of me. Everyone said coral snow helped with it but after 3 months coral snow it did not budge. 1 month of bio pellets an it is no more :-D

Delphinus
02-16-2010, 02:16 AM
I've used all kinds of nitrate reducing schemes - all kinds - the pellets are my favourite by a mile. IMO, best bang for the buck.

Couple points to consider here, at least from what I can see:

The Aquamedic reactor is a more expensive approach hands down. With the pellets, 1/2 litre and a phosban reactor and you're set - probably about $100 startup cost.

Next, the concept of an anaerobic reactor isn't anything new. Heck, you can DIY yourself a pretty functional reactor using about 100m (or maybe 100', I dunno :lol:) of 1/4" tubing to create a feed water devoid of oxygen and drip that over bioballs, exact same thing for probably about $30 worth of materials (just search on DIY nitrate reactor, you should find a bunch of projects).

The key differences though: if you crash your anaerobic bacteria culture, you crash your nitrate reduction and have to start over. The slightest air bubble will do that. Plus, you have to have an amazingly slow feed in order for the effluent to be nitrate free, so you can imagine that they are more of a "nitrate-free maintainer" rather than a "nitrate reducer and maintainer."

Last but not least, they won't do a thing for phosphate, whereas the pellets attack both nitrates and phosphates.

These pellets are full of win in my opinion.

RuGlu6
02-16-2010, 02:18 AM
It seems some people are pushing the "solid vodka" dosing pellets as being revolutionary. I am very interested in the concept and before I soak the bucks into a new reactor, pump, and media I figured I would do a little research. Aqua Medic makes a nitrate reductor that appears to use the same concept. The Deniballs are a carbon based media which fuel the bacteria needed to reduce nitrates. The setup seems to be very reasonably priced at around $300 for the reactor, media, and it even includes the pump. Here is the link http://www.aqua-medic.com/nitrate_reductor.shtml#manual. I may be missing something here and these pellets may in fact be as innovative as they are made out to be but I don't see a huge difference in the NP and Aqua Medic approach. Actually, Aqua Medic seems to put it together in a nicer package. If I am wrong someone please comment, I can go either way, I would just rather spend my money on quality instead of marketing (Microsoft proved to us that you don't need a quality product, just marketing genius, LOL).
One more thing, one of the drawbacks to dosing vodka was stopping and the after effects associated when there wasn't an abundance of carbon to support the bacteria colonies. Would this not be the same if dosing with pellets were to stop?
I really want to jump on this bandwagon but I can't help but be a little skeptical. I would love to set up a reactor and never have to worry about nitrates again, and I do realize that in this hobby, people like NP help advance the technology needed to keep these precious animals alive with the least amount of effort. I guess my dilemma is why haven't we heard anything about the Aqua Medic system? Has anyone used it with success? You know what they say "if its too good to be true, then it probably is".

I also looked in to AquaMedic system and would try it, it is not popular here but people do use it in other countries and it does work. Draw back is dosing, feeding, possible H2S issues and cost.

The only reason i went with NP pellets is that its easy to use with TLF media reactor and small MJ pump. so total cost was just pellets themselves as i already had mj pump and tlf reactor. Plus they claim that it can not be overdosed.
However you bring a good point and asking a right question of what happens when you stop using pellets?

Even though there is NO huge change with using the NP pellets, i can say that there are some notable small improvements like good SPS polyp extention, Hair algae reduction (cheato colony just collapsed recently as well.), somewhat better water clarity.

LPS do NOT like it though and i find myself feeding them more directly now
jmtcw

Delphinus
02-16-2010, 02:21 AM
Oh, and the pellets come with a really cool flavour of Kool-Aid (no, just kidding .. no Kool-Aid). But all the cool kids are doing it .. come on come on .. you know you WANT to. :lol:

Delphinus
02-16-2010, 02:28 AM
However you bring a good point and asking a right question of what happens when you stop using pellets?

I took my reactor offline on Saturday and meant to get it back online right away but got distracted and then had to go out of town for a bit ... I can tell you that 2 days later without the pellets back online and things are still humming along..

So at least 2 days without pellets isn't catastrophic. :lol:


LPS do NOT like it though and i find myself feeding them more directly now
jmtcw

That's interesting. I had to move my LPS into a different tank because of the butterflies so I can't compare to that but it's reminiscent of those who have LPS issues after starting zeo. It makes me wonder if you need to acclimate them more slowly or try more aggressive target feedings.

hillbillyreefer
02-16-2010, 02:30 AM
Here is a pretty good link on the pros and cons of the aquamedic reactor:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1731558&highlight=nitrate+reductor

Seems to me that it's a lot more screwing around than the pellets, with a much larger potential for crashing the tank. It also may be more expensive than the pellets.

I'll stick with the pellets, I don't think they are the miracle cure for everything but they are a piece of the puzzle.

RuGlu6
02-16-2010, 02:46 AM
That's interesting. I had to move my LPS into a different tank because of the butterflies so I can't compare to that but it's reminiscent of those who have LPS issues after starting zeo. It makes me wonder if you need to acclimate them more slowly or try more aggressive target feedings.

English is not my first language and I had to look up reminiscent LOL

http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861700365/reminiscent.html

Yes, i think you may be right, i started with 250 ml of pellets on 66 gal +sump tank. But hey, feeding is fun !

Delphinus
02-16-2010, 02:51 AM
Sorry, just meant it reminded me of the stories I've heard of LPS and starting Zeovit.

nlreefguy
02-16-2010, 02:58 AM
The biggest downside of the Aquamedic reactor (I have run one with great success) is that if you don't have an ORP controller or at least an ORP monitor that you're nearly constantly checking and fiddling with flow rate, then your anaerobic culture will start to produce acidic outflow, as someone as already pointed out. At best, this lowers your pH, at worst it kills everything in your tank if you're not there to make adjustments for a while. And I've had everything happen to me with that unit before I got the ORP controller. In the end, I did like it and acieved great success with it at maintaining 0 nitrates but the bad ca definitely outweigh the good if it used without the proper care.

viperfish
02-16-2010, 03:05 AM
Thanks for all of the feedback folks. The wealth of knowledge here is nothing short of impressive and if it works for you, I'm game. I'm not partial to Aqua Medic by any stretch, I just want a product that works and from what I am hearing it does (in the short term anyway). Reefbuilders announced it as something that "may usher in a new era of reefing", that's a pretty bold statement for any product. Even after reading this in Reefbuilders, I guess I feel more confident after hearing it from you guys.