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Bottoms Up!


andy
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I'm having a few problems with Nitrates (due to skimmer being offline for a while, and my tendency to overfeed). I could keep doing 50% water changes until it gets back under control, but salt ain't cheap. Instead, I've decided to give Vodka dosing a try. I'm following this protocol.

 

Hopefully, it'll work and all will be well. If it doesn't, at least my morning "One for you, Two for me!" game will improve my attitude at work (drinking)

 

Anyone else tried it?

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i am currently working my way up to the maintenance dose. right now i am dosing 1.2mL every morning and every night. if you can remember to do so, i would recommend splitting the dosing to twice a day. i have seen nitrates start to lower, but not a lot, so am still increasing weekly until it drops significantly. how high are your nitrates? mine are in the 20ppm range, but have hit 10-15 recently.

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I've tried vodka as well. It tastes delicious. I like it mixed with vermouth, couple of olives and . . .

 

Oh for nitrates I use sugar. It works well for me. I used to use vodka for nitrate to but I always seemed to run out so I switched. When you get the hang of it, it's not so hard at all.

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I'm a tequila guy at heart, I'd use it but I don't want my fish to be nasty tequila-drunks.

 

I just dropped my nitrates to 25+ (more than 25, but less than 50 -- boo for Salifert NO3 kits' poor resolution) from 50+ with a big water change. At that rate, it's take me another 3 or 4 big water changes to get nitrates where I want them. PO4 is at zero.

 

I'm a bit nervous about dosing vodka too late in the day. Isn't there a risk of it dropping the oxygen level after lights out?

 

Pledo -- how much sugar did you use, both building up and as a maintenance dose? For how big a tank?

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I prefer a flavored vodka on the rocks. Cirton w/ a splash of triple sec is nice or Stoli raspberry alone.

 

I was interested in vodka dosing because of the beautiful color changes seen after maintainance levels were reached, but only ever saw pictures of SPS. Has anyone seen softies or LPS "color up" too? My nitrates are in the 0-2.5 range, but my bio load is tiny. I would do it in a flash if I thought it would make things look nicer. If folks are just starting or thinking about starting please please please take some "before" pics and let us know your progress!

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Goose, it's not going to help you. IME LPS and softies do a bit better when there is some detectable nitrate. JME

 

Andy,

 

My tank is a 65g with a 20g sump. No idea of actual water volume after rock, sand, etc.

 

For sugar I started with a 1/4 of a teaspoon. I did that every other day for three doses, saw no change. I increased to a half of a teaspoon, every other day for three doses, saw very little change, (I was using an API at the time so hard to say), then went up to a full teaspoon, nitrates dropped from 40-50ish to 0 before the sencond dose so within 48 hours. I continues to dose the full teaspoon once a week inbetween water changes. I stopped using sugar for the time being. Either my nutrient problem was something internal from the tank, or my bacteria caught up but I do run with zero nitrate now. I still test for it weekly. If some showed up I wouldn't hesitate to use sugar again.

 

For vodka I was using started with 1mL and worked my way up to 5mL.

 

I haven't noticed any signs of overdosing myself like the white bacteria bloom. I know that using carbon sources can drop 02 levels but betweenthe surface aggitation, the protein skimmer, and the macro algaes, I never saw a problem myself.

 

HTH

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Thanks for the info, Pledo. Regarding LPS/Softies, I agree -- though I have found Euphyllia sps. to be more sensitive to higher nitrates, almost in the SPS category as far as their unhappiness.

 

I'm currently dosing .2 ml of vodka a day.

 

Vodka delivers 2.2 kcal/ml.

Table sugar delivers 4 kcal/g.

1 ml of vodka ~= 1 g of vodka

 

With that in mind, for every ml of vodka the protocol would have me dose, I should instead dose 1.8 g of sugar. My current dose is 0.2 ml of vodka therefor I should dose .36 g of sugar.

 

I plan on making a water/sugar solution and dosing that, it'll be a lot easier to measure that way.

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Day #3 -- last day of the initial dose. So far, so good.

 

(oh yeah, I removed my GAC, GFO and Purigen on day #1)

 

Been dosing twice a day like d_b suggested, but I'm still worried about a drop in dissolved oxygen levels if I dose too much during lights out.

 

Switched to sugar solution today. 275 g. of sugar in 500 ml of RO/DI gives about the same amount of calories and carbon as vodka (assuming my math and recollection of Chem 101 is correct). It's cheap, but useless for Martinis. Gotta take the good with the bad I suppose.

 

I think NO3 may have reduced a bit, but my eyes have a tough time discriminating between adjacent color shifts on the card so I'm not sure. Certainly not seeing the big drop yet, though I'm not expecting it yet so it's all good.

 

No sign of bacterial mats. Skimmer is definitely more productive, and the skimmate is stinkier. Before I started dosing, skimmate was earthy smelling but not liquid death. Supposedly it'll end up as toxic waste before this is done.

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I used sugar to help reduce phosphates. I didn't keep track, but Joel at Waves recommended 1/2 teaspoon twice a day for my 75g+20g sump. It worked like a charm.

 

There was one day that I dosed right before the lights went out, and I was feeding my corals, so I turned off the pumps. I forgot to turn them back on before going to bed. In the morning I had a HUGE bacterial bloom, two dead fish (yellow tang and fox-face rabbitfish), a dead cleaner shrimp, two dead emerald crabs, and a dead urchin. All my coral survived, a pair of clowns survived, and the lawnmower blenny survived.

 

Needless to say I try to not have all my pumps off anymore.

 

Since my phosphates have dropped, I slowed down on my sugar use. I think I have added it once or twice in the last few weeks.

 

dsoz

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1 tsp a day is a LOT for a tank that size' date=' about 5x the starting dose of the protocol I'm using. I'm not surprised you had a bacterial bloom :([/quote']

 

O use a full teaspoon dosed at once on my slightly smaller tank. I have probably done this over a hundred times, most likely many more, never a problem.

 

You do kinda have to work up to it though.

 

If there was no aeration from pumps combined with the carbon dosing that would explain the deaths IMO. Dosing that much with normal aeration would have been fine IME. I was doing so even before using a skimmer.

 

JME

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, my NO3 is at 20 ppm so I decided to do a water change and start the Vodka regiment. After my water change, I was at 10 ppm. After three 1/2 doses, I have noticed white spots on my Yellow and Powder Brown Tangs. Now, it's my understanding that Ick is always with the Tangs and can flare when the fish is stressed. My question is, can/does Vodka feed the ick in such a way as to put the Tangs at risk?

 

Scott

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Well, I have been going for a week. I have 100 gal of water in my system. I started at about 20 ppm of NO3.

 

1. .4 mL (20 ppm)

2. .2 mL (ick outbreak... I wondered for a bit if it was because of my Vodka)

3. .2 mL

4. .4 mL (Travis at upscales didn't think it had anything to do with my ick, rec: garlic extract)

5. .6 mL (25 ppm)

6. .6 mL

7. .9 mL (10 ppm) gonna check tomorrow with another brand of kit. Maybe it's working!? (Ick gone.)

 

more to follow,

 

Scott

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