What Biopellets do You Use?

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Typical biopellet

Typical biopellet

AquaNerd would like to know what type of biopellets you are using on your marine aquarium.  For those of you that don’t know what biopellets are then please take a minute to read through this.

Biopellets are based on the principle of immobilization. Waste products from the water, mainly nitrate and phosphate, are converted into bacteria thus keeping the aquarium water cleaner. Biopellets are composed of biologically degradable polymers that can be placed in a fluidized filter or filter canister.  Biopellets will allow aerobic growth of bacteria which consequently will consume nitrate and phosphate simultaneously. The bacteria will use up the carbon from the BioPellets, whilst nitrogen and phosphorus are taken from the water as nitrate and (ortho)phosphate. This conversion of organic BioPellets (together with inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus) into microbial biomass is called immobilization. In addition, anaerobic layers will develop, resulting in additional denitrification.  Surplus bacteria will be consumed by filter and suspension feeding organisms such as sponges and corals, or skimmed off by a protein skimmer.

On average this “solid vodka method” takes 2-4 weeks to give rise to sufficient bacteria to allow nitrate and phosphate levels to drop. The main advantage of this method over using vodka or sugar as a carbon source is that NP-reducing BioPellets stimulate local growth of bacteria in a filter compartment, instead of all over in the aquarium where they may clog up pipes and hoses. They also prevent the growth of cyanobacteria, as the bacteria growing on NP-reducing BioPellets will compete with these phototrophic nuisance microbes.  Also with biopellets there is no need to dose a liquid carbon source every day or every week depending on your husbandry methods.  For the purpose of keeping this article neutral, I won’t mention which Biopellet we use here.

What type of Biopellets are You Using

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  • Cameron Settle

    I have had the best luck with the Reef Octopus Biospheres.. I find that they don’t clump like most and they have excellent phosphate / nitrate reduction properties. I have used 6 of the BP’s listed.. I will not buy anything else at this point.