Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Undetectable Nitrates and Phosphates - How to dose vodka?

I've been asked numerous times on if it is possible to dose vodka when nitrates and/or phosphates are undetectable. Most people will ask this if they have undetectable levels and are suffering from hair algae. The simple answer is yes it is possible. My recommendation would be to take it slow. If you use the Reef Keeping article, located at the bottom of this blog, you will find dosing instructions for vodka with various proofs and aquarium sizes. Start off using the chart recommendation and increase until the hair algae fails to return after manually removing it by hand. It may take a few weeks to get the desired effect. Continuation at the same dose will give the best results once the hair algae has been removed and no longer returns.

Monday, January 26, 2009

DOC and vodka

I often find myself asking some of the most obscure questions. Recently I read an article from Advanced Aquarist where they were looking at dissolved organic compounds (DOCs). I found it fascinating that on the reef there is less than 1 part per million (ppm) DOC in a healthy ecosystem. In higher amounts it has been shown to cause coral bleaching and mortality. Since I use vodka to control my nitrates/phosphates (by far the cheapest reef additive you can purchase for your aquarium) I was interested in how much DOC I was adding to my tank. Busting out the calculator... 20% vodka at 8mL per day, I came up with adding roughly 1.26 grams of ethanol daily. This equates to 1.66ppm ethanol daily to my 180g reef tank (it holds 200g for anyone that ends up checking my math). Obviously this is a concern to me if I want to go with literature and try to mimic a wild reef ecosystem. On a good note though, I drip my vodka throughout the day. Doing this breaks down my all at once spike to 0.069ppm per hour. This is well under the 1ppm DOC! Though I do not know how much DOC is currently in my tank, I feel the vodka is OK since this is such a small addition.