Is vinegar different then Vodka?

dvanacker

DID I SOUNDS SMRT??
I recently bought a doser so I could automate my vodka dosing. I read here that Randy uses vinegar himself. I know vinegar/sugar/vodka all promote bacteria growth but my question is....is vodka better then vinegar. I ask because you hear of so many people using just vodka. If they are the same (I realize that I would have to use more vinegar then vodka) I would just use vinegar instead....its cheaper. Booze is expensive in Canada....why give it to my tank when I can use it on myself...haha
 
I have seen no definitive answers to your question since there has been no scientific research completed that I am aware of on this subject.

I have used just vinegar, just sugar and now I am starting to use just glucose. I have not tried the booze yet. In my situation the vinegar and the sugar work well as long as you don't overdose them. As far as negative effects from these two carbon sources, I saw none.

The theory is that perhaps different carbon sources drive different bacteria. This is hard to prove unless done under scientifically controlled circumstances. As far as hobbyist's responses, IMHO most systems have too many variables to make competent decisions, especially if the bacteria are not properly identified. Most hobbyists do not have the ability to properly ID bacterial types.

As far as the effects of the different carbon sources being used, there is some scientific documentation regarding high levels of glucose, sugar and a few others. Too much of these carbon sources can cause detrimental effects for coral. So overdosing is not recommended.
 

Whisperer

New member
It is acidic and may shift your calcium/alk/carbonate levels (in ways only Randy can explain) if not careful. I am actually experimenting with glycerine/glycerol which is neutral and has one more carbon than vodka.
 
FWIW, I dosed vinegar at high levels, like Randy is currently doing. I did not notice any significant effect on the tank pH. Of course if you dump too much vinegar into your system, it will have a lowering pH effect similar to dosing too much kalk or sodium carbonate at one time will increase your pH too much. So, I don't believe that when dosing vinegar properly, it is a concern. ;)
 

1DeR9_3Hy

New member
It is acidic and may shift your calcium/alk/carbonate levels (in ways only Randy can explain) if not careful. I am actually experimenting with glycerine/glycerol which is neutral and has one more carbon than vodka.

Hows this going? One more carbon molecule means what to us as hobbyist?
 
These two articles discuss the use of vinegar when wanting to increase the effect of lime water. Dosing at the lower rates recommend in these articles seems to work OK. I would start at the lower levels used in these articles and work your way up. You need to watch for bacterial masses or blooms in your tank, which seems to be a common problem if vinegar is overdosed. Unfortunately every system is different and the amount you can dose may vary. I can tell you from experience, once your nitrate level drops to around 0-5 ppm, then you will want to back way off on the amount your dose, perhaps half. You only want to dose enough vinegar to either maintain your nitrate level or to make it drop by around 0.5 ppm per day. Measuring this low reduction can be difficult, since it may take a month before you can get a general idea of how your ntirate rates are dropping using hobby grade kits.

Expanding the Limits of Lime water:
Adding Organic Carbon Sources
http://web.archive.org/web/20001102...twork.com/fish2/aqfm/1999/oct/bio/default.asp

Kalkwasser In Depth:
http://www.reefscapes.net/articles/breefcase/kalkwasser.html
 
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Genetics

Hands deep in water
Team RC
Premium Member
There were people that used to rave about saturating their limewater with vinegar and seeing drastic improvements in their tanks. At that time it didn't make sense but looking back these people were seeing the effects of adding organic molecules to their tanks. If vinegar is cheaper up there in Canada then I would give it a go.
 

dvanacker

DID I SOUNDS SMRT??
are you saying that vodka is cheaper then vinegar in Florida? haha.

One last thing about vinegar...will it have a negative effect on pH vs. vodka? Also I right now I add 6ml vodka/day...with vinegar that would be 48ml. Should I be concerned with the water quality that is used to make the vinegar?
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
When all is said and done, the effect on pH is the same. All of the carbon ends up as CO2.

But when first added, vinegar does drop the pH and vodka does not. I eliminate that problem by adding lime (calcium hydroxide) to the vinegar, saturating it. Then it has a small pH boost. :)

Should I be concerned with the water quality that is used to make the vinegar?

As long as it is a food product, it should be OK. I generally recommend cheap distilled white vinegar.
 

tmz

ReefKeeping Mag staff
Premium Member
In my system at least, I've noticed less cyano using vinegar than vodka. :)

:D Same here. A week ago , I switched from 24 mil vodka and 10ml vinegar to 18ml vodka and 60ml vinegar for the am dose with a constant 8 ml vodka in the evening(pr 550 gallons) and all of the patchy cyano I had is completely gone.
 

saltygeek

New member
So to dose the vin. you just mix it with kalk? I dose a small amount of vit c now and would like to add a second source.
 

Genetics

Hands deep in water
Team RC
Premium Member
Thanks Cliff for the link from Bingman in 1999. Just proves there are people in the hobby ahead of the curve.

This is interesting to hear about. I know some people have little to no cyano with vodka and then others complain about plague proportions. Switching to vsv help the latter population but could it be as simple as just adding more vinegar?
 
Adding the vinegar to your kalk is a good way to go. Doing this will increase the amount of calcium and alk you derive from your kalk water solution, so you may have to back off on the amount of kalk you use per gallon of rodi water a bit. I would not add the vitamin C to your kalk per what Randy has stated in the past. ;)
 

saltygeek

New member
I don't actually dose kalk. Can you just dose vinegar w/o the kalk or does it need to be buffered in some way?
 
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