"Lite" vodka dosing?

jhildebrand

New member
I would like to experiment with the vodka method in conjunction with my large 150 gallon refugium, but not to replace it. I feed a three times a day and have a fairly large bioload on an approx 900 gallon system. The refugium serves to draw out nutrients as well as breed food for the tank and I do not want to lose the food function.

Any thoughts or experience if this works well to shave levels down from what the macros don't remove? Or does it work best to completely replace the plant matter? I have heard of very few accounts of them being used together and I know the macros can stop growing or die with a dosing schedule designed to remove most of the NO3 and PO4...
 

mille239

Premium Member
FWIW, I use a full vodka dosing scheme, (3rd month) and while my macro in my fuge has stopped growing, it is still there and stays green. I don't mind that it stopped growing, but I want to keep it for food for the tank.

HTH
 

noahm

New member
I am in about the same time frame as mille239 with my vodka dosing, but I am not shooting for the goal of 0 nitrates. I am happy with <5 and will keep my dose where it maintains that level. I have heard of problem with zoas etc. when its kept too clean with vodka. My macro seems to be doing fine so far.
 

jhildebrand

New member
That's my concern too - very mixed reef and not shooting for zero, just a nice manageable level. I wonder if I start with a low dose and not ramp it up like most do if it will have any noticeable effect.
 

tmz

ReefKeeping Mag staff
Premium Member
I have a mixed reef 550system with chaetomorpha refugia. I keep leathers, gorgonia, lps, rhizotrochus, denrophylia, zoanthus, palys mushrooms and lots of sps and even some xenia with over 40 fish. I keep phosphate at ,.05ppm and nitrate at between 2 and 4ppm. Everything is doing well. I dose 24 ml of 80 proof vodka and 2 ml of vinegar daily for the last 6 months. I also use gac and gfo and skim heavily.
 

eros

New member
When my nitrates get around 20 or higher I start dosing, when they get back down I stop dosing. Works well for me.
 

jhildebrand

New member
Nice. I'd like to be able to only dose when it's needed to keep the numbers in check.

TMZ - How do you add all that vodka? Doser? Manually all at once? Also curious what kind of skimmer setup you have.
 

eros

New member
I use a syringe. I add 3-4ml's day because that is what gives me results but you will want to slowly work up to whatever dose works for you. My skimmer is a EuroReef cs8-2(rated for 2-400gal). It's very oversized for my tank which is 75 gallons.
 

rkelman

New member
I just started about 3 weeks ago and my nitrates are coming down pretty fast. I'm very happy with it. I have no fuge on this system so I can't comment on algae growth.
 

tmz

ReefKeeping Mag staff
Premium Member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15445067#post15445067 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by jhildebrand
Nice. I'd like to be able to only dose when it's needed to keep the numbers in check.

TMZ - How do you add all that vodka? Doser? Manually all at once? Also curious what kind of skimmer setup you have.
I dose 18ml and the 2ml vinegar in the am and another six ml lvodka about 12 hours later. I just pour it in the sump at the drain . I use an asm G 4x and an asm G 4xx.Total water flow through these is 2400gph. I don't beleive there is definitive information on the best timing for dosing. So I'm just guessing that the bacteria can go 12 hour plus without refueling based on the anecdotal ingformation found in posts by others.
 

tmz

ReefKeeping Mag staff
Premium Member
The vinegar is acetic acid which is another source of organic carbon for bacteria. The amount I dose has not effect on ph and that's not why I use it.
One of the criticsms of homebrew carbon dosing approaches such as vodka dosing (as opposed to commerical systems such as Zeo) is that a single carbon source such as ethanol from vodka will favor a single group of bacteria . It is thought some bacteria favor one type of carbon over another which could lead to their dominance . Vinegar provides another type of carbon to encourage more diversity in the tank's bacteria. Some also use sugar(glucose) for a third type of organic carbon as well.
 

jhildebrand

New member
There are recipes for VSV (vodka sugar vinegar) but the people that just dose vodka haven't seen issues longer term. The single bacteria dominance theory makes sense but hasn't been a problem. Diversity can't be a bad thing though. Zeo really doesn't seem like it's for me. For basic N & P control this seems like the most simple and cost-effective route to go. I've always been too afraid to pull the trigger, but the bioload now warrants it, so here we go. My primary concern has been having a negative impact on my refugium. Sounds like once the dosing is figured out it should work fine though...
 

tomasga

New member
I think based solely on research in books and this forum that if you dose "lite" until you reach the achieved results there are no negative side effects for both your inhabitants and macros. It seems to me that the reason some people run into problems is that they jump in too quick and increase the dose sooner than later thus causing harm to macros, etc...
 

jhildebrand

New member
Right - I'm wondering myself what to start dosing at and when to stop. That's going to be the tricky part. I'm guessing I should level off well before I'm near zero since that's not going to be the goal. Going to have to start low and work up very, very slowly to find the sweet spot.
 
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