Sugar dose post cycle

Shilpan

Member
Just some thinking. My cycling 100 gallon tank is spiking nitrites now. But the nitrates are already 20ppm, probably gonnna go much higher and it's probably due to my dead rock.

Anyway just a question, post cycle, people often reccomend large water changes to drop those nitrates (which =$$$ in a large system). Why don't we just vodka or sugar dose near the end of the cycle and lower nitrates that way? There's no livestock in the tank so they aren't at risk. And it sounds like I would need about 2 weeks of dosing.

Please enlighten me so I may learn :)
 

2quills

Well-Known Member
Never tried it. But if you have the patience to test it out before you add livestock I'd say go for it.

My thoughts are if you feed fuel for the anaerobic bacteria and then stop the excess bacteria will die off. Then you add livestock and end up right back where you started. So you'd have to either continue dosing or let the system find its own balance.

So unless you plan on continuing to dose then it just seems like all you're doing is prolonging the inevitable. But I could be wrong.
 

bang guy

Moderator
The idea behind sugar dosing (or more commonly Vodka dosing) is to grow lots of aerobic bacteria that consume Phosphates and then die for the skimmer to remove. I'm not convinced it's effective for Nitrates but like 2qiills, I could be wrong.
 

Shilpan

Member
Ahh I see

Ok thanks guys :)
Yeah I was doing a bit of research it does seem to drop phosphates and nitrates. However you're right about the excess die off so it would only be safe to do it nearer the end of the cycle when there is already a stable population there. Hmm and then I guess I would need to keep ghost feeding too for an ammonia source.

I'll think about it...

I hear I feel I had so 60ppm nitrates, and I added a pair of clowns, they would actually be fine?

And then don't add anymore fish and through water changes and good husbandry the nitrates will eventually come down.
 

2quills

Well-Known Member
Clowns would be just fine in those nitrates as long as ammonia and nitrite are already staying at zero. You could add macro algae at any time now.

It's going to take months for the system to mature and stabilize. I'd steer clear of carbon dosing for your fist year since it's your first time.

There are countless products and methods now for carbon dosing. But your system becomes extremely dependant on your skimmer. If it breaks or goes down it can wreak all kinds of havoc in the system. As can any abrupt changes or reduction in the dosing regime.

Algae is safer. I just tested everything in my water today. Nitrate and phosphate undetectable and have been for a while. Running just algae and gfo. My glass stays clear for weeks at a time.
 

Shilpan

Member
Ok that's good :) as long as the clowns won't die. and I'll do frequent water changes at the beginning so that the nitrate slowly comes down.

Yeah my ammonia is 0.25, nitrites >5ppm and nitrates 40ppm. Lol and this is after I acid cured my live rock hahahahaha.

Awesome thanks for the advice :) better get a hold of that macroalgae soon.
 

Shilpan

Member
How much space do I need for the macroalgae?

lol I was so eager to fill my sump with live rock and live rock rubble that I've only left 3-4cm of space.

Will I need to empty a lot of this out? Oh well I'll move it to the return chamber.

So yeah how much space do you keep?
 

lmforbis

Administrator
Staff member
The skimmer is supposed to take care of the bacteria that grow as a result of the carbon dosing. If you google Randy Holms Farley and carbon dosing you should be able to find some articles he's written on the subject. He is a phd in chemistry his hobby is reef chemistry. His articles are a wealth of information.
 

2quills

Well-Known Member
+1 on Randy's articles. He's a wealth of information.

I have just a handful of pieces of rock in my refugium. The chaeto occupies the most space and I have a great light source for it. 120g display, custom 65g sump and the fuge holds approx. 14g of water when running. Not everyone has optimal space for that though and I have a large skimmer.

It took quite a while to finally find what works best for me on my system. Between lighting, feeding and maintenence everyone's situation is a little different.

It will be up to you to figure out what works and what doesn't on your journey. No one way is necessarily right or wrong.
 

florida joe

Well-Known Member
Just a note on vodka dosing. I have tried it. What have I not tried? It works I know hobbyists that have dosed daily for years. I dosed for about 6 month, it dropped my nitrates by 50 present in the first two weeks
 

Shilpan

Member
So tempting to just throw a few spoons of sugar in the tank while it is cycling and there is no fish in there...
But I shall control myself haha I got macroalgae
 

2quills

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't go the sugar rout in less you can't control nitrates any other way.
This.

And some level of nitrate isn't necessarily a bad thing. Carbon dosing is generally reserved for those trying to achieve ultra low nutrient levels for sps coral systems.

Carbon dosing is a dedicated regiment. I'd let the tank mature first to see if nitrate is going to even be a long term problem. Otherwise they are to be expected on a new system. Plus you still have ammonia so bacteria isn't established yet.
 

florida joe

Well-Known Member
Plus 1
and with all due respect "So tempting to just throw a few spoons of sugar in the tank" this is the absolute worst mind set on anything you are introducing into your tank.
 

Shilpan

Member
Oh right, my thought was with the excessively high 80ppm nitrates, why not just sugar dose to get rid of them.

Then as you said may need to recycle the tank because you don't have the strong biological support. But that way you get rid of nitrates without a $150 of salt, and you then get a clean tank to start with. Was expecting no ill effects because no fish in the system. And it's like free hahaha. And the carbon source would be cleared by the bacteria, bacteria cleared by the skimmer.

But yeah I see it's quite a complicated which I don't fully understand and not really a good idea for a beginner such as myself.
 

2quills

Well-Known Member
I don't necessarily think it's over complicated. Just requires vigilant dedication to where if those requirements can't be maintained religiously it can cause some undesirable side effects such as bacteria blooms or tank crashes.

I've even seen a couple of members on this here experience crashes from something as simple as forgetting to turn the skimmer back on after maintenance or maybe a power outage or equipment failure etc.

But I get where you're coming from. Just want a one time shot to bring nitrates down before you add livestock vs an expensive water change. I've never tried it so I don't know. But like I said, if you're willing to experiment then I'm willing to watch lol.
 

florida joe

Well-Known Member
just don't understand the RUSH. don't do a water change don't add fish yet ghost feed give your tank a chance to stabilize
 

2quills

Well-Known Member
just don't understand the RUSH. don't do a water change don't add fish yet ghost feed give your tank a chance to stabilize
Bah...I think we all understand the excitement of setting up our first tank or getting a new fish, coral etc.

Isn't that right Mr. I don't quarantine new additions? :p

Anyway, I would still wait for ammonia and nitrite to read zero. After that you're good as long as you take it slow.

Gotta give Shilpan, credit for all of the research he/she is doing before hand. Already ahead of the pack.
 

Shilpan

Member
Hahahaha. I see where Florida is coming from, just wait and see what happens. I'll do that for now :) if I do decide to muck around with sugar I'll let you know quills! I love science hahaha...

oh by the way,

Amonnia is 0, but since nitrates are rising and nitrites aren't falling I think there maybe still die off from the rock. So should I still ghost feed?
 
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