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LNS and ULNS Systems


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  1. #1
    creefer - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Default LNS and ULNS Systems

    I have been doing some reading on this and other various forums regarding carbon dosing and MB7 (MicroBacter 7 by Brightwell Aquatics). Is anyone on here using any such systems? If so, what are you using and what is your experience? I was thinking about running a LNS using MB7 and Reef BioFuel (also Brightwell Aquatics). I know some use vodka but that kind of freaks me out a bit. Rather keep the vodka to myslef!

  2. #2
    stunreefer - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Keep in mind that "LNS" and "ULNS" are just labels that have been tossed around by hobbyists - the state of "LNS" or "ULNS" can be attained by many different means of filtration (refugium, denitrator, skimmer, bacterial driven system, turf scrubber, etc.). You're reffering to a "bacterial driven" system. I use Prodibio and am a fan of it. Easy and effective IME.

    Make sure you have a solid grasp on basic tank husbandry and then move into a bac driven system if you would like. There's some good threads here on CR discussing these systems.
    Make your animals Thrive, not just Survive.

  3. #3
    jolson10450 - Reefkeeper
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    i use vodka and mb7, couldnt be happier, there are some lps i cant grow but my sps all look fantastic same with my z's and p's. i only have a 29g tank, my skimmer cup is full every week with thick black gunk, it works great for me, i hardly have any algae at all in the tank beside some chaeto that gets loose and sneaks through the return into the display lol. i love it! i planed out my dosing to 3ml vodka, 3ml mb7 per day on my total of 30g water volume, took a little more than 2 months to get to those levels slowly upping it each week. ive been doing this since august and i dont have a single complaint besides not being able to keep some lps, which are not my favorite anyways so it doesnt bother me.

    its wierd tho i cant keep a christmas favia for the life of me but yet i got a huge green favia brain growing like crazy, guess its hit or miss for those really. but thats about it.

    suggestion i have is READ! then when your done read some more, and more. then when you think you are ready, read some more! i spent about 1.5 months reading a lot of sunnyx's posts and articles along with tons of others before i finally decided what dosing pattern i wanted to take, if i would of went in blind it could of been disastrous. i use mohawk vodka too, it can be any cheap inflavored vodka, i started with absolute then read from many sources the brand or purity doesn't matter, its just the proof of the vodka.

  4. #4
    creefer - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jolson10450 View Post
    i use vodka and mb7, couldnt be happier, there are some lps i cant grow but my sps all look fantastic same with my z's and p's. i only have a 29g tank, my skimmer cup is full every week with thick black gunk, it works great for me, i hardly have any algae at all in the tank beside some chaeto that gets loose and sneaks through the return into the display lol. i love it! i planed out my dosing to 3ml vodka, 3ml mb7 per day on my total of 30g water volume, took a little more than 2 months to get to those levels slowly upping it each week. ive been doing this since august and i dont have a single complaint besides not being able to keep some lps, which are not my favorite anyways so it doesnt bother me.

    its wierd tho i cant keep a christmas favia for the life of me but yet i got a huge green favia brain growing like crazy, guess its hit or miss for those really. but thats about it.

    suggestion i have is READ! then when your done read some more, and more. then when you think you are ready, read some more! i spent about 1.5 months reading a lot of sunnyx's posts and articles along with tons of others before i finally decided what dosing pattern i wanted to take, if i would of went in blind it could of been disastrous. i use mohawk vodka too, it can be any cheap inflavored vodka, i started with absolute then read from many sources the brand or purity doesn't matter, its just the proof of the vodka.
    I have been casually reading about this for months prior to even purchasing my system. I have read lots of sunnyx's posts as well. I just picked up some MB7 in anticipation of beginning such a regime in my system however I do plan on reading more and more prior to dosing. I have seem some really fantastic results in this and other forums regarding this type of system and to say the least, I'm intrigued.

    Is there any benefit to using vodka over reef biofuel? What is the difference, if any at all? I had the understanding that vodka has the potential to do some damage. In your case jolson, are you using any type of filter media in addition to the chaeto in the fuge?

    @ stunreefer....yeah, I agree. The terminology is likely just something that is thrown around and there are many methods of reducing nutrients. I have not read much on the Prodibio system but will do so. I'll do some searching and check it out.

    Thanks to you both.

  5. #5
    stunreefer - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by creefer View Post
    Is there any benefit to using vodka over reef biofuel? What is the difference, if any at all? I had the understanding that vodka has the potential to do some damage.
    These are carbon sources (think "food") for the bacteria. Essentially puts them on steroids to help consume NO3 and PO4, then excess/dead bacteria is skimmed out and/or utilized by animals in your reef.

    Quote Originally Posted by creefer View Post
    The terminology is likely just something that is thrown around and there are many methods of reducing nutrients.
    Exactly. It's just another way to skin the cat. Personally I like this method as it allows me to have a super simple (IMO) system with not much equipment and low maintenace necessary. Sump stays nice and clean as I don't have a refugium light (no algae on my skimmer!). I siphon all detrius out of the sump every week or so, keep skimmer clean and dose occasionally.
    Quote Originally Posted by creefer View Post
    I have not read much on the Prodibio system but will do so. I'll do some searching and check it out.
    You'll find that the "main competitors" in the bacterial driven field are ZEOvit, Fauna Marin Ultralith, Brightwell and Prodibio. There are others, especially since the "biopellet" craze, but in the end they all rely on the same principal, but can differ considerably based on brand.
    Make your animals Thrive, not just Survive.

  6. #6
    creefer - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Thanks...

    I understand that the carbon source is food however was not sure if the vodka offers a particular benefit over other sources. Also, I like the idea of simplicity. That is part of what has driven my quest for information on the matter. The other part is most of the bac systems i have seen, like you mention, are relatively algae free. I have pretty low nutrients right now and testing pretty well yet sill have GHA. It's likely due to the RO only water source. I have since added a DI canister and have noticed improvement but I still have growth, but it's not as strong as it was prior.

    I have also read about Zeovit. I don't really want to run a reactor and would like to avoid it if possible. It would require lots of changes to my system (solana 34g AIO) that would be several hundred bucks worth of stuff, so that's the other driving factor in this thinking.

    Again, I appreciate the info. Looking forward to my continued quest for knowledge.

  7. #7
    stunreefer - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by creefer View Post
    I understand that the carbon source is food however was not sure if the vodka offers a particular benefit over other sources.
    It's cheap and you can have some real fun with your reef while dosing I prefer to use a mix of everything honestly regarding different bac sources and carbon sources in order to prevent a monostrain of bacteria, although even people that have run these systems for quite a while haven't really seen this happen, it's more of a theory (monostrain that is).

    Quote Originally Posted by creefer View Post
    I have pretty low nutrients right now and testing pretty well yet sill have GHA. It's likely due to the RO only water source. I have since added a DI canister and have noticed improvement but I still have growth, but it's not as strong as it was prior.
    If you weren't running a DI canister initially then more than likely something slipped through the RO and has been feeding your algae. As you probably know, if algae is present in a tank it is utilizing nutrients and will cause your test kit to "read low". Keep up with water changes and stay on top of maintaining your RO/DI system and the algae will subside.

    Quote Originally Posted by creefer View Post
    I have also read about Zeovit. I don't really want to run a reactor and would like to avoid it if possible. It would require lots of changes to my system (solana 34g AIO) that would be several hundred bucks worth of stuff, so that's the other driving factor in this thinking.
    ZEOvit along with Fauna Marin and Brightwell sell zeolite media that can be used either passively or in a reactor, although no zeolites have to be used. Zeolites provide a surface area for the bacteria to live, breed, die, and then be "sloughed" off. It's a more aggressive way of running a bacterial driven system. Zeolites also absorb (small) amounts of ammonia, which is why they must be exchanged occasionally.
    Make your animals Thrive, not just Survive.

  8. #8
    jolson10450 - Reefkeeper
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    Quote Originally Posted by creefer View Post
    I have been casually reading about this for months prior to even purchasing my system. I have read lots of sunnyx's posts as well. I just picked up some MB7 in anticipation of beginning such a regime in my system however I do plan on reading more and more prior to dosing. I have seem some really fantastic results in this and other forums regarding this type of system and to say the least, I'm intrigued.

    Is there any benefit to using vodka over reef biofuel? What is the difference, if any at all? I had the understanding that vodka has the potential to do some damage. In your case jolson, are you using any type of filter media in addition to the chaeto in the fuge?

    @ stunreefer....yeah, I agree. The terminology is likely just something that is thrown around and there are many methods of reducing nutrients. I have not read much on the Prodibio system but will do so. I'll do some searching and check it out.

    Thanks to you both.
    i have never used biofuel, vodka was just cheaper in the long run so i choose that option. i am not using any filter media at all, it goes into my HOB overflow, through a gurgle buster, into the first chamber of my sump (no filter socks or sponges) i got a skimmer in there, then it goes through rock rubble to get to the next chamber of the fuge which has the chaeto and more rock rubble, then off to the next chamber with the return and is pumped back to the tank, no filter socks or sponges or anything along the way.

    my nitrates and phosphates constantly read zero and i feed 1 time per day heavily, like 3x what my fish can consume, my baby brittle stars and pep shrimp, cleaner shrimp, hermits, and other inverts consume what is missed, if it gets into the sump i got hermits and an emerald crab down there to take care of anything else and the skimmer does the rest. only algae in my tank is some on the glass of my baffles but the emerald crab takes care of that now.

    but like stun said its food for bacteria, and the mb7 supplements bacteria so it causes a bacteria bloom, some side effects for people is alk spikes which cause burnt tips, i never experienced this as i took it very slow to be sure i never hit a road block like this, it took some time to adjust and get everything down to zero and at that point i just planed it out and everything has been perfect since.

    i also stop my pumps when dosing the vodka, it goes in about a 3 gallon chamber where the emerald crab and hermits and chaeto is and it doesnt effect them at all, it sits in their chamber for roughly 20 minutes before my pumps come back on and no ill effects, my chaeto grows like crazy, everything worked out for me just perfect because i did the research and took it slow until eventually finding the perfect point in my tank.

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