Necessary maintenance - biopellets update
In March 2016, I filled up my biopellet reactor with Biospheres. I used 1000ml worth, or one large pouch. At the time my nitrate was quite high, but within about eight weeks it had dropped them to less than 5ppm. I talked about this entire process in a video I released four months ago: http://youtu.be/aRHf8b1H5u4
After the video released, I decided to remove the top perforated plate. I mentioned that plate repeatedly in the dialog, how it often clogs up and slows or even stops the necessary flow of water biopellets demand. Removing that potential obstruction seemed like a logical solution. And it worked out great. Some people told me they tried as well, but said when the power went out the reactor would back-siphon all the pellets into their sump. I never had that issue, so I think it's all about proper equipment configuration to avoid that. Or use a massive reactor like I do. hehe
Today when I looked at all the gear, I noticed almost all the pellets were gone. Instead of seeing them tumble en mass, I was seeing a few ricochet around in the reactor like fireflies. Clearly it was time to refill it.
It was 98% empty, but loaded up with lots of tiny featherdusters. These all had to be cleaned out, those filter feeders had no business being in there and it's good they didn't end up obstructing the flow in the outbound angled fitting atop the reactor.
This is all that was left, which I tossed out:
The reactor all clean again, ready for media.
The Biospheres need to be soaked in water prior to use, usually overnight. I could wait 24 hours, but that's not really required. Instead of using RO water or saltwater, I did as I mentioned in the video, I used Microbacter 7 to seed the pellets with bacteria. I used up the entire bottle which was probably 70% full.
Tomorrrow I'll pour off the liquid and add the pellets to the reactor and resume the necessary flow. Most biopellets use about 500gph of flow for proper oxygenation and tumbling effect.
Since the media was mostly depleted, the next logical question was "What are the current nitrates?" I broke out the Elos test kit, my magnetic stirrer and performed that test next.
And after the five minute wait, it looks like they are currently measuring about 2.5ppm Not bad at all.
The reactor can hold 2000ml of biopellets. I'm only using 1000ml worth, which lasted about 9 months on my system. I dose Prodibio every 15 days, so the media continues to get fresh bacteria twice monthly. Clearly, this works well which I'm always happy to report.
I'll likely update this blog with a few more images in the next couple of days.