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DIY biopellets

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Guest thefishman65

Cool depending on shipping that is even cheaper. The original post refers to a group buy. They bought PCA (if I remember correctly) plastic to try and it seems to be working hence this thread to discuss the results. The idea for that group buy started (I think) from a thread on reef central (listed in the first post of the group buy). That thread mentions shape lock and Friendly Plastic as being the same/similar.

 

[EDIT]

I sent for a shipping quote - maybe we should order together?

Edited by thefishman65

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that is the same place Justin did I think shipping depended on the total amount order, but it came out to ~$29 per kilo

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Cool depending on shipping that is even cheaper. The original post refers to a group buy. They bought PCA (if I remember correctly) plastic to try and it seems to be working hence this thread to discuss the results. The idea for that group buy started (I think) from a thread on reef central (listed in the first post of the group buy). That thread mentions shape lock and Friendly Plastic as being the same/similar.

 

[EDIT]

I sent for a shipping quote - maybe we should order together?

 

PCL (polycaprolactone)...

http://letsmakerobots.com/node/11563

 

You have to "email Claudia" who will give you pricing which is very competitive if you have 20 kg or more. That's how I think ctenophore got the stuff from the group buy.

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Guest thefishman65

Sorry for being off topic for the last few posts. I am starting another group buy. Same thread as before: Polycaprolactone pellets

 

Update: The second group buy thread was split off from the one referenced above by thefishman65. The new thread can be found here:

 

http://www.wamas.org/forums/topic/37926-polycaprolactone-pellets-biopellets

Edited by Origami2547
thread reference.

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Ok i am going to ask a really dumb yet also really simple question.. What are BIOPELLETS and what do you do with them?

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They're a biodegradeable / biodigestable plastic bead. They're used as a solid form of carbon dosing, encouraging bacterial growth on the bead's surface. Used to control nitrates and phosphates in a manner similar to dosing vodka, but without the daily regimen. Relatively new to the hobby.

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This thread peaks my curiosity in them. I had a huge problem before with nitrate. It was off the chart and I went down the sulfur reactor route. In about a month, my nitrate is close to 0. Is NP better than a sulfur reactor? Should I switch or keep using what i have? I didn't know that NP can also bring down phosphates. I thought it was only nitrate.

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Luan if the sulfur reactor is working, I wouldn't remove it. The biopellets will do the same thing (and lower phosphates too), you could easily do both as the biopellets aren't a major investment to get into. Just a simple fluidized reactor and the pellets, install and forget for 6 months.

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Will it work without using MB7? I would assume so, but would expect the startup process to be slower as the pellets are colonized.

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It works without MB7 but if you can get some a couple doses speeds things up. I have 2 kg cranking away now. ctenephore's approach to using a 5 gallon bucket of tank water and MB7 really works. I have a nice GSA reactor that will run about 500 ml of pellets if anybody needs it.

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BTW the pellets are not just about reducing nutrients. The bacteria that sloughs off of the pellets seems to make corals and clams really happy. This could be the gateway to keeping non-photosynthetic corals without all the hassles. I have seen a bunch of fads and snake oil, but I get a sense that this may be an important advancement.

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Just an update... I am now running 2 liters of these in a big reactor with 150 total water volume. They are making the skimmer produce nicely and no adverse effect from the ridiculous quanity of pellets. The nutrients limit the baterial activity no matter how many pellets you are running. Hopefully with this big surface area of biomass, the bateria will tie up nutrients before the algea.

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I find this very interesting. I also find it interesting that everyone seems to be using these in an airobic high flow fluidized type of reactor.

 

Does anyone know how these bio pellets compare to the Aquamedic Deni-balls???

 

I have used these in low flow anoxic / anaerobic reactor with good success in eliminating nitrates.

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My guess is they're both made of a similar biopolymer. There are several classes of biodegradable compounds, such as PCL, PHAs, etc. All are digestible by bacteria, and I doubt that it matters much whether it's in high flow aerobic conditions or anoxic/anaerobic. NP-Biopellets claims that both forms of bacteria will develop in aerobic conditions, with the aerobic bacteria making a film on top of the anaerobic strains deeper in the plastic pores. Who knows, they all seem to work pretty well. I'll just use whatever is cheapest :)

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I find this very interesting. I also find it interesting that everyone seems to be using these in an airobic high flow fluidized type of reactor.

 

Does anyone know how these bio pellets compare to the Aquamedic Deni-balls???

 

I have used these in low flow anoxic / anaerobic reactor with good success in eliminating nitrates.

 

I had one of these back in '95 and it seemed to work great.

I currently use these bopellets in a mesh bag in the high flow areas in the sumps of 4 tanks and N03 is going down in all of them.

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I just tried warming both Bio-pellets and Aquamedic "Deni-Balls" and neither softened in boiling water. So I don't know if that is good or bad news, but it would seem that they are different plastics.

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I think that the current thinking is that propellers may be a PHB, polyhydroxybutyrate, a form of PLA, polylactic acid. These, like polycaprolactone, PCL, are forms of biodegradable plastics. But each have different softening temperatures. While PCL has a rather low working temperature, PLA's working temp is well above water's boiling point. This probably explains your observation.

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I like you Tom. You make everything sound so scientific. Beads in a coffee cup in the microwave = "PHB, polyhydroxybutyrate, a form of PLA, polylactic acid. These, like polycaprolactone, PCL, are forms of biodegradable plastics... observation."

 

Like a cross between Sid the Science Kid and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

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LOL. Actually, I received a three pound sample of PLA from a distributor, poured some in a coffee cup, added water and popped it in the microwave for two minutes. No softening either. Great minds think alike....

Somewhere on the web, I recently came across a table showing some physical characteristics if several biodegradeable plastics and the difference in melting point stuck out.

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I am running 2L of PLA on a 150 gallon system that was already pretty low nutrient. My Nitrates are running 0.5 or non-detectable down from about 1.0 before. The biggest change is the hair algea outbreak seems to be coming to an end.

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