What You Will Need for Biopellets

BRS biopellets are fairly easy to use. You will need the following items to get started:

  • Appropriate amount of BRS Biopellets
  • Media reactor such us the BRS Biopellet Reactor. The reactor should not use foam pads to hold in the media because they will clog over time.
  • Small feed pump like a MaxiJet 1200.
  • Household measuring cup

Step-By-Step Instructions

1. Measure Biopellets

Add one cup (236mL) of BRS Biopellets per 50 gallons of system water volume to the reactor. For example, a 100 gallon tank would require 2 cups of BRS Biopellets.

2. Install Reactor with Pump and Adjust Flow

Place the reactor and pump in the tank and adjust the flow so that all of the media is tumbling. Faster tumbling will keep the media free of biofilm and make it easier to keep the media tumbling for prolonged periods of time.

3. Add Beneficial Bacteria Strain (optional)

Add a beneficial bacteria strain like KZ Zeobak directly into the reactor. This may speed up the process and help maintain populations of beneficial bacteria but is not absolutely required.

4. Wait 4-8 Weeks

Wait 4-8 weeks for the bacteria to populate. During this time resist any temptation to change anything even if nitrate levels are continuing to rise. Some aquarists experience a bacterial bloom when first starting this system which clouds the tank for a few days. The cloudy water is generally scarier than harmful, but it can reduce the oxygen levels in the tank. If you do experience a bacterial bloom we recommend aiming a few powerheads at the surface of the water to maximize gas exchange. Continue water changes as usual.

5. Future Maintenance

Depending on the system add new Biopellets every 6-12 months. Do not remove remaining biopellets.

Helpful Tips

  • Depending on the system it should take 4-8 weeks for the bacteria population to multiply and begin its work on your nitrates. Once you have the reactor going we suggest not making any adjustments for 8 weeks. Give the media and bacteria time to adjust to the parameters found in your tank and begin working. Even small adjustments to the reactor can change the parameters inside the reactor and slow down the results.
  • Please keep in mind that while solid carbon dosing (biopellets) has become extremely popular, it is still very new to saltwater aquaria. There is a ton of anecdotal evidence and solid science behind how biopellets work but some aquarists will struggle to see results for various reasons. Adjusting parameters and considering all the variables may be required to succeed

  • Because there are so many variables it is difficult to give one size fits all advice . These are just some of the most common variables that would affect how biopellets are performing on your tank. Nitrate levels, phosphorous (phosphate) levels, dominant strains of bacteria, use of bacteria additives like Zeobak, types of live stock, protein skimmer performance, UV sterilizers, potassium levels, exposure to light, and even livestock or bioload.
  • Most customers will use this system to reduce already high nitrate levels and then maintain them at the new low levels. With changing nitrates comes changing bacteria which means its going to take time for your system to stabalize after adding biopellets. Using a series of water changes to drop your nitrate levels before starting biopellets can be an effective approach to avoiding drastic changes in your system.
  • Bacteria require small amounts of phosphorous to metabolize nitrate properly and phosphate levels theoretically could be a limiting factor. You will likely want to avoid or discontinue the use of GFO or phosphate removal products when adding biopellets to your system. Once you have the nitrate levels down, test phosphates an only then start using GFO as necessary based on your particular systems bioload.
  • It is difficult to control the dominant strains of bacteria in the aquarium, however, continual dosing of beneficial bacteria strains found in supplements such as Zeobak or Brightwell Aquatics Microbacter 7 can help. If your having trouble getting results, using bacteria supplements is a great place to start.
  • Some corals and sponges will consume the nitrate laden bacteria which will effectively reduce the amount of nitrate available in the water column.
  • A high quality UV sterilizer will damage the bacteria’s DNA and keep it from reproducing which could slow down your results and reduce effectiveness. If you own a low quality UV sterilizer the benefits are pretty minimal to begin with so we recommend completely removing it from the system. If you have invested in a high quality UV sterilizer we feel the benefits are substantial so you should try and incorporate it into your system rather than remove it. We recommend turning the UV sterilizer off until you have achieved results with the biopellets and then turning the UV sterilizer back on as the system stabalizes.
  • Some aquarists believe potassium could be a limiting factor. We recommend levels around 380mL/L. A quality salt mix can typically provide sufficient levels of potassium but using additives is also an option
  • We recommend keeping the reactor in a dark area to limit the amount of algae and organisms living inside the reactor itself.
  • Feeding the same amount at the same times of the day will help stabilize the food supply for both the bacteria and your tanks inhabitants. For instance if you feed every weekday, but are gone weekends this might produce instability in the food chain for the bacteria. A good automatic feeder may help you maintain stability.
  • The absolute best advice we can give you when starting biopellets is to set it up and forget it about for two months. Resist all temptation to make ANY changes for a full 8 weeks. Simply monitor critical water parameters and give it time to stabalize. Bacteria takes time to grow and nothing good happens fast in a reef tank.
**NOTE** Some aquarists experience a bacterial bloom which will cloud the tank when first starting out. The cloudy water is largely more scary than it is harmful but it can reduce the oxygen levels in your tank. If you do experience a severe bacterial bloom, we recommend aiming a few powerheads at the surface of the water to maximize gas exchange. Feeding the effluent of the biopellet reactor directly into the protein skimmer or near the protein skimmer's intake pump will also help avoid depleted oxygen levels.