Over the past few weeks we started dosing Dr. Tim’s Re-Fresh and Waste Away. Today we are going to walk you through the process of these bacteria additives and their results.

Cyano algae is a headache that pretty much every reefer has faced at some point. Even just a bit of tank neglect can lead to your sandbed, rocks, equipment, and your corals being coated in red slime. If left unchecked it can even start to choke your corals out of light and nutrients. We’ve previously taken a look at other ways to deal with cyano algae, but hey, knowledge is power and sometimes a combination of tactics is what your tank might need.

Re-Fresh and Waste-Away are the perfect one-two combo for ridding your tank of cyano. They were developed by Dr. Tim through extensive research. Dr. Tim has used his expertise in Biology and his PH.D in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology to conduct extensive research on nitrifying bacteria leading to a number of patents. The culmination of this research has resulted in his lines of bacterial additives, including Re-Fresh and Waste-Away.

Re-Fresh is going to be your first method of attack when dealing with cyano problems. By dosing Re-Fresh you will be adding beneficial bacteria to your tank that will start breaking down algae and sludge, removing them from the surfaces of your scape. Once the your rock and substrate are looking clean it's time to start dosing Waste-Away. Waste-Away is filled with a different set of bacteria that is designed to out compete any new algae and slime before it can become established. It does this by feeding on the same nutrients that the nuisance algae and cyano feed on. Once the bacteria become full and bloated they are stripped from your water by your mechanical filtration and protein skimmer. It is very important to remember that you will need to have a protein skimmer when dosing Waste-Away.

We wanted to put these products to the test so we decided to try them out on one of our office tanks that was having some cyano trouble. Our team member Christian took charge of dosing and documented the process.

Christian made sure to turn off the protein skimmer before dosing Re-Fresh to make sure it stayed in the system. The next step was to siphon out all of the loose cyano that he could find, making it easier for the bacteria to get to the tougher stuff. According to the chart provided, you will need to dose 5ml for every 10 gallons of water in your system.

We are working on our Red Sea XL 525 which has a total system volume of 139 gallons, but we rounded down to 130 to make it a bit easier. This meant that we needed to be dosing 65ml of Re-Fresh. We didn’t dose any additional bacteria on day 2 but we did allow the skimmer to run for around 9 hours. Not only did it start pulling out nutrients, it went a bit overboard on the skimming. After emptying the cup of the sludge, we shut the skimmer back down for the night.

For day 3 we once again dosed the tank and left the skimmer off. At this point we were already starting to see results. As many reefers do, we have a tendency to over feed our tanks a bit, so its not uncommon for us to find a bit of cyano growing on our sandbed the morning after a heavy feeding. Despite having our protein skimmer off, we were already seeing a distinct lack of red slime anywhere in the tank.

Day 4 we cycled the protein skimmer back on for 8 hours. We elected not to do the optional water change at this point as we weren’t seeing that our tank was reacting adversely to anything.

On Day 5 we once again dosed and left our skimmer off. At this point we were very impressed with this dosing regimen, as not only had our substrate been cleared, our water column seemed to clear up as well.

Day 6 was another non dosing day and thankfully the start of our weekend.

Day 7 was when we were supposed to start dosing Waste-Away, but as it also fell on the weekend, we pushed it back to day 8. Once again using the provided information, we calculated that we needed to 130 ml of Waste-Away per dose. After you dose leave the skimmer off for between 2 and 4 hours before turning it back on. We had a little mental slip and left it off for overnight. Whoops! Thankfully everything ended up OK.

When we turned the skimmer back on it once again went on overdrive and started skimming like crazy.

On day 10 we matched our dose from day 8 and once again turned off the protein skimmer, but this time it was for the correct period of time.

Day 11 was the last scheduled day of our treatment and we performed a partial water change as recommended.

All in all, we were very happy with how this dosing regimen performed. Even with gaps in our dosing and overrunning our skimmer, we had very noticable results and our tank looks the cleanest it has in quite a while.


Dr. Tim's Aquatics Waste-Away Sludge Busting Bacteria:

Dr. Tim's Aquatics Re-Fresh Natural Sparkling Water: