Marine Bio Pearls from TMC offer an alternative way of reducing nutrients in the aquarium, by using bacteria. They're also suitable for use in freshwater.
Reefkeepers need to provide a low nutrient environment for corals. Until recently nitrates and phosphates have been dealt with by changing water, sand beds, mud beds, algae refugiums, nitrate reactors, ion exchange resins or by bacteria as part of the Ultra Low Nutrient System (ULNS).
However, there’s another way to reduce nutrients with bacteria, with the new breed of Bio pellets.
Bio Aquatek Ltd, manufacturer TMC’s Bio Pearls and claims: "We have designed a formula tailored to the needs of hobbyists and commercial operations alike. Marine Bio Pearls encourage the growth of bacteria and enzymes on their surface, by providing essential nutrients required for growth.
"By multiplying, the bacteria and enzymes break down the Marine Bio Pearls while consuming both nitrates and phosphates from the water column. Once these have been reduced to trace levels, the bacteria can no longer feed on the Marine Bio Pearls and a stable state is reached.
"If the levels of feeding or waste production increase in the tank, the Marine Bio Pearls will start to consume them again."
While skimming remains effective in saltwater set-ups, it has weaknesses. Only 30% of unwanted nutrients in the water can be captured by a skimmer. The rest can’t stick to the surface of the skimmer bubbles.
Bio Aquatek says that the Marine Bio Pearls help in two ways. They consume the nutrients and convert them into slime-coated bacteria, which can be skimmed. Then the sticky surface of the bacteria captures minute particles of waste from the water column as they pass through the skimmer, removing them before they break down.
Add 100-150ml of the pearls per 100 l/ 22 gal of tank volume and you will also need a fluidised reactor in which you would normally fluidise sand or phosphate remover. Use a powerhead with flow control to keep the pearls constantly moving.
Price: £39.99 for the 500ml and £74.99 for the 1000ml size.