Aquarium Decoration

Biopellets: what it does and how it works

Biopellets have been used on the aquarium scene for a few years, and are trusted by some owners.

But in general, there are many new or potential tank owners who don’t know much about them. The problem is that much of the information on biopellets is scattered across various forums, and there is no clear resource that covers everything you need to know.

That’s where we come in.

What are biopellets?

Biopellets are small, biodegradable pellets that contain bacteria to help your tank thrive.

You need a solid amount of good bacteria in your tank to facilitate a healthy ecosystem and keep nitrate levels in check. A tank with too many nitrates can become a victim of significant algae growth or loss of aquatic life.

Nobody wants that, which is why some tank owners use biopellets as a way to make sure their tank continues to thrive.

It’s a pretty simple process, it uses a biopellet reactor to pass water through your biopellets. This introduces those healthy bacteria into the water so they can keep nitrates and toxins at bay.

If you are using a protein skimmer, introducing biopellets to your aquarium also has benefits. The combination of biopellets and a protein skimmer generally leads to better skimming performance, which is great for water.

Are they good for you?

This is where you will quickly start to get divergent opinions depending on who you talk to.

Some aquarists still use biopellets in their tanks and swear by them. Others think it is unnecessary and prefer alternative options.

the skimmer combo

If you’re someone who uses a protein skimmer (and you probably should), biopellets are definitely worth considering. The increased skimmer performance you get from using biopellets is just one of the benefits.

The other advantage of this combination is that you can get away with removing the GFO from your tank treatment. Biopellets are easier to handle and will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Bioload also plays an important role

If you have a heavy bioload in your tank, you are much more likely to see significant results from using biopellets. This is because there is more nitrate waste and algae to worry about.

However, if you are someone who has a very light bioburden, biopellets are probably not worth exploring.

Some good biopellet options (based on our reviews)

If you are thinking of giving biopellets a try, we have a couple of reviews and recommendations for you.

1. Two Little Fishies ATLNPX0 Npx Bioplastics Polymer

These biopellets have been around for a while and are highly regarded in the aquarium community. Chances are if you ask some experienced tank owners what type of biopellets they use, this product will come up more than once.

These are made from biodegradable polymers that efficiently carry bacteria into the water. They are made for use in fluidized reactors so this is something to consider depending on your setup.

It may take a few weeks for you to notice the nitrate reduction, but that’s normal. This type of thing can take a bit of time as you are trying to facilitate new growth in your tank.

If our biopellet review could only contain one product, it would probably be this one. We highly recommend it.

2. Kolar Labs Metabolix Biopellets

Kolar Labs’ line of biopellets is another great option for people looking for a high-quality product. These can be used in fresh and salt water and are safe for all types of fish.

Kolar Labs swears by their strict quality standards when it comes to their products, and their biopellets are no different. They have built up a wave of solid feedback over the years and show no signs of a decline in quality.

If you have an algae problem, these biopellets are a great option. There are a number of users who have seen significant algae reductions after introducing it to their tank setup.

The two most common mistakes when using biopellets

In the last few years since biopellets began to see serious use in the aquarium community, there have been two common mistakes that have been repeated over and over again. These still occur so frequently that we thought it was important to point them out before we proceed.

Running without a skimmer

As we mentioned above, it is a great investment to have one of the best protein skimmers running in your tank. Not only will it dramatically improve water quality, but it goes great with biopellets.

This one-two punch will allow you to see major changes in the level of nitrates and debris in your tank. It is strongly recommended that you use the two together.

overload your tank

It is very common to hear horror stories about aquarium owners collecting biopellets and stepping on the gas. They do not increase in amount over time and this overloads the tank.

As a result, the entire system can fail due to a sharp drop in levels. If you want to avoid this, follow the directions and increase the amount slowly.

Some biopellet alternatives

Before you log out, you don’t need to use biopellets to remove toxins from your tank. In fact, recently there has been a trend among aquarists to look to some of these alternatives instead of biopellets.

You can use things like vodka or vinegar to achieve a similar effect in your tank. The advantages of this are that you can control the dose a bit better, which can prevent you from making mistakes and going too far.

If you choose to go this route, you will be manually adding them to your tank and will be more involved when it comes to measuring and adjusting dosage levels.

We are not saying that one is better than the other, they just have different advantages. Personally, we think that if you take the time to dial in the proper delivery of your biopellets, it’s a little easier to manage in the long run (once you get it up and running).

But ultimately, it’s up to you!

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