Bio pearls stunt the growth of algae and other waterborne unpleasantries by removing nitrate and phosphate from the water in your aquarium. They do this by converting the nitrate and phosphate in the water into bacteria which gradually forms on the surface of the bio pearls when they’re used with a fluidised reactor.
Cool! So is that it?
Not quite. You’ll also need to use a protein skimmer (another great invention; thanks, science- boffins!). Though protein skimmers cannot remove phosphate and nitrate from the water (if they could, there’d be no need for the fluidised reactor now, would there?), they can remove bacteria. Without a skimmer, the bio pearls will gradually, safely break down (if they’re biodegradable, like iQuatics Bio Pearls) resulting in the imminent death of the bacterial cells and a severe case of ‘back to square one’ will occur, with nitrates and phosphates causing havoc with gay abandon.
So now you have a good understanding of how bio pearls work, we’re going to give you some specific instructions. So pay attention!
1. Quantities: Slowly does it.
So as not to shock your aquatic friends by suddenly reducing the levels of nitrates and phosphates, you need to add bio pearls to your system gradually. It’s definitely not a case of: “Chuck the lot in, sit back with a brew and wait for the water to clear!”. We’ve put together the following guidelines for introducing bio pearls to a 200L aquarium:
2. You MUST use a fluidised reactor.
To get the most out of your bio pearls, they must be kept in constant motion, as bacteria consume oxygen from the water in your tank. Moving the pearls around will also prevent the build-up of harmful sulphide gasses. This is where the fluidised reactor comes in. We recommend using a well- known brand such as Fistafiltration, Arcadia, Bio Aquatek or AFM Marine.
3. Check that reactor is doing its job (regularly)
You should get into the habit of making sure that the bio pearls are tumbling correctly and haven’t stuck together or become a big, sticky mass. Nothing untoward will happen, but there will be a significant reduction in the efficiency of the pearls.
4. You MUST use an effective protein skimmer
Though you don’t need to have reactor outflow pipes near the skimmer, to rid your aquarium of bacteria once it’s served its purpose you do really need to use a decent protein skimmer.
5. Dispense with vodka dosing
If you’ve been vodka dosing your tank, we recommend that you stop (until such time as the science-boffins have concluded that implementing both methods of carbon-supplementing is definitely a good idea).
Add 50ml per week
Q. What If clogging occurs?
A. You should clean the fluidised reactor and rinse the pearls before re-adding them to the reactor and restarting it.
Q. The pearls don’t seem to be working particularly well. What can I do?
A. Check that they’re not clumped together and if you’re using UV or ozone, then this needs to be removed. UV and ozone can have a negative effect on the bacterial action bio pearls, reducing the speed at which the processes take place.