Hey Zeoheads! Have you ever wondered if adding PODs a good addition to your tank? Have you thought, probably not, because I do not run any macroalgae. Well, that can’t be further from the truth.
Let’s begin by diving into the Zeovit maintenance system as a whole..
Back in 2004, a new system for achieving ULNS or ultra low nutrient system was beginning to make its way to the U.S market. It was prevalent over in Europe, but reef hobbyists in the U.S were skeptical. It was called snake oil by many and adopted by a few. Given how reluctant I am now with adding new things to my system it’s still hard to believe that back in 2004, I was one of the few early adopters and decided to run my heavily stocked SPS 60g cube with the whole Zeovit system.
Zeovit is a system centers around the addition of specific bacterial sources to help rid the system of excess nutrients. The main idea is to mimic natural seawater or NSW parameters by reducing the levels of nitrate and phosphate without lowering other essential parameters such as calcium and magnesium.
It’s really simple at its core, proliferate strains of bacteria that consume excess nutrients and achieve a system that is a ULNS. Once you achieve ULNS, you can adjust coral coloration with additional Zeovit products.
When setting up a full Zeovit system, you need four main products:
Zeolites: the greenish stones that are usually placed in a reactor that bacterial colonize and grow on. This is where the bacterial “mulm” comes into play. We will touch on the mulm here shortly and its importance in the aquarium. Zeobac: The bacterial blend used to drive down the nutrients. Zeofood: A food source for your bacterial and coral. Zeostart: This is a carbon source to feed the nitrifying bacteria.
When all of this is added, it is recommended to run a large protein skimmer to remove additional organics, mainly the increased bacterial load and to remove all refugiums, algae scrubbers, and macroalgae reactors.
Now let’s get back to that weird word from earlier, mulm. As bacteria colonizes, it can congregate and turn into a whiteish slime, called mulm. In the Zeovit system, this primary happens in the Zeovit reactor as the bacteria grow on the zeolites. At least once a day the hobbyist is supposed to shake the zeolites in the reactor to release the mulm. Some of the bacteria will be skimmed out by the skimmer, and some will be consumed by the coral in the tank.
One of the greatest things to note about the bacterial mulm, is that it is an abundant food source for all species of PODs in the aquarium. In fact, the addition of PODs to the aquarium will also help rid the tank of the excess bacteria that would normally be skimmed out by the protein skimmer making the entire system more efficient.
So that’s great, now I can feed all the PODs that are added to the aquarium, but where are they going proliferate and hide from predators without a refugium? Well, they are resourceful little bugs and more than likely you will see them utilizing the Zeovit reactor as a home as well as any additional rock rubble or artificial media.
All in all, do not be hesitant to add additional POD population to your tank if you are running on the Zeovit method. All the benefits that are achieved from adding PODs to a tank with a refugium, can still be had while running Zeovit, and maybe even help the Zeovit system run more efficiently.
Until next time…
About the author:
Sean fell in love with the ocean growing up in sunny South Florida.
Spending a lot of time snorkeling the Florida Keys, Sean daydreamed of one day bringing what he saw back home to enjoy every day.
When Sean was 14 he and his father setup a 90 gallon reef tank that still stands in his parents living room today.
He has been reefkeeping for over 20 years and is now infatuated with keeping SPS nano reefs and the complexities and challenges of small systems.
Sean has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and is a self-proclaimed Reef Nerd.