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Vibrant Liquid Aquarium Cleaner review


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On 11/21/2020 at 5:33 PM, farkwar said:

Where did you get info, or idea, that it is possibly Algafix?

When I read the following in a post, "We had an assay done locally - it is an algaecide".  Initially, I thought it was neither accurate or true, but it stuck with me.  Then, eventually, I looked up the safety sheet on AlgaeFix and read some reviews on it.  AlgaeFix seemed to work very similar, in a similar time frame, with similar side effects, with similar dosing amounts and similar dosing frequencies as Vibrant.


I'm not saying that Vibrant is actually AlgaeFix; as I believe you can purchase dimethyliminoethylene dichloride, ethoxylate in higher concentrations as a pool chemical.  That might not even be the ingredient.  However, it seems to match pretty closely, especially when you consider AlgaeFix uses a concentration of 4.5%, and Vibrant reports using "3.5% Other Ingredients" (assuming the label is correct).  Then there are the other points that I previously listed.


I'm definitely not certain it's an algaecide (the other ingredient could actually be RO/DI water).  However, I thought there was enough of a possibility that I felt compelled to disclose it.

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BRS Ryan states in one of the Vibrant videos


That's he's going to throw some Vibrant under a microscope and post the vids


He never has


I was only playing around with it the night I got mine. I found no bacteria in the drop of Vibrant I scoped.  But it was only a cursory search.  I wanted to see the chrysophytes that night, and I did and more


Needs more research, for me


It sure does act like an algicide, that's certain, except all my corals are beautiful.  Will check out that thread.


I read that one earlier.  Only 11 posts, seems prematurely truncated. I would have expected 11 pages instead.

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I don't know that 3% of water would serve any point, like you said. Water doesn't really do much in this sort of situation, other than thin substances out. I can't imagine a substance that's already liquid needing to be thinned out such a small amount. 

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On 11/21/2020 at 10:01 PM, farkwar said:

I found no bacteria in the drop of Vibrant I scoped.

I'm under the impression that transparent bacteria might be difficult to see without a stain (or using a phase contrast scope), even with 1000x (or more) total magnification.  I saw the BRS video about possibly putting Vibrant under their new scope.  I wonder if those results will ever be posted.


And even if they are posted, it's still very possible that Vibrant contains a bacteria culture, as listed on the label.  It could be a culture like Seachem Stability.  Although a biocide (like dimethyliminoethylene dichloride, ethoxylate) could potentially negatively impact a bacteria culture.


If Vibrant does contain an algaecide, it might look like BRS (along with other Vibrant customers) were duped.  If true, I imagine that once Underwater Creations stated that bacteria was responsible for the destruction of algae, they couldn't very easily get away from that claim.


Keep in mind that I have no proof, and I'd hate to make false claims against a company.  I'm actually not very comfortable about making these statements without anything of substance to back it up, and I hope I don't focus too much on this topic going forward.  But I will keep it in mind as I continue dosing, and will likely mention it again in my conclusions.


I ultimately wanted a natural solution.  It's why I didn't choose to use a products like AlgaeFix and Reef Flux fluconazole.  Maybe no such natural product exists; or maybe Vibrant is such a product, and I'm wrong about it possibly containing an algaecide.

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The microscope I purchased certainly has the power and resolution to observe bacteria.


Identification is something completely different.  And something I really didn't think I would have the ability to do in my living room.


Most identification stains and methods are designed to identify human pathogenic bacteria, which I am familiar with.  I don't think those techniques would be applicable to the bacteria we use.  Maybe it is, dunno.  Needs more research.


MB7 and ZeoBak are at least cloudy liquids.  There are things, little beasties, in there. Vibrant is clear colorless, maybe I need to check the bottom of the bottle


The 'chrysophytes' are beautiful under the scope.  And does not appear to be just one microorganism. There are long strands with multitude chloroplasts, with smaller triangular 'diatom' appearing structures with few chloroplasts. They appear joined at points.

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I still don't know why they make reference to the 3.5% RODI water ingredient


Anyway, I will put it under the refractometer tomorrow.


I don't trust an rando anon poster on R2R stating that he has done 'assays' on Vibrant, in a truncated thread. And with no evidence. Something smells there.


A sample each from Vibrant and Algafix sent for ICP testing could offer some insight, so $100 for both samples from one lab down to $40 from the cheapest ICP lab. 

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11 hours ago, farkwar said:

The 'chrysophytes' are beautiful under the scope.

Did you post a picture in your journal thread?  I'd like to see it.


11 hours ago, farkwar said:

I don't trust an rando anon poster on R2R stating that he has done 'assays' on Vibrant, in a truncated thread. And with no evidence.

I'm with you; a lab report would have made the statement more believable.  I don't necessarily trust it myself.  Although, like you (and that poster) stated, Vibrant doesn't "look" like a typical bacteria culture, even under a microscope.


Also, I still find the backstory (that they developed this bacteria culture for their aquarium maintenance business) difficult to believe.  It seems like very specialized work and/or a sizable investment for the purpose of maintaining client aquariums.  Anyway, I think you can probably see how I went down this rabbit hole.

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Test day:


40 Gallon 11/22/20 11/15/20 11/09/20 11/01/20 10/23/20 10/17/20
Alkalinity: 11.2 dKH 11.5 dKH 11.3 dKH 11.2 dKH 12.1 dKH 14.1 dKH
Phosphorus: 6 ppb* 9 ppb 4 ppb 3 ppb 8 ppb 4 ppb
Nitrate : 5.0 ppm 2.0 ppm 2.5 ppm 0.2 ppm 0.0 ppm 0.0 ppm
100 Gallon 11/22/20 11/15/20 11/09/20 11/01/20 10/23/20 10/17/20
Alkalinity: 10.7 dKH 10.9 dKH 11.5 dKH 11.0 dKH 11.8 dKH 12.3 dKH
Phosphorus: 11 ppb** 8 ppb 10 ppb 13 ppb 17 ppb 23 ppb
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm 5.0 ppm 5.0 ppm 2.5 ppm 1.0 ppm 1.0 ppm


* 0.018 ppm phosphate

** 0.034 ppm phosphate


Nitrate is finally looking good on both tanks.  However, I haven't made any attempts at raising phosphate yet.  While the 40 gallon tank's phosphate level is still low, it's still detectable, so I'm not freaking out about it yet.  I'm hoping that some coral food might help.

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Week 8: Dose 12 of Vibrant today.


Just a reminder, the following is the number of doses anticipated to eradicate turf algae and bryopsis:

  • Turf Algae - 8-20 doses ( again, depending on species and how bad the infestation is)
  • Bryopsis - 6-30 doses ( again, depending on species and how bad the infestation is)

Since I've already lost a lot of the micro fauna, I'm half tempted to add Reef Flux to help out with what I'm calling is "bryopsis".  However, at least for now, I'll stick with Vibrant.  Per the time frame above, I might be a little less than halfway through the treatment process.

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This is what I've been calling "bryopsis" (which it's not).  I'm really bad at identifying pest algae.  Plus, I never got a great pic inside the tank.



Removed from the tank:


It looked more fern-like in the tank, so it's obviously not bryopsis.  Also, the color seems to be fading in areas (which is a good sign that it's breaking down).


Here it is under a microscope:

I guess there is still some micro fauna in the tank.  At 1:40 into the video, I added a drop of Vibrant just to see if I could see any immediate response (which I didn't).


When I have more time, I might just put just a drop of Vibrant under the scope (at the highest magnification).  And maybe add a drop to some phyto as well.

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The coralline in both tanks is looking very good as it is (like it's spreading, and not just being revealed from behind the algae).  However, after going through some of my reef stuff, I found a bottle of Kent Purple Tech (which I wrote on it "5-'19" when I got it).  I must have gotten it during the Drs Foster & Smith closeout sale.  So in full disclosure, I decided that I'm going to use it up to help supplement calcium.  I'm not really sure if it will have much effect on coralline; but also, I doubt that it will cause any real harm.

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On 11/26/2020 at 8:04 AM, seabass said:

I doubt that it will cause any real harm.

So do I


Most of that stuff is just salt water with aragonite and calcium


Anyway, tonight I was pissed off that my tiny Raja Rampage was sweeping my black and yellow monti.  Puffed it with water to make sweepers shrink


Then I notice the brown chrysophytes have returned and started to grow on some of my corals..


I'm like damn, it was looking so clear sailing there.  What happened?  Overfeeding? I always overfed the tank


Then realize that I had stopped dosing Vibrant back on the 21st.  Poop.  Going to start up again.

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On 11/28/2020 at 9:36 PM, farkwar said:

What do you think those mite looking animals are?

Some kind of Halacarid mite.


I really have no idea if they are a problem or not, what they eat or what might eat them.  Apparently they have an abundant food source, with their numbers as high as that.  They might have been attracted to the breakdown of algae.


Apparently, at least some species of Halacarid mites eat algae.  I'm kind of hoping their numbers will dwindle along with the algae in this tank (just because they are an unknown, and sort of creepy looking).


Maybe these are the "other ingredients" in Vibrant (algae eating mites). :lol:

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I skipped the second dose and water change this week, due to Thanksgiving.


Testing day (11/29):


40 Gallon 11/29/20 11/22/20 11/15/20 11/09/20 11/01/20 10/23/20
Alkalinity: 12.5 dKH 11.2 dKH 11.5 dKH 11.3 dKH 11.2 dKH 12.1 dKH
Phosphorus: 2 ppb* 6 ppb 9 ppb 4 ppb 3 ppb 8 ppb
Nitrate : 2.0 ppm 5.0 ppm 2.0 ppm 2.5 ppm 0.2 ppm 0.0 ppm
100 Gallon 11/29/20 11/22/20 11/15/20 11/09/20 11/01/20 10/23/20
Alkalinity: 11.8 dKH 10.7 dKH 10.9 dKH 11.5 dKH 11.0 dKH 11.8 dKH
Phosphorus: 22 ppb** 11 ppb 8 ppb 10 ppb 13 ppb 17 ppb
Nitrate: 2.0 ppm 5.0 ppm 5.0 ppm 5.0 ppm 2.5 ppm 1.0 ppm


* 0.006 ppm phosphate

** 0.067 ppm phosphate


I suspect that phosphate dropped in the 40 gallon due to a bit of a cyano bloom (and a green film on the glass).  Here's a couple of phone pics:





Even though I anticipated the potential for some new blooms, I'm still a bit surprised to see the new green algae growth.  I'm hoping this weeks maintenance helps.


While the livestock appears well, the 40 gallon feels less balanced.  I still haven't tried feeding coral food, but with the increase in cyano, I'm hesitant to add more organics.


I haven't completely given up on the possibility of dosing phosphate.  I still might mix up a weak solution to dose into the 40 gallon tank (not so much to elevate levels, as to prevent it from bottoming out).  I worry about a dino bloom after I'm done.

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2 hours ago, farkwar said:

What size dose to what size gallonage?

1 ml for every 10 gallons of tank water (per the instructions).  I feel an attempt to determine actual water volume (accounting for displacement of rocks) is advisable.


Loosely, I'm dosing around 11 ml in my 100 gallon tank (with about 20 actual gallons in the sump).  I estimate the whole system is probably between 100 and 110 gallons in total water volume.


Loosely (not attempting absolute accuracy), I'm dosing around 4 ml in my 40 breeder (which is arguably closer to a 50 gallon tank than to a 40).  With the plus sized tank, HOB skimmer, and rock displacement, I feel the system is still pretty close to 40 gallons in total water volume.


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A hobby grade reef system is a very complex ecosystem in itself, particularly when you look at its micro-diversity. I have not seen any studies regarding the diversity of bacteria, algae, cyanobacteria, protozoans......etc. found in the average system. Their reproductive capacity is phenomenal. Throwing some AlgaeFix Marine into this complex system, can have all sorts of effects on the individuals in your system, for both the good guys and the bad guys. It can kill most microbes. A lot will have to do with what the AlgaeFix actually comes in contact with and at what concentrations. When the AlgaeFix is dumped into one's aquarium, it will flow with the current and disperse through the system at different concentrations and to different areas. The AlgaeFix will attach to negatively charged things in your system. If enough of it attaches to your pest, it will kill it. The goal is to kill the pest and not the desirable organisms in your system. Undoubtedly, some of the good guys will loose out. Some of the organisms will be less susceptible to the effects of the AlgaeFix, while others will be more susceptible. It would be very interesting to know what these actual effects are on some of the organisms found in our system. This information would be very helpful in creating a proper pest control program using the AlgaeFix Marine.

Another useful fact that was disclosed during my inquiry with the manufacturer, is that the active ingredient in AlgaeFix Marine will brake down within 24 hrs.

Unfortunately, the studies answering my questions are normally made at Universities and not supplied by the manufacturers. It does not appear there is much interest in this type of research, perhaps due to the economics involved and the fact that AlgaeFix will not likely be used in the ocean to control algae.

IMHO, AlgaeFix Marine is a good tool to be used in a reef system, after all the standard recommended procedures have been exhausted. It is not a solution by itself, but an additional tool to be used in conjunction with other control methods such as reduced phosphate & nitrate; mechanical removal of your pest, proper lighting; proper feeding; good skimming........this list goes on.

Source (from page 8 of 96).  It's a reasonable consideration concerning biodiversity and the use of dimethyliminoethylene dichloride, ethoxylate.


Reading the above 96 page AlgaeFix thread (from 2009) is eerily similar to reading the 324 page Vibrant thread (from 2016), which I referenced earlier in this thread.  It could be just a coincidence, but you can almost seamlessly interchange the two product names between those two threads.


However, I've yet to find much information about bacteria which feed on healthy algae cells; IDK, maybe a species of Bacillus bacteria.  Otherwise, bacteria can potentially compete with algae for nutrients; but that doesn't appear to be the case with Vibrant (as I have been able to maintain nutrient levels throughout dosing).  I suppose that a bacteria culture could better attack cells which were already damaged by dimethyliminoethylene dichloride, ethoxylate.


On 12/1/2020 at 1:18 AM, farkwar said:

Are you seeing a waxing and waning in your algae growth on a weekly basis?

The green film that developed, may be just another type of cyano.  It behaves more like cyano than the microalgae that normally grows on the glass walls.  I should try to get a sample under the scope.  Cyano is kind of waxing and waning; hair algae less so.  Other kinds of algae are more in a state of constant decline.


There is talk on the above AlgaeFix thread about spores not being affected (which is why maintenance doses are recommended).  I'm not sure if spores have anything to do with algae popping up, or if the holdfasts weren't fully eradicated, or if dislodged algae found a new home, or if new real estate was freed up for new algae growth, or if nutrients released from dying algae sparked new growth.    However, in my tanks, it seems that cyano is what's coming and going the most.

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12 minutes ago, Tired said:

At least cyano is pretty easy to deal with.

I agree; I'm not very worried about cyano.  Some people simply add more meds/chemicals (like ChemiClean); but currently, (assuming it's still an issue) I plan to follow up treatment with DrTim's Refresh and Waste-Away.  Although I'm watching to make sure that it doesn't cover corals in the meantime.

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I've had some pop up a couple of times as I've been experimenting with how much and how often to feed. I just use a pipette to keep it off corals, and let it alone until it dies back out. It's nice that it doesn't fasten very strongly onto anything. 

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