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Vibrant Liquid Aquarium Cleaner review


seabass

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4 minutes ago, Tired said:

I just use a pipette to keep it off corals, and let it alone until it dies back out.

Great strategy.

 

What really got me going down this rabbit hole was a decision to use some ChemiClean (which I had purchased years ago) to wipe out some cyano in my 40 gallon tank.  While it did eliminate the cyano, I started getting some unusual films (like dinos, but I never confirmed dinos).  Dosing ChemiClean seemed to disrupt the tank's balance.

 

So now... I'm still trying to solve problems by dosing even more stuff. :rolleyes:  When will I learn? :lol:

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I'd be inclined to think you should leave your current cyano alone (aside from defending corals), because it's a relatively harmless space-filler that will, hopefully, provide a little competition for any potential dinos. Once other algae starts to establish again after dosing, wiping and siphoning the cyano out will knock it back hard, and cleanup crew and other algaes should deal with it fully. It's ugly, but it's so easy to remove from around corals that it's not a threat to anything. 

I've actually had cyano grow up some zoa stems. There's one spot in my tank where the light is apparently perfect for cyano, because it's the first spot the stuff shows up every time I have nutrients a bit high. Usually it's just a little patch that appears for a bit, then fades away. It grew on the stems of some zoas once because they were in that spot, but they seemed fine with it. They stretched up a bit to keep their tops out of it, and stayed open. I left it for a little while to see what would happen, and it did eventually grow over the top of a small bud, which was when I blew the cyano off. It came off really cleanly, I assume because of the zoa slime, and the zoas seemed perfectly unaffected. 

 

It sounds like, in your case, you really do need to dose the Vibrant. You've done all the other stuff that should generally be tried to get rid of algae problems. Vibrant to kind of knock everything back, so you're almost starting from square 1 as far as algae diversity, seems like a good route. 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Tired said:

At least you still have some color on the rock, it hasn't gone all white and dead. Hopefully some of that will start regrowing. 

The rocks started off white/dry, but they've been wet for a few years now.  The coralline seems to be doing well since the algae isn't covering everything anymore.  The scary thing is that the pods, sponges, micro brittle stars, and even flatworms seem to have disappeared.  Too bad the vermetid snails have survived. :mellow:

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I wonder what's causing microfauna to die off. Is something about the Vibrant toxic to them? That's definitely no good.

 

Too bad you aren't anywhere near me. My LFS sells micro brittle stars (both kinds!) for super cheap, you could easily restock on at least those. 

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1 hour ago, Tired said:

I wonder what's causing microfauna to die off. Is something about the Vibrant toxic to them?

Possible toxicity; again, if it does contain a biocide (like dimethyliminoethylene dichloride, ethoxylate), that could explain it.  However, lack of food, as a result of not dosing phyto (a building block of the food chain), could also be a possibility.  Maybe a combination of the two.

 

1 hour ago, Tired said:

Too bad you aren't anywhere near me. My LFS sells micro brittle stars (both kinds!) for super cheap, you could easily restock on at least those.

Thanks.  Although I don't plan on restocking anything until I've finished dosing.  Then I'll work on building back the lost fauna and cleanup crew, and resume regular phyto dosing.

 

 

Dose #14 today.  I'm really hesitant to stop dosing until I see no trace of the pest algae (cyanobacteria excluded).  I would imagine that the pests would come back even stronger, as fauna and flora competition (including real estate, nutrient competition, and predators) have been reduced, providing an even more favorable environment for the pests.

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I'm still dosing twice per week (as I don't feel that the algae is 100% under control); but I'm contemplating switching to once a week dosing.  That's actually the dosing schedule listed in the instructions (with every other week being the maintenance dose schedule).  IDK, maybe I'll switch to weekly dosing after a few more doses, as I feel that some of the algae is teetering on eradication.

 

Plus, I don't like to keep referencing AlgaeFix, but I'm basing some of my decisions with the possibility that Vibrant might contain Polyquaternium WSCP.  While Marine AlgaeFix states to "dose every three days until algae is controlled", the maintenance dose is just "one dose per week",

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On 12/5/2020 at 1:19 PM, farkwar said:

Poly [oxyethylene (dimethyliminio) ethylene -(dimethyliminio)ethylene dichloride] or Polyquaternium WSCP is a broad spectrum microbicide.

Yeah, it's pretty nasty stuff at higher concentrations.

 

Assuming that the "3.5% Other Ingredients" in Vibrant is actually Polyquaternium WSCP (compared to the 4.5% used in AlgaeFix), one might suspect that the lower percentage is an effort to make it even safer (along with the recommended dosing frequency dropped down to AlgaeFix's maintenance levels, of once per week).

 

This has been weighing on my mind, and is the reason behind contemplating switching back to dosing once per week.  However, it has also been suggested that dosing twice weekly may be needed to gain control over stubborn algae.  I fear, after going this far, that adjusting the dosing schedule might actually cause a setback.

 

I also feel it's necessary to reiterate that I'm mostly speculating (based on non-scientific evidence) that Vibrant contains such a chemical.  Although, it's hard for me to ignore the similarities of these two products.  IDK, maybe to some, it might sound a little like I'm advancing a conspiracy theory.

 

This I do know, the biodiversity of both tanks have suffered.  Although there have been other changes since I've started dosing (like lots more water changes, a lot less phytoplankton dosed, I've removed nearly all of the decorative macroalgae as well as practically all of the sand, and I've made significant adjustments to the water parameters), I still suspect that Vibrant has played a significant role in regards to the lost biodiversity.

 

While I'm not the only one, I'm surprised that more people haven't noted the loss of biodiversity when dosing Vibrant.  However, there is no doubt in my mind that Vibrant has made a significant impact on the algae in these two tanks.  So one must weigh the negatives against the positives when deciding whether or not to use this product.  Currently, I consider Vibrant a nuclear option against persistent pest algae.

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Test day (12/06/20):

 

40 Gallon 12/06/20 11/29/20 11/22/20 11/15/20 11/09/20 11/01/20
Alkalinity: 11.8 dKH 12.5 dKH 11.2 dKH 11.5 dKH 11.3 dKH 11.2 dKH
Phosphorus: 7 ppb* 2 ppb 6 ppb 9 ppb 4 ppb 3 ppb
Nitrate : 2.0 ppm 2.0 ppm 5.0 ppm 2.0 ppm 2.5 ppm 0.2 ppm
             
100 Gallon 12/06/20 11/29/20 11/22/20 11/15/20 11/09/20 11/01/20
Alkalinity: 11.8 dKH 11.8 dKH 10.7 dKH 10.9 dKH 11.5 dKH 11.0 dKH
Phosphorus: 10 ppb** 22 ppb 11 ppb 8 ppb 10 ppb 13 ppb
Nitrate: 2.0 ppm 2.0 ppm 5.0 ppm 5.0 ppm 5.0 ppm 2.5 ppm

 

* 0.021 ppm phosphate

** 0.031 ppm phosphate

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Since I don't often go into much detail about the maintenance that I'm doing, I thought I'd share a bit more.  Before every dose (either the day before, or the day of dosing), I've been performing partial water changes (of about 15%).  During this time, I've been focusing on detritus and cyano removal.

 

As a result, I've managed to siphon out most of the sand from both tanks.  I'd usually just rinse it out and return it; however, I figured the tanks would be easier to keep clean without all the sand.  For those doing the same, you can thoroughly clean the sand and save it, to be reintroduced at a later date.

 

I feel that this has been an almost constant maintenance struggle.  You can probably imagine the amount of dead organics left behind from the dying algae (as it doesn't seem to act like carbon dosing, where bacteria consume N, P, and carbon, which are then exported via protein skimming).

 

However, I believe there is still critical work for a skimmer to do.  I feel that the added oxygen is important, along with the removal of the dissolved organics.  Activated carbon might also play a role in removing dissolved organics and released toxins;  however, I have not run any activated carbon since I've started dosing.

 

Likewise, I believe that mechanical filtration would prove especially valuable.  However, I haven't utilized this either.  I believe it's one of the reasons that I feel like I'm struggling a bit with maintenance.  I recommend both, mechanical filtration and a protein skimmer.  Activated carbon is said not to be a problem, but I feel like it might be less critical than the other two.

 

During maintenance, I've been focusing more on blowing the detritus (and cyano) off of the rocks.  It seems to me that more detritus is being produced than before, making removal even more important.  I'm currently using a baster to dislodge the detritus from the rocks, but I've been thinking about switching to a small powerhead.

 

This hasn't been a case of dosing a fix while maintaining my normal maintenance routine.  In fact, I'm not sure how long it's been since I've spent so much time on maintenance and testing.  As for testing, I believe that maintaining proper salinity, alkalinity, and nutrient levels is especially important when dosing Vibrant.

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Hoping to do another water change today.  In place of squeezing my turkey baster, here's my MJ900 setup to blow detritus (and cyano) off of the rocks:

121120a.jpg  121120b.jpg

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Oh, that's clever. I like setups that are literally just "I put something on the end of a stick and it works great".

 

I wonder if you could rig a pump to a siphon hose to just suck it straight out of the tank? 

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3 minutes ago, Tired said:

I wonder if you could rig a pump to a siphon hose to just suck it straight out of the tank?

Definitely!  That's my plan to clean out my sump.  I'll take a quick pick for you when I add the tubing.

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5 hours ago, seabass said:

I'll take a quick pick for you when I add the tubing.

Here it is:

121120c.jpg

 

I didn't get the water change (and dosing) done today; maybe tomorrow.

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I'll have to keep that sort of thing in mind for larger tanks in future. Might be nice if I get another big freshwater tank. I used to have a 65gal, and I got it when I wasn't quite done growing. Lemme tell ya, trying to clean a tank that's deeper than your arms are long is pretty annoying. 

 

Edit: come to think of it, I could try that now. What are those pumps called, where the intake is a tube you could attach something to? I was thinking this wouldn't work for my current tank because I couldn't fit the whole pump into the tank in most places, but if the pump had a foot of tubing attached, I could do it that way. Would be good for getting detritus out. 

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8 hours ago, Tired said:

What are those pumps called, where the intake is a tube you could attach something to?

I'm using an original Maxi-Jet pump (prior to becoming Marineland and Cobalt Aquatics).  The one I'm using is probably more than 15 years old.  Unfortunately, Cobalt Aquatics doesn't appear to make them anymore, and Marineland's version seems to be of lower quality.

 

But fortunately, there are a number of return pumps that would work.  Most all-in-one tanks use them.

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On 12/3/2020 at 6:43 AM, debbeach13 said:

[vermetid snails] The cockroach of reef tanks.

I read somewhere that Korallen-Zucht Coral Snow might help get rid of them.  It is thought that the calcium-magnesium carbonate mix blocks their tubes (possibly by capturing the MgCO3 and CaCO3 in their webs, where it eventually plugs up their tubes).

 

Another thought is that if you dose KZ Coral Snow after stirring up the sand (causing the web's to deploy), then they will release their CaCO3 covered webs without capturing any food (thus expending energy without gathering any food), eventually starving them.

 

My thought is that I'm currently seeing less of their webs.  It could be from the Vibrant, or lack of food, or maybe even from dosing Kent Purple Tech (which seems to be a similar suspended CaCO3 type solution).  Anyway, I've considered dosing KZ Coral Snow for its claims to treat cyano, but maybe it might also help with the cockroaches too. :unsure:

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