What They Do And How They Work (Plus Reviews)

Biopellets have been used in the aquarium world for a few years and some owners swear by them.

But overall, there are a lot of 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.

This is where we come in.

What are Biopellets?

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

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

No one wants that, so some tank owners use biopellets to ensure their tank continues to thrive.

It’s a pretty simple process, you use a biopellet reactor to run water through your biopellets. This introduces these healthy bacteria to your water so they can keep nitrates and toxins at bay.

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

This is where you will quickly start to have differing opinions depending on who you talk to.

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

The skimmer combo

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

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

Bioload also plays a role

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

However, if you’re someone with a very light bioburden, it’s probably not worth exploring biopellets.

Some good biopellet options (based on our reviews)

If you are thinking of trying biopellets, we have some reviews and recommendations for you.

1. Two Little Fishies ATLNPX0 Npx Bioplastic Polymer

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

These are made from biodegradable polymers which effectively release bacteria into the water. They are designed for use in fluidized reactors, so this is something to be aware of depending on your setup.

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

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

2. Metabolix Biopellets from Kolar Labs

The Kolar Labs line of biopellets is another great choice for people looking for a high quality product. These can be used in both freshwater and saltwater and are safe for all types of fish.

Kolar Labs swear by their strict quality standards when it comes to their products, and their biopellets are no different. They’ve amassed a wave of solid reviews over the years and show no signs of dropping in quality.

If you have an algae problem, these biopellets are a great choice. A number of users have seen a significant reduction in algae after introducing it to their tank setup.

The two most common mistakes when using biopellets

Over the past few years, since biopellets have started to be used in earnest in the aquarium community, two common mistakes have happened time and time again. These still happen so regularly that we thought it was important to point them out before moving on.

Running without a skimmer

As we mentioned earlier, it’s a great investment to have one of the best functioning protein skimmers in your tank. Not only will this dramatically improve your water quality, but it goes great with biopellets.

This double punch will allow you to see major changes in the level of nitrates and waste in your tank. It is highly recommended to use both together.

Overfill your tank

It’s very common to hear horror stories about aquarium owners picking up biopellets and putting the pedal to the metal. They do not increase the amount over time and this overloads the tank.

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

Some alternatives to biopellets

Before signing, you do not need to use biopellets to remove toxins from your tank. In fact, there has recently been a trend among aquarists to seek out some of these alternatives instead of biopellets.

You can use things like vodka or vinegar to achieve a similar effect on your tank. The benefits of this are that you can control the dose a little better, which can prevent you from making mistakes and going overboard.

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

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

But ultimately it’s up to you!

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