Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Just say Pro




Prodibio is revolutionizing the way hobbyists use aquarium additives.

I was manually drip-drip-dripping a handful of different supplements into my aquarium straight from their bottles; some daily, some weekly.

Everything in the tank seemed okay, but that was also the problem … everything was just okay.

So, not long after Reef-a-Palooza convened in August, I replaced my many bottled concoctions with a single box of Prodibio’s Biokit Reef.

The results?

The tank has undergone a veritable rebirth since the Probibio regimen began three months ago.

Every type of coral in the tank, notably the montipora and candy corals, have measurably grown. I credit Prodibo for saving my star polyps. The colors of each coral are more vibrant, the water is clearer and the algae bloom on one side of the tank has subsided.

I decided to ask Nicolas Tiliacos, President and General Manager of Prodibio, what mysterious secrets were contained within Prodibio’s glass ampoules. The following is a transcript of our conversation.

Marine Depot: Who are the masterminds behind Prodibio and how long has the company been developing aquaculture products?

Nicolas Tiliacos: The Prodibio team is comprised of seven collaborators; three shareholders and four scientists. Of the latter group, we have a doctor of biochemistry, a doctor of organic chemistry, a retired chemist with a deep passion for aquariums and, lastly, a reef and fish keeping technician.

This year we’re celebrating 10 years of service to freshwater and marine tanks all over the world.

MD: Prodibio is headquartered in France. Is the aquarium hobby as popular in Europe as it is in the United States?

NT: The aquarium hobby is popular in Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The freshwater aquarium market in Europe is more developed than in the US. American hobbyists seem to prefer saltwater tanks. However, more European hobbyists are becoming interested in saltwater tanks every day. It will be awesome when American hobbyists discover the beauty and intrigue of freshwater planted tanks.

MD: How much testing goes into a Prodibio product before it hits store shelves? What kind of environments do you test products in and how you do you determine their effectiveness?

NT: Our research & development department works with universities in France and Greece, private companies, public laboratories working in aquaculture and the environment as well as public aquariums whose staffs consist of a variety of scientists, veterinarians and technicians.

In September, Prodibio forged a relationship with a new public aquarium in Montpellier, France to treat 2.700.000 liters of marine water. We’ve furnished products for acclimatization of fishes—from clownfish to sharks—and are pleased to report no loss of life when Stop Ammo and Bio Digest were used.

The research & development, test and production phases take from one to two years depending on the product. We begin testing in our freshwater and marine tanks as well as the university laboratory aquariums once the formula is complete. This helps us determine and quantify a lot of the parameters, such as the evolution of water quality, the weight taken by each fish and the color of the corals.

We have a vast network of collaborators/hobbyists who use the product in their own conditions and provide us with detailed feedback. It is only after all of these steps are taken that we attempt to sell our products on store shelves.

MD: What made Probibio decide to encapsulate their formulas inside glass ampoules rather than selling them in plastic bottles?

NT: The practice of using glass vials is prevalent in France within the pharmaceutical industry. This type of packaging protects products against oxidation, pathogenic microorganisms and degradation.

Plastic material is not impermeable to the oxygen in the air and thus permits exchanges between the sealed product and the external environment, particularly bacteria and iodine.

Take bottled aquarium products, for example. When you purchase the bottle, it is sealed. Once you open it, oxygen rushes in and contributes to the awakening of bacteria. Since your wife probably doesn’t let you store your bottled aquarium products in the same fridge as your food, its composition begins to change.

After a while, you don’t even really know what you’re putting into your tank because the additive/supplement has changed so much.

Prodibio’s vial system is different: our products will always be fresh, whenever you need them. Prodibio compounds are further optimized during packaging. They are sealed in a modified atmosphere with argon or nitrogen so the product itself is not exposed to oxygen in the air.

In an effort to perfect our packing and facilitate the use by hobbyists, we’ve included a small rubber tube in each box of Prodibio so the user does not cut a finger when breaking open one of the ampoules.

MD: What mix of Prodibio products would you recommend to a hobbyist with a reef aquarium? How soon might they begin to see the benefits of Prodibio?

NT: We recommend using a combination of Bio Digest, Bioptim and Reef Booster. Iodi+ and Stronti+ are similar to like-minded products already on the market. The advantage of using ours is that you will know exactly how much iodine and strontium you add to the tank plus peace of mind that the compounds have not degraded.

MD: What is Bio Digest? How does it work? What are the benefits of using Bio Digest?

NT: Big Digest is a high biotechnology product with an extreme concentration of bacterial extract with two essential components: concentrated anti-nitrites and a biological cleaner.

Bio Digest is composed of nitrifying, denitrifying and facultative bacterial strains selected for their capacity to transform the ammonia into nitrites, the nitrites into nitrates and nitrates into nitrogen.

The biological filtration is rapidly set up by nitrifying bacteria: Nitrosomonas europea and Nitrobacter winogradskyi. The cleaning of the organic waste digestion is favored by the presence of more than 15 strains, in optimal proportions, of heterotrophics bacteria including Paracoccus dénitrificans and Pseudomonas stuzerii.

These bacteria work as a team; each strain ending the work begun by another. Some are capable of synthesizing the denitrifying enzymes in aerobic. It insures the purification, the reduction of nitrates, phosphates and prevention and the growth of algae.

Bio Digest is particularly efficient the 2 weeks that follow its application. Bacterial multiplication speeds allowing the tank to preserve these optimal purification proportions 15 days.

MD: Hobbyists in the United States are mainly using Bio Digest and Bioptim. Is the use of one dependent on the other (must they be used together)?

NT: You may use them separately, but we recommend using them together to yield the best results. Hobbyists will appreciate how quickly their tanks improve by using the products in synergy.