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DIY Nitrate Filter

This is a discussion on DIY Nitrate Filter within the DIY Aquarium forums, part of the TFK Resources category; --> Originally Posted by beetlebz I have a hard time with the fluval nitrate remover. One 'dose' I suppose, removes 25ppm of nitrate per 50g. ...

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Old 02-28-2012, 07:08 PM   #41
 
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I have a hard time with the fluval nitrate remover. One 'dose' I suppose, removes 25ppm of nitrate per 50g. I would need 2 doses to reach the 100g, and two more to double that nitrate removal. And I would have to recharge it every week when I did a water change (although with less, id imagine).
Now here's the thing with nitrate reduction... I'm thinking that one of the biggest reasons for water changes is nitrates. Oh, I know, there's other 'crud' as Byron would say. And I don't disagree with that, however, I think a lot of the crud is decomposed like other waste into relatively inert components. Assuming we can better manage nitrates, and assuming good mechanical filtration and possibly the periodic use of carbon, who's to say that a 10% or 15% weekly water change isn't plenty? Maybe even less?
Now I was doing 50% water changes weekly just like clockwork...but one way or another, with the awareness of such high nitrates, that changes with my 'tap' water.
...just thinking out loud.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:50 PM   #42
 
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I am envisioning a bucket style filter, but not only using an anaerobic media, but also a buffering one, as my water is way too soft. I will start gathering supplies for this adventure this week, though I suspect youre correct. If I can get my tanks stable, I see no reason to do more than a 10 or 15% water change weekly. I believe personally that the added 'gunk' that we will be removing less of, will ultimately be far more beneficial to the fish than a larger, less stable water change regiment.

To be honest, of all the chemistry nightmares im dealing with at the moment, increased nitrates isnt very high on the list. However, multiple birds with one swoop might make me a happy boy. I was shocked today to learn that my planted 55g nitrates were just as high as my unplanted 110g, btw.
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:14 AM   #43
 
By bucket style, do you me like the DIY filters I've seen using a 3 or 5 gallon pail w/bulkheads and a power head/pump?
I'm surprised you have the same (high) nitrate level in the 100g planted tank as the other. Maybe more bio-load and/or more detritus in the substrate? The plants 'should' use at least some of the ammonia so it never gets to 'trites 'n 'trates, so something must be off.

Well tomorrow will make the 7 day mark for the new filter. I've been adding the (3 capfuls of) Stability to the inlet stream everyday. Seachem Tech support suggested I could begin seeing nitrate reduction in 7 days, but I think they might have been 'over selling' the products - it could be weeks (or not at all).

I took the filter down last night. I replaced the dispersion plate with a thinner version and filled with more product to just below the top enough for a filter pad - this gives me about 2" more product in the canister <see photo>
After setting back up I had a leak at the top. May have had a bit of filter pad intrusion in the seal. I took apart, made sure pad was down and applied a bit of petroleum jelly around the seal. water tight now.
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:31 AM   #44
 
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and it hasnt done ANYTHING yet? Perhaps im being as optimistic as seachem lol but I would have thought you would see something happening by this point. OTOH it can take 8 weeks for nitrification bacteria to fully establish, maybe im not being fair.

But yeah, I mean something very similar to what you have built. I would just make mine wider, so it would work with the higher effluent flow from my canister filter.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:55 AM   #45
 
Okay, here's the nitrate test from the tank (not the effluent) this am. It is still reading high, but it appears more translucent to me than previous tests. We must be patient weedhopper.

Okay, if you'll hook your bucket into your canister, you could use just Matrix which Seachem claims works at any flow rate. If you were to use De*Nitrate, the flow needs to be less than 50gph - some say 30gph is best.
Since these flow rates are so much higher than my Tom 3.5gph, I put the question to Seachem Tech support and they assured me they felt my setup would work well:

Q: Hmm...I was just reading another thread here regarding a De*Nitrate reactor and Tech Support recommended a flow rate of 30-50gph.
Am I way off base using the Tom (3.5gph) Aqua Lifter pump? (I was looking to keep the flow rate slow, but with matrix/de*nitrate, much faster than drip de-nitraters.
(60g tank, filter has 1 liter Matrix / 2 liters De*Nitrate).


A: Matrix works well at virtually any flow rate to allow for the colonization of beneficial bacteria. de*nitrate, because of the smaller size of the internal pores, functions more efficiently to remove nitrates at a flow rate of less than 50gph. I honestly think that your setup will work very well.


Footnotes: a couple of days ago my tank water looked dull. Not quite cloudy, but not clear. Today the water is crystal clear and some fish seem much more active. I might also mention that when I dumped the DIY filter last night, the water inside (which I reused) was very murky, like stuff is happening in there.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:07 AM   #46
 
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Well that is certainly encouraging! I would be curious to see what the actual flow is after passing through the airline and through the media. Not that I think it would be or can be problematic, just out of morbid curiosity. I, sir, am extremely interested in how this is going to turn out.

Will I be seeing the "AD special nitrate removal canister filter" in drsfostersmith.com anytime soon?

you know as I think about it, Im wondering if the porous tightly packed nitrate media is filtering out particulates as well.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:12 AM   #47
 
Oh, but with respect to Matrix in your bucket, remember that I had an AC70 loaded with 1.5 liters of Matrix at about 100gph and I don't believe it did much to reduce nitrates since my tank was about the same as my well.
Now I also had two 100ml packets of Purigen in my other AC70 so the removal of organics from the water may have limited the food source for any denitrifying bacteria.
Also, I never used Stability before setting up this filter (which seeds aerobic, anaerobic and facultative bacteria's). Maybe I never really had much anaerobic activity?
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:16 AM   #48
 
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How was the matrix in your ac70? Was it just laying in there, or in a bag in the grey media cage? Im wondering that if you had too much flow, with an open top, and the media just laying in the bucket, if it wasnt circulating through the media like it should have been? Just offering suggestions.

Food for thought, the saltwater folks that use AC70s for refugiums put AC20 impellers in them to slow the flow. Apparently they are direct swapouts.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:42 AM   #49
 
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Well that is certainly encouraging! I would be curious to see what the actual flow is after passing through the airline and through the media. Not that I think it would be or can be problematic, just out of morbid curiosity. I, sir, am extremely interested in how this is going to turn out.
I believe it to be 3.5gph - remember the Tom pulls air or water and it's a vacuum canister - I can break the siphon, but it will restart automatically as the air is pumped out (really pretty cool).

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Will I be seeing the "AD special nitrate removal canister filter" in drsfostersmith.com anytime soon?
Oh you laugh now...but this thing could be bigger than the pet rock! LOL

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you know as I think about it, Im wondering if the porous tightly packed nitrate media is filtering out particulates as well.
A couple of factors. The siphon tube is high up in the tank where the water is clear. In the bottom of the filter, just above the dispersion plate, there is a filter pad. So I think particulate matter shouldn't get to the bio-media. And we don't really want crud to get into media pores as this would likely negatively affect the process. As a matter of fact, this media will likely require some periodic rinsing to remove bio-slime that may likely cover macro/micro pores.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:50 AM   #50
 
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How was the matrix in your ac70? Was it just laying in there, or in a bag in the grey media cage? Im wondering that if you had too much flow, with an open top, and the media just laying in the bucket, if it wasnt circulating through the media like it should have been? Just offering suggestions.
The grey media basket was installed, then the entire chamber was filled with Matrix. I had tried a bag, but made for unfilled space along the sides. Anyway, I believe the water flow (and re-circulation) through the media was as good as it gets in the AC70.

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Food for thought, the saltwater folks that use AC70s for refugiums put AC20 impellers in them to slow the flow. Apparently they are direct swapouts.
Sure, now you say something! However, like I said, according to seachem, Matrix works at any flow rate so 100gph should have been just fine. On the other hand, I have the feeling that slow flow rates are much more effective for bio-filtration.
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