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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; --> The Fluval Nitrate Remover comes in a small plastic jar. The resin is sealed in plastic but includes a media bag/sock to use in ...

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Old 03-12-2012, 08:37 PM   #71
 
The Fluval Nitrate Remover comes in a small plastic jar. The resin is sealed in plastic but includes a media bag/sock to use in the filter. I left it in the filter until the tank nitrates appeared to stabilize (weren't coming down any more), suggesting it was exhausted (remember I had very high nitrates). Nitrates remained at this 20~ppm level for two days after the product was removed. It's unclear if the nitrate filter is doing much for nitrates yet (trouble is the color difference on the chart between 10 and 20, like the difference between 40 and 80 are difficult to differentiate).

This afternoon (1pm) I did another 15g (deionized) water change and re-added the recharged Nitrate Remover to further bring the nitrates down. I just did a nitrate test (9pm) and nitrates are at about 5ppm!
As before, I will probably remove the fluval nitrate remover after 24 hrs.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:18 PM   #72
 
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How many times can you recharge that stuff? It only says "several times". You might be hitting the nail on the head with this one. My tap nitrates are significantly lower than yours were, which could make a weekly application of the nitrate remover a very real possibility. I still think I would prefer the continuous operation of a filter, but beggars cant be choosers. Im sick of losing fish inexplicably (or I should say for lack of another possibility).

Last edited by beetlebz; 03-12-2012 at 09:21 PM..
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:16 PM   #73
 
I don't know how many times is 'several' or if the nitrate adsorbtion capability diminishes with each recharge. I have put the question to Hagen and we'll see what comes back.

I realize using this product relative to the thread focus of the DIY Nitrate filter may seem like a cheat. On the other hand, imagine trying to get a bio-filter going with a tank full of ammonia. My hope is to get nitrates down so the filter can manage tank generated nitrates (rather than chop down the nitrate redwood of my well water!).

I think you're right Beetle, with good tank/filter maintenance, modest water changes and the periodic use of products like purigen, activated carbon, and nitrate remover, it could be smooth sailing.

I'm [still] betting with the above and my nitrate filter, I'll be able to have less frequent & less volume water changes and have a better water chemistry than ever before in the process.

I'm excited to see what tomorrow and the next few weeks results will be!!!!!
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:49 AM   #74
 
Yesterday morning I tested nitrates at 8am and they were 5ppm. At 4pm, still at 5ppm so I removed the Fluval Nitrate Remover.
I tested at 9am this morning and nitrates are still at 5ppm.

From here forward, it's just a waiting game to see what happens with nitrates.

Seachems bit on de*nitrate:

For best results, de*nitrate™ should be placed to assure the flow of water through it, such as in a canister filter, chemical filtration module, or box filter. Flow rate should not exceed 200 L (50 gallons*) per hour. If higher flow rates are unavoidable, use Matrix™ or Pond Matrix™. It is best to rinse off dust before use. Once de*nitrate™ has been in use for several days, nitrate concentrations should start to fall and level off gradually at a concentration of about 4–5 mg/L as nitrate. As long as nitrate concentrations remain under control, the product is not exhausted. Each 500 mL of de*nitrate™ treats about 100–200 L (25–50 gallons*), depending on initial nitrate concentration and the current biological load. Enough should be used to remove nitrate at a rate at least as fast as the rate of formation. If very high nitrates are initially present, they should be brought down to less than 20 mg/L with water changes.

Unlike commercial systems that use routine injections of nutrient (vodka) solutions and boast zero nitrates, perhaps the best this system can do is to maintain 5ppm (which would still be great anyway!) We'll have to see what happens in the coming weeks.
I'll do my best to keep a running log here for inquiring minds

Oh, almost forgot...I kept getting tiny snails partially plugging the air line (water) inlet siphon tube. I dug out another regular filter inlet tube (from an old AquaTech 15/30 filter), pushed the air line tube through the 'U' and covered the inlet strainer with a Fluval pre-filter sponge.

Last edited by AbbeysDad; 03-14-2012 at 09:00 AM..
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:48 AM   #75
 
Hagen's answer to Fluval Lab Series Nitrate Remover recharging:


The Question:
Followup question. Since the Clearmax did not work I ordered and see success with Fluval Lab Series Nitrate Remover. The documentation indicates that the product can be recharged in salt water 'several' times. About how many times is several and does the nitrate adsorbtion capability diminish with each recharge? Your response appreciated.


The Answer:

The Fluval Nitrate Remover resin (FNR) can and should be recharged until the ion exchange capacity significantly drops. This can be assessed with a nitrate measurement before adding FNR and up to three days after. Since there is no visible change in the resin appearance, the only way to really define the efficiency of the recharges is to test both before and after.

What fouls the resin and makes it inefficient at removing the nitrate is that a fine organic and bacterial biofilm will obstruct the micropores of the resin. So, leaving the FNR the shortest amount of time possible into the filter and immediately recharging it into brine will prolong the effective life of the resin.

After recharging cycle is done (the brines stays colourless), leave the resin in fresh brine.

It is best to use the nitrate remover for a short period of time, using a nitrate test kit to determine when the media has been fully loaded, as there is no actual physical appearance change. Then recharge it immediately to prevent the growth of organic microfilm over the pores. Once the nitrate remover is recharged to cpacity, leaving the brine colourless when added, then move the media into a fresh brine solution for storage until required.
Thank you,
Sharon Emond
Customer Service Dept.
Rolf C. Hagen (USA) Corp.
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Old 03-22-2012, 11:15 AM   #76
 
Another experiment

So for my fine well water, my new API Tap Water Filter is only going to yield about 50 gallons per cartridge. At $25 per cartridge, that's $.50 a gallon. Half the price of store bought bottled water and so that's 'okay' although I had hoped for more. But then I had another thought. DI water is great, but all I really need to do (as far as I know right now) is to remove the nitrates from my well water. I wondered, what if I modified a spent API filter cartridge to only include the Fluval Nitrate Remover (FNR) resin? I put the question to Hagen and they said it might work but they had never tested the product that way and for a single pass trickle through, it would require a lot of resin...
So then I wondered, what if I set up a 5g pail with a small filter with the FNR and ran it for a few hours.
I had a spare AquaTech 5/15 filter so I set it up. I double checked the nitrates to confirm the 60+ppm and let it run (see photo). I'll report the results later.

Note: One might ask the question why not just do a water change and use the FNR in the tank filter? Hagen support indicated that the product should not remain in a tank filter very long as the pores of the resin become clogged with bio-film that brine solution may not remove and it will shorten the product use life. I asked if the resin would hold up to a 50/50 bath of chlorine and water (recharge for seachem purigen) and they answered "we don't recommend bleach for anything going in an aquarium". (I guess they don't get that chlorine can be treated). Anyway, if my experiment pans out, it's a way to filter out nitrates, avoiding a bio-film problem, extending the use life of the FNR product while providing an additional source of fresh, nitrate free water.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:01 AM   #77
 
The experiment: by evening the nitrates were down to 10ppm from 60+ppm. I let run through the night and this am the nitrates are 0-5ppm. So the process is feasible, but perhaps not all that practical all things considered.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:06 AM   #78
 
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so let me see if I understand this. The FNR will last theoretically forever provided the pores of the resin media does not become clogged with muck. As a means of avoiding this muck, you are treating the CLEAN water before it goes into your tank in the first place, removing nitrates and not accumulating tank muck, thus extending the life of the FNR. The downside, would be you can only make 5 gallons at a time. Unless you got another cheap filter and more FNR. Even 5 gallons per day I could make work with my fish room, And it would give me an excuse to spend more time there

im STILL leaning towards your anaerobic bio filter (long term) but for the moment this is a fascinating prospect
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Old 03-23-2012, 01:23 PM   #79
 
I can't say it will last forever, only that it should last much longer. I got this idea after e-mails with Sharon Emond, customer service for Hagen. When I asked her about the claim that the FNR could be recharged in brine several times and I asked "About how many times is several?" A couple of facts came to light not mentioned in any of the product documentation. Her answer was rather vague in that she indicated the only way to tell is measuring nitrates before, during and after product use to determine if it is exhausted.
She mentioned that the product use life is often reduced when the resin pores become clogged with dissolved organics and bio slime. She recommended that the product remain in the aquarium filter only long enough to remove the nitrates, then it should be recharged, then stored for next use in fresh brine solution.
So, it only makes sense that the product use life should logically be extended if/when it only sees fresh water.
I just did a 10g water change, 5g FNR filtered water and 5g DI water.

Also regarding the DIY nitrate filter, my 60g tank has been stable @10ppm nitrates for a week now. I was hoping to get to 5ppm (could still happen), but 10ppm ain't bad! Even using Stability, we're only 3-4 weeks in with this filter. I believe in the media because it shares characteristics much like live rock (SW), but I think it is a slow process to build a sufficient anaerobic colony.

I'm thinking of adding a secondary canister (much like the first) filled with pool filter sand for ultimate filtration. (so water would flow from the tank, through the bio-nitrate Matrix/De*Nitrate, then through the sand and back to the tank. (the only out of pocket cost is for another lock 'n lock canister I've ordered.)
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:29 PM   #80
 
Officially over the top

I setup the old spare 10g in the garage to FNR (Fluval Nitrate Remover) filter fresh water for water changes (plan to use 50/50 with DI water as this extends DI filter life and balances water chemistry).

Tank nitrates had been holding at about 10ppm. I'm not convinced that the nitrate filter is doing this as the floating anacharis plants are doing very well and may be grabbing their share of ammonia and nitrates.
I have since added 12 young fry from the fry tank that are now big enough not to be lunch. All fish are doing well now that nitrates are reduced! The water is very clear.

In the interest of greater filtration and perhaps even lower nitrates, I added another canister with well washed pool filter sand. The canister setup is the same as the nitrate filter. The one difference is I used a hot glue gun to secure the fittings in the top instead of silicone.
The water (siphon) flows into the bottom of the nitrate (Matrix/De*nitrate) filter up through the media and out the top, over to the top of the sand filter chamber, down through the sand and out the bottom back to the tank.

(Note: the AquaClear 70 filter is setup with sponge, carbon and floss and is set to lowest flow <100 gph.)
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