Coil Denitrator Question
I have a question in regards to bacterial denitrification. I've been in the hobby for about sixteen years, but due to a recent unavoidable circumstance that has me babysitting two five-inch pond comets in my 20H, I'm (obviously) experiencing practically uncontrollable nitrate levels for the first time in history. Heh.
Due to my devout hatred of chemicals and total lack of time (4.0 GPA = no free time), I've decided to combat this by constructing my first coil denitrator to rid myself of the elevated nitrates naturally. I had the materials laying around, and I'd been meaning to build it for a while -- this just gave me an (extreme) excuse.
The problem arises in that, now that the denitrator is connected to the system, my fish have been behaving as though there's not enough DO in the water. I have two pepper Corys and a Siamese algae eater (I hadn't been keeping much due to my lack of time) in addition to the two carp that I'm holding onto until pond repairs are completed. The Corys, who usually hang around my java fern, have been hanging around at the top, sucking air bubbles seemingly once or twice per minute. The carp are hanging around at the top as well. The Siamese algae eater has taken to resting on an anubias leaf that sits particularly close to the top, right in the path of my canister flow.
If there are any folks out there who have used bacterial denitrators before, my question is, could the denitrifying bacteria be producing sulfuric gases in such quantities as to decrease the DO level in my water? I know the obligate anaerobes produce sulfuric wastes as metabolic byproducts, but I don't know in what quantity they produce them, and if that quantity is sufficient to deplete other dissolved gases in the water body, or any other detrimental effects, for that matter.
If anyone has experience with coil denitrators, or any knowledge that would be of help, I'd greatly appreciate it.
how high of nitrates? I've really seen very few cases where a denitrator is necessary or wanted. I would believe you are seeing issues with the gasses from the anerobic processes. The only suggestion I can give is to look at manufactured denitrators and see what method they are using to deal with the gasses.
I typically don't have a problem with maintaining sufficiently low nitrate levels, like I said before. The only reason I have elevated levels now is because I'm babysitting the two pond comets in a twenty-gallon volume. Until the pond repairs are complete, they'll have to stay in there. Being that the pond repairs haven't been finished yet (one year later, heh), I may be holding onto these for a while yet.
I've recently taken a water sample down to my wife (who works as a forensic biologist, and has access to a plethora of equipment that I wish I could afford) and tested it for excess sulfuric waste products. There are no traces of hydrogen sulfide gas in the water, so I've come to the conclusion that the denitrator isn't at fault for my problem.
The only remaining possible cause is excessive nitrate levels, so I'll work to reduce those.
Thanks for the reply,
Were it me, (and it ain't) I would consider large container such as rubbermaid tub to house the fish or a larger aquarium.
Water changes of larger proportions and or frequency is Quickest way of reducing nitrAtes and wouldn't take near the time that constructing De-nitrator would, Seeing as how you have little free time.
Adding a sponge filter or air stone(s) could help with Diisolved oxygen levels but with larger and more frequent water changes ,would not be needed.
In 20 gal tank,, I would think water changes would not be too problematic as opposed to tanks in excess of 55gal.
Keeping the fish in a large rubbermaid tub is certainly a good idea. Just when it comes to nitrates it takes a great deal to majorly effect fish like you are seeing. I've tested and maintained tanks with around 60ppm of nitrates and I never saw any oxygen related issues.
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