DIY Nitrate Filter
Ref: High Nitrates in tap (well) water
I live in the country and right across the road is 95 acres of crop land that gets organic and chemical fertilizers... which translates into high nitrates in my well water. I don't really want to buy water for water changes or if I do, I'd want to scale back the volume or frequency and still have good water chemistry.
I studied the Aquaripure, but it's a little expensive for my 60g tank and the high nitrates I have.
So what follows is my DIY attempt at a nitrate filter using Seachem Matrix and Seachem De*Nitrate.
The container is a basic lock top kitchen canister:
More to follow.
Note: although I'm calling this a nitrate filter, it actually will be a complete bio-filter. The Matrix/De*Nitrate platform in the canister will support both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria colonies. I'm unsure of the Tome 3.5gph flow rate. I will begin at full flow, thinking that the Matrix/De*Nitrate pores will allow the anaerobic bacteria to develop. If necessary, I'll put a valve at the outlet to reduce flow to lower flow and create less O2 in the canister. Also note that even though I have been running my AC70 full of Matrix for a long time and will use this material in the canister (along with new De*Nitrate), I will also be using Seachem Stability to further seed the new unit and the tank for additional bio-kick.
I believe that the canister will allow approximately 4 liters of product. I have 2l of Matrix and have order 2l of De*Nitrate. In the lower portion of the canister, I'm planning to mix De*Nitrate with the matrix. The upper portion will be all De*Nitrate. In the end, I don't know that it matters and I may have it mixed throughout.
Can't wait for your results, flow rate sounds about good but if you want you can baffle some of the denitrate so it receives an even lower flow rate, also don't know what your doing about media baskets but I'm thinking you should be able to find some plant baskets that will fit that pretty well.
Actually I'm not going to use any baskets. The canister is just going to be filled with the Matrix/De*Nitrate (2 liters of each) mix (over the filter batt). I figure when it's time for cleaning, the canister will be disconnected and taken to the sink and dumped into a kitchen cullender for rinsing.
I confirmed the filter plans with Seachem Tech Support regarding media and flow rate. They gave possitive feedback.
Today I performed a successful leak test (photo). Pump and media should arrive by the end of the week.
How it works is very simple, much like a commercial canister on a much smaller scale. An airline siphon tube from the aquarium runs to the top of the canister into one of two airline T's. The top was drilled with holes slightly smaller than the OD of the T's for a press fit, then sealed on the inside with GE 100% silicone (a very small amount just for insurance). A tube on the inside runs down to the bottom of the canister, under the drilled dispersion plate (which is simply the top of the 2 liter Matrix jar which just happened to be a perfect fit). The other T is in the center of the top. Airline tube will run from here to the Tom pump that will hand on the back of the aquarium. Very, very simple!
I already had the canister, T's, tubing and 2 liters of Matrix.
Tom Aqua lifter pump: $15.99
Tom hanger: $ 8.99
2 Liter Seachem De*Nitrate: $21.58
Seachem Stability: $ 8.66
S&H $ 0
Tax $ 4.42
I was looking over the pics here and decided that the dispersion plate needed more holes so I drilled some more (both top and along the side for better water flow...
As I add to my rambling on here, I'll point out that my objective is dramatically reduced nitrates. In addition to this DIY filter, I'll have floating plants, monitor feeding closely to prevent over feeding and will maintain a high level of tank, filter, substrate cleaning to minimize nitrate creation. I've also been using external water sourdes for water changes to get the nitrate lower.
It would be nice to have a nitrate filter so efficient that no matter how much nitrate there is in the system, it's just converted to N2 in a flash. That's a long way off and perhaps just a dream.
Also, it may take some time for this new filter to cycle and stablize. It will have the advantage of the existing Matrix that's been in the AC70 filter for months AND I will be further seeding the system with Seachem Stability to 'kick it up a notch'... but time and test results will determine effectiveness.
Finally, it's my understanding that the anaerobic bacteria processes the nitrate to obtain the O2 it needs, but this is not food. The Aquaripure system adds alcohol or sugar water to feed the bacteria. Not sure how I 'feed' new friends in this filter???
Were you able to get the silicone to adhere to the plastic container? I've had horrible luck with this and actually one of my water tight seals is just super glued lol.
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