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Discussion Starter #1
I will be upgrading my current 55 gal HOB filter setup to a 190 gal with a fluval fx5 before the end of the year. I currently do weekly water changes to keep nitrates in check but i want to add some Seachem denitrate chemical filtration help for the new aquarium. I know i cant use the fx5 to hold the denitrate because the flow rate has to be slower for the denitrate to be properly effective, but im wondering other than the flow rate what the difference is between putting it in a canister filter and putting it in a reactor?

Also, i know some people have the view that using 2 filters opposed to only 1 can cause problems with the filters competing against each other. I dont really understand this nor do i really want to get into a lengthy debate about it, but i would like to know from someone with this view if they think a canister filter and a reactor with denitrate would compete against each other like two filters?

Thank you in advance for the help; my fishes thank you too! ;-)
 

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Before going down this road of expense, I would like to ask about the nitrates. Do you have nitrates in your tap water, and if yes, what is the reading? Do you have live plants, or intend having them? What fish are in this tank, or will be? And how often and how much water do you change?

There are easy ways to control nitrates, depending upon their source, rather than resorting to excess filtration (which can be detrimental) and chemical filtration which would be detrimental to plants.

Byron.

P.S. Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:-D
 

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First of all, Seachem De*Nitrate (and Matrix and Pond Matrix) is NOT chemical filtration. They are all simply different sized particles (small, medium, large) of a bio-media with macro and micro pores that serve as a platform for beneficial bacteria. Think of it more like bio-max, or better still, akin to live rock in SW. In theory, aerobic bacteria grow on or near the surface and anaerobic bacteria reside deep within. I have personally found it challenging to culture anaerobic bacteria using Matrix and De*Nitrate. These bio-medias are intended to be used as biological media in a filter, not a reactor.

You are correct that in order for De*Nitrate to be effective, due to it's smaller size, it requires a slower flow across the surface. Matrix and Pond Matrix are claimed to function at any (faster) flow rates.
Although many products also work in filters, reactors are typically used for synthetic resins that adsorb unwanted elements from water. Products such as Seachem Purigen that adsorbs dissolved organics, Fluval Lab Series Nitrate Remover and API Nitra-Zorb both adsorb nitrates.

As to the question of two filters competing, one could make the case that the volume of beneficial bacteria in any aquarium, once stabilized, will be relative to the available food and oxygen. In this case, it more boils down to bio load.
Now, as much as we tend to think that the filter is the only place beneficial bacteria lives, it also lives and thrives in the substrate. So, does a filter compete with the substrate as does one filter compete with another? I suppose so, but not noticeable in most cases. But could make a difference in THIS example if we're populating the surface of a media with aerobic bacteria to use up the oxygen to internally support anaerobic bacteria.

I could go on and on, but lets cut to the chase of Byron's excellent comments and questions.
What is your real objective?
Do you have nitrates in your source water?...
Or are you just looking to reduce nitrates to reduce the volume/frequency of water changes?
(Generally speaking, assuming you don't have high nitrates in your source water, if you use plants [even just floating], feed properly, maintain the tank and filter(s) well, and do weekly water changes, you can easily control nitrates.)
 

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Thank you for the replies Byron and AbbeysDad and yes my mistake saying denitrate is chem filtration. I had been reading on another site about using denitrate in a reactor and i guess i got confused and a bit overzealous. I am also a bit anxious and concerned with the amount of work involved in upgrading and maintaining a much larger tank. My objective is to not have to change very large quantities of water every week. That being said, it will be a planted tank and i will be using Matrix and the FX5 which will be far better than the current HOB filter im using on my 55 gal. My nitrates are not great in current setup but i think im going to have better handle on it in new setup. I hope. =)
 

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Thank you for the replies Byron and AbbeysDad and yes my mistake saying denitrate is chem filtration. I had been reading on another site about using denitrate in a reactor and i guess i got confused and a bit overzealous. I am also a bit anxious and concerned with the amount of work involved in upgrading and maintaining a much larger tank. My objective is to not have to change very large quantities of water every week. That being said, it will be a planted tank and i will be using Matrix and the FX5 which will be far better than the current HOB filter im using on my 55 gal. My nitrates are not great in current setup but i think im going to have better handle on it in new setup. I hope. =)
Remember that nothing replaces water changes; more filters is not a substitute because they cannot do what the water change does. Live plants, fewer fish can help in reducing the volume to some extent, but weekly partial water changes are still essential. I finally finished my article on WC so read more here:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-articles/regular-partial-water-changes-117205/

A python attached to the faucet makes water changes a breeze.
 

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Frankly, I sometimes wonder if our dependency on fairly large volume weekly water changes isn't simply due to the fact that we just don't filter/purify the water enough.

It's often said that fresh water is fresh because it's constantly renewed by nature (rain). However, that would suggest the the polluted fresh water flows into the ocean, so after eons of this, the ocean should be a cesspool - but of course it is not.
It's not simply because there are so very many creatures that break down the most foul organic wastes into inert compounds.
We can't really duplicate the magic of nature, but we might find better ways to purify water and thus safely reduce the volume and/or frequency of partial water changes.

Having 'said' the above, the easiest way to reduce tank pollution and maintain a high quality of water is the weekly water change of up to 50%. With the proper equipment and procedure it can be done efficiently and with low cost.

Actually, I often thought what would be the very best, if you have good source water would be to have a supply line with a [slow] drip irrigation emitter and an overflow. On-going automatic water changes!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I dont mind weekly water changes as long as im not changing water out all day which is what im concerned about with a larger tank and larger water change. Currently i am using the old fashioned siphon into a bucket method and then freshwater into a 5 gal water bottle, condition, and siphon that into the tank. A python would def make life easier but i am very shy about putting tap water straight into the tank even if i just added conditioner to the tank...guess i just have to try it tho and get over my nervousness about it. I know a lot of people do it that way so it must work out ok. Thanks for the help. =)
 

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On the filtration vs water changes:

True, (on the oceans notbeing a cesspool), and I do run several tanks with light to no filtration, and 30% waterchanges monthly. (Some less often).

However, some people are disappointed at the inactivity in my tanks. In a 20 long I have a pair of regularly spawning dwarf gourami and no other fish, just swords, crypts, dwarf sag, emersed bamboo and driftwood.

In one 10 gallon I have about a dozen mosquitofish and a thick messy forest of crypts and anarchis.

If you're willing to take the time and settle at a lower stocking level (preferably with a sort of deep substrate: 3 inches at least) it's pretty easy to find a balance.

Abbeysdad: Nature has something that our tanks can't handle as easily: Anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria do not consume oxygen, and live in "dead" areas of the substrate; They also convert nitrate and water into nitrogen gas (which bubbles out of the tank) and carbon dioxide.

If you get the chance, track down "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium".
 

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Thank you for the response but a lower stocking level isnt really an option for me. I currently have six 2" clown loaches that will get a lot bigger and are the main reason i am getting a 190 gal tank in the first place. =)
 

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Interesting point redchigh:
I must be miss taken I thought that anaerobic bacteria converted nitrates into a form of nitrogen gas and a neutral charged chlorine ion. And somewhere I got the concept that under certain conditions anaerobic bacteria could reverse the nitrogen cycle and change nitrates back into nitrites into ammonia. This is what I was thinking when I finished the article guide to soil substrates. I am always open to see things in a new way.

LoveLoaches it is always best to listen to the moderators they know, folks like me just speculate.

pop
 

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Abbeysdad: Nature has something that our tanks can't handle as easily: Anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria do not consume oxygen, and live in "dead" areas of the substrate; They also convert nitrate and water into nitrogen gas (which bubbles out of the tank) and carbon dioxide.
RedcHigh - apparently you've missed my many, many posts regarding the very high nitrates I have in my well water. My DIY de-nitrate filter using Seachem Matrix and De*Nitrate to culture anaerobic bacteria was not successful. I've since setup an AC70 filled to capacity with the Matrix/De*Nitrate media, using an AC20 impeller for low flow. This material is effectually like live rock in SW.
I also now have extra floating plants AND deep [pool filter] sand in the tank.
I have toyed with an API Tap Water Filter to create DI water and have collected rain water. I use Fluval Lab Series Nitrate remover and/or API Nitra-Zorb now in a 29H aquarium in the basement to filter nitrates from my well water for weekly water changes. Even though I have treated the DI and rain water for minerals and pH, my fish simply do better with my filtered well water.

Truth be told, the limitation of our aquariums is that unlike the broad spectrum of life forms in nature, we're operating with a very limited subset. This limits similar bio-filtration capability. In this regard, I refer not only to anaerobic bacteria, but many other creatures. This is why we might resort to periodic chemical filtration to adsorb and remove impurities OR flush the system weekly with large(r) water changes.
 

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Hello abbeysdad

Take a look at safe denitrification section at the bottom of the webpage in the link is this what you are trying to accomplish with your diy project. I ran across this while reading about bacteria.

Heterotrophic Bacteria and Their Practical Application in a Freshwater Aquarium

pop
Thanks Pop - I followed the 'experiment' quite some time ago in the Seachem discussion forum. It was interesting to note that he had all but given up when suddenly nitrates magically lowered after adding a micron pre-filter.
 
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