Kevin Novak: Anoxic Filtration - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-19-2017, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Kevin Novak: Anoxic Filtration

Has anyone on the forums tried using anoxic filtration as proposed by Dr. Kevin Novak? He has apparently developed a substitute for the more commonly used bio filtration model that not only removes Ammonia and Nitrite but also Nitrate, which lowers the need for water changes.

If you look at his youtube videos, you can see that he is keeping discus in a planted aquarium, which he claims he has only topped off without performing major water changes for months. Please see below for a video of his on youtube.

Kevin apparently developed this filtration for Koi ponds originally.

Has anyone had success with this method of filtration?

Kevin also proposes with the use of such a filtration system not fertilizing with Nitrogen based fertilizers and phosphates. He only adds iron and potassium. From the looks of his plants this seems to be working for him.
Any input regarding this method would be great.


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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-02-2017, 12:27 AM
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Bump, curious myself.
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 06:13 PM
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What's the point of removing nitrates from a planted tank? Plants do that for you on their own. If your nitrates aren't being removed by your plants then you are way overstocked with fish or understocked with plants (or something else is missing).

Plants need nitrogen in some form to grow and can't take it directly from air as N2.
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 06:58 PM
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Interesting concept, I haven't heard of it before.

How does this compare to something like Seachem Matrix? Do the kitty litter or laterite need to be recharged/replaced periodically? Is his iron/potassium dosing done for his plants or is regular iron dosing (in addition to the laterite) necessary for the "anoxic filter" as well?
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 06:52 PM
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I have been following Dr. Kevin Novak's youtube channel for a while now. And although he does a few things that I find unnecessary, like rip up a perfectly good carpet of montecarlo and Dwarf baby tears because there is detritus buildup below it, a lot of what he speaks about is rooted in sound science, eg a plenum for any planted tank, fertilising during photo-period etc.
For a planted tank, according to me the only disadvantage of anoxic filtration would be space. As a biocenosis bucket with a sump would take more space than a standard canister filter, especially since you have to increase the no.of buckets according to your livestock load. From his videos you can see that his backend is almost as large, if not larger than his front end.
The basic fact is that plants prefer ammonia to nitrates, so in theory, if his anoxic filter is working 100%, all his plant growth is solely due to ammonia as a source of nitrogen. From his recent videos, you can also say that his tanks are overstocked, but the argument he presents is that since his plant mass is keeping up with the ammonia supply along with the anoxic filter doing its job, there should be no detectable ammonia left in the tank. The anoxic filter converts through multiple processes, ammonia to gaseous nitrogen which is released to atmosphere. Not sure if the laterite plays a part in provinding a constant source of iron supply to the plants too.

TLDR: Anoxic filtration too large of a setup for most people. Yes it works. No plants wont starve.
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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 07:46 PM
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I'm always a little wary of situations where people use Dr. in their title (except for Dr. Pepper). Anyway, the science is sound behind anoxic filtration however his design is pretty terrible. What you need to do is deplete the oxygen in the system as fast as possible to generate anoxic zones, so you would never leave it open to atmosphere. What he doesn't seem to mention is what happens to the nitrates in the system. There are really two paths that it could take, first it could be converted back into ammonia which his test strips convenient don't test but would explain his decent plant growth. Second it can be converted to nitrite --> nitric oxide --> nitrous oxide --> nitrogen (gas). But the absence of bubbles in his system makes me think that he's just converting stuff back and forth.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 08:10 PM
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The basic fact is that plants prefer ammonia to nitrates, so in theory, if his anoxic filter is working 100%, all his plant growth is solely due to ammonia as a source of nitrogen.
It is "the basic fact" that plant uptake of NO3 is higher when a little ammonia is present. So total N uptake will be even greater when NO3 and NH4 are present. Any number of aquatic plant studies will show this. NO3, not NH4 is the standard in normal, unpolluted waters. Plants are adapted to perform better when NO3 is present. I do not understand this fascination with removing NO3 from systems...



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I'm always a little wary of situations where people use Dr. in their title (except for Dr. Pepper). ... What you need to do is deplete the oxygen in the system as fast as possible to generate anoxic zones, so you would never leave it open to atmosphere. What he doesn't seem to mention is what happens to the nitrates in the system. There are really two paths that it could take, first it could be converted back into ammonia which his test strips convenient don't test but would explain his decent plant growth. Second it can be converted to nitrite --> nitric oxide --> nitrous oxide --> nitrogen (gas). But the absence of bubbles in his system makes me think that he's just converting stuff back and forth.
100% correct Prof. Dr. Dr. JusticeBeaver. I hear all fish prefer a good jug of NO2 over NO3 every day.
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-29-2017, 12:28 PM
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There's another guy on youtube that describes anoxic filtration. Check out Jay's Aquarium. He has a four part series on it. He has a turtle tank he has not done any water changes to in two years. The high water quality and low maintenance combination is what has me most interested in this. I will be setting up a large tank in the near future that will be my first tank ever with a sump. I'm gonna give this a shot.

Bump: The litter/laterite never need to be recharged. He has baskets that have been filtering his koi ponds for years. His dosing is only for his plants.
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-29-2017, 01:54 PM
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Why the iron in the filter media?
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-29-2017, 04:54 PM
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Water column NO3 excess can be solved by adding essential plant elements assuming there are plants and the rest by denitrification. Denitrification can be done by filling a canister filter with BBQ lava rock over one inch in diameter. This can remove several ppm of NO3 a day while not changing other water parameters unlike the materials in the video.
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post #11 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-29-2017, 05:24 PM
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He has some interesting videos but I always feel like I am being scolded for being an idiot when I watch them. Certain scientific types in the hobby sort of use their knowledge as a weapon and bludgeon you with it. There is a certain great planted tank guy who makes me feel the same way (but I am not going to mention any names).


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post #12 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-29-2017, 06:00 PM
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Well it's common knowledge you need to be a doctor to have a successful planted tank. Dr Oliver Knott, Dr. Takashi Amano, Dr. Joe Planted Aquaria. That's why the hobby isn't bigger. Most will toil in mediocracy until they eventually give up. It would have been easier to get the doctorate.
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post #13 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-29-2017, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triport View Post
He has some interesting videos but I always feel like I am being scolded for being an idiot when I watch them. Certain scientific types in the hobby sort of use their knowledge as a weapon and bludgeon you with it. There is a certain great planted tank guy who makes me feel the same way (but I am not going to mention any names).
My problem with his videos is that he doesn't really explain how or why anything works. He just makes it seem like if you're not doing what he's doing then you're an idiot.
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post #14 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 01:30 AM
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BTW: He's deleted all but one of his videos, presumably because he got called out for his latest video straight up chastising folks for using vernacular / common names when discussing species.

He repeatedly told viewers they "sound stupid" when they do things like call a Plecostomus a "pleco". He wasn't joking either. He sounded genuinely angry.

A user commented that if he was going to be a condescending pedant, he should at least pronounce otocinclus properly. And that he sounds stupid. (He was pronouncing it oto-sink-U-lous.)

12 hours later, and all his vids are gone. Coincidence?
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post #15 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-02-2018, 05:22 AM
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Kevin Novak: Anoxic Filtration

Oh yes, the good Dr. I couldnít watch much of them for the same reasons mentioned above. There was one there a few days ago I saw, in which he made you feel like a grade schooler if you dared use an API test kit, and not the one he or competent people in the hobby used. If his ideas work,then great, and Iíll follow the lead of any other fish fam on YouTube that explains things in laymanís terms.


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