Nitrate Reduction Products - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Nitrate Reduction Products

Noticing several complaints, recently, about high nitrates, I’m wondering if anyone has ACTUALLY tried these two products for NO3 reduction and what they found:

- Red Sea NO3:PO4-X

- Brightwell Aquatics Xport NO3 Cubes (supposedly limited to pH =/> 7.5)

I can’t find any useful references to users of these products in freshwater systems via searches. Although, I did find one member that claimed the Red Sea NO3:PO4-X works in FW systems, but that thread burned out without his expanding on it.

We don’t need to go into the “why attempt denitrification” issues or testimonials regarding vodka, white vinegar or methanol. This is just about whether or not these specific products do what they claim to do. Maybe combining these two products would be beneficial(?).

In the case of the NoPox, I’m wondering if this is supposed to ‘activate’ anaerobic bacteria in our substrates or if some sort of denitrifier is expected to be established first.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 07:17 AM
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Seachem purigen?
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 12:31 PM
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Seachem purigen?
Does nothing to reduce NO3 or PO4. It removed organic impurities, which NO3 and PO4 are not.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 01:39 PM
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Purigen removes the precursor of NO3 and PO4, so ultimately it will reduce both. What's the point of removing NO3 and PO4 which are harmless to fish unless the levels are sky high, besides being plant food. The precursor, dissolved organic carbons, is the bad guy that can cause algae and harm fish.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Before we get too involved in the benefits of Purigen (which are well known), my interest was really about the specified products, not Purigen. The issue is around denitrification products as opposed to nitrate control products (such as Purigen). So, viewing it as having a tank containing nitrates, can the two specified products help in removing those nitrates? It is also a given that we know water changes and plants will remove nitrates.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 02:14 PM
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Purigen removes the precursor of NO3 and PO4, so ultimately it will reduce both. What's the point of removing NO3 and PO4 which are harmless to fish unless the levels are sky high, besides being plant food. The precursor, dissolved organic carbons, is the bad guy that can cause algae and harm fish.
I agree, it depends on the source of the NO3. Is it straight from the tap as NO3 or from dosing too much, then obviously purigen and/or carbon won't be effective. If from organic matter then yes purigen/carbon/water changes will reduce if not from tap.


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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-06-2019, 03:42 AM
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I know it doesnt relate to the products you listed but my experience was with API nitra-sorb and it did seem to work to lower nitrates already in the water.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-06-2019, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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I know it doesnt relate to the products you listed but my experience was with API nitra-sorb and it did seem to work to lower nitrates already in the water.
Thanks. Seachem's De-Nitrate also works very well, but these are filter media. The two products I mentioned are more along the lines of supporting anaerobic bacteria for continuous nitrate reduction.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
Thanks. Seachem's De-Nitrate also works very well, but these are filter media. The two products I mentioned are more along the lines of supporting anaerobic bacteria for continuous nitrate reduction.
Seachem is anaerobic media.

“de❊nitrate™ is an economical, natural, porous material with a pore distribution and geometry that promotes both aerobic nitrification within the first few millimeters of depth and anaerobic denitrification at the core. The material has a high surface area and supports a high density of bacteria. Although de❊nitrate™ has capacity to trap nitrate, this, as with other nitrate retaining materials, such as certain zeolites and synthetic resins, is quite limited and the primary mechanism of nitrate removal is anaerobic.”
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Seachem is anaerobic media.

“de❊nitrate™ is an economical, natural, porous material with a pore distribution and geometry that promotes both aerobic nitrification within the first few millimeters of depth and anaerobic denitrification at the core. The material has a high surface area and supports a high density of bacteria. Although de❊nitrate™ has capacity to trap nitrate, this, as with other nitrate retaining materials, such as certain zeolites and synthetic resins, is quite limited and the primary mechanism of nitrate removal is anaerobic.”
When I tried it, it seemed to lose effectiveness after a month or so from when it started to work (takes a few months to establish). My calling it “just filter media” was inappropriate (all stuff in a filter is media of some sort), as I was putting it into the category of expendable media. It may be that the flow was too high and that the oxygen allowed the aerobic bacteria to clog the pores or just force too much O2 into the pores. I wonder if putting it into a box within the canister and then adding a pre-filter to that box and restricting flow into that box would have allowed it to work longer. Of course, we might just add a small HOB and run it at about 10-20 GPH, but it might need to be sealed somehow …or spend bucks on a fluidized bed sand filter.

Unfortunately, for the sake of experimenting, my nitrates are in the 5 ppm area (with a very heavy fish load). So, I’m not able to try it at this time.

Anyway, I’m still interested if anyone has input on the two products in the OP.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post

- Red Sea NO3:PO4-X

- Brightwell Aquatics Xport NO3 Cubes (supposedly limited to pH =/> 7.5)
Hey Deanna,

NoPox is basically a carbon source to stimulate bacterial growth which causes a reduction in waterborne N and P. It's not something I would recommend for a planted tank as it could easily cause algae issues; especially cyanobacteria.

I used to work for Brightwell and am pretty familiar with Xport NO3. It's basically an expanded ceramic that's impregnated with sulfur. The idea is you'll get anaerobic zones in the media in which sulfur based denitration occurs. It was really formulated for saltwater systems and isn't nearly as effective in fresh water.

Seachem Matrix and De*Nitrate are expanded pumice that does exactly what you described in a similar way to Xport NO3 only without the sulfur. The best way to maintain it over the long term is to gently shake it out when cleaning the filter to remove as much particulate organic matter as possible to keep water flow into the pores. It will work well in canisters if maintained properly, but your idea of using it in an HOB with low flow and a prefilter would be nearly ideal.

Is there a particular reason why you're looking to reduce NO3? I worked in the industry for many years and may be able to recommend a better product to fit your needs.

Regards,
Phil
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 09:43 PM
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NoPox is basically a carbon source to stimulate bacterial growth which causes a reduction in waterborne N and P.
Hi Phil
Can you please expand on the bacteria reducing P in planted aquariums?

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 11:06 PM
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Hi Phil
Can you please expand on the bacteria reducing P in planted aquariums?
I can't recall all the biochemical details (Krebs cycle and all that) as it's been a long time since I took the pertinent classes, but the gist is the bugs use waterborne N and P in making tissues, proteins, and energy-bearing molecules such as NADP and NADPH. By adding an easily accessible carbon source in low carbon systems, ie saltwater with a protein skimmer, we supply the limiting factor, C, and stimulate proliferation of microorganisms. Similar mechanisms exist in low-organic fraction soils where dissolved N and P infiltrate the soil column but bacteria don't have enough labile C to utilize the supply.

Since our freshwater and planted tanks don't tend to be limited in dissolved or particulate C, products like NO-POx and BioFuel aren't particularly effective.

If you want to talk about chemical reduction, that should probably be a different thread.

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 12:42 AM
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I can't recall all the biochemical details (Krebs cycle and all that) as it's been a long time since I took the pertinent classes, but the gist is the bugs use waterborne N and P in making tissues, proteins, and energy-bearing molecules such as NADP and NADPH. By adding an easily accessible carbon source in low carbon systems, ie saltwater with a protein skimmer, we supply the limiting factor, C, and stimulate proliferation of microorganisms. Similar mechanisms exist in low-organic fraction soils where dissolved N and P infiltrate the soil column but bacteria don't have enough labile C to utilize the supply.

Since our freshwater and planted tanks don't tend to be limited in dissolved or particulate C, products like NO-POx and BioFuel aren't particularly effective.

If you want to talk about chemical reduction, that should probably be a different thread.
Thank you Phil

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 02:03 AM
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You're quite welcome. I hope it was helpful.

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