Denitrification - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 01:38 AM
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When this process is achieved it allegedly will remove the need for water changes and most algae growth in freshwater aquariums.
Denitrification will never eliminate the need for water changes. As water evaporates minerals concentrate in the water and every time you add more water you add more minerals. Unfortunately plants can only use a small number of minerals typically found in water. Eventually the level of total dissolved solids in water will get to high and plants and fish will die. Even if you use DI you will have a problem since fish food adds minerals. And if you are adding a fertilizer the minerals balance in the fertilizer will not match the mineral needs of the plants. This means unused minerals from the fertilizer will also build up in the water.

So even if bacteria or plant keep you nitrates at zero you will have to do periodic water changes to prevent toxic levels of minerals.

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Yes, ocean aquarium is probably the best example for this concept.
Yes he does not do any deliberate water changes. But every time they they sell a fish or plant some of the water from the tank is also sold and lost. So if they sell a lot of fish from one tank They have to add quite a bit of water to compensate for the loss. No fish store can be an example of no water changes for this reason. Also fish store tanks are typically overstocked. That means a lot of fish waist entering the water. Most of the minerals in fish waist can be used by plants. So if you get the overstock / plant ratio right mineral buildup in the water might be very low. Also the water they add is very clean water comes from mountain steams in Yosemite national park.

So the owner of ocean aquarium has found a balance of fish waist to plants plus the water loss due to fish sails That works for him

I do agrees that is it possible to have a tank with no fertilizer added to have low nitrate with good plant growth. but you still will need to do a water change.

I did read of post about one persons koi pond. He admitted it was overstocked and a large portion of the pond was covered by water Hyacinth. He didn't say he was not doing water changes but he didn't have to do it often. So water changes only occurred during a periodic cleaning and plant removal. He also did state he was using a lot of fish food. I don't recall the exact number but it was measured in Kilograms, not grams, per day. And it wasn't an extremely large pond.
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post #17 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 01:52 AM
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Denitrification will never eliminate the need for water changes. As water evaporates minerals concentrate in the water and every time you add more water you add more minerals. Unfortunately plants can only use a small number of minerals typically found in water. Eventually the level of total dissolved solids in water will get to high and plants and fish will die. Even if you use DI you will have a problem since fish food adds minerals. And if you are adding a fertilizer the minerals balance in the fertilizer will not match the mineral needs of the plants. This means unused minerals from the fertilizer will also build up in the water.

So even if bacteria or plant keep you nitrates at zero you will have to do periodic water changes to prevent toxic levels of minerals.



Yes he does not do any deliberate water changes. But every time they they sell a fish or plant some of the water from the tank is also sold and lost. So if they sell a lot of fish from one tank They have to add quite a bit of water to compensate for the loss. No fish store can be an example of no water changes for this reason. Also fish store tanks are typically overstocked. That means a lot of fish waist entering the water. Most of the minerals in fish waist can be used by plants. So if you get the overstock / plant ratio right mineral buildup in the water might be very low. Also the water they add is very clean water comes from mountain steams in Yosemite national park.

So the owner of ocean aquarium has found a balance of fish waist to plants plus the water loss due to fish sails That works for him

I do agrees that is it possible to have a tank with no fertilizer added to have low nitrate with good plant growth. but you still will need to do a water change.

I did read of post about one persons koi pond. He admitted it was overstocked and a large portion of the pond was covered by water Hyacinth. He didn't say he was not doing water changes but he didn't have to do it often. So water changes only occurred during a periodic cleaning and plant removal. He also did state he was using a lot of fish food. I don't recall the exact number but it was measured in Kilograms, not grams, per day. And it wasn't an extremely large pond.
How long would you say one could go without a water change?
I know on some walstad and low tech tanks water changes are done about every 6-8 months if I'm not mistaken, so would a large water change yearly be too little to prevent old tank syndrome or would it be achievable.
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post #18 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 11:42 AM
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@symstep I wasnít trying to be rude, sorry if it came off that way.

What I was trying to point out is that a Inca snail is a oxygen breathing creature and as far as I know they only inhabit the aerobic areas of the gravel. If you know of some documented study that contradicts that Iíd love to see it. One thing all living creatures have in common is intense desire to stay living.

The other part about specific media and building denitrification filters goes back decades, I was building them in late 90ís-2000ís. As @Edward alluded to in his post you can set up a better nitro filter in your canister. Why itís better is because you can prefilter water hitting it and it stays stable, none of gunk gets in there and clogs your denitrifying media.

Many designs for these types of filters can be found on internet. The specialized media like FilterPro BioHome, Seachem, Brightwell aquatics have been around for decades.

Basic designs would be like couple 3Ē acrylic tubes hooked together with a a pvc U at bottom. Input youíd T off a canister or sump with .25-375Ē feed line w/ a valve. Input would be a filter with bonded filter pad followed by 5 micron felt. Rig up hooks so just hangs on edge of sump or tank. After about 2 wks letting it seed start taking sample and testing water, water on exit side still has some nitrate you slow flow down a bit so aerobic bacteria a start has more dwell time and depletes more oxygen and more of media goes anaerobic. Youíll find that once itís seasoned and functioning properly you have can dial it in to what ever nitrate level you want simply by controlling the flow. Add a crapload more fish you can add a extra U shaped filter to handle it.

Canisters, if say you have Rena or other 6Ēish filters, Iíll take a 4Ē tupperware tub, cut 3/8Ē hole bottom edge, opposite edge top cut a 3/4Ē hole, glue some fiberglass window screen to cover holes. Then get 1.5-2Ē lava rock and some .25-.5 lava rock. Arrange as many big chunks of lava as you can then fill about .5 to .75 of container with smaller grade lava.

That container, 60% of water flow in canister will bypass it, micro-current that flows through it, give it about 3 months and it will settle in. For about $6 you can have a nice little nitro filter for a 30gal.

Denitrifying is easy if you move it out of main tanks gravel bed, maintain a mostly aerobic gravel bed, let the tank/plants do best they can and then only if need (usually excessive fish load) set up de-nite stage after tank filter.

Again Iím sorry if I came off as rude, not my intent. I started keeping aquariums almost 40 years ago, one of my best friends is a aquaculturist/biologist. The in tank flux of owner is one variable you canít control, the processes governed by nature you can predict.
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post #19 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
1. Can I see a picture?
Pick from the end.

Pick of 1/2 front.


2. How long has it been set up?
Two years but changed out substrate 6 weeks ago. (6 weeks/same plants)

3. What exactly do you dose if you dose at all?
Macro & micros, CO2, 120PAR
Water column to never exceed 30ppm NO3 and .3ppm Fe

4. What has been this specific tanks experience with algae?
Substrate change from capped soil to BDBS horrible algae outbreak. (6 weeks ago)
Pearling Algae pic.

Fully recovered now.

5. How often do you do water changes?
14-18% weekly in 80G tank.

6. Do you gravel vac?
Yes if I uproot a large area of plants.

7. Type of gravel?
None, coal slag Black diamond blasting sand.

8. Height of gravel?
Two inches.

9. When did Nitrates start reading 0?
Never, I don't let it drop that low.
Past 12 weeks I've logged all dosing in the tank.
Daily consumption measurements to the best of my ability.
3.5ppm NO3 per day and .015 Fe per day.
This varies a bit from week to week but this is the maximum detected uptake.

10. I added this one, Phish Load.
Includes 8 harlequin rasboras, 12 panda(small) Cory's, 2 flame tetras in an 80G.

My only Journal here is of this tank.
Needs moar Phlame Tetras. You can never have enouph Phlame Tetras.


Starting small, keeping it simple..(?)
250 gallon stock tank, "pond"
20 gallon H CBS Shrimp tank

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post #20 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 01:20 PM
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Are the PVC rings under your plants for magnetic ring therapy?

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post #21 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 01:30 PM
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They are ceramic, typical vendors sell plugs of plants wth the ceramic ring or lead strip wrapped around foam.
Just got into a habit of using to grow and farm after I acquired a huge lot of them for pennies.




The real magnet for such therapy is under the tank.
Electomagnet that require 480V and draws 70 amps.
Flux can be measured a few feet away.
I'm going to market as an algae buster!
It will go to market next February 30th.


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post #22 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you.
I have seen many aquariums designed the way it is described above and most were beautiful because they were long term projects, fully matured. Personally, I have had few set for number of years, minus the huge substrate layer. My plants always managed to keep NO3 low. Just give them PO4 boost and they will take the NO3 up.

I know you are talking about substrate denitrification. Nevertheless, I should mention that I have tried canister filter denitrification and it worked wonders. I filled it with common red lava rock from Home Depot, and it was able to remove 3 Ė 4 ppm NO3 a day. The lava chunks must be > 1Ē in size for the bacteria to work because process is happening inside the porous rock.
Nice tipe to consider with the po4. What specific brand do you use?
Also the lava rock is a great thing to bring up! If you have a highly porous rock large enough, the nitrifying bacteria depletes the oxygen before the water reaches the core, therefore creating the anoxic environment for denitrification. Pretty cool.
Would you mind talking about a external filtration set up? It is my understanding that traditional canister filters are built for nitrification so there is excessive aeration in its design.

Bump: @Maryland Guppy
Thank you very much for putting so much time into your reply. I did originally misunderstand what you said. "Phish load in my tank provides no measurable NO3 with so few phish." I took that as No3 reading 0. Why do you think changing the substrate created the break out of algae? Also congrats on growing that forest!
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post #23 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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@Surf
Bump: [quote=Surf;11200573] "Denitrification will never eliminate the need for water changes.
So even if bacteria or plant keep you nitrates at zero you will have to do periodic water changes to prevent toxic levels of minerals.
Yes he does not do any deliberate water changes. But every time they they sell a fish or plant some of the water from the tank is also sold and lost. So if they sell a lot of fish from one tank They have to add quite a bit of water to compensate for the loss. No fish store can be an example of no water changes for this reason."

In terms of mineral build up, I feel like you are just repeating what I already said In my review of the two aspects of OTS. OTS is clearly avoidable tho without water changes. The ocean aquarium guy told me he has a 180 gallon at home that hasn't had a water change in 28 years. Others (non fish store) have achieved this as well. @Edward just said he himself has seen this done a few times. Denitrification is only a part of the puzzle to achieve this. I started this thread to work towards achieving this goal.

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post #24 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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@DaveKS No man, you are completely cool. I really appreciate the apology In terms of the snail, that is our fault that we didn't really clarify that aspect. You are completely correct about snails not going into the anoxic zone (so i have learned). Say you create a substrate at 4 inches, the snails will visit the first 1-2 inches and "turn" the substrate. This will assist with overall compaction and aeration in the upper level so the H2s has a better chance to escape and become neutralized (A understanding based on my research). This in addition to the other elements mentioned might easily prevent H2s poisoning. The second advantage of the MTS is of course breaking down organic matter into finer particles for bacteria to use. I still would like to add that since the MTS reproduces so rapidly, isn't it possible that they will have a negative effect and disturb to much of the bacterial process?

That is excellent that you have experience with denitrification and I am very glad you made it to this thread. Based off what I have learned, A outside sump or canister specifically made could be more efficient. Yet still we do have the example of almost 30 years of only substrate. Also with outside denitrification I am still wondering why the potential of H2s would still not be a factor.
If you would add new compartments to a canister filter, would that cause stress on the impeller or could you get away with it? Does iron play a important role in this process? I really appreciate your explanation of a cheap way to accomplish this but honestly you kind of lost me haha. I have seen a few videos of this and have seen it done for 20 dollars so I understand the general idea at least and I am much more into this idea then a plenum. however,I do want to explore the idea of the substrate. I am very curious if a lot of the things that are done in this hobby are somewhat complicated solutions to simple problems. Then again I have been in this hobby for less then a year. Thank you very much for your reply and I really appreciate your constructive input.
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post #25 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 08:32 PM
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Denitrification is only a part of the puzzle to achieve this. I started this thread to work towards achieving this goal.
Thatís right, keeping NO3 in a set range is only one part. The other water parameters can be controlled as well, it all depends on how simple or complex you want to go. Higher complexity allows more light energy and CO2 and more plant species.
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Nice tip to consider with the po4. What specific brand do you use?
Hagen Nutrafin PO4 test kit, although any other will do too, and for adding PO4, KH2PO4 compound.
Quote:
Originally Posted by symstep View Post
Also the lava rock is a great thing to bring up! If you have a highly porous rock large enough, the nitrifying bacteria depletes the oxygen before the water reaches the core, therefore creating the anoxic environment for denitrification. Pretty cool.
Would you mind talking about a external filtration set up? It is my understanding that traditional canister filters are built for nitrification so there is excessive aeration in its design.
I donít think there is aeration in canister filters, it would be noisy. So, it is pretty simple, remove all media and first fit a sponge and after that the lava rocks. The rocks need filtered water in order not to get covered in mulm. Thatís it.
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@Maryland Guppy
Why do you think changing the substrate created the break out of algae?
Thatís what happens when conditions change, it is normal. Plants have to readjust to the new environment and they release nutrients which triggers algae which triggers snails. Then snail waste is taken back by the plants.

BTW, the reason why you donít see many threads about this style is because when some see it, they land on it and donít stop arguing until the thread gets out of control and consequently locked by moderators. Some even suggested to amend the forum rules to prohibit this topic. Lunacy.
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post #26 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-27-2019, 03:07 AM
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A topic like this shouldnít be off limits.

Let your gravel and plants do what they do best. Plants and itís roots in substrate via gas exchange actively try to stamp out anaerobic activity. They donít want competition down there for nitrogen, they want it all. Redox potentials and cation exchange around root structure of plants are very high, thatís how they gather iron and other nutrients from substrate.

Some plants like giant Val once those strap like leaves hit water surface where they get all light and co2 they want there is a veritable super highway of gas being sent down to roots and nutrients being pumped up to leaves from roots. There will be no anaerobic activity around root zone no matter how hard you try to set one up. Inject C02 and youíll effectively be super charging root zones for aerobic bacteria.
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post #27 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-27-2019, 10:47 PM
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There are those topics that stir the forum up.

But in the end the proof is in the pudding.
Typically the one stirring the kettle can never provide proof or pictures of their success.


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post #28 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
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That’s right, keeping NO3 in a set range is only one part. The other water parameters can be controlled as well, it all depends on how simple or complex you want to go. Higher complexity allows more light energy and CO2 and more plant species.
Thank you, I am glad you agree. I misspoke in my original post but it has been fixed. I feel like denitrification is the biggest part for me because I still don't have my head wrapped around the Hydrogen sulfide issue.

Quote:
I don’t think there is aeration in canister filters, it would be noisy. So, it is pretty simple, remove all media and first fit a sponge and after that the lava rocks. The rocks need filtered water in order not to get covered in mulm. That’s it.
Aeration in terms of its basic definition, to introduce oxygen. In nitrification the limiting factor is oxygen so canister filters have high and wide flow to introduce a lot of oxygen. I may have originally phrased it wrong, I am not sure. I assume still there would be some denitro going on at the end of the filtration, Also in the core of each lava rock (or equivalent) large enough. However, the nitro/denitro ratio should be closer to even so your off the shelf canister filter shouldn't achieve this yes? Of course it is relative to bio load and plant quantity tho.

Quote:
That’s what happens when conditions change, it is normal. Plants have to readjust to the new environment and they release nutrients which triggers algae which triggers snails. Then snail waste is taken back by the plants.
Thank you for breaking that down, I was unaware that the plants would release nutrients like that.

Quote:
BTW, the reason why you don’t see many threads about this style is because when some see it, they land on it and don’t stop arguing until the thread gets out of control and consequently locked by moderators. Some even suggested to amend the forum rules to prohibit this topic. Lunacy.
Yes, we all can have a closed mind based off of trusted information at times, I have been guilty of it as well. The idea of forbidding this topic is pretty crazy tho. This hobby is about learning and evolving independently and as a group. If we have a negative opinion or disbelieve then we voice it in a respectful way, then let others have their experience.

I just want to learn. I appreciate everyone who teaches.

Last edited by symstep; 04-28-2019 at 05:40 AM. Reason: To Edit
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post #29 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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A topic like this shouldnít be off limits.
Agreed!

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Redox potentials and cation exchange around root structure of plants are very high, thatís how they gather iron and other nutrients from substrate
Don't even get me started on CEC haha

Quote:
There will be no anaerobic activity around root zone no matter how hard you try to set one up.
I was aware of roots bringing oxygen to the lower substrate but didn't think of it being so severe it would prevent the denitro process. So you would submit that the height of the substrate would have to be based on the expected length of the root systems?

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post #30 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
There are those topics that stir the forum up.

But in the end the proof is in the pudding.
Typically the one stirring the kettle can never provide proof or pictures of their success.
Maybe one day i'll get there haha. But until then, if you haven't seen this channel you should. It actually is the most effort put into explaining this concept that I've seen so far.
Guy first did it with his turtle/cherry shrimp tank and now he is doing it with fish.


If you go to his channel you will find a explanation of this tank and then if you have like 2 hours, I would recommend watching his 7-8 part series on this subject. I would like to know what everyone thinks.

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