Nomo? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Long-time lurker here, wanted to get opinions on something I found that I think is interesting (and probably some kind of hoax) that I can't find discussed here...

So, if you google "fish tank without water changes" the first link is to this discussion from 2 years ago on the My Aquarium Club site. You scroll down to post #7 and you see a post from someone claiming that "The technology to operate a fish tank without water changes is real and is hear now and it is the least invasive of anything out there". They go on to describe an under gravel electrode system that applies a small amount of electrical current to what is presumably some kind of filter media which supposedly limits 'bad' bacteria reproduction (when feeding every other day). Discussion continues on another thread with everyone else applying a healthy dose of skepticism.

Fast forward 2 years and I have stumbled across a flashy website along with a facebook page threatening an imminent (as of November 2016) Indiegogo campaign. And last but not least a patent application for exactly this, registered under the name of David Simeoli (who is the presenter in the only youtube video on their account) that talks about an applied 50-100mAh at 2.4-3V.

So... an elaborate hoax? I have heard of something called Electroporation, which is applying an electric current to affect cell membranes, but it's not typically used on bacteria. Although I have found these two papers (1 and 2) that talk about using low currents to purify water (and this science fair project - that links to more) and it seems like there might be something to it.

Thoughts? And anyone fancy giving it a go on an unpopulated tank with some excess water from a water change?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 04:54 PM
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The "never need to change your water" theme has been in the hobby for many years. There has always been one product or another that claimed this. While it might be possible to set up a tank and not change the water for an extended time, the final result tends to be rather poor.

Take a look at the tanks on the web site, and on the youtube video. Now compare them to the tanks you see on this forum and other serious aquarium forums. Now, tell me, which tanks are more impressive?

I also see some red flags on this product -
You can't buy one yet. It's still a prototype.
The website doesn't seem to have been updated in a long time.

You will also see that the aquarium hobby always seems to have a lot of fads going on and a lot of useless products being sold. Generally, it's best to save your money. Yes, I have bought a lot of worthless and useless items over the years.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 05:56 PM
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Essentially this looks like an undergravel "UV" filter, obviously it is not UV but they are performing a similar function. Instead of using UV light though it is simply a current. A thing to note is that in the study posted in relation to the science fair, I don't see any indication of flow (moving water) in any of these, which leads me to think that the efficiency of this must drop off quiet rapidly when you account for flowing water. Also, in the studies listed in the science fair I only found 1 that worked, and was relevant to the topic (one was about onions/shallots?) anyways that study was in relation to sea water. Sea water is much more conductive than "fresh" water, which might make it viable there.

But honestly the entire principle of the device is exactly the same as running a UV filter 24/7 and never changing your water. I have my doubts that this would work, but I guess until someone goes ahead and tries it (unless someone already has) we won't know for sure. I imagine that this system would be rather unstable as essentially you are trying to artificially maintain the proper level of bacteria in your system rather than actually just cycling your system and letting the system naturally come to its equilibrium point. Also, I did not see it noted in the patent so point it out if I missed it, but I do not believe they (the patent authors) give reference to concerns of ammonia toxicity due to fish excrement (urea is quiet literally ammonia), other than that they are limiting bacteria populations to reduce ammonia released by bacteria which give it off as a byproduct of processing organics. The issue is you will end up building up organics, and not processing either organics or the ammonia. Basically, you are throttling back on one half of the cycle and backlogging nutrients. IMO this is asking for issues (algae).

Also to note, Electroporation is usually used to add DNA or chemicals (such as tracers and whatnot) to cells, I don't think it is traditionally used to kill cells (though I may be wrong).

Who knows maybe I'm crazy.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 05:22 AM
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Just happened to come across this

Randomly came across this thread by accident, but thought I'd throw in my experience. I met Georgeanne & David (husband and wife who created what you're referring to) nearly 4 years ago to discuss a possible investment/partnership with the then untitled device. We ended up working together for a few months, and it was later renamed to Nomo (which stood for "No More" water changes - a name I thought was a bit too similar to "Nemo" to be honest). Ultimately, the deal fell through, and I did not work with them in the long run, but I can confirm that it is a real device that actually does what it claims. I signed an NDA & can't divulge too much information about how it works (I am not that knowledgable in the science aspects of it anyways, so I'm not sure how much info I'd even be able to divulge, even if I could), but I hope that they do launch soon and I hope that it does well! I used the very early prototype on my own personal fishtank (at my office) and it was pretty cool.
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