lava rock to reduce nitrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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lava rock to reduce nitrate?

I was reading articles about using lava rock as filter media. People claims that once the bateria is colonized inside the core of lava rock, it is very effective of removing nitrate from water. it sounds like a great addition to shrimp tank since we want as little nitrate as possible. Anyone has experience about this method? I am ready to go buy a bag of lava rock from home depot and put it in my shrimp rack's sump, but also want to hear more opinions from the shrimping fellow here :-D

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 06:46 PM
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It's not very effective. I believe in order for anaerobic bacteria to consume nitrates they need a source of carbon. A lot of nitrate filters use vodka.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Vodka...Drunken Shrimp Master?
Maybe it's better that I just add light to my sump and put some anacharis or water spirits to help remove nitrate between water change..
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 07:14 PM
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I expect anything with a lot of surface area would give a good home for bacteria.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 08:20 PM
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The pores are much bigger than most biomedia on the market, and therefore end up being nothing more than a "poop trap".

Some people on the SW side tried to use it in place of "live rock", and it just didn't work.

In any case, it won't remove nitrates. While for a time (until it gets clogged) it will harbor bacteria that will convert Nitrites to Nitrates, the nitrates still need to be either consumed (plants, etc.) or removed (water changes).
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 08:45 PM
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That's not true, anaerobic bacteria will remove nitrates, but need a source of carbon in order to do it. That is how those nitrate filters work. A very slow flow through the nitrate filter and it has a slow release port that you inject vodka into once a week. They work, but they're more trouble than they're worth.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 08:54 PM
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I have never seen vodka methods in fw if anyone has pls post them

if you add extra surface area to your fw tank from any natural source, expect no nitrate reduction only the ability to further oxidize ammonia which is probably already abundant anyway. lava rocks will be redundant aerobic filter beds in a planted aquarium

I do not think its possible to get measurable or beneficial natural nitrate reduction from rocks in a fw tank.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 09:15 PM
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Allot of us that keep shrimp do have some lava rock spread throught the tank just for the bacteria, and shrimps love it and graze on them all the time

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2014, 09:33 PM
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aerobic bacterial mats and biofilms, yes I agree...those just dont reduce nitrate but there are other methods to attain that in the aquarium if needed. i was just meaning lava rock will produce, not reduce no3 no matter how it ages or how deep the pores run even if some anaerobic zones exist... If we can't get a 5ppm reduction off something it doesn't seem to qualify much as a helpful addition only my guess

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 02:01 AM
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I remember there being a bunch of different gadgets and filters that were supposed to remove nitrates for salt water and reef tanks, but I don't know much about the specifics.

I think for our tanks, plants and water changes are probably the easiest methods. If you get enough plants (especially floaters, or riparium types), they should pull out all the nitrates (or grab the ammonia and just skip the whole nitrite/nitrate process).
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 11:41 AM
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I spent a LOT of years on the SW side. I saw the hobby change its' collective mind on so many issues it would make one's head spin. I watched four different lighting platforms come and go.

Eventually, there was enough collective thought that went into it that folks started to realize they can't replicate that piece of nature in a box. Refugiums as a nitrate filter was one of the first of those "natural trends". Then came the realization that plants don't take up nitrates anywhere near as fast as that box of rocks can produce them. Then came the realization that the box of rocks didn't even help in filtration since most tanks were crammed with rocks that it left huge anaerobic pockets in most tanks. So then came the "super powerheads" to create more water movement across all those rocks so that they didn't get clogged and turn into "nitrate factories". Then came th realization that live rock as a filtration mechanism is slightly overrated. So lots of newer tanks rely on less lock, more open space, wave-type water movement, super effeicent skimmers and nitrate export mechanisms to compliment a refugium.

Lava rock in a FW scenario is no different. With no water movement over it , it will in time (how long? I couldn't possibly guess) just clog up and become a poop trap and produce nitrates. Think of it in terms of the old wet-dry filters that used bioballs. They rely on constant water flow over a nearly invisible biofilm. The reason they fell out of favor is they end up being very efficient at reducing nitrites and turning them into nitrates. Would using lava rock hurt? Absolutely not. But it needs to be kept clean and that will have different meanings for every tank, and it shouldn't be relied upon to a great deal as a filtration mechanism.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 12:05 PM
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agree

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