Nitrate reactor - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
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Nitrate reactor

From a hardware point of view, Is there a difference between a reactor and a canister filter?

I am assuming GPH is one.

Is there any reason I couldn’t set an old canister filter to a very low GPH, and fill it with the appropriate media?

I had an idea:

I was thinking of putting a sealed container in my canister filter, with a few holes on the top and the bottom. This would creat low flow area within the canister filter, which essentially is a reactor.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 03:50 AM
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What is your objective?

Please use your signature to describe your aquarium hobby setup.

Cheers

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
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To create an environment for anaerobic denitrifying bacteria.

So essentially, see if I could lower my nitrates using bacteria

It’s a 30 gallon tank with a Eheim canister filter
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 04:11 AM
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I can only share an anecdote. I got away with extra soil depth by using more water flow. Eventually, I thinned out my soil.

Style: Organic soil, sand, gravel, plants, moss, algae, snails, shrimp, small fish
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 04:21 AM
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Well 2 things.

1) you can stick a plastic box with holes in it in a basket in a canister filter. I have no idea if that will do anything but my gut says it won't. /Shrug

2) if your goal is to change ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. Then any media will do this you don't need to create low flow zones in a canister filter. If your goal is to reduce nitrate through means other than a water change, then a rock solid proven method for doing so is to add more plants, preferably fast growing plants such as stems and floating plants. More plants is both natural and healthier for your fish. It will reduce all aspects of maintenance except for trimming.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 04:26 AM Thread Starter
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I’m not sure what you mean by that.

Wouldn’t higher flow rate reduce the bb?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 12:35 PM
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There are a lot of variables at play and I bet the bottom line is you will just have to experiment and see if you can get it to work in your canister. I think this is a hard sell here, you're trying to fix nitrates with anaerobic bacteria in a forum dedicated to fixing nitrates with plants. If for some reason I couldn't have live plants in my aquarium I would sooner setup a sump with a light and duckweed to remove nitrates rather than try to do it anaerobically.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuluCocoPopoRoro View Post
To create an environment for anaerobic denitrifying bacteria.

So essentially, see if I could lower my nitrates using bacteria

Its a 30 gallon tank with a Eheim canister filter
Sure, simply replace your filter media with lava rocks larger than 1 and it will start denitrifying. The surface will have aerobic bacteria to convert NH3/NH4 to NO2 and to NO3. Then the rock internal porous matrix will have anaerobic bacteria to convert NO3 to N2. I recommend sponge before the rocks to keep them cleaner.
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Last edited by Edward; 10-20-2019 at 01:35 PM. Reason: ...
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 02:47 PM
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So, you want to build a denitrifier (which is not too uncommon in the saltwater world). What I am about to post is simply a copy and paste operation from research I did some time ago, but it is a lot of reading. Also, you may want to find @Phil Edwards, who has quite a bit of experience in this area. He has a post entitled something like “Ask me anything”, where you can posit some of your questions. I have not tried any of this, as I came to the conclusion that it was far too involved for a planted tank since nitrates can be controlled with many of the techniques we do normally in a planted tank, including letting the plants digest them. If you do try it, and it is a runaway success, please post your method and results.

First, some threads that may help and there are many others, as the topic has been explored many times:

1) https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...-products.html

2) https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...ol-dosing.html

Now for the regurgitation and I apologize to any whom I may have not credited on any of this information, but it is something I meshed together for my own use:

Quote:
NO3 Reduction (denitrification)

Other than water changes or a very heavy and healthy plant mass, the only other way to reduce nitrates is with anaerobic bacteria. This requires very slow moving water, a carbon source and, obviously, an absence of oxygen.

Instead of water changes, there are two primary methods for denitrification, the carbon fed digester and the sulfur bed digester. Some strains of bacteria known as facultative anaerobes can use the oxygen in the nitrate (NO3) for energy, converting NO3 into atmospheric nitrogen (N2). The carbon digesters require the addition of an organic carbon source to feed the bacteria, typically a short chain alcohol (methanol or ethanol) or a simple sugar. This method has the drawback of having to measure the addition of the carbon compound. Over- or under-dosing can upset the balance of the process or, worse, carry unreacted alcohol back to the tank. The sulfur-based method relies on the activity of several bacteria strains that consume sulfur and nitrate without adding other chemicals. Thiobacillis denitrificans and other similar bacteria can use the oxygen in nitrate for energy. The trend in the industry is the sulfur bed digester because of its simplicity.

The NO3 to N2 reaction (called "reduction") consumes alkalinity, so the sulfur is typically mixed with crushed oyster shell or aragonite (a source of carbonate for buffering) to keep the pH stable. Monitoring D.O. is especially important since the environment inside the filter should be oxygen-poor, but not oxygen-free. If too much oxygen is present, the bacteria will respire aerobically (with oxygen) and no nitrate reduction will occur, but if too little oxygen is present, the filter can go anaerobic (without oxygen) and produce toxic hydrogen sulfide.

Red Sea NO3:PO4-X (NOPOX) is safe and effective means of adding dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to freshwater aquariums, although specifically designed for saltwater aquariums. It is more reliable than vinegar or vodka and safer than methanol (purity issues with all three of these additives). However, not sure if this is supposed to ‘activate’ anaerobic bacteria in our substrates or if some sort of denitrifies is expected to be established first.

Activated carbon (which can remove some dissolved oxygen) will not affect NOPOX. The NOPOX is only adversely affected by Phosphate removers since it is a phenol based supplement (as per Red Sea).


Filter media:

Media should be rinsed every few months to clear slime from the pores. Initially, soak the media and shake it to remove air bubbles (there should be no floating pieces).

Lava rocks greater than 1” can be used to harbor anaerobic bacteria, in the filter. Allow several months for development. Another possibility is to place several in a container, drilling a small (.125-.250”) hole in the bottom and a larger (.250-.500”) hole in the top to allow a small stream of water through. This can be placed in a canister filter.

Seachem claims that all of their pumice stone (DeNitrate, Matrix, and Pond Matrix) will culture both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. The three products are all the same media, just different sizes. The different recommended flow rates relative to the sizes is simply that anaerobic bacteria can only live in an environment of little/no oxygen. This is relative to the depth of the pores in the stone and the flow of the water passing through and around it. So in theory, anaerobic bacteria could exist with Pond Matrix with a faster water flow, while there would need to be a very slow flow for DeNitrate.

Brightwell Aquatics Xport NO3 Cubes (supposedly limited to pH =/> 7.5) is a possibility for the denitrator.

Colonizing the media:

Add Stability or Microbacter7 and a carbon source (NoPoX): adding daily for about 7 days directly onto the media will place many colonies of denitrifying bacteria on the media. They will immediately begin colonizing the Matrix, therefore being able to consume the nitrates present. Place it in a separate container with very low flow if it can’t be reached in it’s final destination.

Bring nitrate levels down to 20 ppm via water changes. At that point de*nitrate will bring the nitrate levels down to 4 – 5 ppm after several days of use. Since de*nitrate™, Matrix™,and Pond Matrix™are all biological support media, they do not actually ever exhaust, but they can grow less efficient with use by pore clogging. Prefiltering the water before it passes through these products will extend its useful life.

Remove Existing Filters Designed To Facilitate The Nitrogen Cycle:

Such filters do a fine job of processing ammonia to nitrite to nitrate, but do nothing with the nitrate. It is not that any less nitrate is produced when such a filter is removed, it is a question of what happens to the nitrate after it is produced. When it is produced on the surface of media such as bioballs, it mixes into the entire water column, and then has to find its way, by diffusion, to the places where it may be reduced (inside of live rock and sand, for instance).

If nitrate is produced on the surface of live rock or sand, then the local concentration of nitrate is higher there initially, and is more likely to diffuse into the rock and sand where the anaerobic bacteria are in close proximity.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 10:42 PM
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sounds like you are trying to make an anoxic filter. also called biocenosis clarification, or BCB for short. There's a youtube video of someone building one inside a canister filter. His video name is just "Luke". Can't say if it works or not, I've not tried it.
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