The Planted Tank Forum banner
21 - 40 of 51 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
I suggest that a few hours spent on searching this forum for "denitrification" would answer a lot of the questions. It has been explored ad nauseum. Dentrification can be done (I've done it) in a FW aquarium. However, it can only shave a relatively small amount of NO3 and, as someone mentioned, water changes dwarf denitrifiers in their ability to reduce nitrates (if that's what you really want to do in a planted tank). It's simply not worth the effort.

If you have nitrates so high that you need to reduce them, anoxic bacteria are not going to make much of a dent. You would be far better off looking at the source of the problem, which is likely organics issues and, if this is the source, the organics are going to contain a lot more problematic things than just nitrates.
Ironically anoxic bacteria[ab] are the main work horse in very large waste water treatment plant in reducing nitrates very effectively.
I think they use ab floc held in supension.[?] And after a period the whole section is moved foreward in the line, by the system flow.

At the moment more tweaks are done to turn the 'dwarf'' into giants denitrifiers in FW aquarium. lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,511 Posts
Good luck. If you achieve what you think is success, make sure it’s repeatable and let us all know, so that we can try it. All of the approaches mentioned have been used and explored for decades. We just can’t commit enough space to these processes to make it practical for significant NO3 reduction.

If you are looking for a more typical food source for anaerobic bacteria in an activated sludge treatment, you may want to try methanol.

There are new technologies, such as MABR, that offer some hope for more efficient detrification. However, I have not seen it attempted with aquariums. Perhaps that is a path that you might follow for true innovation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Greggz and sunny3

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Good luck. If you achieve what you think is success, make sure it’s repeatable and let us all know, so that we can try it. All of the approaches mentioned have been used and explored for decades. We just can’t commit enough space to these processes to make it practical for significant NO3 reduction.

If you are looking for a more typical food source for anaerobic bacteria in an activated sludge treatment, you may want to try methanol.

There are new technologies, such as MABR, that offer some hope for more efficient detrification. However, I have not seen it attempted with aquariums. Perhaps that is a path that you might follow for true innovation.
Nice sensible input.
I thought MABR is more on the aerobic? Membrane areated biofilm, closer to K1. nitrate producer?
Anaerobic bacteria can be confusing depending on which people I talk to. My take is zero lvl O2. Others may disagree.
Methanol/alcohol had been used in the ISS. in very specialised format.Limited life span.
Repeatable will depend largely on the hobbyists.
Maybe you can also be a brave soul for true innovation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,511 Posts
MABR is for both, as a system approach, with high efficiency. I also seem to recall that it can remove organic phosphorus, which would enhance the benefit. Basically, it attacks much of the organic stream we try to fight. You'd have to investigate that part further, though.

I've played with dentrification simply to see if I could do it. However, I don't have incentive to do more, since I don't have a nitrate problem.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
15,758 Posts
Just a feedback loop. As I said. Nothing substantive. No controls. Just random claims with little to back them up. In theory, it works. In practice in this hobby? Just barely. Because the nitrate cycle is happening on every surface in the water - from filter media, substrate, hardscape, plants, glass, pipes.

Sulphur media reactors aren't the hokey Novak cat litter and plenum setup with massive baskets. They're sealed chambers and water enters them slowly so oxygen can be removed. (I've run them on some of my reefs in the past.)

Y'all can keep beating a dead horse if you want. Just be prepared for people like us to chime in and roll our eyes. In other words, if you don't like feedback? Keep the - yes - pseudoscience (Don't like the term? Pick another.) under wraps.

And GIANT CAPITAL LETTERS won't help any argument.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,902 Posts
Just a feedback loop. As I said. Nothing substantive. No controls. Just random claims with little to back them up. In theory, it works. In practice in this hobby? Just barely. Because the nitrate cycle is happening on every surface in the water - from filter media, substrate, hardscape, plants, glass, pipes.

Sulphur media reactors aren't the hokey Novak cat litter and plenum setup with massive baskets. They're sealed chambers and water enters them slowly so oxygen can be removed. (I've run them on some of my reefs in the past.)

Y'all can keep beating a dead horse if you want. Just be prepared for people like us to chime in and roll our eyes. In other words, if you don't like feedback? Keep the - yes - pseudoscience (Don't like the term? Pick another.) under wraps.

And GIANT CAPITAL LETTERS won't help any argument.
LOL might be my favorite post ever from you @somewhatshocked!😆

And I couldn't agree more. That Novak guy is a snake oil salesman. I can't believe people are still taking his nonsense seriously.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #27 ·
MABR is for both, as a system approach, with high efficiency. I also seem to recall that it can remove organic phosphorus, which would enhance the benefit. Basically, it attacks much of the organic stream we try to fight. You'd have to investigate that part further, though.

I've played with dentrification simply to see if I could do it. However, I don't have incentive to do more, since I don't have a nitrate problem.
Membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) technology provides a revolutionary improvement in aerobic wastewater treatment. In particular, it has high nutrient removal and energy efficiency, compared to traditional wastewater treatment systems. [Fluence]
The MABR is in the upper tract where nitrification takes place, and denitrification lower down the loop where
the anoxic floc is in the waste water treatment plant
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #28 ·
LOL might be my favorite post ever from you @somewhatshocked!😆

And I couldn't agree more. That Novak guy is a snake oil salesman. I can't believe people are still taking his nonsense seriously.
Will that mean the international space station [ISS ]fish experiments were based on nonsense too as their systems include the anoxic filteration principles? The ISS fish experiments team are certainly no bigger fools in my take.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,902 Posts
Will that mean the international space station [ISS ]fish experiments were based on nonsense too as their systems include the anoxic filteration principles? The ISS fish experiments team are certainly no bigger fools in my take.
I guess we are all in the hobby for different reasons. My goal is to grow colorful healthy plants and arrange them in a pleasing display.

If your goal is to mimic ISS fish experiments, more power to you. But they have little in common with an aquarium in our home.

And there is probably a reason topics like these are never discussed by the 99.7% of the planted tank community. Because they have little to do with growing plants.

In the end, to each his own.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Just a feedback loop. As I said. Nothing substantive. No controls. Just random claims with little to back them up. In theory, it works. In practice in this hobby? Just barely. Because the nitrate cycle is happening on every surface in the water - from filter media, substrate, hardscape, plants, glass, pipes.

Sulphur media reactors aren't the hokey Novak cat litter and plenum setup with massive baskets. They're sealed chambers and water enters them slowly so oxygen can be removed. (I've run them on some of my reefs in the past.)

Y'all can keep beating a dead horse if you want. Just be prepared for people like us to chime in and roll our eyes. In other words, if you don't like feedback? Keep the - yes - pseudoscience (Don't like the term? Pick another.) under wraps.

And GIANT CAPITAL LETTERS won't help any argument.
CEC [cation exchange capacity] is a wide subject and substantive. The capitals use are std to define and not as to denote anger.
ISS use of anoxic principles is no radom claim.
Pseudoscience is unproven science. I doubt the ISS fish researchers will use unproven science. Or they did? lol
Electric cars likewise are not a dead horse just because they have battery issues. Think they are making good progress and did not give up.
You pointed water enters slowly and that is one key. Sulphur as food source. Wondering what if the flow is fast? Doesn't work right? Or it can still work? Bacteria need time to grow and do their job. How to fit them in?
Chime in if you must but constructively.
The real challange is in the practice [read refining the anoxic filter to be pratical]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
524 Posts
Will that mean the international space station [ISS ]fish experiments were based on nonsense too as their systems include the anoxic filteration principles? The ISS fish experiments team are certainly no bigger fools in my take.
At this point it seems like you may be a troll, but I'll take the risk of trying to respond as if you're sincerely open to discussion. In all actual denitrification reactors, there is an electron donor. It's the ethanol in the ISS experiments and the "vodka" reactors used by reefkeepers. It's inorganic sulfur compounds in a sulfur-driven denitrification reactor. It's organic carbon in natural systems (i.e. wetlands) and the sludge denitrification reactors used in wastewater treatment.

Novak's design does not have any of these things. No proposed mechanism of action, no experiments to show effectiveness, just rampant handwaving and pseudoscience. The reason your tank doesn't have high levels of nitrogenous compounds is the crazy amount of cabomba soaking it up AND the fact that you're doing frequent water changes. As I mentioned when I first commented in this thread, I would encourage you to stop the water changes and remove the plants from your tank, then you will be able to see if there is any denitrification going on.

Unless you are using 99.5% pure ethanol in a non-porous polyethylene bag, then your "reactor" is completely unrelated to the ISS one. I don't know why you keep bringing it up. The peer reviewed scientists are not dabbling in pseudoscience, YOU are. To use an analogy, let's say you claimed to make a nuclear bomb out of a tin can and some string. You can't point to the Manhattan Project as proof that your tin can nuke works.

Nobody is doubting the existence of denitrification, just that you have denitrification going on in your aquarium.

I wrote this a while back. If you're open minded, it may be informative:

Kevin Novak is the guy behind Anoxic Filtration System and the surprisingly popular Youtube channel.

He makes a number of pretty crazy claims. Here's a quick rundown:

  • By putting laterite inside a basket of kitty litter, you create an electric charge that draws in ammonia, and then anoxic bacteria convert it to nitrogen gas.
  • This same setup also strips an oxygen molecule from phosphate, which somehow removes it from the water column?
  • Phosphates and nitrates in the aquarium will cause algae, and should be kept at undetectable (0 PPM) levels in planted tanks
  • He has a detailed dosing guideline that says nutrients provided at a certain time of day will have a different effect than nutrients provided at a different time of day

As far as I can tell this is his modus operandi:

  • Use big words (often completely incorrectly) to confuse the listener/reader
  • Use of phrases like "this has been scientifically proven" while never actually providing scientific proof
  • Gish gallop: Make untrue and unverified claims at such a rate that it would be impossible to point out all the fallacies.
  • Talk down at people who question his claims as if they are either dumb or trolls.
  • Heavy reliance on appeal to authority. He calls himself "Dr. Kevin Novak, PhD." I have so far been unable to find any research published under his name, or to establish if he even has a PhD. I have also been unable to find any published experiments regarding these "biocenosis baskets." I asked him about this, and he said "These questions have already been answered" which is a convenient way to avoid answering the question. I suspect he either does not have a PhD, or has a PhD completely unrelated to chemistry/biology/biochemistry.
  • Circular references: He frequently cites people who write to him, or people who write articles about him, as proof. There is a particularly strange circular loop between him and someone who goes by "Mankey Sanke," where one cites the other as proof and vise-versa while never actually providing proof. Here's an excerpt from Manky Sanke's website:

"The way these baskets work is too complicated to explain in detail but relies on the fact that, according to Dr. Novak’s research, although nitrate is an excellent plant food, ammonia is a better one. Given a choice, the plants in these baskets will take ammonia direct from pond water, in preference to nitrate. Amazing but true! Ammonia (NH4+) also has an electrical charge. Opposite electrical charges within the basket draw ammonia in. Facultative anaerobic bugs ensure that any nitrate in the water is stripped of it’s oxygen and the nitrogen bubbles away in the same way as in denitrifying media in figure 2. And that’s the simple explanation, the full details are mind numbing!"

In reality, the full details do not exist. As mentioned before, neither of these two have ever cited a peer-reviewed paper. Here's an example of Kevin Novak's writing on his website:

"Very fine substrates, example: sand and/or dirt, will cause the most problems in the long run because they will compact even more so than other mediums will or should I say they will show the first signs of trouble in the least amount of time given. This has already been scientifically proven, but some hobbyist refuses to heed to science disciplines an insist on using these mediums as a cheap alterative substrate in closed systems. Water movement through the substrate will change and so will its electrical properties as far as mV readings go. Hobbyist do not own the right testing equipment to test such changes in the substrate so these insults, chemical and biological changes go unabated far months or even years."

You can see the strategy I mentioned above at play. He says this has been scientifically proven (dirt is not a good substrate for growing plants?) while not providing proof. I have no idea what he's talking about with regards to electrical properties and mV readings. What is he measuring using units of megavolts in the substrate? It's complete nonsense as far as I can tell. The result of reading this passage might make someone uninvolved in the sciences think, "hey, this guy is smart and I want to be one of the smart ones too. I'll agree with him." It leads to an in-group circlejerk that is very apparent in the YouTube comments section.

I'm certainly no great scientific mind, but I did study ecology & evolutionary biology in college that included course work in chemistry, microbiology, and limnology, so I like to think I at least have a functional bull** meter. Tom Barr (who has a bachelor's in limnology and a PhD in agronomy) actually got into it with him back in the day because he was spewing bull**, which caused Kevin Novak to deactivate his YouTube channel for a while.

I don't know who is behind aquariumscience.org. They seem to have a chip on their shoulder for sure, but their understanding of basic science is sound, and they conduct actual, real-world experiments. It's just my go-to when someone asks about Kevin Novak because I don't have a website, or the time, to get in to it when Kevin Novak is putting out two hour-long videos a week. I've already dedicated far too much of my time on earth to thinking about him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I guess we are all in the hobby for different reasons. My goal is to grow colorful healthy plants and arrange them in a pleasing display.

If your goal is to mimic ISS fish experiments, more power to you. But they have little in common with an aquarium in our home.

And there is probably a reason topics like these are never discussed by the 99.7% of the planted tank community. Because they have little to do with growing plants.

In the end, to each his own.
Planted tank community are limited to plants and very small fish population or none at all. Either the fish destroy the plants by their habits or they simply degrade the water quality to the point that the plants are algaed and dying. Fish habits can be solved by careful selection. Water quality can be further improved by the ISS experiments, read anoxic filteration. See the common goal?

CO2 injection was not new. But the thinking in early days were that CO2 must be rid off in fish tanks. Kipper and Horst in their book The Optimium Aquarium cash in with the CO2 craze.The planted tank took off. lol. Amano with his ADA got the loot.
99.7% are maybe not thinking out of the box? No offense
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,902 Posts
Planted tank community are limited to plants and very small fish population or none at all. Either the fish destroy the plants by their habits or they simply degrade the water quality to the point that the plants are algaed and dying. Fish habits can be solved by careful selection. Water quality can be further improved by the ISS experiments, read anoxic filteration. See the common goal?

CO2 injection was not new. But the thinking in early days were that CO2 must be rid off in fish tanks. Kipper and Horst in their book The Optimium Aquarium cash in with the CO2 craze.The planted tank took off. lol. Amano with his ADA got the loot.
99.7% are maybe not thinking out of the box? No offense
I guess I didn't get the memo.

I keep a planted tank with heavy Rainbowfish stocking. The fish haven't destroy the plants and the water quality has not degraded to the point where plants are algaed and fish dying.

And I haven't even used the ISS methods. Just good old fashioned light, CO2, fert dosing and good general maintenance. Would thinking outside the box help me?

And oh my the Optimum Aquarium. You are showing your age. Most of the Dupla method was also voodoo science or just flat out wrong.

I always find it interesting when folks are more curious about this stuff than about learning how to grow plants.
Plant Plant community Flower Terrestrial plant Natural landscape
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #34 ·
At this point it seems like you may be a troll, but I'll take the risk of trying to respond as if you're sincerely open to discussion. In all actual denitrification reactors, there is an electron donor. It's the ethanol in the ISS experiments and the "vodka" reactors used by reefkeepers. It's inorganic sulfur compounds in a sulfur-driven denitrification reactor. It's organic carbon in natural systems (i.e. wetlands) and the sludge denitrification reactors used in wastewater treatment.

Novak's design does not have any of these things. No proposed mechanism of action, no experiments to show effectiveness, just rampant handwaving and pseudoscience. The reason your tank doesn't have high levels of nitrogenous compounds is the crazy amount of cabomba soaking it up AND the fact that you're doing frequent water changes. As I mentioned when I first commented in this thread, I would encourage you to stop the water changes and remove the plants from your tank, then you will be able to see if there is any denitrification going on.

Unless you are using 99.5% pure ethanol in a non-porous polyethylene bag, then your "reactor" is completely unrelated to the ISS one. I don't know why you keep bringing it up. The peer reviewed scientists are not dabbling in pseudoscience, YOU are. To use an analogy, let's say you claimed to make a nuclear bomb out of a tin can and some string. You can't point to the Manhattan Project as proof that your tin can nuke works.

Nobody is doubting the existence of denitrification, just that you have denitrification going on in your aquarium.

I wrote this a while back. If you're open minded, it may be informative:
Appreciate your risk. I am not trolling. But if provoking slumbered hobbyists to awake into thinking again then one can argue.
As I have said I am relooking and trying out after going a whole circle.
As you mentioned electron donor, the finer point to look is the NO3. Take away the O3 and Nitrogen is liberated as nitrogen gas. Who do you think will take away the oxygen? I am not dabbling in p.science but more towards pure science.No? Electron donor not science?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,511 Posts
Membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) technology provides a revolutionary improvement in aerobic wastewater treatment. In particular, it has high nutrient removal and energy efficiency, compared to traditional wastewater treatment systems. [Fluence]
The MABR is in the upper tract where nitrification takes place, and denitrification lower down the loop where
the anoxic floc is in the waste water treatment plant
I think that, if you look outside of Fluence, you will find that efforts have been made to enclose the two components, system-wise, so that the low and very directed O2 delivery to the aerobic section, isolates the O2 from the anaerobic section, allowing for increased efficiency in both components. Probably more a point of interest, since no one is likely to attempt this in our hobby.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #36 ·
I guess I didn't get the memo.

I keep a planted tank with heavy Rainbowfish stocking. The fish haven't destroy the plants and the water quality has not degraded to the point where plants are algaed and fish dying.

And I haven't even used the ISS methods. Just good old fashioned light, CO2, fert dosing and good general maintenance. Would thinking outside the box help me?

And oh my the Optimum Aquarium. You are showing your age. Most of the Dupla method was also voodoo science or just flat out wrong.

I always find it interesting when folks are more curious about this stuff than about learning how to grow plants. View attachment 1033290
Try gold fish or gravel diggers like cichids for tryout and see if will not.Do not choose non diggers fish and then say they don't. Try 500-1k neons for try out. It is fun
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #37 · (Edited)
I think that, if you look outside of Fluence, you will find that efforts have been made to enclose the two components, system-wise, so that the low and very directed O2 delivery to the aerobic section, isolates the O2 from the anaerobic section, allowing for increased efficiency in both components. Probably more a point of interest, since no one is likely to attempt this in our hobby.
Good tip.Nice. I appreciate it.Thanks
My after fhoughts, could be adapted in the aquarium like placing it at the bottom, but it has other whole lots of problems like availability of the MABR, air plumbing, not to mention cost. The common denominator would the anoxic and aerobic interface/zone in the MABR and anoxic filter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #38 ·
I guess I didn't get the memo.

I keep a planted tank with heavy Rainbowfish stocking. The fish haven't destroy the plants and the water quality has not degraded to the point where plants are algaed and fish dying.

And I haven't even used the ISS methods. Just good old fashioned light, CO2, fert dosing and good general maintenance. Would thinking outside the box help me?

And oh my the Optimum Aquarium. You are showing your age. Most of the Dupla method was also voodoo science or just flat out wrong.

I always find it interesting when folks are more curious about this stuff than about learning how to grow plants. View attachment 1033290
Dupla got it not right in their heating cables. They were on to artificial heating to create convection, Micro thermodynamics is a way I am looking into in lieu of that heating cable failure. You maybe using voodoo science as Dupla advocate CO2 . NO? Fert dosing also voodo science?
You do not grow old?
Sure is intresting
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #39 ·
At this point it seems like you may be a troll, but I'll take the risk of trying to respond as if you're sincerely open to discussion. In all actual denitrification reactors, there is an electron donor. It's the ethanol in the ISS experiments and the "vodka" reactors used by reefkeepers. It's inorganic sulfur compounds in a sulfur-driven denitrification reactor. It's organic carbon in natural systems (i.e. wetlands) and the sludge denitrification reactors used in wastewater treatment.

Novak's design does not have any of these things. No proposed mechanism of action, no experiments to show effectiveness, just rampant handwaving and pseudoscience. The reason your tank doesn't have high levels of nitrogenous compounds is the crazy amount of cabomba soaking it up AND the fact that you're doing frequent water changes. As I mentioned when I first commented in this thread, I would encourage you to stop the water changes and remove the plants from your tank, then you will be able to see if there is any denitrification going on.

Unless you are using 99.5% pure ethanol in a non-porous polyethylene bag, then your "reactor" is completely unrelated to the ISS one. I don't know why you keep bringing it up. The peer reviewed scientists are not dabbling in pseudoscience, YOU are. To use an analogy, let's say you claimed to make a nuclear bomb out of a tin can and some string. You can't point to the Manhattan Project as proof that your tin can nuke works.

Nobody is doubting the existence of denitrification, just that you have denitrification going on in your aquarium.

I wrote this a while back. If you're open minded, it may be informative:
Sorry I missed the very informative piece. No harm in looking into the very fine details. Phd holders have the tendency to overlook fine details like a programmer find the very small bugs. Thanks
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
15,758 Posts
Moderator hat on: If anyone insults another member or trolls, I'll be the first to send them on their way. Please do not troll - especially about something as hokey as this. Won't even wait for input from the rest of the moderation team. I get that it sucks to have a bunch of people pile on to point out you're... mistaken. But don't lash at out people who are offering input in a friendly and professional manner. Your snide remarks toward Greggz and others are not welcome. Now let me take off my moderator hat and respond...

..........

Full disclosure: I think Novak causes more harm than good because I moderate a large forum and read thousands of posts per week. Frequently have to read about the harm and confusion his hokey shtick causes with newcomers. Probably 2-3 times a month for the last decade. So I automatically roll my eyes and dismiss anything from him as unworthy of consideration. Much like he dismisses anyone in the comments who dares question him. I won't even begin to wade into his credentials but something doesn't smell right on that front, to say the least.

The international space station experiment is not remotely like anything you're doing in the planted tank hobby. I'll let what others have already said speak for itself on that matter.

Plenty of people keep planted tanks with tons of livestock. I'm one of them. We frequently have to add nitrates in order to grow plants. Even in tanks with tons of critters.

We know what CEC is.

Plenty of people here use undergravel filtration systems - mostly shrimpkeepers who want water to move through active/buffering substrates to facilitate more stable water parameters.

Any member of the forum is welcome to chime in on any discussion taking place on this forum if they have access. It's for discussion. They're free to discuss things, constructive or not.

Pretty sure the sulphur reactor bit is confusing you. Google how it works. I don't have the energy to explain it further because this is a massive drain.

Pseudoscience isn't unproven science. (Unproven science = theory.) Pseudoscience = beliefs or practices misconstrued as being based on science and the scientific method when they're not. Novak's theory, at this point, is just that. He hasn't proved it. That's fine. Just don't present it as being based in scientific fact. Cause when you do that? It's pseudoscience.

I'm all for trying new things when it comes to planted tanks. (Recent example here and here. Because doing stuff like this can be fun.) Pretty sure everyone here is. I'll try almost anything that's reasonably within reach. But a good rule of thumb: If something truly works? It gets picked up quickly in hobbies like this. There's a reason Novak's stuff hasn't been picked up in the decades he's been going on about it: it doesn't work as he claims. What works well is what gets widely accepted and picked up by most people in the hobby. So when it works and can be duplicated? Let us know. I won't be holding my breath - and not just because I have lung damage from COVID.

I always get a kick out of reading stuff like this. Makes my weekly water change (which accomplishes more than merely removing waste) seem like less of a hassle. Makes growing plants in boxes of water seem more relaxing - just like I like it.
 
21 - 40 of 51 Posts
Top