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  • High Nitrates

    I have a 54 Gal AF Cichlid tank with 15 fish 4" to 7" as you can imagine my tank is over stocked. I am not able to change the tank size or move fish at this time so I need to find a way to make this work for now. I do water changes 2 X a week 20% each, clean my canister filter each week and gravel wash once a month so everything else is fine other than my nitrates which were off the chart. I started using Nitra-Zorb but it gets exhausted fast I only get about 5 or 6 recharges before it is exhausted. My Nitrate is currently between 40 and 100. Could I use DeNitrate in a media bag laying on the bottom or buried in the gravel? My canister filter does'nt have any more room for media. I read on your site that you don't recommend using DeNitrate in a HOB filter why is this. What options do I have to try this product?

  • #2
    Re: High Nitrates

    Laying a bag full of de*nitrate on the bottom of the tank is not the best option. The detritus from the tank will quickly clog the pores in it. And a power filter allows the water too much contact with the air, making it too oxygenated.

    De*nitrate is best used in a low to no oxygen area. The preferred method being in a slow flowing canister filter. Many people T into the line leaving their existing canister filter and install a dummy canister filled with de*nitrate. They add a ball valve on this line after it T's off. That is so they can control the water flow. From the dummy canister you will have another line leading into the tank. A dummy canister is a old non running canister or you can buy a canister without a motor from some companies.

    Purigen will also help remove the nitrogenous waste that eventually becomes nitrate.

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    • #3
      Re: High Nitrates

      Thanks for the response, it sounds like the only way to use DeNitrate is in a seperate container like you suggested. When I set up my new tank I was going to use Emperor filters only. So I guess I can not use your product. Do you have any other suggestions for dealing with my Nitrate problem? On http://www.cichlid-forum.com/article...r_tricks_v.php they talk about using DeNitrate with airstones in the media basket of the emperor 400, from what you said earlier this would not work, any comments?

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      • #4
        Re: High Nitrates

        de*nitrate would not work very well in an Emperor filter for nitrate removal. Matrix or Pond Matrix could help a bit. The pieces of Matrix are larger and some anaerobic bacteria can grow inside of it.

        The filter modification described on that link will work for keeping ammonia and nitrite levels down but it won't do much for nitrate reduction. In fact I would be surprised if it didn't increase the nitrate level. Anything that traps food or waste and lets it decay will increase nitrates. So with that filter the prefilter and the blue filter floss of the cartridges will both catch particles. If these are not cleaned weekly than I would expect nitrate to increase.

        I'm working on a diagram that will show you another idea for building a de*nitrate filter. If you will private message me your email address I will send it to you when I finish it. Essentially it involves a PVC tube the length of the tank and of big enough diameter to hold the required amount of de*nitrate. You will want to cap off each end. And then lay it across your tank. Pick one side as the top and drill holes on that side at each end to accommodate a PVC elbow fitting. Attach another PVC elbow so that the water flows toward the water surface. Now you can hook a power head (with a prefilter that you clean weekly) up to a piece of flexible tubing attached to the last elbow. Water will flow from the tank, through the prefilter into one end of the PVC tube. At this point the water will come into contact with de*nitrate. Aerobic bacteria will grow where the water enters and consume all of the oxygen. As the water passes through the PVC tube it will become deoxygenated and the anaerobic bacteria will grow. This bacteria will consume the nitrates and then pour the water back into the tank.

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        • #5
          Re: High Nitrates

          That sounds great, sounds like you will give me an idea of the amount of de*nitrate to use for a given amount of water. My tanks are 54G and 75G, I looked at powerheads and the lowest flow I could find was Maxi-Jet 400 at 106 gph, you must have another one in mind with a slower flow rate. So it sounds like the idea is to push water through instead of pulling it through so that it can be filtered somwhat. I am looking forward to getting more information.

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          • #6
            Re: High Nitrates

            You need at least 1L of de*nitrate for each 50-100 gallons of tank water.

            Most of the small power heads will work even if they have a flow above 50 gph. Because of all the 90 degree turns and the friction on all of the de*nitrate they will lose a little flow. And a lot of power heads have some adjustment on their output.

            You'll want to push the water through. Most pumps do fine when their output is limited but they start to have problems when their input is limited. This also allows you to put a prefilter sponge on the intake, preventing the de*nitrate from getting clogged up with particles quickly. You'll want to rinse the prefilter at least once a week.

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            • #7
              Re: High Nitrates

              Thanks for the help,

              I ordered 2 L of de*nitrate and when it comes I will get started. I am short of room on the back of my tank to hang this contraption. So I was thinking of just putting the whole thing in the rear of the tank in the gravel, with the powerhead near the water surface so it would draw the least particles in. I was afraid of using PVC or ABS glue, but the fittings fit tight enough with out glue. Do you see any problems with this plan. It is the same idea as your plan only under water.

              Is it possible to get to little flow? And does it matter if the outflow comes out on the bottom or should I pipe it near the top?

              Thanks Again

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              • #8
                Re: High Nitrates

                You can place it in the bottom of the tank. I emailed you a powerpoint of how it can be used in that way. Just be sure to use a prefilter sponge and rinse it weekly. Also make sure the fittings go in the top you want all the air that is in the tube to come out.

                PVC cement is fine for water. It is what it is designed for. As long as you allow a few hours of dry time it will be fine. It might not work as well if not sealed.

                You can get too little flow for a 100% effective denitrator, but it will still remove some at a slower flow. Optimum flow is 30-40 gallons an hour.

                Your very Welcome.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: High Nitrates

                  I received my de*nitrate today and started working on the pipe. It looks like I can put almost 2 L in the length of pipe I will be using, is this to much for 54 gallons? I assume more is better. It says to bring down the Nitrate level to below 20 mg/L, what is this in ppm? My Nitrates have been around 100 ppm I will start bringing this down with water changes every day. Maybe 20 - 25% each day. Do I need to continue the water changes during the first week of using the de*nitrate to keep the Nitrate level low until it starts working? Do I need to soak the de*nitrate before putting it into the pipe, it looks like it would float and hold air until fully soaked. Just for your info each foot of 1 1/2" pipe holds about .5 Liter of de*nitrate. Thank You
                  Last edited by terrym; 10-07-2005, 18:39.

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                  • #10
                    Re: High Nitrates

                    The more de*nitrate you have the more nitrate that you can remove. It will take a few weeks to see any visible improvement, bacteria take awhile to grow. The conversion between mg/L to ppm is easy, they are the same. 20 ppm = 20 mg/L. I would continue the water changes trying to maintain them around 20 ppm. You probably won't have to do daily water changes to keep them that low. It can take up to 6 weeks for the bacteria to get established. And 3-6 months to attain 100% effectiveness. You can speed this up by seeding the filter with Stability. It contains anaerobic bacteria to consume Nitrates.

                    Soaking the de*nitrate will definately be beneficial. Another option is to place some netting or course sponge right before the exit so that the de*nitrate can not escape. Your going with the submersible design, correct? Make sure your exit tube is long enough to prevent the de*nitrate from escaping and all you will have to do is soak it.

                    Thank you for the information on the quantity that fits in the pipe. What diameter pipe are you using?

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                    • #11
                      Re: High Nitrates

                      Yes I am going with the submersible design. How do I seed the de*nitrate with Stability, should I add it to the declorinated water that I will soak the de*nitrate in or add it to the aquarium after the filter is in place? I thought I would soak it before putting it into the pipe. Do I need an exit pipe or can I just screen the end of the large pipe on the exit end?

                      The pipe size I am using is one and one half inch which will hold .5 Litre per foot.

                      The de*nitrate info says it will be active in a week or two, maybe this means absorbing. So it sounds like it takes a lot longer for the bacteria to become established and remove Nitrates this way. How long will the de*nitrate last, or is this a function of dirty it gets?

                      Thanks again for the help.

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                      • #12
                        Re: High Nitrates

                        You can seed the filter very easily. Once you get the filter set up in your tank, follow the new tank dosage on the Stability. After 7 days you should have a good start on the bacteria.

                        I would recommend an exit pipe so that you have a more confined tube and more anaerobic zones. If you just had a screen over the end of the big pipe some oxygen would be able to enter that side of the pipe leaving less area for the anaerobic bacteria (nitrate consuming) to grow.

                        The activity from the bacteria vary tank to tank. Some people can cycle it in a week or two and some tanks take up to 8 weeks to fully cycle. Maintaining a nitrate concentration of around 20 ppm will help the bacteria grow quicker.
                        The length of time the de*nitrate lasts depends on how dirty it gets. If particles get in there and clog up the pores the de*nitrate will be less effective.

                        Thank you for the reference on quantity of de*nitrate that fits in the pipe.

                        Good luck and keep us updated.

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                        • #13
                          Re: High Nitrates

                          I am curious, if I understand well, the advocate what I would consider a high flow through the filter. I have built a filter to remove nitrate the following way: 50 feet of 1/4 tubing, followed by a 20inch long, 2 1/2 inch diameter pipe filled with Matrix (I did not have any de-nitrate on hand). The filter works at very low flow(one drop a second). It no longer works well if the flow rate increases (ie a few drops a second). One drop a second is not enough for my 90 gallon tank. Should I take a different approach?

                          Thanks,

                          Gardwynn

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                          • #14
                            Re: High Nitrates

                            The longer the pipe that the de*nitrate is in the more nitrate it can remove. What is your nitrate level currently? How long have you been using your denitrator? Has the levels in your aquarium dropped since starting? Are you testing the water exiting the filter to see the nitrate level? If you raise the flow to more than a drop a second what makes you think that it is not working? Let me know the answers to these questions and I should be able to better help you.

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                            • #15
                              Re: High Nitrates

                              The denitrator started as a 50-foot long 1/4 tubing first, about 2 1/2 months ago. I added the matrix tube about 5 weeks ago (being careful to introuce as little air as possible in the tube). The level of nitrate in the aquarium has been increasing, although I keep it down with water changes (irregular though). It is currently about 40 ppm (mg/L). When the outflow of the filter is below about one drop per second, I get a reading of 0 ppm to 5 ppm on the ouput (disturbances to the filter easily bring the level up). If I increase the flow (4 drops a second), the reading increases to up to 10 to 20 ppm, which seems to indicate that the principle of the filter works at least somewhat, but it's denitrification capacity is weak.

                              I have a 90 gallon fresh water tank with an integrated trikle filter. I have a few guppies, one medium size agel fish, 3 small loaches, 9 tetras, 3 small SAEs, 2 golden algae eaters, a few otocinclus, and one getting bigger pictus cat, and a moderate amount of plants (on the low side I think).

                              Know that I recently (2 weeks only) replaced a portion of the bioballs in the filter with Pond Matrix (I went for the full 4 liter can). It is probably too early to see the any difference, but the transition seems to be working well (no ammonia). I plan to remove the bio balls at some point.

                              Gardwynn

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