DIY Nitrate reducer

hop2jr

I was talking with my LFS guy about ways to reduce nitrate levels in my tanks to have more time between water changes.
He showed me his set-up on the store tanks, he took 75' to 100' of 1/8th inch water tubeing the kind you use to hookup a fridge ice maker with wrap it in a coil, start a siphin until the water slowly drips out of the hose back into the tank or sump. the theory is that nitrates cann't live in still or slow moving water and the time it takes to drip thru the line causes them to die off leaving you with 0 nitrates in the tank. Has anyone here ever heard of doing this or tried it?Please give me your views on this theory.
 

Shawnie

hmmm I'm not sure as I'm not technical like that but I have a tank I'm trying to grow algae/infusoria in and the nitrates are unreadable as they are so high...its a tank that sits on my window sill without a heater/filter.....
 

HitchHiker

Ok my guess is that it doesn't work that way. A nitrate is:

Nitrates are chemical compounds which, among other defining characteristics, contain the polyatomic ion nitrate, which is composed of one atom of nitrogen and three atoms of oxygen, together having a single net negative charge.

As taken from The Wise Geek. If it was breaking down the nitrates then there should be oxygen and nitrogen gasses escaping, and I would think that in a tube that small that you would end up with vapor lock. But then again am not a chemist, so I might be wrong.
 

midthought

the theory is that nitrates cann't live in still or slow moving water and the time it takes to drip thru the line causes them to die off leaving you with 0 nitrates in the tank.

This doesn't sound right...it's been years since I've last taken chemistry, but nitrate isn't an organism, it's just a chemical compound. It doesn't need to "live" any more than salt does, and it won't "die" any more than hydrochloric acid would. The nitrate in an aquarium are byproduct/waste of the bacteria that eat nitrite. The nitrogen cycle has something that produces and eats each part of the cycle except nitrate, so it needs to be removed manually and fresh water introduced. I don't see how putting nitrate through a waterpark ride would somehow leach it out of the water. Did the LFS guy do any testing on that system?

Edit: info-ninja'd! Curse posting in class.
 

funkman262

I've never heard of this method before but I think it can possibly work. The idea is that the nitrate isn't actually "dying" off the way the LFS guy described. If you're familiar with the nitrogen cycle then you may know that the cycle doesn't just end with nitrate. Just as there are bacteria that convert ammonia and nitrite, there are actually bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrogen gas. The reason why this reaction doesn't occur in our tanks is because there is too much oxygen and the bacteria prefer to use oxygen as an electron acceptor over nitrate. However, in the absence of oxygen, the bacteria will actually use nitrate instead. So, in theory, at some point throughout the tubing the oxygen may be completely used up and bacteria will begin to utilize the nitrates thus eliminating them.
 

hop2jr

I think I'm understanding it better now. He said something about it being and anibolic state which causes the nitrates to be reduced in both salt and fresh water. So the bact. build up inside of the tubeing must be what he is talking about. He also said the more tubeing you use the better it would work. Also he had a single airhose regulater on the end where it drips into the tank to slow the syphin down even more,I'd say about 12 drips per min. I would like this talk to continue so everyone please feel free to add your comments.
 

funkman262

He said something about it being and anibolic state which causes the nitrates to be reduced in both salt and fresh water.

Anibolic? Or maybe anaerobic (without oxygen). I haven't a clue what an anibolic state would be.
 

hop2jr

ya shoot me can't spell it right.LOL anaerobic .....would be right.The guy talks fast with a studddddder.LOL Thank for the correction Funk.
 

_Fried_Bettas_

One of the advertisements on this site, Aquaripure, is for a filter preloaded with Nitrate eating anaerobic bacteria, so I imagine that if they can do it there must be a DIY way to do it. Aquaripure is really expensive though, but they claim zero nitrates as a result. I wouldn't want anything that would eliminate 100% of nitrates though because it would kill my plants. Plus lots of plants is the best nitrate filter I know of.
 

Nutter

You can build a filter that has anerobic bacteria in it rather than beneficial bacteria. There are hundreds of designs if you google for "DIY Nitrate Filter'. I know of something similar to the tubing method that you mentioned. It is usually done out of coiled tubing with a very slow flow rate, something like 4lt/hr I believe.

It's all a bit much for me. I just stick to doing water changes. Could be interesting to experiment with though.
 

Weedcali

But wouldnt 0 Nitrates mean your tank hasent even cycled?

Nitrates are okay to have up to 20ppm. what does your tank read and when do you notice it start to climb?
 

Nutter

A nitrate filter is a device that removes the nitrates after they have been through the ammonia, nitrite bacteria cycle. The tank actually has to be cycled or the anaerobic bacteria can't get established because there is no nitrate for them to feed off.

Then there are tanks like the one in my sig. It is moderately planted running co2 & ferts with a moderate stocking level. The plants consume all of the ammonia before it can ever feed any bacteria that may want to use it for food. That means I have no ammonia to be turned into nitrites & therefore no nitrites to turn into nitrates. The tank isn't cycled as such but it is well matured & I could theoretically never do a water change. I do 20% water change twice a week though to keep the plants healthy & to make sure the fish have all the minerals they need in the water.
 

Scott H

the same nitrate absobing conditions can be made by putting a deep sand bed in your sump that has a low flow rate over it, if done just right somtomes you can even see small nitrogen bubbles coming from the sand and escaping through the surface of the water... but like Nutter said some water changes would still be needed to replace trace minerals that your fish and plants use to grow.
 

pepetj

I studied that type of denitrification filters. Just google "DIY coil denitrator".

Yes they do work but... there's a risk of sulfuric compounds entering the water column if something goes wrong.

I ended up going the DIY algae turf way.

Pepetj
Santo Domingo
 

Cichlidude

Here is a small Nitrate reducing filter that I built that is 10x more efficient than any K1 Moving Media filter using 2L bottles. Mainly because K1 or any plastic media, does nothing for reducing Nitrates.

Using a 1.25L bottle filled with Matrix (actually De-Nitrate) with a small 40 gph pump front ended with a dual sponge filter. Seachem says you must use a 50 gph pump or less for this to work correctly.

If you want this filter to remove ammonia and nitrItes use and air pump. Oxygen feeds this types of bacteria.

If you want this filter to remove nitrAtes use a water pump. No/low oxygen feeds this type of bacteria.

Parts: 1.25 Liter bottle, small 40 gph pump, (Biohome or lava rock will work), dual sponge filter and super glue. Use the small pieces of Matrix if you have that. De-Nitrate is just the smaller version of Matrix.

Pump: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NCEMLRG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Sponge filter: Amazon.com : XY-2831 Air Pump Sponge Filter for Aquarium, Tank Size 10-Gallon (1-Pack) : Pet Supplies


The build does not take a Rocket Surgeon:


denitrate1.jpg
Remove the front plastic cover from the front of the pump and using super glue, glue on the front of the sponge filter to the exposed impeller cover of the water pump. Make sure this holds. Drill holes in the top of the 1.2 liter bottle.

Drill a hole through the bottle cap big enough to fit the larger water pump tube through and super glue a small plastic screen over the opening to keep any Matrix from falling down inside in case of a power failure.


denitrate2.jpg

When done and assembled it should look like this.


denitrate3.jpg

The new filter on the right is 10x more efficient than using two (2) K1 (micro not regular) Moving media 2L bottles on the left.


denitrate4.jpg

Ran out of Matrix to fill it to the top. Want to leave about 1" on top for cleaning every 6 months or so.

The new filter on the right is 10x more efficient than using two (2) K1 (micro not regular) Moving filter 2L bottles on the left which is only good for aerobic bacteria.

The why and the math: YouTube video:

3 Aquarium filters YOU CAN BUILD RIGHT NOW

Using bigger 1.25L bottle versus a 500ml bottle and have to equate the new 1.25L bottle to two 2L bottle of K1.
 

MrBryan723

Homeslice the concept is very similar to this, but using the entire tank (it's a 100 gallon with a 60 gallonwaterbridged to it)
 

Homeslice

Very interesting chichlidude, and thanks for the reference MrBryan!

Chich, is the 10x efficiency you indicated 10x in reducing ammonia and nitrites on the one hand, or nitrates on the other hand? If it is 10x more efficient and removing nitrates, that would not surprise me in the least - heck I would not be surprised if it was 1,000,000,000 times more efficient at removing nitrates as I doubt the K1 plastic media will get any material nitrate reduction given that it has no "interior" like the matrix (denitrate) does so the bacteria in the center can be further oxygen starved.

If we are talking about ammonia and nitrite reduction, the 10x number still might not be that surprising given the much more effective surface area with the matrix/denitrate. HOWEVER, I don't think your setup would be a fair test - if one is trying to reduce ammonia/nitrites you want a much, much higher water flow with the water as oxyagenated as possible. So to really test the two for this purpose, I'd change out that really small pump for a much higher GPH one, and also run an airline to the bottom of the two liter. Run the test once with the K1, then again separately with the matrix/denitrate, and that would be what I would consider a fair test.

Have you actually run any tests to come up with the 10x efficiency result you mentioned? Or are you just kind of guesstimating based on experience?

Thank you, so very, very interesting!

P.S. does anyone else think it is weird that Seachem denitrate is smaller than matrix, when the denitrate is supposed to get rid of nitrates, which require bacteria in basically an oxygen free environment? Seems like logically the denitrate should be BIGGER to have more of a chance for oxygen starved bacteria at the center.

P.P.S. someone call IslandVic - this thread is right up his ally lol!!!
 

Cichlidude

Very interesting chichlidude, and thanks for the reference MrBryan!

Chich, is the 10x efficiency you indicated 10x in reducing ammonia and nitrites on the one hand, or nitrates on the other hand? If it is 10x more efficient and removing nitrates, that would not surprise me in the least - heck I would not be surprised if it was 1,000,000,000 times more efficient at removing nitrates as I doubt the K1 plastic media will get any material nitrate reduction given that it has no "interior" like the matrix (denitrate) does so the bacteria in the center can be further oxygen starved.

If we are talking about ammonia and nitrite reduction, the 10x number still might not be that surprising given the much more effective surface area with the matrix/denitrate. HOWEVER, I don't think your setup would be a fair test - if one is trying to reduce ammonia/nitrites you want a much, much higher water flow with the water as oxyagenated as possible. So to really test the two for this purpose, I'd change out that really small pump for a much higher GPH one, and also run an airline to the bottom of the two liter. Run the test once with the K1, then again separately with the matrix/denitrate, and that would be what I would consider a fair test.

Have you actually run any tests to come up with the 10x efficiency result you mentioned? Or are you just kind of guesstimating based on experience?

Thank you, so very, very interesting!

P.S. does anyone else think it is weird that Seachem denitrate is smaller than matrix, when the denitrate is supposed to get rid of nitrates, which require bacteria in basically an oxygen free environment? Seems like logically the denitrate should be BIGGER to have more of a chance for oxygen starved bacteria at the center.

P.P.S. someone call IslandVic - this thread is right up his ally lol!!!

I only compared the size of the physical bottles to each other. Again, watch the video to find the math. Example, a 2L bottle is 4x larger that a 500ml bottle. And
1.25L bottle compared to a 500ml is 2.5x more. Yet they perform the same function at reduced size. According to the video a 500ml bottle filled with bio rings is 3x better than three K1 media in 2L bottles.
 

Stoka

Very interesting. This might work really well inline on the backside of a canister filter. The water would already be depleted in oxygen from the canister. I like.
 

AquaticJ

I think this is worth being stickied, I was searching all over for this! Mike
 

ValerieAdams

I think this is worth being stickied, I was searching all over for this! Mike
I saw your thread and usually I can find things quickly by searching google and adding "Fishlore" to the end. But I tried 10 different wordings and couldn't find it. I'm glad you did!
 

Jimmie93

I used something similar to this years ago and it worked well I put it behind a piece of plastic to hide it and you couldn't tell it was even in the tank. The only difference is mine was smaller and it didn't use a sponge filter.
 

Islandvic

Excellent write up!

I especially like the mods to adapt the pump to the sponge filter and then to the home brew nitrate reactor.

You will have to keep a record of your water parameters for the next few months, to track everything.

Keep us in the loop on how your denitrification adventure unfolds!
 

Jamexman

Any updates on how are your nitrates doing?
 

Cichlidude

Installed in December... it takes 4-6 months for this type of filter to show anything...
 

Carpi09

Installed in December... it takes 4-6 months for this type of filter to show anything...

Have you got a video of it working?

I’ve just set mine up but need couple days to dry. The pump doesn’t seem that powerful. Will it be strong enough to circulate enough water going up through bottle?

Sorry bit clueless when it comes to this.
 

Cichlidude

Have you got a video of it working?

I’ve just set mine up but need couple days to dry. The pump doesn’t seem that powerful. Will it be strong enough to circulate enough water going up through bottle?

Sorry bit clueless when it comes to this.
No sorry. It just sits in the back of the tank. 40 gph is not much and it's not supposed to push a lot of water. Right now it just sits there fat, dumb and happy.
 

Carpi09

No sorry. It just sits in the back of the tank. 40 gph is not much and it's not supposed to push a lot of water. Right now it just sits there fat, dumb and happy.

I may be silly and may have performed a silly test.

Ive got my set up done, put the pump in water to see how quicky the 2 litre bottle would fill. (Bottle being vertical). It wouldnt fill, its just a small quantity of water near the output. So what I'm tyring to say is, if the pump isn't powerful enough, wouldnt the water at the top of the bottle just be stagnant?

I am probably being dumb here, but would you mind telling me in basic terms, how this works when fully under water?

Can this be placed directly in tank? Does bottle have to be vertical?

Thank you
 

Cichlidude

I may be silly and may have performed a silly test.

Ive got my set up done, put the pump in water to see how quicky the 2 litre bottle would fill. (Bottle being vertical). It wouldnt fill, its just a small quantity of water near the output. So what I'm tyring to say is, if the pump isn't powerful enough, wouldnt the water at the top of the bottle just be stagnant?

I am probably being dumb here, but would you mind telling me in basic terms, how this works when fully under water?

Can this be placed directly in tank? Does bottle have to be vertical?

Thank you
That's why it has to be fully underwater.
 

Carpi09

I thought I was being silly. Thanks
 

Cichlidude

Here is the filter in the tank. Pretty boring but it's there.

filter1.jpg

filter2.jpg
 

Jamexman

Installed in December... it takes 4-6 months for this type of filter to show anything...

Got it! Keeps us updated then. Hopefully it works!
 

nikm128

I'm a little confused on what size bottle I'd actually need to give this a shot.
From what I understand the 500ml bottle performance was equal to that of the 1.25 liter bottle correct? So using a 2 liter wouldn't make much difference either?
Why'd you go with the 1.25 liter as well?
 

Cichlidude

I'm a little confused on what size bottle I'd actually need to give this a shot.
From what I understand the 500ml bottle performance was equal to that of the 1.25 liter bottle correct? So using a 2 liter wouldn't make much difference either?
Why'd you go with the 1.25 liter as well?
Only because it's long and thin. You can use a 2 liter bottle if you want. That is 4x the size of a 500ml bottle or a 60% increase over a 1.25 liter bottle. Just add more media to your filter which is good.
 

nikm128

Gotcha, thanks!

Few more questions if you don't mind.
Where did you get the sponge and mesh(?) you put on the inside of the cap?
To clean it do you just rinse it in tank water like usual or would that mess with the bacteria? Basically how do you clean it?
 

Cichlidude

Sponge filter is in the first post. Bacteria is almost impossible to kill even with tap water, just rinse and shake it up a bit every 6 months to knock off any old stuff. The mesh is from a local hobby store.
 

Carpi09

Sponge filter is in the first post. Bacteria is almost impossible to kill even with tap water, just rinse and shake it up a bit every 6 months to knock off any old stuff. The mesh is from a local hobby store.

Thanks for this again by the way. I’ve put mine in the tank today so it would be interesting to compare results. I’ve only got a litre in at the moment but other litre should be arriving shortly!

Only thing is I’ve recently put in Pothos aswell so won’t be 100% on which is doing the job

I tested the pump. It’s pushing around 120 lph. Is this enough? Max being 200lph I presume for Denitrate to work
 

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Cichlidude

Thanks for this again by the way. I’ve put mine in the tank today so it would be interesting to compare results. I’ve only got a litre in at the moment but other litre should be arriving shortly!

Only thing is I’ve recently put in Pothos aswell so won’t be 100% on which is doing the job
Looks good. Yeah you're going to need more to fill it up.
 

Carpi09

Looks good. Yeah you're going to need more to fill it up.
Sorry I edited my post so you probably didn’t see it. Is 120lph okay from you knowledge?
 

Cichlidude

Sorry I edited my post so you probably didn’t see it. Is 120lph okay from you knowledge?

Yep, that's like 32 gph. Seachem says less than 50 gph.
 

nikm128

Any idea if this would work in a saltwater tank since the nitrates need to be super low?
 

Cichlidude

Any idea if this would work in a saltwater tank since the nitrates need to be super low?
I don't see why not.
 

Tris

Please update when you see results
 

Carpi09

No change for me at the moment other than Algae taking over at the top of the bottle and now down one side
 

treelover3

Thanks for posting this! It's nice to see that someone has made a smaller version of this filter for in-tank use.

There is a guy that I think is in Ireland that has a video on YouTube regarding this very thing (creating an anaerobic filter to remove nitrAtes); only he is using a separate, smaller non-motorized canister (made by SunSun, I believe) that is packed with media and is then put between the outlet on the actual canister filter and the hose leading back to the tank.

I've purchased everything I need to get this filter built, but I have a question on the pump itself: I've compared the numbers on my pump with the numbers on your pump in the photos and they are the same model, but I have a small lever that moves in an arc shape on the side of the pump that you show glued to the sponge filter. I can't tell if your pump had the lever on the pump or not? If you did have the lever, where did you have the pump lever set before you glued the sponge filter to the pump?

Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.
tl³
 

Cichlidude

Yes it did just like the picture (Amazon) shows. The front cover just needs to be removed and discarded anyway. Just super glue the sponge filter tube right to the impeller housing cover. Once this is done, it's one piece now so if you pull on the plastic sponge tubing the impeller cover comes off to expose the impeller itself.
 

nikm128

Is it possible for a version of this to happen in an HOB?
 

Jamexman

Is it possible for a version of this to happen in an HOB?
Not unless you can reduce the flow to 40 gph or less on it....
 

nikm128

Right, forgot about that part. I have a bunch of fluval ceramic rings just sitting loose in the back of my HOB and basically all of it is fully submerged and has been for around 4 months. Just curious if I'd see any lower readings than usual
 

Cichlidude

Not unless you can reduce the flow to 40 gph or less on it....

Well not really, that is for De-Nitrate to work. From Seachem..

Matrix is extremely porous so the majority of its surface area is internal. The pores allow water to penetrate throughout the media but restrict its flow. Aerobic bacteria colonize near the surface where oxygen is plentiful, but use up the oxygen leaving the interior anaerobic and allowing denitrifying bacteria to thrive.

I have all Matrix in all my filters. 75 gallon has Sunsun trays full, Tidal 75 totally full of Matrix. The Tidal 75 is pushing maybe 100 gph, the Sunsun maybe 200-250 (totally a guess). Plus this filter running too.

Nitrate is at 5 ppm after 4 months. More to come later on a full write up in a few weeks.
 

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