DIY Nitrate reducer

hop2jr

Member
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 frig 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

Member
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

Member
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

Member
hop2jr said:
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

Member
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.
 
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hop2jr

Member
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

Member
hop2jr said:
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.
 
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hop2jr

Member
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_

Member
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 claI'm 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

Member
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

Member
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

Member
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

Member
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

Member
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
 
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