Nitrate Control (Angsansoo's favorite)

bhcaaron

I have read about Fluidized Bed Filters and recently been told that hey have fallen out of favor for becoming nitrate factories. I know plants really are great help in controlling nitrates, however, I don't see many plant selections for Saltwater, at least no where near as many as freshwater.

What are all the different methods you know to controlling nitrates in a saltwater tank naturally and without additives?
 

leximommy

I know this doesn't answer your question, but heres this
 

leximommy

I read that having live plants is just a nitemare waiting to happen....like it helps algae grow real fast....is this true? what are the pros and cons of live plants and are there any "rules" needed to have it not overrun your tank?
 

leximommy

if I got any I would get turtle weed and ogo...are those good?
 

bhcaaron

Whoa! I thought I had answered that question! Where in the world did I post that reply to? ahahahahaha loosing it! I'm loosing it! lol
 

Gozer_1

Saltwater plants are very small in number. What you see as Saltwater "plants" are really Macro Algae. However, these Macros will help tremendously with problem Micro Algae. Personally I try to keep Macros out of the display. They can be difficult to keep at bay depending on variety.

Freshwater plants are a different beast all together. I'm researching those now for my upcoming 45.

As far as nitrate reduction. The best thing in my opinion is good cleaning and feeding habits as well as a strong biological filter. Nitrate is one step away from the end of the nitrogen cycle. The biological filtration has basically 2 stages. Aerobic and anaerobic. The aerobic stage needs oxygen, anaerobic doesn't. You want your water to pass through your bio filter media over a long distance. As the water goes through, the first portion of media gets hit with oxygenated water, so aerobic bacteria thrive. You want to use up as much oxygen as possible so there is very little left when it gets to the anaerobic bacteria. Oxygen is actually bad for anaerobic bacteria. It's this anaerobic bacteria that will use up the nitrates, converting them to nitrogen gas which is realeased into the air. Aerobic is going to take care of the ammonia and nitrItes. The the longer it takes to get through the media the better.

I use a cannister with a tray of media for aerobic and a tray for anaerobic. My Nitrate levels are barely existant.
 

agsansoo

Saltwater plants are very small in number. What you see as Saltwater "plants" are really Macro Algae. However, these Macros will help tremendously with problem Micro Algae. Personally I try to keep Macros out of the display. They can be difficult to keep at bay depending on variety.

Freshwater plants are a different beast all together. I'm researching those now for my upcoming 45.

As far as nitrate reduction. The best thing in my opinion is good cleaning and feeding habits as well as a strong biological filter. Nitrate is one step away from the end of the nitrogen cycle. The biological filtration has basically 2 stages. Aerobic and anaerobic. The aerobic stage needs oxygen, anaerobic doesn't. You want your water to pass through your bio filter media over a long distance. As the water goes through, the first portion of media gets hit with oxygenated water, so aerobic bacteria thrive. You want to use up as much oxygen as possible so there is very little left when it gets to the anaerobic bacteria. Oxygen is actually bad for anaerobic bacteria. It's this anaerobic bacteria that will use up the nitrates, converting them to nitrogen gas which is realeased into the air. Aerobic is going to take care of the ammonia and nitrItes. The the longer it takes to get through the media the better.

I use a cannister with a tray of media for aerobic and a tray for anaerobic. My Nitrate levels are barely existant.

Very good explanation Gozer ! ;D
 

Gozer_1

Very good explanation Gozer ! ;D

Thanks! ;D Somtimes I try to sound like I know what I'm talking about!
 

bhcaaron

Angsansoo,

So the answer is to have lots of filter media? I thought sand, because of bacteria, like live rock, is a filter.
 

sirdarksol

My guess is that people who have had algae problems with plants have had plants die in the tank. This releases a bunch of phosphates if they aren't pulled out immediately, as well as nitrates and other stuff that other plants (including algae) love to eat.
 

agsansoo

Angsansoo,

So the answer is to have lots of filter media? I thought sand, because of bacteria, like live rock, is a filter.

The answer has to due with oxygen. DSB offer areas of no oxygen. Fluidized Bed Filters allow high amounts of oxygen. Because the water is traveling through the sand. Though both methods use sand as a media, they work entirely different.
 

bhcaaron

I hope I don't annoy with this subject, but, aren't there hazzards associated with DSB's? Isn't that exactly the problem with them, the areas of no oxygen? That is why one needs sand sifters and sometimes for one's self to stir the mix?
 

Gozer_1

If you have good flow throught the media you are OK. It's having no Oxygen in a "stagnant" area that is a problem. It's not just how much media you have. What I have had success with is a product called Matrix by SeaChem and deNitrate also by Seachem. Matrix is a super porous pebble size media that is good for aerobic bacteria. The deNitrate is a pea gravel size of the same media. The smaller size traps less oxygen and so harbors more anaerobics. My filter pumps at 300 GPH so I don't get pockets of stale anaerobic water. Anaerobic bacteria can also break down ammonia and nitrite if they have to but intead of nitrate you get "swamp gas". In an stale anaerobic pocket the bacteria will eventually use up the nitrates in the pocket and have to turn to making gas. Swamp gas is smelly and no good. So, you want good flow through as much media as you can. I like the gravel rock type media better than sand for the flow factor.

OK so I guess I'll stop rambling. I think I made my point 100 words ago!
 

bhcaaron

I'm SO going to have buy a book just on live sand! Be patient with me, all of you. On the bright side, I don't yet have my main tank, so, no life to hurt! hehe
 

sgould

What I have had success with is a product called Matrix by SeaChem and deNitrate also by Seachem

I was glad to read this. Just last night I was trying to settle on a product, and DeNitrate was one I was considering. How frequently do you change it out?
 

agsansoo

I'm SO going to have buy a book just on live sand! Be patient with me, all of you. On the bright side, I don't yet have my main tank, so, no life to hurt! hehe

bhcaaron,
I wish I would have researched this before I started my tank, like you are doing.
Remember DSB are living sand beds like live rock. They're not alive themselves, it's the organisms that live in them that make them so special. Also manual stirring of the sand bed is not necessary if you have all the right critter in your sand. Doing this will make them last for years.
 

Gozer_1

I was glad to read this. Just last night I was trying to settle on a product, and DeNitrate was one I was considering. How frequently do you change it out?

I don't change it out. I rinse it in tank water once a week when I change water. Its just a small size porous biological filter media. It's size is intended to harbor anaerobic bacteria. I like it because its like live sand that is too big to fall through the filter (barely stays in my canister filter tray), so its easy to move the volume of the tank through the "sand". It looks like peagravel but weighs like a tenth as much. Since I started using the Matrix\DeNitrate combo in a cannister my Nitrates have gone from not so good to not so detectable. I have it with nothing else in the filter so in away its like a deep sand bed. There are even a few red featherdusters and some other worms who have taken up residence on the trays. Its turned into a minI refugium with a good strong current lol. I just thought it sounded like a good idea. I read about a "Nitrate reactor". It was all about getting the oxygen used up in one half so the second half would be better suited for denitrifying bacteria. I had a cannister with 2 trays so I figured it was close enough.

Sheesh I'm tired and I'm rambling.
 

bhcaaron

Is De*Nitrate a natural product? I would not want to add anything to the water cycle that might introduce harmful chemicals. Then again I don't think it would sell if it did... DUH!

If I get the FSF, should I mix it in? Or, would it be a good Idea to get a second FSF to link to after the live sand FSF? I know it states that you don't have to change it out, but, if it looses its effectiveness, why would you still want it in there? How often do you find that you need to add new or more De*Nitrate?
 

Gozer_1

DeNitrate is nothing more than a super porous rock. I trust SeaChem to the fullest extent. I use Seachem for ALL my additives and test kits. (Salt mix, trace elements, calcium, yada yada yada). You only buy DeNitrate once. You don't wash it, you don't even need to rinse it more than just to rinse away large particles. It will get slimey, but it is supposed to be. The slime is bacteria basically. You only ever add more if you want a larger colony of bacteria. It does not get "spent" so it will last for who knows how long. There are several biological filter media types i.e. ceramic rings, plastic balls, or plastic stars. I picked DeNitrate and Matrix because of success with SeaChem products. I also used plastic BioStars. They didn't work nearly as well. I don't know that they made any difference.

I hate to sound ignorant but ?FSF?
Well I wouldn't mix anything in with the DeNitrate unless it is going to stay there.

Well I hope my biomedia rantings help. lol Just can't stress enough how important bacteria are.
 

bhcaaron

I'm sorry its FBF = Fluidized Bed Filter. Here's a link so you can see what it is. Its not what I'm recommending, just a link i'm providing for info.



So, then, clay rings work the same?
 

agsansoo

Gozer_1,
I bought some SeaChem DeNitrate last week, finally got around to putting it in my sump. I was going to build a de-nitrate coil this weekend, but decided to give the DeNitrate a try. I'm always trying to lower my nitrates.
 

bhcaaron

Something new! Interesting! What is a de-nitrate coil?
 

agsansoo

Aw ... He took the bait. ;D
 

bhcaaron

Aw ... He took the bait. ;D

What!? Why is everyone staring at me!? Do I have a hook in my lip again!?


No.. really... what is a de-nitrate coil?
 

agsansoo

It's for cultivation of anaerobic bacteria.



 

bhcaaron

OMG! I LOVE YOU! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! UGH! I have so many more questions now! But, I'll have to ask tomorrow. Sleep time. I get up at 4am tomorrow for work, ugh, such a nasty four letter word!
 

bhcaaron


Yeah, yeah, yeah :-\! He got me :

Now I'm really hooked. I couldn't even sleep last night thinking of all the possibilities! lol
 

Gozer_1

Gozer_1,
I bought some SeaChem DeNitrate last week, finally got around to putting it in my sump. I was going to build a de-nitrate coil this weekend, but decided to give the DeNitrate a try. I'm always trying to lower my nitrates.

Good choice. I had to reference check my nitrate test kit after that stuff got established. When the test didn't turn pink I knew for sure my test kit had "gone bad". Nope it works and my nitrates really are that low. May well be one of my best purchases.
 

bhcaaron

Gozer, you bought one or made one? If you bought one, was it online? Do you have a link? And making one seems easy enough and effective enough, why did you choose to buy, if you did?
 

Gozer_1

Gozer, you bought one or made one? If you bought one, was it online? Do you have a link? And making one seems easy enough and effective enough, why did you choose to buy, if you did?

Neither. I read about them. The way they work led me to try something similar with equipment I already had. I have seen some easy DIY stuff on making one though. It's a simple concept. You want the water to slowly pass through a long "coil" of media using up the Oxygen as it goes through aerobic bacteria. After the coil the water is pumped upward through more media with anaerobic bateria. The water coming out of the coil will basically be depleated of Oxygen and heavy in Nitrate. The Nitrate gets used up by the bacteria and nitrogen gas and water goes in your tank. The out flow of this "denitrator" or "nitrate reactor" should be pointed up to help the Nitrogen gas escape into the atmoshpere. What does stay is no big deal. As for the Oxygen, it will be supplemented by things like your skimmer. In my setup the water moves a little faster through the media than is optimal but it works. I haven't had Nitrates show up in quite awhile. Aleast no more than a faint pink haze to the test vial every once in a great while. Now if I could just get my phosphate and silicate to do the same. All I did was fill one tray with Matrix and one tray with DeNitrate in a Rena Filstar XP2 canister filter. It runs at 300 GPH through the Matrix then the Denitrate. The idea behind the coil is to have the water slowly pass through so you use up ALL the oxygen converting ammonia and nitrite into nitrate. For one to help the anaerobics thrive and two to break down as much waste as possible in one pass. I just used ALOT of both medias, and have had resounding success.

Pheeeew!!!! Hope that means something.
 

bhcaaron

It was all understood and your reply DOES mean a lot! ;D Thanks... So now I think my next 'worry phase' is phospates! thanks :-\ lol
 

sgould

So, my XP2 and denitrate were delivered today. Gosh I love playing with new gadgets! As it turns out, my timing was perfect. I did my weekly water change yesterday, and when I was finished my old filter would not restart. I haven't taken much time to play around with it yet. The thing is only a few months old...really shouldn't have conked out yet.
 

Gozer_1

So, my XP2 and denitrate were delivered today. Gosh I love playing with new gadgets! As it turns out, my timing was perfect. I did my weekly water change yesterday, and when I was finished my old filter would not restart. I haven't taken much time to play around with it yet. The thing is only a few months old...really shouldn't have conked out yet.
Good news. I love my XPs. They do come with a nice little tray of goodies. The sectional intake is their only weakness. I just lost a small Chromis last night because the intake tube came apart and sucked him in. :'( I'm going to try to glue them together. You have to secure the tubing or it will pull on the intake and output. Only thing I've had trouble with.
 

bhcaaron

SGould, what did you have before, the one that broke after just a few months?
 

sgould

An aquaclear, and after I tinkered with it a bit last night I got it going again. Not sure what the problem was.
 

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