Nitrate Filter - Another Project?

timg

Well Known
Member
Messages
858
Reaction score
3
Location
Holyhead, North Wales, U.K.
Ok, so I can't stop! Here it is, and thanks to susitna-flower for the idea. A nitrate filter, with a difference.

My partner loves plants and I love fish. Can I combine the two with good effect? I think so.

The idea is this: make a raised, tiered garden above the fish tank and pump the tank water slowly through it to remove the nitrates, nitrites and other chemicals such as heavy metal traces.

The theory behind this is sound. plants need nitrates and other chemicals to grow, and CO2 as well. Submerged plants are limited by the supply of CO2 in the water, air plants are not. A selection of water-loving plants would grow very well with the roots submerged in water from the nitrate-enriched fishtank, and the tank water would be greatly improved by the removal of the nitrates.

The practical application:
Building this garden above the light canopy of the tank would be simple, so long as the plants chosen don't grow too high. The suggested plants () are lucky bamboo, which could be trimmed as needed to keep the height under control, but water lilies and other pond flora would fair just as well and be less likely to grow too high. basically, any water plant would have the desired effect.

How to do it:
This has still to be designed properly, but a basic concept has already formed and the sketch below gives you the gist. I guess I've found another use for polycarbonate! A water pump that moves 20 gallons an hour would be sufficient for this application, and should move enough water to get nitrate removal working.

Here's the questions:
Can it work under practical application?
Are my theories sound?
What plants would be ideal in this situation?

Input please folks!
 

Butterfly

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
22,850
Reaction score
123
Location
Arkansas
Experience
More than 10 years
I have grown vines and mint right in my filters. The tubs we put outside last summer had this type of filter

My only problem was if I didn't vacuum the gravel in the filter occasionally it began to smell like poop, but as you can tell the parrots feather loved it, and the water parameters were good.
Carol
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
OP
timg

timg

Well Known
Member
Messages
858
Reaction score
3
Location
Holyhead, North Wales, U.K.
One potential problem could be low light levels. Being high up, it would get very little natural light, and limited light from the water columns either side. Would this limit the plants very much?
 

COBettaCouple

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
25,141
Reaction score
27
Location
Denver, Colorado
Experience
Just started
Would lighting like these be of help to bring enough light to the plants? Particularly the full-spectrum or the nutri-glow or the 50/50?
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
OP
timg

timg

Well Known
Member
Messages
858
Reaction score
3
Location
Holyhead, North Wales, U.K.
Sure would! Started thinking of alternatives as soon as I asked the question, and have already got to grips with this problem.

It's gonna be neat! lol.
 

Gargoyle

Well Known
Member
Messages
611
Reaction score
2
Experience
More than 10 years
Oh SNAP!!! Same thing I was looking at doing just not with a garden.. You must do this!! I have to see it work.. ;D

You are my hero!!
 

COBettaCouple

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
25,141
Reaction score
27
Location
Denver, Colorado
Experience
Just started
timg said:
Sure would! Started thinking of alternatives as soon as I asked the question, and have already got to grips with this problem.

It's gonna be neat! lol.
and the engineering begins! I look forward to the results, it's a very innovative idea and the way you delve into these building projects is how I feel about coding software or producing a DVD.
 

Gargoyle

Well Known
Member
Messages
611
Reaction score
2
Experience
More than 10 years
FLBettaCouple does software ?? If you do web stuff PM me if you woudl like to help me with a project... Sorry for the thread jack.. I am done.. ;D
 

poppet

Active Member
Member
Messages
135
Reaction score
0
How about an outside pond using the same theory. I reckon that would be a great way to combine the two.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
OP
timg

timg

Well Known
Member
Messages
858
Reaction score
3
Location
Holyhead, North Wales, U.K.
Any ideas as to the type of plants to put in this little garden? I have decided to make it as ornamental as possible with curved tiers, rather than straight ones. This will also allow larger plants to be used.

Here is the start of the build. I am using my favorite material again, as it can be shaped easily. The plan is for three tiers, the top two are here in skeletal form:
 

tan.b

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,538
Reaction score
6
Location
Yorkshire, UK
WOW!!!!
I do love your projects timg! i'm becoming more convinced you just don't sleep!! You get through your projects so fast!! i'm looking forward to watching this one develop!!! good luck!! tan
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
OP
timg

timg

Well Known
Member
Messages
858
Reaction score
3
Location
Holyhead, North Wales, U.K.
Been working still, now we are almost finished on the build. Ended up with not three but five levels and the option to use it to filter two tanks, depending on how effective it is. Either way, it's gonna make a fantastic addition to our tanks and will be the center of attraction above the 8' tank.

I just need to do a little more to the build and fit the drainage and pumping to it before I can test for leaks. We will be looking for plants tomorrow to put into it. my partner wants a water lily and several other water plants, so it should be fun finding them!

Here are the next batch of pictures showing all the different levels, the water cascade slots and the overall look of the shell. We have decided not to decorate and cover the plastic, because it is going to be sat on top of a light box, the light will shine through the plastic and really enhance the whole thing!
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
OP
timg

timg

Well Known
Member
Messages
858
Reaction score
3
Location
Holyhead, North Wales, U.K.
Another day and more done. The support frame has been mounted on the wall, the unit was leak tested and plumbed in.

We have decided to go with the plan of supporting 2 tanks with this aquaponics garden, working on the principal that even if it doesn't work 100%, it has to be better than nothing! It is plumbed into the 4' tank with the water column, a total capacity of 62 gallons imperial. The tank is heavily laden with fish, at present containing 5 goldfish, one coi, 6 young angels, 2 young silver sharks, 2 young rainbow sharks, 8 danios and two ancistrus. Water changing on this tank has been twice-weekly at 25% per change, due to the load of fish in there. Filter cleaning has also been twice weekly for the same reason. It seems like the perfect tank to run this test on!

The aquaponics garden has been divided into two sections, this tank will run on the smaller section of the two. It has a water capacity of approximately four gallons imperial, after substrate has been added. The pump will circulate at around 20-30 gallons per hour, taking water from the far end of the tank and putting it back into the near-end. Hopefully this will force the circulation and ensure that the water chemical levels remain balanced.

Tomorrow I will locate a pump for the system and hopefully get it running. We have pre-filled the garden with water and should be able to put the plants in tomorrow as well. I did a 25% water change on the tank today, so tomorrows reading should be accurate. To be honest, this will be a first for me too, as I am not accustomed to testing on a regular basis, just tend to rely on my judgement, which has never let me down before. I will admit that the water changing of this particular tank is a pain though, and if it can be avoided, I will be a very happy man!

I plan to do a nitrite/nitrate test on the tank before I start the garden working, to give me a baseline for the test, and hopefully will not need to change the water ever again! (Well, that's the hope!)

I will document the test results which I will be taking weekly. I don't think it is going to make a vast difference straight away and daily testing would IMO be a waste of time.

This project will take time to prove itself, so keep watching the thread.
 

tan.b

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,538
Reaction score
6
Location
Yorkshire, UK
wow ! can't wait to see it with the plants when they're all settled in and see your results! good luck. i'm sure it will be success! should get that patented and mass produced along with your upside tanks!
tan
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
OP
timg

timg

Well Known
Member
Messages
858
Reaction score
3
Location
Holyhead, North Wales, U.K.
I'd get bored with making many of them. But I really think I should be having words with the manufacturers of the polycarbonate, 'cos I'm sure they never imagined the uses that could be made of it!

just to let you know, I went for a walk with the dog and came back with a bag full of pond plants! They don't come cheaper than that!
 

Gargoyle

Well Known
Member
Messages
611
Reaction score
2
Experience
More than 10 years
timg said:
just to let you know, I went for a walk with the dog and came back with a bag full of pond plants! They don't come cheaper than that!
Excellent!! ;D
 

Luniyn

Well Known
Member
Messages
695
Reaction score
4
In the lower trays you could grow a vine that would hang down your wall and make a sort of "living wall". You could use something like a Golden Pothos vine which will grow anywhere and in anything (some sites say it won't grow with "wet feet" but I've seen it grow in a bowl of water with large gravel in it and it was a 10' long vine). I don't know how well water lilies will look as they are better enjoyed if you can look down on them like in a pond and your tanks there seem high on the wall. No matter what you end up with, it will be a cool addition to the room.

By the way, I was doing a google search for something completely different and stumbled on . It talks about it for a saltwater tank, but there isn't any reason it couldn't be made to work on a freshwater system. It's not pretty but it would get the job done. Just saw it and it reminded me of this thread, so thought I would share.
 

Jimold

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,072
Reaction score
8
Location
Gulf Coast, Florida
dude, don't take this wrong, I mean it in a good way, but are you some kind of bio-engineer with too much time on your hands...lol? :
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
OP
timg

timg

Well Known
Member
Messages
858
Reaction score
3
Location
Holyhead, North Wales, U.K.
Nice system, but I think mine will look much better! lol.

I don't know how well water lilies will look as they are better enjoyed if you can look down on them like in a pond and your tanks there seem high on the wall.
The thought has occurred to us, but we won't know until we try. As for the height that the unit is installed at, the reason for this is the missing 8' tank, which will eventually sit underneath! (When it finally appears!) It looks a bit daft now, but that's the reason for mounting it all the way up there! The plan for the end result will be 8' running under this unit and another water column to the left of the unit, evening things up. Please be aware that until three days ago, this was never even thought of! I think it's called utilising all available space!

Whether it works or not, it is a neat trade-off between plants and ornaments, which was the original plan for this area!

dude, don't take this wrong, I mean it in a good way, but are you some kind of bio-engineer with too much time on your hands...lol?
nope, just fanatical about fish, and want a pleasing and relaxing environment to live in, while the fish have the best that I can create for them!

I love some of the new tanks and equipment out there, and it's fine for those with lots of money to throw at their hobby, but I haven't got unlimited resources and am rapidly running out of space for tanks, so have to improve on what I already have and make sure that it will serve it's purpose long term. We also have to consider the fact that I now have some 200 gallons of water in my living room, with another 150 gallons of tanks still to install, and a water meter in the road outside! IF this functions the way it should, then I will dramatically reduce the amount of water that goes down the drain, as well as reducing the cost of maintaining the tanks. Don't forget, this filter is designed to clean two tanks, a total of over 200 gallons of water. Without it, I would need to perform weekly water changes on both these tanks, running some 50 gallons away each week. With it, I will only have to top the tanks up periodically, and prune the plants when they grow too big! (Can you see the logic?)
 

New Threads

Similar Threads

Follow FishLore!

FishLore on Social Media

Online statistics

Members online
213
Guests online
2,837
Total visitors
3,050

Aquarium Photo Contests

Aquarium Calculator

Top Bottom