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Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

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  • Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

    I have high nitrates (40-60+ppm) in my well water most likely the result of a 95 acre farm field across the road. Obviously this negates partial water changes to reduce nitrates in my 60g tank.
    Along with good tank maintenance and some floating plants, I have had one AquaClear 70 filter filled with approx. 1.5 liters of Matrix, but this doesn't seem to help much. I'm in the process of reducing Nitrates by using purchased water for water changes, but this is not a good long term solution unless I can reduce the volume and/or frequency of the weekly PWC.

    I'm building a DIY canister filter using a kitchen type lock top canister and a Tom 3.5gph aqua lifter pump. I plan to use the 2 liters of Seachem Matrix I already have and add 2 liters of Seachem De*Nitrate...A total of 4~ liters of product. Even though the tank is established and the Matrix 'seeded', the unit and the tank will be additionally 'seeded' with Seachem Stability.
    I'll start with the 3.5gph flow rate but may reduce later on as indicated by test results to further stimulate O2 reduction in the filter as/if necessary.

    Does the above seem like a feasible way to reduce/maintain low(er) nitrates in my tank?
    (If I can get nitrates low enough, I would be able to do modest water changes with my well water and still be able to maintain low nitrates in the tank.)

    Thank-you,
    AD

  • #2
    Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

    Hey AD,

    Sorry to hear that your nitrates are so high in the tap, this is always a problem for aquarist. Because you are beginning with such high nitrates to begin with, it seems that the 1.5 liters of Matrix is just not enough to keep up with what is being produced in the tank and what is coming from the tap. I think your DIY canister will help, not only by increasing the amount of bio-media but also by forcing the water through it more directly. Hang-on types of filters do not always force water through the media well and this can reduce the effectiveness of the media. The canister is likely to do a better job. I feel that this is a feasible way to reduce the nitrate levels and agree that some additional Stability will help. Let us know how it goes.

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    • #3
      Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

      Thank-you for your response. What are your thoughts about the 50/50 mix of Matrix and De*Nitrate and the flow rate of 3.5gph?

      Thanks again,
      AD

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

        This should work very well. As you know, de*nitrate works better to control nitrates at a flow rate of 50gph or less, while Matrix functions well at any flow rate. Sounds like a good plan.

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        • #5
          Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

          Thanks again. The De*Nitrate and the pump should arrive by the end of the week. The canister is prepped and ready. I come back and post update(s) after setup and time to cycle the filter (and hopefully begin reducing nitrates!).

          Regards,
          AD

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

            Looking forward to it, AD!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

              Sorry to be a bother, but I have a follow-up question...

              In researching nitrate filtration I reviewed a lot of information. Worthy of note is the Aquaripure filter that uses sponge media (course to fine), very slow flow and alcohol (or sugar water) for feeding the bacteria. I understand that the anaerobic bacteria process nitrates to extract oxygen.

              Inasmuch as I'm using Matrix and De*Nitrate in this DIY filter, and in the absence of alcohol, what will the anaerobic bacteria consume as food?
              Should I be adding something to promote the proliferation of the anaerobic bacteria?

              Thank-you,
              AD

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

                Hi AD,

                You are not being a bother; that's what we're here for. It is Seachem's stance that alcohol feeding/sugar dosing is not necessary. By providing an appropriate medium for nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria to live on with Matrix and de*nitrate and by jump-starting your bacterial colonies with Stability, the need for any alcohol feeding is eliminated.

                In an aquarium setting, there are plenty of food sources on which beneficial bacteria can feed. The bacteria are constantly multiplying and proliferating, therefore we feel that alcohol or sugar dosing poses a risk of adding unnecessary organics to the water.

                Just food for thought...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

                  Thank-you. Based partly on your response, unless you think it's unnecessary, I'm thinking that when I setup the new filter and dose with Stability, I might temporarily discontinue the use of Purigen (I have two 100ml packets in my other AC70 filter) to ensure there is some dissolved organics in the water column (feeding bacteria). I'll re-evalutate adding the Purigen back after the new system stabilizes.

                  Thanks again.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

                    I definitely think that is a good idea, as Purigen will actively remove a lot of the organics that the bacteria will feed on. For example, we typically recommend that in new setups people hold off on using Purigen until the tank has fully cycled.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

                      Okay, I setup the filter on Friday after the pump and De*Nitrate arrived. The canister has a mix of 1 Liter of Matrix and 2 Liters of De*Nitrate and is using the Tom Aqua Lifter (3.5gph) dosing pump. I added 6 capfuls of Stability (60g tank) to the filter prior to filling with tank water, and I will be adding 3 capfuls per day to the tank for 7 days (per Stability instructions for new setups.
                      Progress reports will follow.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

                        (DIY Filter photo attached)

                        > 1. For the daily introduction of Stability, should I add to the new filter inlet or just anywhere into the tank?

                        > 2. Considering my mix of Matrix/De*Nitrate and using Stability, when might I begin seeing a reduction of nitrates?

                        > 3. I've introduced purchased water for several partial water changes to try and lower nitrates, but getting below 40ppm is a challenge. Will high nitrates (say above 20ppm) inhibit anaerobic bacteria development?

                        > 4. Since this is basically a restart and I had previously been using Purigen (now removed), there is very little dissolved organics in the water column. Is there anything I might or should do to compensate for this?


                        regards,
                        AD
                        Attached Files

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                        • #13
                          Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

                          I will answer your questions as they were asked for sake of clarity:

                          1. Adding it directly to the aquarium water is perfectly fine.

                          2. This is hard to say exactly, because it depends on the amount organics that are being produced. As long as the rate at which the denitrifying bacteria can consume nitrates is greater than the rate at which they are produced, you should start to see the nitrate level decline after about a week. Keep in mind that frequent water changes will help reduce the level in an immediate sense, but always add in Stability after your water changes.

                          3. The bacteria in Stability are very unique because they can withstand a very broad range of parameters, from almost boiling to almost freezing temperatures, high or low pH, high or low ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate, etc. So the the anaerobic bacteria will still be able to colonize even at those levels.

                          4. As long as you have some type of ammonia source for the bacteria such as fish waste or uneaten food, they will be able to go through the nitrogen cycle.

                          I hope this helps!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

                            1, I would have thought that adding Stability to the filter inlet stream would better facilitate populating that media rather than the substrate or the other (AquaClear 70) filter?~

                            2, Again, this is a very recent tear down so the organics in the water column are low and the source water is high in nitrates (prompting this new filter) so water changes don't help...As I mentioned, I've done 3 partial water changes but nitrates remain high.

                            3. Okay, I'll presume that very high nitrate levels will not negatively affect anaerobic colony development.

                            4. It is my understanding that the anaerobic bacteria feed off of organics in solution and process nitrates only to obtain the oxygen molecule thereby breaking it creating the nitrogen. My question was really getting back to whether there is some nutrient solution I might/should add to facilitate development in this rebuilt system. I guess I'll just wait and see what happens...or not.

                            thanks,
                            AD

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Matrix/De*Nitrate nitrate filter DIY

                              Hi AD,

                              1) You can add Stability anywhere in the tank, and the bacteria will be able to colonize your media. If you feel better about adding directly in your inlet stream, then by all means, do that.

                              2) It will take some time for your biofilter to mature and reduce the nitrates that are present in your source water.

                              3) They will not.

                              4) Seachem does not feel that "feeding" the bacteria is necessary.

                              Have a good day.

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