Nitrate reactor

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Re: Nitrate reactor

Postby Terrance on Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:08 am

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2010/2/aafeature/

Ammonia is released by some of those dissolved organic waste.
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Re: Nitrate reactor

Postby J-P on Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:28 am

I have the aquaripure it does reduce the nitrates in the tank but by no means reduces the need for water changes. The owner / developer of it and I, had it out at one point on another forum. It was a real cat fight until he asked me to leave the sub-forum and never come back. I politely accepted and then he took one last shot to which I was not able to reply. He was a total A$$ about it.

Nitrates in general can be viewed in 2 ways.
1) as a pollutant.
2) as a fertilizer.

Water changes not only remove the pollutants, but they help re-build the water chemistry that has been broken down by having organics live in a closed environment. Even if you think you are removing a "fertilizer" (say in planted tanks), you still need to rebuild that chemistry and add to it what was lost during the plant growth (ie trace elements etc...).

Can all this be done with fewer water changes? Sure it can. But that is a lot of testing, monitoring, measuring, dosing. Each time you add an extra step it becomes more complicated. The more complicated it becomes the greater the chance of something going wrong.

Use the product as what it was intended for. Nitrate reduction, but don't assume, ever, that it will reduce your need for water changes.
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Re: Nitrate reactor

Postby DGabbs on Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:29 pm

Interesting! Funny you say that, as when i was scanning through the youtube comments i notice he was extremely defensive and to some degree a little aggressive. I know it can be hard when you put your heart and sole into something and then people bash it, and i really don't think that is acceptable, but a fair debate is a fair debate. If you put out a product you need to have the research and make sure all of your facts are straight.

He claims that you can go 2-3 months on a single water change, which i would never consider, consider trying, but there will be times this year where i can't do a 30% water change every week, so i thought this may be a suitable product. I would never ever go more than 3 weeks without a water change, especially with a puffer, but every other week WC would be nice on occasion.


Great to hear some first hand info.
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Re: Nitrate reactor

Postby Terrance on Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:13 pm

Its business. He might be under a lot of pressure to make sales.
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Re: Nitrate reactor

Postby DGabbs on Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:52 pm

Probably, and it sounds like the thing does its job. He just should be careful about making statements like "water changes only required every 3 months".

I may get it just for the health benefit to the puffer of not having nitrates, and still do frequent water changes.
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Re: Nitrate reactor

Postby RTR on Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:50 am

Thanks for the ref to my earlier comments. That still holds true.

NO3 is not the primary pollutant in tanks. It is just only the one we can measure with hobby test kits. When you do nitrate reduction, it just means that you cannot judge the level of the other pollutants, so you kid yourself that your water is better than it really is.

Nitrate reactors are "fiddley" in that they need constant adjustment, and the output can be toxic in and of itself. They can be interesting to play with (I've done a good bit) but IME they are devices for kidding yourself. If you operate one of these, you need to do a lot of other routine tests (I use two DO probes - one in the tank and the other at the output of the reactor) and do weekly KH tests as crude measure of what general water change level I really need. The manufacturers are kidding themselves and their customers in saying it reduces the requirement for water partials.

Someday - which I do not hope to live to see myself - hobbyists will learn that water changes are just as much for replacing and restoring water parameters (replacing used up minerals) as it it is for removing pollutants. Hobbyists like to kid themselves that their water is good if nitrates are low or undetectable. That is unfortunately frequently incorrect.. I add nitrate to quite a few of my systems routinely to keep the plants happy when the tanks are not in breeding mode and not being fed as heavily. For FW and light BW, replacement water is better and cheaper than nitrate reactors by a wide margin. For SW we have other techniques. High-end but less than full marine BW is expensive to operate, period.

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Re: Nitrate reactor

Postby RTR on Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:51 am

No, that is effectively incorrect. Quite a few DOCs are highly stable, with half-lives at or over 18 months. The only solution is water changes. Don't kid yourself that nitrate is anything more than an indicator. Reducing that indicator without reducing total pollution is a fool's errand. You can kid tourself, but you can't fool Mother Nature. You may think that your tank is healthy, but it is a pipe dream caused by removing the only easy-to-read indicator of pollution.
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Re: Nitrate reactor

Postby skoram on Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:34 am

just my (possibly newbish) opinion but it seems a refugium could be a more reliable means of reducing nitrates. I know that it can be very difficult to raise plants in BW but i have heard that mangrove refugiums are quite effective and they do fine in BW and full SW.
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Re: Nitrate reactor

Postby RTR on Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:41 am

That depends on the species of mangrove - there are species differences in salinity needed/best. The plant are trees, so require very high light and regular pruning for control and nutrient export. The cost effectiveness would have to be shown - it could be as expensive as water partials while only doing part of the same job.
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Re: Nitrate reactor

Postby skoram on Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:29 am

I would never forgo water changes regardless of what kind of nitrate reducing system I may have set up. I do not have any personal experience in this area but have read of many people using Red Mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) in refugiums to help with water quality. Since mangroves thrive in brackish and even marine conditions, SG would not be a concern. An effective system like this would, at best, probably allow someone to make slightly less frequent water changes. In the long term it *may* be more cost effective (emphasis on may), depending on the lighting requirements and *may* add some convenience. I think the biggest benefit may come from the small stabilizing effect that plants have on tank water quality. pollutants will invariably continue to rise, but I believe they will rise more slowly.
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Re: Nitrate reactor

Postby RTR on Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:35 am

I have no clue as to utility costs outside the USA, but in this country the operatin costs of very high lighting intesity required far outweigh their value in nitrate-reduction. Plus, the loss of our only home test indicator of pollution levels in general by removing nitrate without removing dissolved organic materials gibes most hobbyists a false sence of their tank water quality. High and very high light tanks generally require larger water partials than normal for comparably stocked tank systems and extra supplements to ensure adequate nutrients for those high-light plantings.
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