Sulphur Denitrators

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry by Randy Holmes-Farley' started by Fragged_it, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. Fragged_it

    Fragged_it Dremel_Master

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    I've been running a sulphur denitrator on my system for 15 months now and love it. Is there anyone else using them?

    What are the pros and cons that you've found from running one?
     
  2. Paul_N

    Paul_N MOD R2R Supporter

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    I ran a DIY one when I first switched from FOWLR system to a reef. My nitrates where through the roof (180+) and it got them down to below 50. It just couldn't seem to get them down much lower than 40 for me. I switched to vodka dosing to try to get the nitrates down to zero and also didn't want another piece of equipment. It did work drop my nitrates initially quickly from the 180 -50 within 4 weeks.

    *edit* I followed this thread on the "other forum". You can see the one I built mid way down the page. You can also see the "moved on" under my user name....lol!

    http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1288082&page=5
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010
  3. Fragged_it

    Fragged_it Dremel_Master

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    That's my story. I was off the chart with my FOWLR, it looked like someone bled into the vial. It was so red I can't be sure what they were. The DIY sulphur denitrator got me down to 20ppm (as well as some radical changes in my filtration), but it could never get me below 20. Rather than going to vodka dosing I purchased a solid denitrator and I've been at 0 ever since.

    I'm curious to find someone running one longer than I have been to see if there has been any long term ill effects. So far mine has been the best purchase second only to my skimmer.

    Anyone else using them?
     
  4. Fragged_it

    Fragged_it Dremel_Master

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    wow.
    40 pages!
     
  5. Paul_N

    Paul_N MOD R2R Supporter

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    Actually that thread split and it's 40+ pages for every split so I think it's at like 85 total pages...:snicker:
     
  6. beaslbob

    beaslbob Well-Known Member

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    I am glad it is working to your satisfaction.

    FWIW this is my take

    1) extremely hard to adjust.

    2) assuming correct operation, they reduce nitrates but do nothing for phosphate. As do almost all nitrates reducing methods except macro algaes. Like nitrate sponges, dsbs and so on.

    So you get phosphates with low nitrates. The perfect conditions for cyano bacteria.

    I just maintain unmeasureable nitrates and phosphates with macro algaes and in the process create a tank the is a net consumer of carbon dioxide and producer of oxygen each 24 hour period.

    But that's just me

    and my .02
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2010
  7. Fragged_it

    Fragged_it Dremel_Master

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    Thanks beaslbob. I greatly appreciate your .02!

    I have to admit, I am constantly fighting cyano... I have two areas on my sand bed that it comes and goes, almost weekly. My phosphates are unmeasurable, but they may be being consumed causing the test to be inaccurate.
     
  8. beaslbob

    beaslbob Well-Known Member

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    Oh i think the test is accurate. It's just telling ya the cyano is consuming all the phosphates. :wink:

    Afterall the tank is still producing nitrates and phosphates. Just that the nitrate and phosphates consumers are keeping up.

    my .02 (a double charge?)
     
  9. ReefNightmare

    ReefNightmare Well-Known Member

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    I have the Midwest Denitrator but is in the closet,
    I never set it up,my nitrates are below 2 and phosphates below
    0.0 ;). I do water change every month, and run 3 phosban reactors
    with media,plus lots of macroalgae.I have heavy stock in my 95g Reeftank(11 fishes)
    Do you think would it be good to set up the DN?
    Do you guys see your nitrates levels going up after a while and
    then you do WC or they are always undetectable?
     
  10. Fragged_it

    Fragged_it Dremel_Master

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    If your nitrates are 2, leave it in the closet. If, bychance, they climb someday, then set it up.
     
  11. scalare102079

    scalare102079 Well-Known Member

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    use a midwest aquatics unit as well, love it! Helped me out tons when I wasn't capable of performing my normal routine water changes...
     
  12. ReeferBen

    ReeferBen Well-Known Member

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    I use a midwest unit as well, keeps Nitrates undetectable. I use GFO and carbon in a duel BRS reactor and my last hanna colorimeter P04 test came out at .01. I also do bi-weekly water changes.
     
  13. Acroholic

    Acroholic There is no substitute.

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    I have the large Midwest Unit as well, and the one thing I did was get rid of the cruddy pinch valve they give you for adjusting the effluent rate. I replaced it with a USPlastics needle valve, and it works great.

    I have found that every few months (5 or so) I need to take the unit apart and rinse everything because you get a buildup of white bacterial film that causes the rotten egg smell that you cannot get rid of by increasing the effluent rate, as the Owner's Manual states to do.

    The bacteria buildup looks like egg whites cooked in boiling water, and if you rinse the calcarous and sulfur media, along with the separator sponges it starts right back up without a long new cycle. I clean the entire unit since I have it apart.

    I believe the bacteria film just plain and simple clogs the reactor after a time.

    Another good thing to do is lube the reactor top O-ring with silicone lube every time you open it up.
     
  14. beaslbob

    beaslbob Well-Known Member

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    Both nitrates and phosphates are unmeasureable continuously. I do no water changes. Nitrates measured with the API test kit, phosphates with the low reading salifert test kit.

    Tank is balanced out with chaetomorphia macro algae in a refugium.

    I also use the diy 2part and add some kalk in top off water.


    my .02
     
  15. Fragged_it

    Fragged_it Dremel_Master

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  16. sirjustis

    sirjustis Active Member

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    I just started one yesterday.... Man I hope I get it rite.
     
  17. robert

    robert Well-Known Member

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    I have run a DIY sulphur denitrator for a few years now. Recently I had the opportunity to test it on a 170 gallon mixed reef with nitrates > 40 and phosphates at 0.29. After eight days nitrates went to 0 and phosphates are down to 0.13ppm. Its not well known, but properly configured, sulphur denitrators are quite effective at removing phosphate. Too bad none of the commercial versions that I have seen are built correctly.

    Once the denitrator is fully popped and after your nitrate hits 0, you have to dose nitrate to the system to drive the phospahte down and maintain nitrate to phosphate ratio (above 16:1) necessary to inhibit cyano.
     
  18. sirjustis

    sirjustis Active Member

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    robert is your reactor recirced? all the ones i see are not. i plummed mine as a recirc but i do not believe this is neccessary. your thoughts?
     
  19. sirjustis

    sirjustis Active Member

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    currently on my DIY reactor i have a maxijet 1200. im thinking this is to much. i just shut it off for the afternoon to see if maybe i can get some colonizing in the next 6 hours! i can always switch to a maxi 400, thats like barely any flow. anyone want to jump in?

    Denitrator Build from Start to Finish
    this is the site where i have currently recieved all my info.

    my tank rite now is between 40-20ppm nitrates. the only thing i havent done is run my reactor wide open for 24 hours, but it has been on line that long, just not wide open. coming out the effluent this morning was identical to my tank. again that was 20-40ppm on nitrates, per api. so i imagine the trates are in there.
     
  20. robert

    robert Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I run run a re-circulation pump inside the media chamber. My dead water volume is 3% of total water volume and media itself is slightly less than 1.5% of total water volume. Media should be mixed - not separated - this is important for phosphate removal. Flow rate is equal to the total dead water volume per hour.

    So if you have a 100 gallon tank - you would want a 3 gallon container (dead water volume) - filled with 1.5 gallons of mixed media. You would run a flow rate through the denitratorr of 3 gallons per hour. My internal re-circulation flow is 100 gph - I don't think more would hut anything as long as its not so much so as to move (and stratify) the media.

    During break-in, while the bacteria are setting up in the denitrator, you may find slowing the flow through the denitrator helps things get going, but once you can detect a drop in nitrates at the output - open it up to nominal flow.
     

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