New Filtration System for Reef Tanks!!!

Big Daddy Reefer

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I would like to introduce a new filtration system to the hobby. It's very inexpensive, easy to make and is very effective at reducing ammonia from the aquarium. Let us start this thread with typical information and methods in our hobby, a conventional biological filter:

Fish continuously excrete ammonia which is toxic to them, and so it has to be removed from the pond water before it can cause them harm. We all know this. Any well designed conventional biological filter system will be effective at taking this ammonia and converting it, first into nitrite, and then into nitrate by a process called the “nitrogen cycle”. This is also well known. Having achieved the conversion of ammonia into nitrate, the task of a conventional biological filter is complete. No further biological action to remove the nitrate takes place and so the level of nitrate in the water slowly rises. Nitrate is a plant fertilizer. A rising level of nitrates will encourage blanket weed and the kind of algae that turns water and rocks green. Water changes will help but, even after a 10% water change, the nitrate level will still be 90% of the original value, and, as more ammonia is converted, the nitrate level will soon begin rising again.


Now lets talk about an alternative method to the nitrogen cycle:

The Anoxic filtration system was designed and developed over many years by Dr Kevin Novak PhD. The anoxic system doesn’t rely on converting ammonia to nitrite and then into nitrate. With the Anoxic system, ammonia is converted directly to nitrogen gas which is a safe method of exporting from our aquariums.

So what is an Anoxic filter?

The biological information behind an Anoxic filter is basically a home for facultative anaerobic heterotrophic bacteria. Facultative bacteria can function in either an aerobic or in an anaerobic environment. The filter system works as a network of never clogging negatively charged sites in baskets that are coined, biocenosis-clarification-baskets.

A biocenosis-clarification basket is composed of three simple items:
  1. A plastic pond basket with holes on all sides
  2. cat litter but it must be clay, non-clumping, and preferably without odor control (“Special Kitty” Cat Litter available at WalMart for about $4 for a 25lb bag works well)
  3. flourite red by seachem
Fill the basket half full with cat litter, place 1/4" layer of flourite and then fill the remaining area with cat litter.
The time frame for facultative anaerobic heterotrophic bacteria to develop and effectively work to reduce ammonia in our aquariums is 45 days.

Be sure to provide adequate flow (not forced with pumps or powerheads) around all sides of the basket (including the bottom) as the bacteria will "draw" ammonia into the basket like a magnet.

My personal experience is simply amazing, my new reef tank went from an amazon of green algae to peach fuzz of brownish "hair".
The hair algae in my refugium literally disintegrated into white sludge.......and.......I have not done a water change in four months.

I'm sure there will be plenty of questions, don't hesitate to ask!
 

Bayareareefer18

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I was wondering if the anoxic filter could be applied to marine. Prior to reefing I was keeping discus and at the time of my departure from that hobby there were many beginning to experiment with this method for discus.

What I was wondering was if there were any elements from the kitty litter or iron from the laterite/fluorite that would build up in the system
 
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Big Daddy Reefer

Big Daddy Reefer

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I can only speak to my experience thus far which is, since the third week of May 2019 there has been no ill effects. I have some soft coral, LPS and one birds nest SPS and fish in my tank, they all look great.
 

Bayareareefer18

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I can only speak to my experience thus far which is, since the third week of May 2019 there has been no ill effects. I have some soft coral, LPS and one birds nest SPS and fish in my tank, they all look great.
I read a lot about the science behind it back in my FW days Very interested to see how it applies to the reef hobby
 

Antics

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Seems interesting for sure. I'm always hesitant to try anything new though in fear of the unknown as far as leeching etc.
 
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reefwiser

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saltyhog

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This sounds like a variation on a remote deep sand bed? Sounds like a very inexpensive way to lower NO3 for those that don't have enough denitrification capacity in their liverock/refugium/ATS/etc.
 

Aardvark1134

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not sure this is cheaper long term than a container with flow $5 of cheato once and a strong light.
 
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Big Daddy Reefer

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Big Daddy Reefer

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This sounds like a variation on a remote deep sand bed? Sounds like a very inexpensive way to lower NO3 for those that don't have enough denitrification capacity in their liverock/refugium/ATS/etc.
The trick is to have flow around the fired clay that is negatively charged, ready to absorb ammonia. Putting it on the bottom of a tank would defeat the purpose, unless you have a plenum.
 
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Big Daddy Reefer

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not sure this is cheaper long term than a container with flow $5 of cheato once and a strong light.
My total cost for this filter was $25 dollars. No maintenance or poor manufacturing to deal with, plus it removes ammonia before it becomes nitrates.
 
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ZaneTer

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I think this is great. I don’t personally have an issue with nitrates but I can see it’s uses. Is it possible that by stripping the ammonia and subsequent nitrate you could be depriving your corals of necessary nutrients?

Perhaps run through a small canister may be better so it can be more tightly controlled.
 

Aardvark1134

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Except its not cheaper as you still need something like the cheato to take out the 50 other things build up in your reef without it. Your method assuming it works with no downside only solves 1 thing we don't want in the tank. The cheato deals with pretty much all of them at once...when you toss out some of the cheato you toss out some of what you don't want in there.
 
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Big Daddy Reefer

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I think this is great. I don’t personally have an issue with nitrates but I can see it’s uses. Is it possible that by stripping the ammonia and subsequent nitrate you could be depriving your corals of necessary nutrients?

Perhaps run through a small canister may be better so it can be more tightly controlled.
Although I’ve never tested sea water, I would presume ammonia and nitrates do not benefit corals. Running this system through a canister would defeat the purpose, this unique bacteria requires a low oxygen environment.
 
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Big Daddy Reefer

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Except its not cheaper as you still need something like the cheato to take out the 50 other things build up in your reef without it. Your method assuming it works with no downside only solves 1 thing we don't want in the tank. The cheato deals with pretty much all of them at once...when you toss out some of the cheato you toss out some of what you don't want in there.
Could you back this up with some science? Seems very hearsay.
 

ZaneTer

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Although I’ve never tested sea water, I would presume ammonia and nitrates do not benefit corals. Running this system through a canister would defeat the purpose, this unique bacteria requires a low oxygen environment.
To the contrary it’s very well documented about a corals ability to uptake ammonia (preferred) and nitrate along with amino acids. I would run it through a canister but at an extremely low flow rate.

Coral nutrient uptake article:
 

Any special reefing plans for this week?

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