Poor Man's Nutrients Control - Donovan's Nitrate Destroyer

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olonmv

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First off, RIP Donovan. I stumbled onto this thread last night and have been hooked since. I currently run a nano tank (evo 13.5) and am truly mesmerized by the simplicity of design and effectiveness at maintaining a consistent desired NO3 level. I’ve gone through the postings and maybe I’ve missed it but is there a calculator to determine media amount? Also from what I’ve read, flow is the name of the game. Does the tube length determine this? I’m thinking of doing a pressurized closed system and Ideally I’d want to go with a straight tube seeing I lack space. I plan on mounting vertically and feeding flow from the bottom and having my outlet on top (thinking this will prevent air/gas buildup). Will this be fine or am I limited to a dual chamber? Also if I go with a shorter length in the 10-15” range will this pose a problem or will adjusting flow rate be the key for success? I know that a tank my size shouldn’t need this kind of mod but no wc is a big selling point because I tend to be a lazy B sometimes and I one day hope to go with a bigger tank so learning this would be great.
 
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Steve2020

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First off, RIP Donovan. I stumbled onto this thread last night and have been hooked since. I currently run a nano tank (evo 13.5) and am truly mesmerized by the simplicity of design and effectiveness at maintaining a consistent desired NO3 level. I’ve gone through the postings and maybe I’ve missed it but is there a calculator to determine media amount? Also from what I’ve read, flow is the name of the game. Does the tube length determine this? I’m thinking of doing a pressurized closed system and Ideally I’d want to go with a straight tube seeing I lack space. I plan on mounting vertically and feeding flow from the bottom and having my outlet on top (thinking this will prevent air/gas buildup). Will this be fine or am I limited to a dual chamber? Also if I go with a shorter length in the 10-15” range will this pose a problem or will adjusting flow rate be the key for success? I know that a tank my size shouldn’t need this kind of mod but no wc is a big selling point because I tend to be a lazy B sometimes and I one day hope to go with a bigger tank so learning this would be great.
I might not be much help since I just built mine and not hooked up yet and it is not a pressurized system, and someone with a pressurized system may be able to give some advice when it comes to how do you dose a carbon source on a pressurized system without loosing the pressure in the system. The one thing I can help you with is some calculations that may help to determine if the length and diameter of pipe your talking about will work without extreme clogging issues at the discharge line.
So lets pick a 12" length for simplicity. A 3" pvc pipe with no media will hold 0.3672gal/ft. A 4"pvc pipe will hold 0.6528gal/ft. Once you put media in the pipe these numbers will decrease but lets assume no media for flow calculations.
Lets assume your EVO has a total water volume of 13gal. Based on the flow recommendations for initial startup of 5-10% of total tank/sump water volume that means in your system your flow at the output needs to be 0.028-0.056gal/hr. That low flow would be like a drip instead of the recommended stream of water at the discharge and may cause the line to clog. I am not sure what pump will build pressure at such a low flow to push the slime out.
So, lets talk length and pipe diameter. If you can get the NO3 at the discharge to what you want with 12" pipe but have clogging issues, if you double the length of the pipe you can double the flow. If you went from 3" to 4" pipe you can increase the flow by 56%.
Using the numbers I provided for gal/ft you can calculate the contact dwell time bacteria will have with the water if that is a important factor for you.
I am sure there are other ways to use the math for design but this is what I used.
 
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olonmv

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I might not be much help since I just built mine and not hooked up yet and it is not a pressurized system, and someone with a pressurized system may be able to give some advice when it comes to how do you dose a carbon source on a pressurized system without loosing the pressure in the system. The one thing I can help you with is some calculations that may help to determine if the length your talking about will work without extreme clogging issues at the discharge line.
So lets pick a 12" length for simplicity. A 3" pvc pipe with no media will hold 0.3672gal/ft. A 4"pvc pipe will hold 0.6528gal/ft. Once you put media in the pipe these numbers will decrease but lets assume no media for flow calculations.
Lets assume your EVO has a total water volume of 13gal. Based on the flow recommendations for initial startup of 5-10% of total tank/sump water volume that means in your system your flow at the output needs to be 0.028-0.056gal/hr. That low flow would be like a drip instead of the recommended stream of water at the discharge and may cause the line to clog. Unless you are using a pressure pump that will overcome the clog and push it out as pressure builds
I’ve kinda been obsessing about this for my particular needs with my nano 13.5. If I’m on the right track, I think I could do this same set-up in a scaled down version to where the same media he lists still works. I may be wrong but, my thoughts are to use a 12” piece of 2” PVC with the media thickness also reduced within and if I’m right, a flow rate of about a drop per second is where my flow should be and then adjusted from there.
For dosing, my initial idea is to put pump in some sort of tray to where water trickles into the tray slowly and the pump draws from it and use that same tray for direct dosing (where I’ll drop mb7 and carbon into). Seems like it’ll work.
 

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I’ve kinda been obsessing about this for my particular needs with my nano 13.5. If I’m on the right track, I think I could do this same set-up in a scaled down version to where the same media he lists still works. I may be wrong but, my thoughts are to use a 12” piece of 2” PVC with the media thickness also reduced within and if I’m right, a flow rate of about a drop per second is where my flow should be and then adjusted from there.
For dosing, my initial idea is to put pump in some sort of tray to where water trickles into the tray slowly and the pump draws from it and use that same tray for direct dosing (where I’ll drop mb7 and carbon into). Seems like it’ll work.
I accidently somehow hit post before finishing the write up. above is the completed writeup.
 
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olonmv

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I’m gonna give it a go. I have a cheapo petco circulation pump and some 1/4 airline hose and valves laying around to experiment with so I attached them to the pump. Opened the valve fully open, plugged in the pump. It had continuous flow and I could adjust it down to about 40 to 50 drops per minute. Feels like decent head pressure.
 

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Wouldn’t smaller dosing of carbons, let’s say 1ml a day also reduce chances of clogging with that low of a flow?
Yes because it will slow down the population of the bacteria so less slime, but you don't want to reduce the bacteria population to where your nitrates don't go down to your desired level or even increase. Remember bacteria growth is carbon source limited. It's a balancing act.
 
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olonmv

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Yes because it will slow down the population of the bacteria so less slime, but you don't want to reduce the bacteria population to where your nitrates don't go down to your desired level or even increase. Remember bacteria growth is carbon source limited. It's a balancing act.
I think there’s enough head pressure to maintain the constant flow rates needed for the same size and type of media Mr Donovan suggests it’ll just be in slightly smaller and shorter housing. Unless I’m way off, I require .6-1.3ish gallons daily for my tank size at a 5-10% setting. I think 60-70 drops per minute is where flow should be if it works. My tank is an AIO so that’s why a pressurized DND is appealing and cool. Maybe I’m missing something but it seems doable. My main concern is durability of equipment. And heat dissipation.
 

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I think there’s enough head pressure to maintain the constant flow rates needed for the same size and type of media Mr Donovan suggests it’ll just be in slightly smaller and shorter housing. Unless I’m way off, I require .6-1.3ish gallons daily for my tank size at a 5-10% setting. I think 60-70 drops per minute is where flow should be if it works. My tank is an AIO so that’s why a pressurized DND is appealing and cool. Maybe I’m missing something but it seems doable. My main concern is durability of equipment. And heat dissipation.
Your math is correct for your tank:)
 

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I think there’s enough head pressure to maintain the constant flow rates needed for the same size and type of media Mr Donovan suggests it’ll just be in slightly smaller and shorter housing. Unless I’m way off, I require .6-1.3ish gallons daily for my tank size at a 5-10% setting. I think 60-70 drops per minute is where flow should be if it works. My tank is an AIO so that’s why a pressurized DND is appealing and cool. Maybe I’m missing something but it seems doable. My main concern is durability of equipment. And heat dissipation.
When your up and running keep us informed of your progress. I'm sure others with smaller tanks will be curious on how the pressurized system is working. Hope you have success.
 
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When your up and running keep us informed of your progress. I'm sure others with smaller tanks will be curious on how the pressurized system is working. Hope you have success.
Absolutely! I have every intention to start this weekend. I plan on a 12” piece of 2” PVC with 1” and 1.5” ceramic rings topped off with a bit of matrix. Really hoping for good results.
 

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Goin with a 3”x11” DND for my build. I’m thinking of going with these ceramic rings. Will these work? They’re 5/8x11/16. Biggest ring I could find. Or will they clog?

AQUANEAT Bio Ceramic Rings 6 lbs Aquarium Sump Filter Media Fish Tank Koi Pond Canister Filter Media in 6 Free Mesh Bags https://a.co/d/4UfNn8t
 

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Goin with a 3”x11” DND for my build. I’m thinking of going with these ceramic rings. Will these work? They’re 5/8x11/16. Biggest ring I could find. Or will they clog?

AQUANEAT Bio Ceramic Rings 6 lbs Aquarium Sump Filter Media Fish Tank Koi Pond Canister Filter Media in 6 Free Mesh Bags https://a.co/d/4UfNn8t
I ordered 2 boxes of the same ones. They just arrived an hour ago. They are larger than others I have seen which is good for my build. Should be fine for yours.
20220901_184658.jpg 20220901_184749.jpg 20220901_184801.jpg
 

olonmv

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I ordered 2 boxes of the same ones. They just arrived an hour ago. They are larger than others I have seen which is good for my build. Should be fine for yours.
20220901_184658.jpg 20220901_184749.jpg 20220901_184801.jpg
Great!!! I just ordered the 6lb bag worth. I only need to fill .33 worth of tube so I’ll have a whole bunch left over. I also ordered some seachem matrix. Gonna do a couple of 1/2 thick layers with it.

keep us posted on your journey! Best of luck!
 
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olonmv

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Project mini DND for my evo 13.5. Gonna let it cure and hopefully commission it on Saturday or Sunday. If my media makes it. Plan on mounting it vertically. Fingers crossed. A12FF6AD-D5D0-4CE9-BDEA-AC1AF4C1D3D7.jpeg
 
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Project mini DND for my evo 13.5. Gonna let it cure and hopefully commission it on Saturday or Sunday. If my media makes it. Plan on mounting it vertically. Fingers crossed. A12FF6AD-D5D0-4CE9-BDEA-AC1AF4C1D3D7.jpeg
Just some friendly advice, before putting media in the tube I would hook up your pump and simulate a clog and test for leaks if you haven't already. The screw in cleanout caps are not made for pressurized systems. I have them on mine which is not pressurized and when I ran my leak test simulating a clog one of the caps leaked even though I wrapped the treads with Teflon tape and water coming out of the emergency drain. I ended up wrapping more Teflon tape and the leak stopped. I recommend wrapping the threads with Teflon tape or a pipe dope that works with PVC even if it does not leak.
 

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Just some friendly advice, before putting media in the tube I would hook up your pump and simulate a clog and test for leaks if you haven't already. The screw in cleanout caps are not made for pressurized systems. I have them on mine which is not pressurized and when I ran my leak test simulating a clog one of the caps leaked even though I wrapped the treads with Teflon tape and water coming out of the emergency drain. I ended up wrapping more Teflon tape and the leak stopped. I recommend wrapping the threads with Teflon tape or a pipe dope that works with PVC even if it does not leak.
Noted. I do have Teflon that I plan on heavily wrapping around the screw cap and on the threads on my 1/4 quick connect taps. Thanks for the heads up on the threads and possible leakage! Will definitely test.
 

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