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High Nitrates Level? Try This!

 




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Doc Conrad
User


Jun 9, 2000, 5:58 AM

Post #26 of 312 (134266 views)
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Such magnificent work, I must say it again. I have my own trickle tower experiments being set up for specific questions to be answered, sort of different questions than Mark's, run a different way. I want to know what kind of a load these trickle towers can actually handle, and do not want to kill a bunch of fish with the testing, so am trying something different from Mark. I have done many of the things Mark is presently doing. I posted the results here and there, but no one seemed to believe me, because I did not put the numbers up on the boards like Mark is doing. So he understands psychology better than I do, I need to ask my wife the shrink for more lessons to come up to Mark's obviously superior people skills. Anyway, back to my current study. I am comparing submerged versus trickle tower media in ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate conversion capacity by simply adding so much ammonia each day and measuring all the parameters to find out the capacity of alternate filtration designs for these conversions. It is more of an engineering approach to document the technology, since I have been unable to find it documented in a useful form anywhere else than Mark's fine postings here. Again, wonderful thread from which we are all learning, please give all our regards to your wife and let us help persuade her to allow you to continue...

Roddy Conrad


Marcus
Novice

Jun 23, 2000, 9:20 AM

Post #27 of 312 (134260 views)
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Dear all,

sorry...this is an old thread but I still find it very interesting. May I post a question for Mark:
what capacity is the system u tested? Becos ur nitrates seem to go so fast, just a few days after u set up the trickle tower.

I have recently constructed my trickle tower for my 15 ton pond. The system has been in operation for more than 2 weeks. However, I did not find my nitrate level reduced significantly. Moreover, the water is a little greenish in the morning and afternoon. It only clears in the evening.
Is my trickle tower not matured yet? Or is it not too efficient?

Melvin had asked me to be patient. But can't help asking after reading what Mark achieved.
Thanks!

Regards


Mark
Veteran

Jun 24, 2000, 5:06 PM

Post #28 of 312 (134263 views)
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Hi Marcus and all
Due to an urgent business trip coupled with heavy flying for almost a week, I am currently suffering a terrible jet-lag.
I will finalise my test by this week and I should be able to give you guys the result.

With regards to Marcus question, the tank is a small 3 tonage fibre tank *overstocked* with 40 pcs of 16 to 20inches fish. The filter box is a 1 ton water tank when filled. The bio-balls section which you see in the upper post contains 1200pcs of balls.

Regards.


(This post was edited by Mark Richman on Dec 6, 2001, 9:00 AM)


Anonymous
Anonymous

Jun 30, 2000, 10:50 AM

Post #29 of 312 (134260 views)
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Message for Mark Richman. Roddy "Doc" Conrad advised me to visit your site, especially this nitrate thread, as he knows I have an interest. I have to say that this is a very good thread backed by solid research and good science, which is often lacking elsewhere, where politics and refusal to consider any new idea from non "experts" is more important. I can see I will have to spend some time going thru the other threads here as well. I have been playing with nitrate stripping resins to keep nitrates down. It works quite well, but involves more work. I was originally interested in trying trickle tower technology on my pond when I built it, but was advised against it by some moron, sorry, "expert". Do keep up with the good work. I shall have to buy Roddy a drink for pointing me in your direction. Thanks again, bil.


BScottGould
Novice

Jul 10, 2000, 12:54 PM

Post #30 of 312 (134260 views)
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In a recent attempt to rid my filer system of snails I managed to kill most of the bacteria in my filter system. Switching to an emergency protocol I did a large water change, added HCL (hydrochloric acid) to the pond to drop the PH below 7.8 (ammonia goes into an ionized state at lower PH levels and is less toxic), reduced feeding levels and added some new bacteria from a solution. At this point I read a message from an aquaintance saying that her trickle tower filter was fully cycled and had removed all traces of ammonia, nitrite and even nitrate from her pond in just 4 days! I thought it was worth a try to do a little experiment of my own.The following are exracts from my pond logbook:

Sunday: ammonia= 1.25 mg/l nitrite=0 nitrate= 200mg/l I got the tower done today. Its just 1/2 a barrel sitting on the corner of the pond, over hanging it slightly. I put a 2'hole in the over hang bit and a stainless steel grate 2'off the bottom. I filled it with about 10-15 gallons of lava rock. I hope its not too fine, I would have preferred something much coarser.Right now I'm using that fine pond substrate (its what I had on hand) in my test rig and there seems to be no trouble. I topped it off with a rotating sprinkler that distributes the 200 gals / hour of water over the entire top surface. I put a layer of black Japanese matting on top of the stone. This should improve the distribution and allow me to rinse off any icky algae or other nastiness without rooting in the lava stones. I really curious how well this works.

Monday: waterchange 25%

Tuesday the water was still showing 1.25 mg/l NH3.I changed the pump to increase the flow to almost 400 g/h.

Wednesday: This morning the larger pump appeared to have broken, I replaced the pump with the small one again and in the PM bought a new pump to replace the broken one. I tested the water and to my amazement the NH3 was almost gone.

Thurs: Tested the water again and the result was the same, 0- NH3, 0 NO2. nitrate is down to 20 mg/l Its amazing what 12 gallons of rock can do.

Sat: I shut the trickle tower off for 12 hours today to see if the NH3 goes back up again. within 12 hours it was showing 0.25mg/l It would appear the the whole 10.000 liter pond is running on just this one little filter!

I'm planning to use this rig or one like it to help filter the 150 gal fiberglass tank that I wish to use for my small koi this winter. Grow them big a bit faster in warm water in the shed. The fact that this sort of filter works so well makes me feel allot more confident, seeing that water quality is going to be the most important issue. If this works then I plan to make a collapsible basin of about 1500 liters and try to keep all the fish indoors in the winter of 2001 / 2002. The fiberglass tank is all surrounded with insulation so heating it shouldn't be to difficult even if the shed itself isn't heated.
B.Scott



BScottGould
Novice

Jul 10, 2000, 1:12 PM

Post #31 of 312 (134250 views)
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Moving slightly farther I've been wondering about filter bacteria, trickle towers and temperature.

1.How well would trickle tower (or any) bacteria survive a cold winter provided the filter is left running?

I leave my submerged filter running all winter long. The temperature drops to as low as 6C. I reduce the flow by switching to a smaller pump and change the intake to ones located on the upper sides of the pond only 50cm under the surface. Up to now I have never had trouble with NH3 or NO2 in the spring. I have the impression that the filter bacteria are dormant and start working again as soon as temperatures permit.

2. What effect will temerature play when starting a new trickle tower system in cold weather?

The start up rate for trickle towers is simply incredible! As I told above I used a trickle tower system as a "lifeboat" when my submerged system failed. This cut the time needed to regain filtration from 4-6 weeks to 4 days. I wonder what the results would have been if the water had been colder. Seeing as nitrobacter are much slower to establish at temperatures under 15C, it would be interesting to see if the rate of establishment is faster in cold.
B.Scott


Doc Conrad
User


Jul 10, 2000, 5:59 PM

Post #32 of 312 (134252 views)
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Scott, I run my lava rock trickle towers all Winter long in my outside koi ponds and can depend on them to keep ammonia and nitrites at zero levels 24 hours a day 365 days per year in my outside ponds. And they keep a hole in the ice as well!

But think carefully through it before you bring this technology "inside" for the Winter. In my basement pond, even with excellent trickle tower filtration, if we choose to turn the house thermostat down to where the inside pond temperature goes to the 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit range, and stays in that range for weeks at a time, you will find it very difficult to keep nitrite levels low. At even 62 degrees F, with my trickle towers nitrites stay below the measurement level even with my 300-400 pounds of koi in this inside pond. Just don't try to run an inside pond in a situation where the water temperature stays in the "BAD" 50-60F range for a long period of time. Outside this does not occur because the water does not stay in this temperature range long enough to cause a problem.

Doc Roddy Conrad


BScottGould
Novice

Jul 10, 2000, 11:14 PM

Post #33 of 312 (134251 views)
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Doc,
My plan was to heat the water using 2 stepped aquarium heaters (settings slightly spaced) to keep the water at 18-20C (65-68F). At this temperature I should bee able to attain some extra growth from these 1 year old fish ( 1 1/2 when they go in the tank). If nessesary I can go a few degrees higher, what ever it take to get a reasonable amount of growth without making me the utillity companies #1 customer.
B.Scott


Anonymous
Anonymous

Jul 11, 2000, 2:50 AM

Post #34 of 312 (134250 views)
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Can this trickle be used for tropical fish keeping?


Mark
Veteran

Jul 11, 2000, 4:38 AM

Post #35 of 312 (134251 views)
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Certainly.


Khoobg
Webmaster


Jul 11, 2000, 4:54 AM

Post #36 of 312 (134250 views)
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Hi Jeremy,

If you stay around KL, you should be able to buy some ready made trickle filter for your aquarium where you keep all kind of fish. It basically consist of tray with many holes at the base and can be stack to many layers as you wish. Just purchase some ceramic rings as medium for the trickle and your aqaurium water will be free of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. All you need to do is to buy sufficient tray to ensure that you can achieve an equilibrium between the number of fish you keep and the ability of the filter to cope.


Ben
User

Jul 12, 2000, 10:34 AM

Post #37 of 312 (134249 views)
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The following were extracted from the Internet :-


Quote
Wet/Dry Filters

Also known as trickle filters, wet/dry filters work on the principle that the beneficial colonies of ammonia neutralizing bacteria grow best in the presence of well oxygenated water. By ``trickling'' water over unsubmerged plastic gizmos or other media, wet/dry filters provide a very large air/water surface area. They come in many shapes and sizes. The boom in successful saltwater aquariums in the 1980's can be attributed to the use of this filter type.

Many things can used for the media, with the best providing great amounts of surface area, while at the same time having large openings to reduce the tendency to clog and ensure efficient gas exchange. The problem of clogging of the media can also be reduced by prefiltering the water with an efficient mechanical filter, and (when used) with a protein skimmer.



Quote
Denitrators
Another specialized type of filter is designed to help in the control of the accumulation of nitrates, the end product of the neutralization of ammonia by the biological activity of bacteria. These fall into two categories, the anoxic bacterial, and the plant/algal scrubbers (discussed in the next section). It has been discovered that colonies of bacteria which grow in oxygen poor environments can be harnessed to biologically consume nitrate, and release harmless nitrogen gas. This method is achieved in one of two ways. The process was first developed in the 1980's through the use of a box system, coil, or porous foam block which allowed very slow transmission of nitrate-laden water. Inside the box/coil/foam, sugar was placed, and the slow passage of water quickly became anoxic. In these anoxic conditions, bacteria would grow and consume excess nitrate. Many aquarists have reported failure in their attempts at this type of filtration.
More recently, hobbyists have developed similar anoxic conditions below plates at the bottom of their tanks buried in fine sand. In the saltwater systems, these sand beds are referred to as "live sand". In freshwater planted systems, fine grain substrates are allowed to develop anoxic zones which probably also have a denitrification capability.

The Berlin Method of reef aquariums involves the use of large quantities of live rock harvested from tropical reefs. Aquarists report good nitrate control in live rock systems, which, though not well understood, probably involves the denitrification of the nitrates within the interior of the rocks. Another school of thought is that the heavy growths of calcareous algae on the live rocks in Berlin Method reef aquariums consume nitrate.




Quote
A new anoxic process to remove nitrates from the sewage wastewater has been installed at the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). The equipment for denitrification uses two parallel towers with packing, similar to the existing trickling filters, onto which microorganisms will attach for feeding on the nutrients in the passing water. The system was installed between the primary settling tanks and the trickling filters.

The anoxic process operates under conditions of very low free-oxygen so those microorganisms which feed on organic matter must use the oxygen in nitrates for their metabolism.


Both explained the denitrification process differently. Post your opinion here !



Jeremy Yeo
New User

Jul 12, 2000, 11:16 PM

Post #38 of 312 (134250 views)
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Mr Khoo(Webmaster)
Thanks for your prompt reply. I am from Singapore. Do you know if I could buy them in Singapore?


Doc Conrad
User


Jul 13, 2000, 3:41 AM

Post #39 of 312 (134255 views)
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Ben, since submerged media, at low oxygen content, do not convert nitrate well, and trickle tower media out in the air do convert nitrate well, the explanation saying the trickle tower works is the correct explanation. The aneroxic bacteria explanation is wrong.

Doc Conrad


Marcus
Novice

Jul 13, 2000, 6:17 AM

Post #40 of 312 (134252 views)
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Dear all,

I have constructed a DIY trickle tower about 1 month ago. However, I did not manage to bring down the nirtate level low enough. It keep staying at about 50ppm. My pond is 12 ton + 3 ton filter and the tower is standing 1m tall. Can anyone comment on this? I would really like to achieve low level of nitrate...something like 10-20ppm?




(This post was edited by Khoobg on Dec 7, 2000, 9:00 AM)


Khoobg
Webmaster


Jul 13, 2000, 7:11 AM

Post #41 of 312 (134242 views)
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Hi Marcus,

You should consider increasing the number of bio ball used in your trickle filter. My pond is slightly larger than your pond but my trickle filter use up to 7000 bio balls and it control the nitrate in my pond perfectly. I have been running my trickle filter for two years and it seem to be able to cope with koi which is much larger in size now


ET
Novice

Jul 13, 2000, 9:23 AM

Post #42 of 312 (134240 views)
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Hi Marcus and all ,

I am not 100% sure but i think that u should change the positions of the bio-balls and space for the air .
Let the water pass through the airspace before getting to the bio-balls , this way it can have more sufficient time to get oxygen to boost up the growth . The bio-balls themselfs are used to provide the space for the bacteria to grow .
What Khoobg has say is true , you would need more bio-balls to provide the sufficient space for the bacteria to grow . Another altenative is to use bio-home which i heard is much more effective as they provide more space due to their high porosity .

-ET-


Ben
User

Jul 13, 2000, 10:26 AM

Post #43 of 312 (134242 views)
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Hi Mark,

As for the trickle filter used in your experiment with 1200 bio balls, please elaborate on the following :-

1) What is the size of the pond water your filter is treating

2) How many koi are there or total koi weight in kg

3) Amount of koi food given to the koi everyday during the experiment period.



Mark
Veteran

Jul 13, 2000, 11:52 PM

Post #44 of 312 (134245 views)
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Quote
Originally posted by Mark Richman:
Hi Marcus and all
....With regards to Marcus question, the tank is a small 3 tonage fibre tank *overstocked* with 40 pcs of 16 to 20inches fish. The filter box is a 1 ton water tank when filled. The bio-balls section which you see in the upper post contains 1200pcs of balls.


There is not change in the feeding style. One feed per day in the morning for not more than 5 minutes.

Hope this help.



Marcus
Novice

Jul 14, 2000, 7:23 PM

Post #45 of 312 (134242 views)
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Hi,

I have read in another article that some hoppyist use filter mat rolled up as media for their trickle tower. According to them, this work well. Any comments? Will this be as good as bioballs?

Does anyone knows where can I buy a shower head that can spray out to about 50cm diameter at a height of 20cm?Or a rotating shower head? I have a pump to provide the power. Need this becos I think my drip tray is not effecient enough.

Cheers


BScottGould
Novice

Jul 16, 2000, 1:18 PM

Post #46 of 312 (134243 views)
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Hi Marcus
You know I used a rotating sprinkler to distribute the water over the top of my experimental TT, but in retrospect I've decided that it was more complicated than nessesary. In the future I'm planning to use a simple pipe protruding vertically from the center of the filter and then drilling holes of differant diameters to allow the water to spray at right angles out onto the filter medium. By arranging the holes with the proper distibution/size it should be possible to evenly cover the entire top surface of the filter. Leave the top of the pipe open as a safty valve should the holes become clogged.
B. Scott


Khoobg
Webmaster


Jul 16, 2000, 4:59 PM

Post #47 of 312 (134242 views)
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Marcus, it is all depend on the flow rate you are getting the water to your trickle. In my case, I just use a stationary pipe outlet and let the water flow onto a tray having hundreds of small holes and the water still filled up to 3 inches in the top tray. In this way, water will trickle down quite uniformly and the results has been great.


BScottGould
Novice

Jul 17, 2000, 1:41 AM

Post #48 of 312 (134242 views)
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Question?
If the top tray is filled with water how does fresh air enter the system?


Marcus
Novice

Jul 17, 2000, 6:56 AM

Post #49 of 312 (134242 views)
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Hi,

I have drill some holes of diameter 1cm as shown in the pict. These should ventilate the media a little. Will drill more soon.


Khoobg
Webmaster


Jul 18, 2000, 5:29 PM

Post #50 of 312 (134242 views)
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Quote
Originally posted by Jeremy Yeo:
Mr Khoo(Webmaster)
Thanks for your prompt reply. I am from Singapore. Do you know if I could buy them in Singapore?


Hi Jeremy,

Just took some digital pic of my trickle filter which I purchase four years ago for my aquarium.







Maybe you can do one yourself.

Cheers

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