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NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphate

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:47 pm
by Kmuda
Interesting new product. I have been aware of the use biodegradable polymers as the organic carbon source for denitrification for quite some time but due to a Tetra patent locking up the market on use of PCLs, no-one (other than Tetra) has done anything with it. Now Dr. Tim's is getting involved (using PHAs instead of PCLs). There is no one I would rather see involved in this market than Dr. Tim's, who is almost certain to produce a better product than Tetra.

http://www.drtimsaquatics.com/NP_Active ... earls.html

I've sent an email to Dr. Tim's but have not yet received a response. I'm seeking clarification as to if this is expected to work in freshwater tanks. I've tried the Tetra product (Instant Ocean Nitate Reducer) in freshwater and did not experience any benefits. I queried Instant Ocean (Tetra), who informed me that for freshwater I should be using EasyBalance. Yep.... I was just "fixing" to dump that garbage into one of my healthy tanks.

What I find interesting about Dr. Tim's products is the recommendation to use it in a chemical reactor. This is certainly a potential step forward.

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:29 pm
by jonesboy
Interesting. Please let us know what you find out Kmuda.

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:00 pm
by Kmuda
Still no word from Dr. TIm's but I am a bit concerned about their recommendation of using a protein skimmer to optimize bacterial harvest. The bacteria consumes the nitrate but to remove the nitrate you need to remove the bacteria, with the best method of that removal being a protein skimmer. And protein skimmers (at least not ones most of us will ever use.... google "Clarity Protein Skimmer", unless we are Pacu Mom :mrgreen: ) don't work in freshwater tanks. They do say that good mechanical filtration will remove some of the bacteria.

You salt water guys should be all over this. Us freshwater guys still need information.

I think I will call them tomorrow, if I get a spare moment at work.

Some more info....




Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:57 am
by pacu mom
Kmuda wrote:Still no word from Dr. TIm's but I am a bit concerned about their recommendation of using a protein skimmer to optimize bacterial harvest. The bacteria consumes the nitrate but to remove the nitrate you need to remove the bacteria, with the best method of that removal being a protein skimmer. And protein skimmers (at least not ones most of us will ever use.... google "Clarity Protein Skimmer", unless we are Pacu Mom :mrgreen: ) don't work in freshwater tanks. They do say that good mechanical filtration will remove some of the bacteria.



I'm considering not even running the Clarity CL-3--we'll see. Was planning on running the CL-3 off my holding sump tank. Have reconsidered the "empty" sump, and am now going to throw four 5-gallon filter socks and 20 liters of Pond Matrix in the sump. Primary biological filtration will be via two Ultima 4000s. Am using six Pentair Rainbow RTL-100 filters for my main mechanical filtration. Main reason is that we will be placing the sump parallel to the main tank (fairly tight space). The sump tank will be mostly under the platform we are building to access the top of the tank. We'll only have about 18 - 20" of the sump tank available for the CL-3, which might be enough. Platform floor is composed of three doors that open up so we have easy access to the sump and filters under the platform. Going to put one more side rail up to prevent me from falling off the platform. Have to get hardware to make the last 2 x 4 removable when we're working with filters under the platform.

Image

BTW, my fishroom finally has walls and lights, and I think sometime my fish will have a new home.
Image

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:46 pm
by OLroy
Interesting, I've been looking at buying a dual chamber reactor for Phosban and Carbon however if this product is good I will use it instead of the carbon. Keep me updated as to what they say in the email responce or the phone call you have.

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:13 pm
by Kmuda
Have not converse with Dr. Tim yet. But it's still in the plan. They have not responded to emails or tweets yet.

Pacu Mom, do you already have the CL-3?

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:46 pm
by pacu mom
Kmuda wrote:Have not converse with Dr. Tim yet. But it's still in the plan. They have not responded to emails or tweets yet.

Pacu Mom, do you already have the CL-3?


Yes, I purchased it a LONG time ago. Also bought a Reeflo Tarpon pump to run the thing. Just having seconds thought about using it. Will definitely start with the installation of all the other filters and pumps.

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:26 pm
by Kmuda
Standard biological and mechanical filtration are easy to accomplish. I can't think of anything you could add to your setup that has more beneficial potential than would the CL3... especially seeing as how you already have it. Provided you have a mechanism to deal with the skimmette, I would urge you to include it in your final implementation.

If not, feel free to send it to me. I'll see what it does on a 125 gallon tank. :lol:

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:39 pm
by pacu mom
Thanks for the encouragement.

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:49 pm
by Kmuda
Finally called Dr. Tim today. With appropriate mechanical filtration, "Active Pearls" should work in freshwater. So I've ordered 450ml of "Active Peals" from Drs. Foster and Smith and will rig up a 100 Micron whole house filter to run on the outflow of my reactor. This should be interesting.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/p ... atid=24536

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:40 pm
by Kmuda
Dr. Tim is not the only one launching into this arena.

http://www.bigalsonline.com/npx-bioplas ... a-1-l.html

I understand the science. This absolutely should work. At issue, especially in a freshwater tank, is the harvesting of the resulting bacteria and bacterial by-product. If these are not removed from the system they simply degrade, returning to nitrate, so the net impact on nitrate reduction is nothing (which is why my prior attempts with the Marineland "Nitrate Reducer" product had no positive results...... I really need to dig up that thread and update it).

According to my conversation with Dr. Tim, a 100 Micron filter on the outflow of the reactor containing the "Active Pearls" should allow for harvesting (the removal of the bacteria and bacterial by-products from the system) enabling the desired result, reduced nitrate. I just don't know what flow rate will be optimal or how often I need to replace the micron cartridge. All questions to be answered in the near future.

On a side note...... if you recall my King Kong's Bong Denitrite Tower thread, I reported I did not achieve the desired results until I added the Micron filter but I did not know why adding the Micron filter made any difference. Now we know. It's the same thing. You have to "harvest" the bacteria and bacterial by-product and I was not doing that until I added the Micron filter (I really need to dig up that thread and update it).

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:50 pm
by Kmuda
My "Phos-ban Reactor" and the NP Pearls showed up today. Still need to pick up some plumbing parts to tie everything together then I'll get this thing going. Not sure what tank to place it on at the moment. :huh:

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:36 pm
by Ted
Harvesting the bacterial products. In other words, nutrient export. With a plant filter, you do the same thing. The nitrogen is not gone until you trim the plants and remove them from the system.

Interesting indeed. We talked about this a long time ago. I'm glad you are finally going down the road.

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:36 pm
by Kmuda
Wal-Mart did not have any Micron filters in stock so I'll head to Lowes this weekend. Before performing water changes this weekend I'll perform nitrate tests on all tanks. Which ever has the highest nitrates will be the recipient of the "Active Pearls".

I'm wondering how often I will need to change the micron filter in order to "harvest" the bacteria byproduct? Weekly would be too expensive to maintain indefinitely. I'm hoping 2 weeks will cut it. A month would be even better. :lthumb:

I may need to rethink the harvesting component a bit.... to something a bit less expensive and easier to change out than a Micron filter, although the cartridges are only about $7 a piece. Perhaps a filter sock?

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:27 pm
by Kmuda
Scratch the Micron Cartridge. I'm going DIY, using this as the final media stage:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/p ... catid=4353

Still have to think through the details. The goal is to have something easy to clean (weekly), which means it has to be easily accessible, and not excessively expensive. Right now, I have the media in mind but not quite how to employee it. As for media, several layers of blue bonded padding, followed by standard filter floss, followed by several layers of the 100 Micron pads. I just have to ensure no bypass.

I do have an Eheim 2217 I have not put to use yet. I think I'll make it the prefilter for this, using it to drive the Phosban reactor containing the Active pearls. I just need to design the outflow from the reactor to catch the excess bacteria and bacterial byproducts.

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:41 pm
by Herefishyfishyfishy
Is this essentially doing the same thing as an Algae Turf Scrubber? In this case you get "active pearls" to get you started on growing the bacteria then you harvest the bacteria on the filter, in the ATS you simply grow the turf algae then harvest it. Am I following this correctly or did I miss something. Sounds like an awesome experiment K. Something I have been wanting to see tested for years now.

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:54 pm
by Kmuda
The "harvesting" component is comparable to an Algae Turf Scrubber but it ends there. If this works, it enables actual completion of the Nitrogen Cycle.

Why is that important?

Stable KH and PH. The nitrification process is acidic, it erodes at the KH Buffer. Denitrificaiton replinishes what nitrification has removed.

Which really does, legitimately, lead us down the road of reduced water changes. You really only need to perform water changes to prevent GH increases (resulting from evaporation) and to replenish trace elements. But I sure would like to move over to one of those two issues as my next target instead of continually fighting nitrate. :lol:

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:01 pm
by Ted
Hey K, what about a Lifeguard set up with a fluidized bed set up first and a mech filter second? I'm not sure how much the mech cartridges are though. Looks like they go to 50 microns. Is that enough?

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:02 pm
by Kmuda
More than enough, but more than I need. A whole house filter at Wal-Mart or home depot can be picked up for $25. Replacement cartridges are $7 each and I can go down to 5 micron if I wanted to. I'm just debating "ease" at this point. It takes about 3 minutes to change out a cartridge in the whole house filter but I would rather it be more like changing out an HOB filter cartridge.

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 7:46 pm
by OscarPhil
Merely posting so i can follow. sounds like a great follow through to try out.


OP the AV

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 9:48 pm
by Kmuda
I have not yet had the time to piece this together. I have everything I need except the pump.... but at this point, I'm thinking I'll just run this inline with the denitrate tower, which already has the micron filter on it and a pump with more than enough power to keep the pearls in proper motion.

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:49 pm
by Kmuda
Mark the date..... Dr. Tim's NP Pearls have been added to my Oscar Tank.

It took a complete sump breakdown. Six hours later, I'm in business.

The sump break down was because I was adding a second return pump, a Quiet One 2200, to drive the 100 Micron filter which is needed to remove excess bacteria and bacterial waste resulting from the hoped for denitrification. To add the pump I had to rearrange, and if I'm going to rearrange I might as well break it all down and give the sponges their yearly cleaning. There are enough sponges in the sump that they completely fill my very large kitchen sink. The sponges are now packed inside storage trays, inside the sump. This makes sure they stay where I want them. :lthumb:

I have not yet ordered the Dr. Tim's Reactor but will be doing so in the coming weeks. I'm currently using a Phosban reactor running inline on the outflow of an Eheim 2217. Working like a champ. The only reason I want the Dr. Tim's reactor is so that I can move the outflow of the reactor to the sump. While connected to a 2217 the outflow of the reactor has to be on the main tank.

On an unrelated note, picked up a few new fish today. My daughter selected a blood red parrot as the sole inhabitor of her tank (that I broke down a few months back and had to stand back up today) and I picked up a pair of Albino Angelfish. I'll get some picks up later. I'm too darn tired to deal with it tonight.

Big fish day in the Kmuda house, an all day event.... and I was not even cleaning filters or changing water. :lol:

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:32 pm
by ~RuSh~
So how long before you are able to see results?

Keep us posted on what you find out.

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:21 pm
by Lilly
Hi Kmuda,

How did things work out? Are you seeing any results yet? :?: :?:

Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:37 pm
by Kmuda
No results yet. I don't expect any. It will likely be another couple of weeks. Establishing the denitrifying bacteria is much like cycling a tank. It takes some time.

My Nitrates before water changes on Sunday were a solid 10ppm. We'll see where we are at this coming Sunday.