NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphate

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

Postby Kmuda » Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:16 pm

It's confirmed. I"m getting some nitrate creep again but I know why. My phosphate test kit came in today and the process has exhausted phosphate. I'll have to dig into some planted tank products for a phosphate supplement to get it cranked back up.

Like nitrates, there will be a continual phosphate creep as a result of Ash content of the foods we feed. But it would appear, absent high phosphate in your tap water, that supplemental phosphate dosing will be required to maintain near zero nitrates. I'll ride out the week and see how high nitrates go before I start supplemental dosing with phosphate.

I'll order in some SeaChem Flourish Phosphorus, which is Potassium Phosphate without any added Nitrates. Now I just need to determine what the impacts would be from the increased potassium in the water.

It never ends. :lol:
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:14 pm

What if there are no available nitrates? I've been looking into using this on my reef setup but nitrates are typically maintained at 0ppm. Will the phosphates still be consumed or should I be looking at phosban?
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:20 am

Each of the magic trilogy is required. Organic carbon (the Pearls), nitrate, and phosphate. Missing any of the three the process shuts down. Well.... shuts down is not accurate because nitrates and phosphates are continually produced, so there will continue to be some measure of removal.

Are your nitrates currently kept at zero via vodka dosing?
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:54 am

I shouldn't say they are maintained at 0ppm... that is misleading. I think that my nitrates stay below 5ppm at just about any given time and the rest is used up by algae. I do have a little bit of cyano growing right now and some diatom which I'm assuming is using up the rest of the nitrates because whenever I test for them, they are 0ppm. If they were maintained at 0ppm, I wouldn't expect to see any algae at all really.

I don't do anything special. Just a regular live rock reef type setup. No vodka dosing, no skimmer, no hob filter.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:19 pm

Any idea what ratio the nitrates to phosphates are consumed? 1:1? I have pretty low phosphates - .25 ppm (I just tested the tank) and higher than normal nitrates 5-10ppm. If they are consumed at a 1:1 ratio I'm not sure how beneficial the pearls will be... after all, nitrates are going to be produced much faster than phosphates.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:31 pm

Per Dr. Tim's presentation, the believed ratio is C:N:P (Carbon, Nitrate, Phosphate) = 50:10:1, or 50 Carbon, 10 Nitrate, 1 phosphorous.

That's a good question Rush. Shows you've been thinking. :ugeek:
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
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55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:49 pm

You know what they say, even a blind squirrel will find a nut eventually. :)

If that is the ratio, I can live with that. I'm definitely going to be looking into making this work for my salt setup.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:08 pm

I've done the unthinkable..... I've added Carbon to my Oscar tank. :shock:

Two reasons. First..... this process has a rather unique smell and I would not qualify it as good one. This distinctive odor has made it into the tank water so I'm adding carbon to see if this can be resolved. Secondly, I need phosphate and, supposedly, carbon leaches phosphate. It's the old "two birds with one stone" concept. Now let's just see how (if) it works.

Definite nitrate creep this week which I'll provide photos this weekend. I continue to remove nitrates as I continue to clean slime from the filter padding, although slime production is down a bit. Nitrates are accumulating faster than the phosphates needed to maintain the process. If the ratio is 10 Nitrate to 1 phosphate, I must be accumulating 20 nitrates to each phosphate, so nitrates are allowed to creep back up.
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:56 pm

I wouldn't imagine there is a lot of phosphate leached from the carbon.... wouldn't that be a characteristic of a poor quality carbon?

How much phosphate would you think you'll get from the carbon? Are you going to try the phosphorus as well?

Keep us posted here.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:19 pm

I don't expect to get much if any phosphate from the carbon. But I convinced myself I might in order to justify adding carbon to the tank to remove the odor. :lol:

I checked it a few minutes ago and after a few hours, the odor is much reduced. So a win there.

I am ordering the phosphorous supplement tomorrow so I'll have it next week.
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of the sub-adults broke back in.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:11 pm

~RuSh~ wrote:I wouldn't imagine there is a lot of phosphate leached from the carbon.... wouldn't that be a characteristic of a poor quality carbon?

How much phosphate would you think you'll get from the carbon? Are you going to try the phosphorus as well?

Keep us posted here.


Completely unexpected. I tested Phosphate this morning. Phosphates are now measuring between .5 and 1. :shock:

Image

The only place the phosphates could have come from that quickly, in that quantity, is the carbon. :huh: I'm using Drs. Foster Name Brand Bulk Carbon (the granular type), filling the optional media cartridges in the Penguin 350. We'll see how this works out next week.

Nitrate tests for the week reveal what I've already told you about, that Nitrates are back, initially attributed to an absence of Phosphate, as revealed by tests earlier in the week.

Image
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of the sub-adults broke back in.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:05 pm

Interesting. I wonder how much a crappy brand of carbon would add to the phosphate levels...

Maybe you should consider something like this? http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/brs-gfo-c ... -dual.html

Run some carbon and then the pearls? The carbon leaches the phosphate, but it would go directly to the pearls instead of into your tank theoretically which would be beneficial.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:21 pm

Not a bad idea Rush. I'll definitely have to consider it. But I would need to see how the media strainers and sponges on your linked reactors tie together. There is no way you could run with one of those sponges using the Pearls. The sponge would clog shut in a week. I could, however, pick up another Phosban Reactor and run it in series with the existing one.

What I really want is one of these:
https://store.drtimsaquatics.com/Pellet ... p_271.html

Then I could place the carbon in the Phosban Reactor.

For comparison later in the week, below are nitrates and phosphates post water change this morning. I'm anxious to see if phosphates increase or decrease through the week. In other words, does the phosphate leached from the carbon come in one blast or constant over time.
Image

In addition, I added about 1/4 cup of Active Pearls to the reactor.
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of the sub-adults broke back in.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:43 am

Ever thought about getting a digital Nitrate tester K? Like one of the Hanna testers? It might save you a butt load of time. 8-)
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:29 pm

I think about it all of the time.... but I can never convince myself to fork over the $250 needed to get one.
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of the sub-adults broke back in.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:44 pm

So are we operating under the assumption that the phosphates are going to dwindle from here on out?
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:40 pm

Rush, at this point I don't know what my assumptions are. I expected my nitrates to start going back down this morning. They are still headed up. It would appear the process has stopped. Perhaps being starved of phosphate for that period of time placed things on hold enough where a "recycle" is needed. :huh:
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of the sub-adults broke back in.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:24 pm

Hmmm. Well keep us posted. Has the slime production been cut as well?
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:11 am

I'm creeping my way into doing this... bidding on an in sump skimmer now. Looking for reactors... :ugeek:
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:27 am

Significant drop in nitrates on this mornings Nitrate test. Significant enough I had to retest to make sure. :lthumb:

Still registering phosphate. Can't really tell if phosphates are dropping because it's so difficult to determine a difference in the tube color. I'll compare photos at the end of the week for that determination.

This is promising. If the processes restarts and can be duplicated, it can be maintained. It's not a fluke. :lthumb:
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of the sub-adults broke back in.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:47 pm

Good to hear. Keep us posted on what that phosphate does. I'm interested to see when it tapers off.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:12 pm

It was a weird week that I'm still trying to piece together potential causes. Nitrates dropped, then went up, then dropped again. Phosphates, on the other hand, increased until Thursday, then pretty much bottomed out by Saturday.

First.... the photo of this weeks nitrate test results. I had a hard time with lighting but the below is honest enough evidence. The colors are a bit darker in the photo than in real life.

Image

You can see Nitrates increased on Monday, then dropped on Tuesday, then (for some reason) increased until Friday, with nitrates dropping Friday and Saturday. I discovered a new problem this week which may contribute to the fluctuations. Some of the original Pearls have gotten small enough that they are being ejected out of the reactor. I will need to figure something out here. I could place the outflow sponge back into the reactor but prior experience with this proved that I could only make it a few days until the bacterial biomass clogged up the sponge. RIght now, I don't have a solution but I'll think of one. As a temporary solution, I'm removing the ejected Pearls from the Flowerbox filter and have added more Pearls to the reactor.

As for Phosphates, a viable explanation is that the Carbon exhausted its phosphate on Wednesday (or so) and the continued denitrification process consumed them. Without the carbon leaching phosphates, it only took about 3 days for phosphates to almost flatline. For this upcoming week, I am dosing with SeaChem Flourish Phosporous.
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of the sub-adults broke back in.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Ted » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:23 pm

Kmuda, I think I have some dry KH2PO4 powder if you want it. I'll check my stash. I also have some lab grade KNO3 that you are welcome to. :D
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby Kmuda » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:12 am

I need to understand what effects "elevated" levels of potassium may have on my Oscar. One thing is for sure, the bacteria on the Pearls must have LOVED the phosphate in the Potassium Phosphate from the SeaChem product. After less than a 50% water change yesterday, nitrates are basically at zero this morning. :lthumb:

I may take you up on that Ted.
100g- Red Oscar Fish, Male Convict, 3 SDs - 20 gallon sump
55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
4 Cats, 2 Shelties, 1 wife, 1 old lady, and one of the sub-adults broke back in.
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Re: NP-Active Pearls for the Control of Nitrate and Phosphat

Postby ~RuSh~ » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:24 pm

Definitely some odd readings there. I wonder if the fading phosphates had something to do with the fluctuation of nitrates? Or perhaps the form of phosphates left behind by carbon are not optimal for use by the bacteria? Seeing as how effective the dosing of Seachems phosphorus was for you, you would think that somehow phosphates were the variable.

I've been doing additional research on NP Active pearls and NPX Biopellets and all of the other biopellets out there.

TCMAS.ORG wrote:Polyhydroxyalkanoates has many industrial uses. Just repackaged for aquarium use. They were not originally designed for use in the hobby. They just buy it in bulk and repackage it. Most if not all are the same.


Is this your impression as well? If that is the case, the difference in price in some products is substantial.
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