Title Changed to Kicking Nitrate's @ss?"

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Title Changed to Kicking Nitrate's @ss?"

Postby Kmuda » Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:19 pm

My c-360 has had a liter of SeaChem Matrix (bio) in it since I got it up and running. Last weekend, I removed the Matrix and replaced it with Reefresh H2O media.

My nitrates have not exceeded 10ppm in quite some time. When I tested nitrates this morning, they had a hint of red in the test tube. I was shocked. I have not seen red in a nitrate test in this tank in forever.

So today, I performed maintenance on my Fluval 404. I pulled one tray of Hagen Biomax (that was scheduled for replacement today anyway) and put the Matrix back in.

You've heard me say (or at least you've read what I've typed) that the correct types of biomedia will produce some level of denitrification even under high flow. While not proof, this is certainly circumstantial evidence that SeaChem Matrix does indeed allow for the establishment of anaerobic areas deep within the media, where denitrification can occur (as they advertise). The removal of the Matrix was the only change in the system and there was an absolute spike in nitrate over the last week.

I will be getting another liter of Matrix in for the next maintance cycle on the c-360, mixing it with the ReefreshH20 media in the third tray.

Another note.... and an indication of just how porous Matrix is..... it floats. I had a heck of a time getting the filter back together today because the Matrix kept floating out of the tray. If you just used the eye test to compare Matrix with BioMax, the BioMax would win hands down. But for it to float, it has to have a lot of inner area filled with air. That air will eventually be forced out and it's these same inner pores that will allow for anarobic denitrification.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby finis55 » Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:30 am

K-man...darn....I mean I do not want to say this but.....Any chance of contamination?......I was queuing regent MSDS's for you and then thought ....I am freaking kidding myself, waste of time with the K-man :lol: ....But it may be a point of contention.....As you know I use Matrix and Azoo rings exclusively.....So I am or now am curious what you've found, if you want me to run the regent I can and will do that for you ....Down to the Atom if you wish......

I have boiled the be-jesus out of my Matrix and Azoo's and am curious if we could loose mass through heat - cooling cracking, material chaffing what have you....Thoughts?
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:49 am

Nope Dave, little chance of contamination. I have test tubes that are reserved for Nitrate testing..... even have a different tube reserved for each day of the week. I did not test for nitrite yesterday, which is something I should have done but it was too late. By the time I noticed the results of the test I was already well into the water change.

Nitrate test kits convert the nitrate back into nitrite, then measure the amount of nitrite in the water. So if your source water contains nitrite then you will get a false "high" reading on your nitrate test kit. However, with all of the filtration I have on this tank it would be a VERY ODD occurence for there to be detectable nitrite.

The only other change to the tank is I added a 4" thick ReefreshH2O block to the sump two weeks ago. I would expect that to lower nitrate, not increase it.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby finis55 » Sun Aug 09, 2009 1:34 pm

I would suppose that to, that is what makes this interesting. I do not have the technicals that you have, but the media is similar. By contamination I was alluding to your high water issue a few weeks back, but should have figured in the care you put forth to begin with.

As a recycler or "soup maker" I have always pondered the longevity of the porous media and that effect on NO, NH etc.....I have steadied out at 5 to 10ppm Q change and have not moved an iota.....I have "finally" ciphered my GH-PH /Temp creep and it is fascinating really.

I guess this is a good lesson for me not to let my comfort level set in as it pertains to "knowing the water"....Test, test, test.......

Thanks for posting this.......D
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:44 pm

The more I study it, the more convinced I am that SeaChem Matrix is an exceptional media. Sinistered glass, such as the Eheim products and biomax's, are very good, but the pore structure may not be as efficient as Matrix. I was always under the impression (using the eye test) that Matrix had a lower surface area than the quality man-made medias. But this may be one of those examples where nature does a better job than man. SeaChem wrote a lengthy scientific article on the subject, using the BET theory of calculating surface area, that they claim proves Matrix contains up to 10x the total surface area of Eheim Ehfisubstrat and 6x the usable surface area. The MSDS on Matrix list it as "100% natural stone". What it is... is pumice rock. So full of pores that it floats, which means that the bacteria is not limited to the outside surface. The bacteria can actually colonize into the interior of the media. Something that man-made products strive to accomplish but rarely do. The only man-made media I find that floats is ReefreshH2O spheres.... and I use it extensively (have been actively replacing my aged Biomax). But I am in the process of potentially rethinking this a bit.

SeaChem Matrix is the only bio-media that the manufacturer labels as "never needs replaced". Their reasoning.... the pore structure is naturally sized to be too small for detritus (and organics) to enter and clog but large enough that rinsing will wash away dead bacteria carcasses. It makes sense.

We'll see. After a thorough cleaning, the Matrix is back in the system.

Dave... did you read the post I made about using the "Plastic Plant Cleaner" product to further recycle media? My cleaning process is...

1. Rinse it
2. Boil it
3. Soak it overnight in the "Plastic Plant Cleaner"
4. Rinse it, Rinse it, Rinse it
5. Final Boil (to make sure I got any of the chemical out of the internal pores and to force out any left over detritus).

My media comes out looking like new after this process. The "Plastic Plant Cleaner" is designed to dissolve organic build up on plastic plants. It does the same to the organics clogging the pores on the biomedia. So using this stuff, in conjunction with the "Kmuda Soup" process, should keep those vital pores cleaned out.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby finis55 » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:20 pm

I did read that...Or at my level "gleaned it in the spirit of understanding it"....1) your article was not on fire 2) your article was not in Cardiac arrest. 3) your article was not made of wood.......... :lol: .

I got the jist, but my underlying question is material chaffing at intermediate temperatures in flux, in other words I use Matrix for all of the reasons you have pointed out, and everything in your post makes sense, but then again you can Temp Flux virtually anything on a regular basis and have separation at the molecular level..Does that mean much?...eh probably not over the short run but eventually most if not all materials natural or otherwise will slough and that was my thought........IE - Less material through the recycle process ='s less porous surface area ='s less bio-media.

With that gibberish out of the way if indeed Matrix actually grows bio-media internally (I agree it is a great product) then even on that level when heated it expands, dies, gets recycled etc, but where are the stresses released and what damage does that do to the integrity of the media itself.

One could say or suppose that all of that shifting caused by the temp flux may just make it better really, differing surface arrangements, minuscule crevasses, open oxygenation through fractures during heating and cooling?....I'd bet so.........

Which all leads back to your point Matrix may just be the Shizzle....Ceramics IMHO will not flex to that degree........

This is a neat thread really.....Makes ya think....
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:47 pm

Matrix is pumice stone, formed in a volcanic explosion. I doubt we could get temps high enough in a kettle of water to change its physical properties. Ceramic glass is another matter, especially if you move it directly from boiling water to cold water. But I don't think the temperature of boiling water is enough to seriously alter the physical characteristics.

Any media looses some measure of its external surface area over time. We've all seen the "sand" particles BioMax (and the such) have left behind in our filters (and for those of us who make the soup, in our pans). But I think this does more to ensure the integrity of the media than degrade it. Each particle of sand that is left behind potentially exposes another pathway into the interior of the media, where the REAL surface area presides, provided it is a quality media.

That said, I do believe in replacing media. As I stated prior, my BioMax is over 3 years old and I am in the process of replacing it with ReefresH2O. Even with the cleaning, biomedia eventually needs replaced.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:27 pm

Still a hint of red in my nitrate tests today. I added the Matrix back into the system last weekend. We'll see if there is any improvement next week. If Matrix houses denitrifying bacteria, it will take a few weeks to restablish those populations.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:43 pm

Well.... we're going to find the answer to this question once and for all. I have a multiple year history of nitrates on my Kissing Fish's 55 gallon tank so I know what they should read on what day.

Today.... I order a Marineland C-220 and 3 liters of SeaChem Matrix. I'll configure the C-220 with the first tray sponge, second tray Eheim Ehfilav, and the top two trays Matrix.

If there is a subsequent nitrate creep drop you know it came from the Matrix.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby wow_it_esploded » Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:28 pm

I would suggest just running the c-220 with the ehfilav and sponge for a few weeks, to rule out ANY other variables. Then after 2 weeks-a month add the matrix.

In theory, this isn't necessary, but in practice, I think it should be done.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:06 pm

A good concept WOW, and if I was just starting that is the route I would take. But the configuration I referenced is exactly what I have in the C-360. I removed the Matrix and nitrate creep went up. The sponge and Ehfilav were still there. So I've already been there.

Besides, if it works, I'll just advertise it as a combination of a Marineland C-Series filter, with sponge>Ehfilav>Matrix reduces nitrate creep. :mrgreen:

Chances are, it's something else, and not the removal of Matrix, that has caused the increased creep. So I save the time by shotgunning it and moving on.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:15 pm

My C-220 arrived today. I'll be awaiting another week on the SeaChem Matrix. Both were ordered the same day (on Monday). The C-220 from Drs Foster and Smith, the Matrix from Big Als. I'll go ahead (tomorrow) and get the C-220 running with the stock sponges in the bottom tray and Eheim Ehfilav in the second, waiting to fill the top two trays with Matrix once it arrives.

So WOW gets at least one week of running with the EhfiLav before the Matrix is added. :mrgreen:
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Sat Aug 22, 2009 3:49 pm

Nitrates are back to normal in the Oscar tank. No red tint. This is two weeks after adding 1 liter of SeaChem Matrix back into the filtration system.

With this, I am convinced Matrix performs as advertised, but will get a better idea from the Kissing fish tank. I got the C-220 up and running today but the Matrix will not in until sometime next week.

I don't want anyone reading this to expect a drastic change on an Oscar tank. My nitrate went from just under 10pppm to probably 15-16ppm without the Matrix (trying to interpret different shades of orange). So in my Oscar tank, 100 gallons, 20 gallon sump, stocked with 1 Oscar and 3 Silver Dollars, the nitrate creep reduction I think I am getting from Matrix is just under 1ppm per day. But it all adds up.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:37 pm

The Matrix biomedia arrived yesterday. It went into the C220 today, with the top two trays loaded down with the stuff. So we'll see in about 3 weeks (or so) if it really makes any difference.

On a side note, a partial complaint. I dug numerous smooth rocks out of the Matrix. I know the product is "natural rock", but what I pulled out was smooth "flint type" rock that served no functional purpose. It's not a significant percentage of the package. Just enough to be annoying. Out of a two liter package of product, I pulled about 20 of these rocks out. I've tossed them into my guppy/platy tank (which has sand as a substrate) for added decoration. They look cool there, but it's not what I was buying Matrix for.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby jonesboy » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:44 pm

I look forward to these results. I may end up replacing the biomax and reefresh20 media in my C-360 with Matrix if it will result in substantial denitrification. Heck any denitrification would probably make it worth it.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby ~RuSh~ » Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:47 pm

Kmuda wrote:The Matrix biomedia arrived yesterday. It went into the C220 today, with the top two trays loaded down with the stuff. So we'll see in about 3 weeks (or so) if it really makes any difference.

On a side note, a partial complaint. I dug numerous smooth rocks out of the Matrix. I know the product is "natural rock", but what I pulled out was smooth "flint type" rock that served no functional purpose. It's not a significant percentage of the package. Just enough to be annoying. Out of a two liter package of product, I pulled about 20 of these rocks out. I've tossed them into my guppy/platy tank (which has sand as a substrate) for added decoration. They look cool there, but it's not what I was buying Matrix for.


Well at least you are getting your moneys worth. :lol:

I read this thread earlier, but now have a vested interest since I just ordered a few liters tonight. I dumped my old test kit before the move so I need to buy a new one, but I am interested in the effects the matrix media will have on my tanks. Maybe tomorrow I will wander to a lps and pick up a test kit and find out what the creep on my tanks are now that they have had some time to settle in.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Sat Sep 05, 2009 1:57 pm

I can report a substantial drop in nitrate creep in the Kissing Fish tank. I am not willing to attribute this to anything other than decreased feeding in my absence the prior week. But it is worthy to note that the nitrate creep reduction in this tank surpassed what was experienced in the other tanks. Next week's readings will be a much better indicator.

I've also replaced the Eheim Ehfilav in the Magnum 350 on the Angelfish tank with Matrix. We'll see what we get in the upcoming weeks there as well.

Nitrate creep on the Oscar tank was the best I've seen in years. Again, a significant portion of this drop is related to decreased feedings in my absence but it was nice to see nitrates that low this morning. A very light shade of orange in the test tube. I also did some tinkering with the "safe denitrification" filter last weekend which should produce some dividends as well.

None of my tanks kit 20ppm this last week. The Angelfish tank was at a perfect 10ppm. The Oscartank below 10ppm, and the Kissing Fish tank at about 15ppm. It's a good example of how decreased feeding results in decreased nitrate creep.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:10 pm

The SeaChem Matrix has been in the Kissing Fish Tank for two weeks. Last week, there was a significant reduction in nitrate creep which I attribute to decreased feedings in my absence. This week... nada. Nitrates are normal, there has been no reduction in nitrate creep.

It does appear that nitrates are even a little lower than has been the case in the Angelfish tank and SeaChem Matrix was added to this tank last weekend.

I've always been of the opinion that SeaChem DeNitrate, Matrix, and Renew are the same exact material, just different sizes. If I had to guess, DeNitrate is the small chunks left over from the creation of Matrix, and Renew is the even smaller bits. If this is the case, you can expect Matrix to have an immediate impact on nitrates via chemical absoption as it is known (advertised and proven... and experienced first hand) that DeNitrate has an initial absorption capability. In my experience with DeNitrate, this initial absorption lasts about 2 weeks and then you start getting some bacterial denitrification about a month later.

We'll see what happens with the Matrix in the Kissing Fish tank. Some results last week, potentially the result of decreased feedings or possibly an indication that Matrix and DeNitrate are the same material, just different sizes, and you also experience an initial adsorption benefit with Matrix.

As for the Angelfish tank, as mentioned, it appears I experienced another slight decrease in nitrate creep this week. With the Matrix media added to this tank last weekend, this is potentially further evidence of initial absorption with Matrix (which would be further evidence that DeNitrate and Matrix are the same material). Hard to tell though. Other variables apply such as the minor ammonia spike I experienced as well as the continued use of Chemi-pure.

But the important point is that after 2 weeks of Matrix in the Kissing Fish tank, there was no improvement in nitrate creep this week. And there are no other variables associated with this tank.

The Oscar tank? I'm as happy as I can be. Very little Nitrate creep this week, if any. I've never seen this before. I'm halfway tempted to not do a water change this weekend to see what happens. What's different here? One of two things. The SeaChem Matrix was added back (top two trays of the Fluval 404 instead of the C-360) about a month ago and a week before that I added 2 liters of ReefresH2O to the C-360 (replacing Matrix and Hagen BioMax). Another is that two weeks ago I began experiencing some issues with my "safe denitrification" filter maintaining it's prime, so I redid the inflow and am getting a much better flow into the filter, resulting in a higher flow rate than I've had in the past. Regardless.... I'm not touching a thing. I'm not cleaning a filter, nothing, nada. If it's not broke, don't fix it. We do all of the filter maintenance to maintain low nitrates. Right now, I'm experiencing the lowest level of nitrate creep I've ever experienced, so I'll leave it all alone until that changes.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:28 am

Major decrease in Nitrate creep in the Angelfish tank this week. Normally, my Saturday testing identifies a solid 20ppm, with enough red in the tube to be concerned nitrate may even be approaching 40ppm. Today, 3 weeks after the addition of SeaChem Matrix Bio, there is no hint of red in the test tube, which is a solid indication of 10ppm. But I've experienced this one other time, following my absence for a week, where the fish were bairly fed for most of the week, only to have it bounce back the following week.

In all fairness, there was a slight decrease in feedings last week, but not enough (I don't think) to account for the decrease in Nitrate creep indicated by todays testing. Basically, the Pleco recieved 3 less Algae Wafers this week than is normal and I skipped one feeding of veggie flakes to the kissing fish (who is normally fed twice per day).

There is no hint of red in the Angelfish tank nitrate test this morning either, even though I'm pretty certain the Chemi-pure media is exhausted (pH fell to 6.8 ). I added SeaChem Matrix Bio to this tank several weeks back. There has been no decreased feeding to this tank. In fact, I added 5 guppies to it last weekend (1 male and 4 very laden females).

Oscar tank still holding steady, indicating very little nitrate creep through the week (I'll post some pics later). Since I have so much going on with this tank it would be hard to credit SeaChem Matrix for this, but circumstantial evidence indicates it certainly contributes.

Thus far, I think the claims that SeaChem Matrix can help reduce Nitrate creep are valid.

In the Kissing fish tank, I have two trays of a Marineland C-220 packed with as much of the stuff as would fit (almost 2 liters, I believe). In the Angelfish tank, I have the media container of a Magnum 350 filled with it.

The next question is... do these benefits last?
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:14 pm

No decrease in feedings the last week. Nitrates tested above 10ppm today, probably about 15ppm. No "hint of red" in the tube, just a solid orange, which tells me it's greater than 10 but less than 15 (assuming the red tint starts in above 15ppm). Regardless, a heavier shade of orange than are the readings for the Oscar tank or the Angelfish tank but still substantially lower than was the norm for this tank.

But higher than last week. Last week, nitrates in the Kissing Fish tank were no higher than the other two tanks. A light shade of orange.

Is this evidence of an initial absorption capability of Matrix that has been exhausted or do 3 Algae wafers and 1 skipped feeding of spirulina flakes make up the difference?

Image
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55g - 21 Year Old Kissing Gourami + friends
55g - Angelfish - 29g Livebearer Community
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:26 pm

Kmuda wrote:The next question is... do these benefits last?


Apparently not... below are nitrate tests from this week on the Kissing Fish tank. Nitrate's are back up around 20ppm. Still somewhat lower than they used to be, but an increase none the less. When you read me talking about a "hint of red", the Sat. test is a perfect example of this. Red is bad.

Image

SeaChem Matrix Bio has been removed from this tank. Boyd's ChemiPure has been added. So we'll see what the readings are next week.
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Josh » Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:53 am

So are you are unhappy with the results?

In your opinion do you still think that seachem denitrate and matrix are the same media?
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:42 am

I am not unhappy with the results. Nitrates are lower following use of Matrix than with it. Before I added a canister, with Matrix, I was concerned nitrates were even approaching 40ppm. I have not had that concern since. This is on an overstocked 55 gallon tank. It houses a Kissing Gourami (about 9") and a Pleco that is over 1' long, as well as the Serpaes and a RTBS.

My current question is..... was it the Matrix that caused the reduction or simply the addition of a canister filter. This much I currently know:

- Oscar tank: I had an increase in nitrate creep following removal of SeaChem Matrix. This increase disappeared when I added the Matrix back to the tank.

- The limiting factor in denitrification is dissolved organics. This means I am not going to get increased denitrification by adding more Matrix. There is a "fixed" amount that will serve the purpose because, like nitrifying bacteria, whose colonies size is based upon the amount of ammonia/nitrite in tank, populations of denitrifying bacteria are regulated by the amount of dissolved organics.

- Where I have canister filters, I have reduced nitrate creep. Where I only have HOB filters, I have nitrate creep higher than expected.

So I will be trying to find the answer to a couple of questions in the coming weeks:

- Will I experience the same reduction in nitrates via the use of ChemiPure in the Kissing Fish tank that I experienced in the Angelfish tank?

- Will replacing the HOBs on the livebearer tank with a canister (not using Matrix) result in decreased nitrate creep.

- Will the removal of HOBs altogether from the Angelfish tank (using only canisters) result in decreased nitrate creep.

Then I'll decide what questions remain and proceed from there.

To answer your other question... Yes, I believe Matrix and DeNitrate are different chunk sizes of the same type of rock.
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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Kmuda
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Josh » Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:31 pm

Fair enough.
Why do you suggest in you denitration filter thread that the idea is to have as much media as possible if the level of denitrifying bacteria is limited by the ammount of dissolved organics? Is it because the finite level of denitrifying bacteria need masses of media to be reached, even with limited levels of dissolved organics?

Thanks for putting up with my incessant, poorly constructed questions. :lol:
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:21 am

Josh wrote:Fair enough.
Why do you suggest in you denitration filter thread that the idea is to have as much media as possible if the level of denitrifying bacteria is limited by the ammount of dissolved organics? Is it because the finite level of denitrifying bacteria need masses of media to be reached, even with limited levels of dissolved organics?


It's the same concept as a deep sand bed. I have a DeNitrate bed that is basically 6 feet deep. Trying to provide an environment conducive to the creation of anoxic conditions. That.... and you don't want the limiting factor to be something you can easily control, which is the amount of media used.

But you are correct in asking the question. I should have clarified that statement. In this instance, it was specific to the Oscar tank. I do not have that answer on the other tanks. It's one of the reasons I moved the C-220 over to the Angelfish tank.
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.
User avatar
Kmuda
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