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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:58 pm

As I identified in another post, I filled my Classic 2217 with SeaChem Matrix Bio today, so we'll see if there is any change in the Oscar tank in the coming weeks.

More pertinent, last weekend I moved the C-220 from the Kissing Fish tank to the Angelfish tank, removing the Marineland Penguin 350 from the Angelfish tank. So the Angelfish tank is the only tank I have without an HOB. It's running a Magnum 350 (filled with Matrix Bio) and the C-220 (with two trays of Matrix). Preliminary indications are that the Angelfish tank has now surpassed the Oscar tank as the tank with the lowest level of nitrate creep. :shock:

We'll see what the week ending nitrate tests indicate.
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: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:11 pm

An update on this subject, much to parlay in a short space. To begin, Nitrates on the Oscar tank for this week.

Image

What's important here is a comparison between Thursday and Friday. As I stated in a prior post, on Thursday I replaced the Eheim EhfiSubstrat Pro in my Classic 2217 with SeaChem Matrix Bio (the EhfiSubstrat was relocated to the C-360, replacing some Hagen BioMax that was due for cleaning). It's a bit hard to tell from the pic, but there was an actual decrease in nitrates from Thursday to Friday. It's obvious if your holding the two tubes and comparing them but it's a bit more difficult to tell from the photo. To me, this is evidence indicating an initial absorption capability of the media (this was brand new Matrix). In turn, this would further justify my belief that SeaChem Matrix and SeaChem Denitrate are just different sized chunks of the same type of rock (as will be, I believe, SeaChem Renew).

Next, a photo of nitrates in all 4 tanks as they were on October 3rd followed by nitrates on October 9th. Each photo represents a weeks worth of nitrate accumulation.

Image
Image

I hope it shows through on your PC, but on mine, there appears to be a slight decrease in nitrate creep on both the Oscar Tank and the Kissing Fish Tank. For the Oscar tank I can attribute this decrease to the adding of SeaChem Matrix to the 2217 (and the subsequent initial absorption capacity of Matrix). The potential oddity is the Kissing Fish tank. This tank is not currently running any SeaChem Matrix. It is, however, now running Boyd's ChemiPure (see the ChemiPure Thread for more details, some additional oddities associated with this). The Fluval 404 was added to this tank last week, running Eheim EhfiLav, ChemiPure, Fluval BioMax, and Hagen BioMax. The C-220 that was on this tank (filled with SeaChem Matrix) has been moved to the Angelfish Tank. I'm a bit surprised that nitrates on the Kissing Fish tank decreased instead of increased (a further indication that ChemiPure does indeed have an impact of Nitrates). I am also surprised that nitrates did not decrease further on the Angelfish tank (which potentially defeats my theory that use of HOBs can result in higher nitrate creep than canisters stocked with the right media). I'm also confused because the Thursday morning Nitrate tests (sorry, no pics) indicated nitrates were much lower in the Angelfish tank than anywhere else (about the color of the Tuesday test on the Oscar tank). I was bona-fide ready to celebrate. :evil: What happened Thursday and Friday to cause Nitrates to suddenly increase so much? My oldest daugher was visiting Thursday and Friday, along with several of her and my youngest daughters friends (paying XBox, had them scattered all over the house). Perhaps they fed the tank a couple of times?

So here is where I am currently at:

Nitrate creep has been decreased substantially in both the Angelfish and Kissing Fish tank (based upon when I started all of this). Nitrates in these tanks used to be where nitrates currently are in the livebearer tank (see the above pics). This can be attributed to three things.
1. The initial absorption capability of SeaChem Matrix (although this has since expired)
2. The denitrification ability of SeaChem Matrix in a Canister filter
3. The use of Boyd's ChemiPure

Nitrates continue to be maintained at a relatively low level in the Oscar tank. This can be attributed to many things:
1. Relatively light stocking, although I am feeding heavily (twice daily, he's still growing).
2. Use of SeaChem Denitrate in the denitrate filter
3. Use of SeaChem Matrix in the Canister filters
4. Use of sponges and Reefresh H2O blocks in the sump.

What I am still trying to prove/learn/disprove:
1. Do HOBs cause more of a nitrate issue than a canister? (someone please question this concept, I have an answer). :lol:
2. What is the limiting factor preventing an increase in the amount of denitrification I am achieving (probably organic carbon).
3. Why did I not achieve additional nitrate creep reduction in the Angelfish tank (potentially ties back to #2)
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: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Josh » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:37 pm

Kmuda wrote:What I am still trying to prove/learn/disprove:
1. Do HOBs cause more of a nitrate issue than a canister? (someone please question this concept, I have an answer).


I'll bite :lol:
You've found an answer?
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:44 pm

Nope.... I'm waiting on someone to question the concept. Nitrate creep in a tank is actually straight math. You add "x" amount of protein (primarily via feeding) to a specific volume of water, which results in "x" amount of nitrate creep.

So I'll ask you the question (welcome to the Kmuda School of Aquarium Husbandry and Better BBQ). :lol: Given the fact that it is simple math, why would I even think it is possible that one type of filter will result in higher nitrates than another?
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: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Josh » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:59 pm

Environmental variables? I mean yeah its simple math but if you are correct in saying that denitrification can happen in the correct environment then its completely possible for different environments to result in different ammounts of nitrate creep... Then again as this denitrification is supposed to happen within the media I don't see how different environments could affect this.
When you first said that HOB's don't result in denitrification did you have seachem matrix running in any of them? (I think I've asked this previously but I forget).
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Re: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Kmuda » Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:24 pm

OK.... "The Kmuda Theory"

First:
For denitrification to occur, anoxic conditions must exist. Canister filters and HOB filters (in our tanks) are both laden with O2. The way anoxic conditions can occur within the internal pores of the media is that nitrifying bacteria strip the oxygen from the water as it passes the outer pores so that water has reduced oxygen content when it reaches the internal pores. There are facultative anaerobic bacteria that perform denitrification under these conditions (bacteria that can survive in conditions with, or without oxygen, changing their behavior based upon the availability of oxygen).

Second:
If you have HOB filters on a tank they will be reducing ammonia and nitrIte levels just as a canister filter does. The problem is they are limiting the amount of ammonia and nitrIte that are reaching the canister. If there is not enough ammonia/nitrIte reaching the canister to enable nitrifying bacteria to strip the oxygen from the water before it reaches the internal pores, then water reaching the internal pores will contain too much oxygen to support denitrification. End result... your nitrate levels are going to be higher than if the HOBs did not exist.

Third:
The internal pore structure that enables this are in a specific micron range (sorry, I cannot name the size off the top of my head) and this pore size is smaller than that required to support nitrifying bacteria. These pores would be quickly clogged by debris in an HOB, eliminating any denitrification capabilities of the media. In addition, canister filters work under pressure, which results in water being forced through the media. Water in HOBs tends to flow over or around media, without the pressure to force water into the internal pores.

Fourth:
We often state that "There is no such thing as too much filtration". We'll.... if this theory is correct, you absolutely can have too much filtration, especially if a significant percentage of that filtration is via HOBs. The same can be said for having too many canister filters and and too much biomedia. I am the filtration hog, possessing a firm belief that if a little is good, then extremely massive over-kill is better, and approach all of my tanks with that concept. My Oscar tank has enough filtration to deal with Shamu's tank at Water World. If this theory is correct, I will be forced to remove a big part of my enjoyment from the hobby. :lol:

I'm also a huge believer in Biowheels. If this theory is correct, it would also mean that BioWheels would be the worst offenders. Ever wonder why reefers run screaming from biowheels?
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: SeaChem Matrix - Nitrate Reduction?

Postby Josh » Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:51 pm

Kmuda wrote:OK.... "The Kmuda Theory"

First:
For denitrification to occur, anoxic conditions must exist. Canister filters and HOB filters (in our tanks) are both laden with O2. The way anoxic conditions can occur within the internal pores of the media is that nitrifying bacteria strip the oxygen from the water as it passes the outer pores so that water has reduced oxygen content when it reaches the internal pores. There are facultative anaerobic bacteria that perform denitrification under these conditions (bacteria that can survive in conditions with, or without oxygen, changing their behavior based upon the availability of oxygen).

Second:
If you have HOB filters on a tank they will be reducing ammonia and nitrIte levels just as a canister filter does. The problem is they are limiting the amount of ammonia and nitrIte that are reaching the canister. If there is not enough ammonia/nitrIte reaching the canister to enable nitrifying bacteria to strip the oxygen from the water before it reaches the internal pores, then water reaching the internal pores will contain too much oxygen to support denitrification. End result... your nitrate levels are going to be higher than if the HOBs did not exist.

Third:
The internal pore structure that enables this are in a specific micron range (sorry, I cannot name the size off the top of my head) and this pore size is smaller than that required to support nitrifying bacteria. These pores would be quickly clogged by debris in an HOB, eliminating any denitrification capabilities of the media. In addition, canister filters work under pressure, which results in water being forced through the media. Water in HOBs tends to flow over or around media, without the pressure to force water into the internal pores.

Fourth:
We often state that "There is no such thing as too much filtration". We'll.... if this theory is correct, you absolutely can have too much filtration, especially if a significant percentage of that filtration is via HOBs. The same can be said for having too many canister filters and and too much biomedia. I am the filtration hog, possessing a firm belief that if a little is good, then over-kill is better, and approach all of my tanks with that concept. My Oscar tank has enough filtration to deal with Shamu's tank at Water World. If this theory is correct, I will be forced to remove a big part of my enjoyment from the hobby. :lol:

I'm also a huge believer in Biowheels. If this theory is correct, it would also mean that BioWheels would be the worst offenders. Ever wonder why reefers run screaming from biowheels?


I would have to agree on those points (theres no way I can't)
I can only see one occasion where many of the above points could be negated. I know you run a HOB on your sump, and that you prefilter the water going into your sump (so the water feeding the HOB would be much cleaner). in my head this would result in the pores not becoming clogged in theory wouldn't this make the HOB less effective than a canister yet still capable of denitrification? this would still lessen the ammonia and nitrite reaching the canister resulting in less effective denitrification overall... but proves that the simple math still stands strong.
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Re: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Kmuda » Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:00 am

You really want those HOBs to work, don't you. :lol:

You still have the issue where an HOB is not working under pressure, which means the water tends to flow over or around the media, not being forced through it by the water being under pressure (as it is in a canister). You also have the issue of quantity. My Marineland C-360 holds 13 liters of media. My Eheim Classic 2217 holds 6 liters. In an HOB, at best you're going to fit a handful.

All of the odds are against achieving any level of denitrification using an HOB filter.
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: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Josh » Sun Oct 11, 2009 7:17 pm

Well you can't say I didn't try - I am now under the assumption that HOB's have very little (no) chance of denitrification. In saying that I must admit that it seems as if they worsen nitrate levels that being said the question is "Is removing HOB's the best way to go?" Im thinking the answer is yes for biological filtration matters but they must still be viable mechanical filtration devices.
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Re: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Kmuda » Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:06 pm

There is one very big assumption associated with this:

That you actually get (limited) denitrification from a high flow rate canister stocked with the proper media. I'm still working on this one but will have the definitive answer in another couple of months

If that is the case, then yes, HOBs would be a problem.

But as far as biological filters, if your not worried about minimizing nitrate creep (the above assumption applies), a good HOB works wonderfully.
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: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Kmuda » Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:45 pm

To get to an end point, I ordered two more filters. An Eheim 2215, which will go onto the Livebearer tank (filled with SeaChem Matrix of course), replacing both of the Penguin filters (one at a time) and an Eheim 2213, which does not necessarily apply to this process at all.

With the removal of the Fluval 404 from the Oscar tank, the C-360 is performing more mechanical filtration than I want. I'll add the 2213, which, in conjunction with the 2217, should account for about the same level of mechanical filtration previously being performed by the fluval. The 2213 will not have any biomedia, only Eheim sponges (ordered an extra set) and poly padding, although I might add some "Poly Filter" (chemical media) to it.
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: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Kmuda » Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:04 pm

No changes to report this week. Everything is holding steady at the same levels as the past week. Nitrates may be up just a tad more on the Kissing Fish tank. Potentially an indication that I need to perform some filter maintenance.

The new Eheim's should be here tomorrow. That will allow some progress in determining Canister vs H.O.B as it relates to nitrate reduction. Once I unbox everything and get a good "look-see", I'll determine which filter goes where. I also need to see how much SeaChem Matrix I have on hand. The first priority is in filling the Eheim going onto the livebearer tank with Matrix. Hopefully I have enough left to fill a tray or two on the Fluval (Kissing Fish 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.
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Re: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Kmuda » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:25 pm

The 2213 went on the Livebearer tank. I tried the 2215 and it just blew the fish around to much, so the 2215 went onto the Oscar tank. The 2213 has been filled with SeaChem Matrix so in the upcoming weeks I should get a final reading on the ability of a canister filter with the right type of media reducing nitrates.

Because I've added the 2215 onto the Oscar tank, I've converted the Magnum 350 on that tank over to the Micron Cartridge (for mechanical), stocking the 2215 with the EhfiMech, stock sponge, Eheim EhfiLav (used primarily as a mechanical screen), blue bonded padding cut to fit, poly fiber filter padding, and the stock polishing pads. The intent is to lessen mechanical filtration on the C-360.

Don't laugh, but filtration on my 100 gallon Oscar tank (with a 20 gallon sump) currently is:

1 Marineland C-360 (Stock Sponges, Eheim Ehfilav, Eheim EhfiSubstrate Pro, Reefresh H2O)
1 Eheim Classic 2217 (EhfiMech, Sponge, SeaChem Matrix, Polishing Pad)
1 Eheim Classic 2215 (EhfiMech, Sponge, Eheim EhfiLav, Polishing Pad)
1 Magnum 350 (with BioWheel 30 and Micron Cartridge)
1 Magnum HOT (SeaChem Matrix)
1 Penguin 350
1 Denitrate Filter (probably 10 liters of SeaChem Denitrate)
2 Azoo Oxygen + Bio 4 Air Driven Sponge filters (each rated for a 75 gallon tank)
1 Azoo Oxygen + Bio 2 Air Driver sponge filter (rated for a 50 gallon tank)

I don't think I need the Penguin. I might turn it off. :lol:

On the Kissing Fish Tank (55 gallons)
1 Fluval 404 (Eheim EhfiLav, ChemiPure, Fluval BioMax, Hagen BioMax)
1 Penguin 350
1 Penguin 150
1 Azoo Oxygen + Bio 5 Air Driven Sponge filter (rated for a 30 gallon tank)
1 PennPlax Clearfree II Corner filter (Air Driven)

I think I will retire the Penguin 150

On the Angelfish tank (55 gallons), I am down to:
1 Magnum 350 Pro (Biowheel 60, SeaChem Matrix)
1 Marineland C-220 (Stock sponges, Eheim Ehilav, SeaChem Matrix)
Snall AquaTech (Sponge prefilter, ChemiPure)
1 PennPlax Clearfree II Corner filter (Air Driven)

On the Livebearer tank (30 gallons):
1 Eheim Classic 2217 (EhfiMech, Sponge, SeaChem Matrix, Polishing Pad)
1 Penguin 150
1 Azoo Oxygen + Bio 2 Air Driven Sponge filter (rated for a 50 gallon tank)

Once the Eheim Classic 2213 cycles, I will remove the Penguin 150.
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: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Josh » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:37 pm

I got a question for oyu K-man...
... The HOT magnum's confuse me, a HOB AND a canister?! :lol:

I know what the answer should be but in your opinion do they work for denitrificaton?
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Re: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Kmuda » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:44 pm

HOT Magnums are canisters that hang on the tank. But they absolutely do qualify as a canister. Yes, they would qualify as acceptable within the "Kmuda Theory".

I would rather hang a Magnum HOT on a tank than any Penguin or AquaClear filter, any day.
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: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Ahab's Foot » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:12 pm

Don't laugh, but filtration on my 100 gallon Oscar tank (with a 20 gallon sump) currently is:

1 Marineland C-360 (Stock Sponges, Eheim Ehfilav, Eheim EhfiSubstrate Pro, Reefresh H2O)
1 Eheim Classic 2217 (EhfiMech, Sponge, SeaChem Matrix, Polishing Pad)
1 Eheim Classic 2215 (EhfiMech, Sponge, Eheim EhfiLav, Polishing Pad)
1 Magnum 350 (with BioWheel 30 and Micron Cartridge)
1 Magnum HOT (SeaChem Matrix)
1 Penguin 350
1 Denitrate Filter (probably 10 liters of SeaChem Denitrate)
2 Azoo Oxygen + Bio 4 Air Driven Sponge filters (each rated for a 75 gallon tank)
1 Azoo Oxygen + Bio 2 Air Driver sponge filter (rated for a 50 gallon tank)


Are you ever tempted to take things up a notch: a 300 gallon tank with an Umbee, for instance? Gorgeous fish, and Lord only knows what filtration challenges it would pose. :lol: This could renew the enjoyment your theory threatens to displace.
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Re: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Kmuda » Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:17 pm

I'd be happier with a 300 gallon tank full of Discus, Uaru, Cardinal Tetras, and Cories. :lol:
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: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Kmuda » Sat Oct 24, 2009 9:05 pm

A long post.... probably should have been saved for use as an article in the next magazine, but I did not want to wait, so here you go.

For reference, a five-week collection of images associated with nitrate creep in my tanks is included below with details/conclusions below the images:

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Oscar Tank:
Nitrates have remained stable and this remains the tank with the lowest nitrate creep per week. To be fully satisfied, I would still need to knock off a couple days worth of nitrate creep from this tank. Methods of nitrate creep reduction in this tank are:
- Moderate Stocking (although I am still feeding twice per day)
- Feed primarily Hikari BioGold Plus
- Use of SeaChem Matrix Biomedia in Eheim 2217
- Multiple Canister Filters (C-360, Eheim 2217, Eheim 2215)
- Use of passive sponges and Reefresh H2O in sump
- Large, air driven sponge filters in Sump
- “Safe Denitrification” filter using SeaChem DeNitrate

The factor limiting further denitrification in this tank is organic carbon.

The next step in improving denitrification on this tank is to investigate and employee an organic carbon source.

Kissing Fish Tank:
Overall, nitrates have been much reduced in this tank but less so than has been achieved in either the Oscar tank or the Angelfish tank. Prior to August 26th (when Matrix was added to the system) nitrates were well exceeding 25ppm, potentially reaching 40ppm. I would very much like to maintain nitrates in this tank as they appeared October 9th but subsequent weeks have identified nitrates higher than I would like. Still not exceeding 20ppm like they were prior to August 26th, but not quite where I want them. This is a heavily stocked tank with a 9’ Kissing Gourami, a RTBS, a Pleco that is probably about 15” (including tail), and a school of 5 silver dollars. With that stocking in mind, and with the prior history of higher nitrates in this tank, I consider this tank evidence that SeaChem Matrix Bio does result in some measure of nitrate creep reduction.

This tank also provided evidence of an initial absorption capacity of SeaChem Matrix as the first week Matrix was in use on this tank was the lowest nitrate readings the tank has experienced.

I would also consider the results from this tank as evidence of ChemiPure’s ability to lower nitrates, although I only experienced this result (in this tank) for 1 week (the week of October 9th). I’ve experienced better results (longer lasting) with ChemiPure in the Angelfish Tank. The difference? ChemiPure in the Kissing Fish tank is under high flow (in a Fluval 404) while ChemiPure in the Angelfish tank is under low flow (in a small HOB filter). While this is only circumstantial, my recommendation would be to use ChemiPure under low flow instead of in a high flow canister.

Overall, nitrate creep reduction in this tank has been reduced by about 25%.

Methods of nitrate creep reduction in this tank are currently:
- Use of SeaChem Matrix Bio in the Canister Filter
- Use of Boyd’s ChemiPure
- Plants (although these were there when I was experiencing 25ppm-40ppm nitrate)

The factor(s) limiting further denitrification in this tank is (are) potentially:
1. Fluval Sucks
2. Insufficient quantities of SeaChem Matrix (or other biomedia that can achieve denitrification at high flows).
3. The flow of a Fluval 404 may be to excessive, reducing denitrification efficiency.
4. Insufficient amount of organic carbon.

The next steps in improving denitrification on this tank are:
1. Increase the amount of SeaChem Matrix in use
2. Remove one of the HOB filters (likely the Penguin 150)
3. Add another lower flow filter (such as an Eheim 2215) filled with SeaChem Matrix (likely replacing the Fluval 404).
4. Investigate and employee an organic carbon source.

Angelfish Tank:
Like the Kissing Fish tank, prior to August 15th (when ChemiPure was added) nitrates in this tank were exceeding 25ppm, potentially reaching 40ppm. Overall, via use of ChemiPure and SeaChem Matrix Bio, a verifiable reduction in nitrate creep has been achieved, with the most significant reduction being achieved via use of ChemiPure in a low flow HOB filter. The nitrate reducing effects of ChemiPure on this tank lasted for about 1 month, compared to 1 week on the Kissing Fish Tank.

I did not experience the same “initial absorption” results when adding SeaChem Matrix Bio to this tank (it was added on September 5th). However, because the primary filter on this tank (at the time) was a Magnum 350, the replacement of the media inside the media container of the Magnum 350 (with SeaChem Matrix) resulted in a mini-cycle of the tank, which lasted for a couple of days. This mini-cycle invalidated readings for the week I would expect “initial absorption” to occur.

An initial reduction in nitrate creep was achieved using ChemiPure, which lasted for about 1 month. An additional observable reduction occurred three weeks following the introduction of SeaChem Matrix Bio (via the Magnum 350). The inclusion of additional SeaChem, via the adding of a C-220 (with two trays of Matrix) to the system, has not resulted in further reduction of nitrate creep.

Initial testing of the "Kmuda Theory" has not produced positive results. The removal of the remaining HOB filter on this tank (a Penguin 350) occurred on October 3rd. Subsequent weeks have actually resulted in higher nitrate creep than occurred prior to the removal of the HOB. This may be an indication that the loss of mechanical filtration resulting from the removal of the HOB has resulted in additional pore clogging of the Matrix media, limiting denitrification capacity.

Overall, nitrate creep in this tank has been reduced by about 50%.

Methods of nitrate creep reduction in this tank are currently:
- Use of SeaChem Matrix Bio in a Fluval 404
- Use of Boyd’s ChemiPure

The factor limiting further denitrification in this tank is organic carbon.

The next step in improving denitrification on this tank is to investigate and employee an organic carbon source. I may also improve mechanical filtration on this tank to determine if that returns nitrate creep to pre-October 9th levels.

Livebearer Tank:
Surprisingly, this tank, stocked with guppies, platys, and swordtails, has experienced the highest nitrate creep of any of my tanks, reaching nitrate levels in excess of 20ppm, potentially reaching as high as 40ppm.

The jury is still out as SeaChem Matrix has only been in use for the last two weeks. However, if nothing else, this tank provides further evidence of an initial absorption capability of Matrix. When you compare week ending nitrate readings on this tank prior to October 17th with readings from the last two weeks, the reduction in nitrate creep is obvious. The only explanation for this is an initial absorption capacity of the Matrix media as it is simply not feasible for the denitrifying bacteria to yet be fully established.

The amount of nitrate creep reduction (long term) has yet to be determined, although there has been a short-term reduction of probably 30%.

Methods of nitrate creep reduction in this tank are currently:
- Plants (although these have been there)
- Use of SeaChem Matrix Bio in an Eheim 2213

What I am still hoping to learn from this tank:
- There are no potential conflicts with other methods of denitrification or chemical filtration so I should learn the total capacity of SeaChem Matrix Bio to reduce nitrate creep.
- Once nitrate creep stabilizes (from use of SeaChem Matrix), I intend to remove the remaining HOB filter to judge its impacts (reference the “Kmuda Theory” discussed previously in this thread.)
- Does Matrix, as a denitrification enabling media, perform better at lower flow than higher flow?
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: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Kmuda » Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:02 pm

Does anyone care about this stuff or should I stop posting about it? If nothing else, it serves as a personal journal for me.

This week, a significant reduction in nitrate creep across the board. For comparison, the first pic are the results from October 24th followed by todays. Explainations follow the pcis:

Image
Image

First off, the reduction in Nitrate creep on the Kissing Fish tank can be attributed to increased water changes and reduced feeding. When I performed my Sunday tests (the day after water changes) I noticed that nitrates on the Kissing fish tank were still registering around 10ppm so I performed another major water change. Then, during the week, I skipped the Pleco Algae wafters on Tuesday and Thursday while cutting the Kissing Fish back to once per day feeding on those two days.

I cannot really explain the reduction in the Angelfish tank other than I consider this a return to the new normal. Potentially a restablization of the tank following all of the equipment changes.

Further reduction in the livebearer tank is, I think, continued validation of the capacity of a canister filter (containing the right kind of media) to provide some measure of denitrification. In this case, "some measure" is proving to be significant. We are beyond the time frame where "initial absorption" is playing a role and three weeks into the introduction of Matrix. It generally takes three weeks + for denitrification bacteria to become established and that appears to be what has occurred in this tank. I also think I am discovering that SeaChem Matrix works better under a relatively low flow rate (which makes perfect sense). In this instance, the Matrix is in an Eheim 2213, with a flow rate of about 150GPH. This tank has gone from experiencing the worst nitrate creep on any of my tanks (when it had nothing but HOB filters) to being the second best. All that has been done is to add an Eheim 2213 full of SeaChem Matrix to the tank.

The Oscar tank this week is very interesting. Below is a pic of the weeks worth of nitrate testing on this tank.
Image

With all of the issues I experienced with the sump on this tank this week I expected this to be out of wack in the other direction (higher nitrate). But the reverse occurred. First off, you have to exclude the Sat. results as the sump was drained and reorganized on Friday. This resulted in a water change of about 15 gallons. But exclude that and the test on Friday are about the same as prior weeks Wed. tests, which was (is) my goal, to knock off those two days of nitrate creep (see prior posts). This cannot be attributed to additional water changes as only 2.5 gallons of water were changed as a result of the sump problems (prior to Friday). So what caused it?

The denitrate tower was constructed and implemented on 09/25/09, so it's been in use for a little over a month, which would be the time frame expected for it to start reaching maturation. So it's possible that is the cause. All of the SeaChem Matrix that has been added to the tank should be maturing as well. We'll see in upcoming weeks if this holds.

It's also possible that the reduced flow rate through the sump (as a result of the overflow problems experienced this week) resulted in lower nitrates as water spent more time in contact with the passive sponges and ReefresH2O block (with reduced circulation in the sump). I will be experimenting with this in the coming weeks as it would be the opposite of what I was trying to achieve, which is increased circulation in the sump.
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: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby jonesboy » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:15 am

I definitely care Kmuda and have been following this thread closely. I have my oscar in a 50 gallon so if I can get any denitrification on my tank it could make a huge difference for my setup.
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Re: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Kmuda » Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:20 pm

Nothing new to report. Things held steady for the week. I think I actually experienced further declines in nitrate creep in the Oscar tank, the Kissing Fish tank, and the livebearer tanks.

Had a problem with my camera, the darn thing would not focus on close up shots, so the photos are not as clear as I would like.

Image

The Oscar tank.
Image

I expect higher nitrates next week in the Oscar tank and the kissing fish tank. On the Oscar tank, adding the Fluval Sucks 404 (see the Kmuda Tanks and Stuff thread) resulted in the denitrate tower getting air into it (for a brief moment) which will likely reduce the colonies of denitrifying bacteria. I also performed maintenance on the Eheim Classic 2217 which is packed with SeaChem Matrix Bio. The combination of these two actions will likely result in higher nitrates for the next couple of weeks.

On the kissing fish tank, I replaced the Fluval Sucks 404 with an Eheim Classic 2217, which resulted in the SeaChem Matrix being exposed to atmosphere.
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: Title Changed to Just "Nitrate Reduction?"

Postby Kmuda » Sat Nov 14, 2009 7:58 pm

It's time to let the minions out to party!!!!

:headbang: :headbang: :blob2: :blob3: :happy6: :hello1: :blob4: :blob5: :happy7: :headbang: :hello1: :blob7: :blob8: :hello1: :headbang:

Why the party? Nitrate creep on the Oscar tank (for this week) has been eliminated. That's right. I did not say "reduced", I said ELIMINATED. I actually finished the week with lower nitrates than I started the week. :hello1:

Below is a pic showing nitrates on the Oscar tank as of last Sunday morning (the day after water change) and again as of this morning (7 days later). It's hard to tell from the pic, but nitrates are actually lower today than they were on Sunday. This is without any water changes or the addition of any chemicals.

Image

The week was going very good, although I could see nitrates pretty much holding steady, with a very slight increase, until yesterday, when they started to actually decline. Below is a pic of nitrate tests for the week.

Image

This is not a testing fluke. I retested, and restested, and retested again, to make sure this is what was occurring. It is. Nor is it an error with the test kit as the other tanks are testing normal (actually the Angelfish tank and Livebearer tank tested high this week).
Image

Nor is it some type of chemical interference in the test. There are no chemicals added to the tank (outside of SeaChem Fresh Trace, which I've been adding for a while now). This is a direct result of denitrification. How do I know this, because there was zero decline in my KH this week. Normally, this tank experiences a continual erosion of the KH, finishing the week closer to 1dKH than 2dKH (which is the KH reading of the tap water). This week, KH testing today was a strong 2dKH, just as it is from the tap. For this to occur, in this tank, denitrification has to be replenishing the alkalinity.

To say I am surprised is an understatement. I am happier than Jim Morrison in a liquor store. It's only one week, but the fact that I've accomplished it for one week means it can be done. :hello1: It's also the third consecutive week I've noticed a decline. Due to maintenance activities and problems faced last week, I expected nitrates to increase this week. They certainly did not.

So... what's changed. The only change to the system is that I added the Micron filter as a prefilter to the Denitrate Tower. There have been no other changes. It's possible that the Micron filter is removing even microscopic traces of detritus which allows the internal pores of the SeaChem Denitrate media to remain open. Either that, or the fact that the Micron cartridge is manufactured of cellulose and I'm getting enough degradation of this material to act as an organic carbon source for the denitrifying bacteria. Or the addition of the Micron filter is just a coincidence. These results are just evidence of the continued maturation of the denitrate tower and Matrix bio media in the 2217.

Regardless, I now have the recipe. The question is how long can it be maintained and can it be duplicated.
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: Title Changed to Kicking Nitrate's @ss?"

Postby Tom » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:24 pm

:shock:

Next, the perpetual motion machine!

:lol:
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Re: Title Changed to Kicking Nitrate's @ss?"

Postby rwb62183 » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:28 am

I'm new to the whole theory of Nitrate creep and the science you are employing to reduce it, but if I understand as much as I think I do your results on the Oscar tank are astounding. Congratulations, I hope these results stay consistent over the coming weeks and months.

Quick question for you. According to the data you have now, along with your theory on HOBs and Biowheels potentially ADDING to nitrate creep, would my efforts to recreate your results on an Oscar tank I will be starting soon be hurt by the inclusion of a Wet/Dry sump? Would adding the large amounts of oxygen trickle trays inject into the entire system hurt the Anaerobic processes in canisters and denitrate towers?

If so, from your data I figure my best bet would be to ax the wet/dry and convert the sump into a large, waterfilled, biomedia (air driven sponge) area. Second I should recreate your Denitrate tower packed with SeaChem Denitrate/Matrix with a one mircron prefilter. Finally a large capacity canister (2217 or c360) with Seachem Dentrate/Matrix would be included as well.

I know that you have far, far more filtration on your tank than that, but would I be on the right track at that point Kmuda?

Heh, I think I have more fun with the filtration in my tanks than with the fish sometimes.... :lol:
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Re: Title Changed to Kicking Nitrate's @ss?"

Postby Kmuda » Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:06 am

I'm certainly in this hobby as much for the equipment as I am the fish. :lol:

I think the Kmuda theory has been partially dis-proven, although I am still working on that. I think what I have shown is that in order for denitrification to occur, you really need substantial mechanical filtration to allow the internal pores of the biomedia to remain open. HOBs will help with this.

Nor do I think that a wet/dry is going to increase O2 levels effecting denitrifying capacity. Let me rephrase that. It will increase O2 levels but that is irrelevant. O2 in my tank is 9ppm, which is relatively high. The denitrate tower itself is not an anaerobic zone. The anaerobic zones only exist inside the internal pores of the biomedia.

I have enough filtration that I do not need the added bio-filtration a wet/dry trickle can provide. You'll have to decide if the same applies to your tank. My goal was (is) to reduce nitrate creep, so my sump is a water reservoir, not a wet/dry filter. Adding an extra 20 gallons of water volume is an adoption of the most basic nitrate rule (pollution dilution). Then, because of the sump, I am able to utilize other mechanisms of nitrate reduction. I have stacks of 4" thick sponges (they are sponges bought at hardware stores for working with wallpaper) contained within the sump, as well as Reefresh H2O blocks. These serve basically the same purpose as a deep sand bed, without the hassle. Then because of the plumbing and expanded tank space associated with the sump, I am able to add other options onto the tank.

The "trick" to the denitrate tower is to keep the flow rate low. I'm pushing about 30gph through mine. The Micron filter currently uses 20 Micron pleated cartridges, although I am considering adding two more. A 100 micron cartridge in front of the 20 micron cartridge and a 5 Micron cartridge behind it.

Then, at least in my circumstance, you have to consider the effects of adding all of the lucky bamboo to the tank top. While I've done this before, with other plants, and I've always had some lucky bamboo on the tank, I've never had this much (see the Kmuda Tanks and Stuff thread).

So what has caused the elimination of nitrate creep in the Oscar tank? I think it is a combination of all things:

  1. Pollution Dilution via using the sump as a water reservoir
  2. Use of thick sponges and ReefresH2O blocks as a simulated deep sand bed
  3. Use of SeaChem Matrix in Canister filters (Eheim Classics are the best filter for this)
  4. Substantial Mechanical filtration (Two trays of the C-360 are dedicated to this and I have a 2215 whose only purpose is mechanical, as well as the Penguin 350, as well as the air driven sponge filters (you'll be amazed at what these remove from the water), and all water entering the sump passes through a course media (as it enters the overflow) and then through several layers of blue bonded padding (as it enters the sump).
  5. Multiple Air-Driven sponge filters, the thicker the sponges the better. Not only do these assist with mechanical filtration, the deepest part of the sponges are actually anaerobic, so they can remove some level of nitrate all by themselves..
  6. Use of a 20 Micron filter as a prefilter to the denitrate tower
  7. Use of the denitrate tower, packed with SeaChem deNitrate
  8. Use of terrestrial plants (in my case, lucky bamboo)

Everything listed above contributes in some fashion to reducing nitrate creep. At least for last week, it absolutely eliminated it. I am anxious for someone else to attempt these techniques. If one person does it and it works, it's an anomaly. If two people do it, it becomes something else.

For clarification, my denitrate tower is packed with SeaChem deNitrate. I use SeaChem Matrix in the canisters.
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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