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Old 04-07-2009, 11:55 AM   #1
mscottring
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Sulfur Denitrator??


What the heck is it, and does it work?
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:14 PM   #2
jenglish
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Its a filter that creates the right conditions to support a type of bacteria that strips the O from NO3 and releases N into the air. They do reduce nitrates but some people have concerns about these type of filters releasing things into the aquarium. I never used one myself so I only have a basic vague understanding of them. I thin EC used to run one.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:32 PM   #3
mscottring
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenglish View Post
Its a filter that creates the right conditions to support a type of bacteria that strips the O from NO3 and releases N into the air. They do reduce nitrates but some people have concerns about these type of filters releasing things into the aquarium. I never used one myself so I only have a basic vague understanding of them. I thin EC used to run one.
It's just one of those "too cheap to be true" things for me to believe it. I look at the prices of these things and I just have to believe they do far less than they promise (or as you point out, maybe some negative things it shouldn't). Hopefully someone has some direct experience with one. Thanks for the input.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:39 PM   #4
jenglish
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I know some guys on other sites that run them periodically, when nitrates creep up they will run it for awhile and unhook it when they hit 0. I think if people plan on using them and never doing waterchanges then they run into trouble.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:47 PM   #5
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The problem with them is you have to "dose" them to make them run correctly to "fuel" the bacteria...which can be a slippery slope getting the right balance...I think that's a big piece of "releasing things" into the tank.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:48 PM   #6
mscottring
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Originally Posted by jenglish View Post
I know some guys on other sites that run them periodically, when nitrates creep up they will run it for awhile and unhook it when they hit 0. I think if people plan on using them and never doing waterchanges then they run into trouble.
And that's pretty much the sales pitch I read for the two I looked at. Fewer water changes, if any at all, and never have to worry about nitrates again. So it looks to me like their selling these as a permanent install piece. Thanks again for the input. There's a whole lot of stuff out there, all of it comes with a promise and a price.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:16 PM   #7
jdhuyvetter
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I've got a sulfur denitrator. It works great, but just another piece of equipment to maintain. I bought it when I had a coral (pocillipora and favia) spawn last fall. Had a minor ammonia spike as a result, lost a couple of clams and experienced some STN. I just unplugged it this weekend.

My intent is to keep it for "emergencies" or in case my nitrates creep up. For 18 months they were in the 10-15 range with a cheap test kit (0 on the LFS test kit). Only got it when I had the other issues.

I've got a 300 gallon tank and a 150 gallon tank plumbed together with a fuge and frag tank, 700 system gallons. I would recommend keeping a good balance of fish/corals, maintenance and feeding routines that keep water parameters good. Nice piece of equipment to have for a backup, but if you need to run it full time, something is wrong with your system.
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:44 PM   #8
gwaco
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folks , i think you are getting misinformation on denitrators. it should not be used as any type of band aid just like any other piece should not be used as a band aid .
were a denitrator comes into use is when you are like me and have many hungry fish and like to keep them happy and fat .
denitrators are nothing new , they have been around way before marine tanks became popular- think aquaculture !
like anything there are good designs and bad designs with the worst being single pass vertical designs . the long flat designs are good but i personally use a vertical multi-pass unit .
this design uses an internal or external pump to pull the surface water and pump it back to the bottom , while you use another pump to pump water from the bottom to the top . this pump is slow flow .
the downside of a denitrator is if you lose power for an extended period and the bacteria dies off. but there are ways to help out if this happens . the biggest thing is to prevent the reactor from draining empty . this can simply be done by adding a back flow preventer . if your like me and have your system set up with a back-up pump that comes on when the power goes out you can just tee off that line and keep fresh water(it doesn't need to be much ) going thru the reactor and you will have no problems .
the key is doing research on how a perticular unit operates and understanding what goes on inside the reactor !
is really not as scary as many believe ......
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:37 PM   #9
jdhuyvetter
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Misinformation ?? Sir, I do take offense (just kidding).

The guy I bought the denitrator from had the appropriate fish load for about and 800 to 1000 gallon system. His system was around 350-400 gallons total. He fed A LOT. His nitrates were off the chart (literally) and that is why he got the denitrator. It did bring his nitrates back down to zero over several weeks. Eventually, he tore the whole system down and sold it off. That occurred just before my coral spawning incident and associated problems. I left it on for about 3 months longer than I needed to.

I would like to clarify my point. I agree with keeping it for the occasional emergency as a "band aid". That is my personal preference. I like to keep my fish stocking levels very low so as to have a more natural balance between biological capacity of the LR and refugium and the fish/invert loading. Basically, I am lazy and want to have the best tank I can with least amount of effort. For me, that means less fish in a larger overall system. I have no issue with supplementing biological capacity of a reef system with improved filtration methods and equipment.

Every system is unique. The people taking care of those systems are unique. Each has their own desire for what they want their tank to look like. What works for one, may not work for another.

mscottring, my advice would be to continue doing your homework and ask some questions...Do you have high nitrates? If so, what is the cause? What are the solutions, (there are always more than one!)? Based on the answers, you should be able to decide if a denitrator is right for you.

As for me, I have a Korallin S-4002 Sulfur Denitrator. Never had to dose it (sulfur is the food source). Added a media reactor chamber to the effluent and filled it with aragonite to correct the pH before going back into the main system. Worked as advertised and had no problems with it. (That is why I am keeping it as an emergency backup)
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