Nitrates (N03) can come from various sources but the most common causes for having excess nitrates in the aquarium are from over-feeding, over stocking and poor maintenance routines. Nitrates are the final result of the nitrogen cycle. When ammonia is produced in the aquarium, bacteria called Nitrosomonas convert this ammonia into Nitrite, secondly another bacteria called Nitrobacter converts Nitrite into Nitrate. Unfortunately we are left with Nitrate as a direct result and it must be diluted before it gets to harmful concentrations.
The Nitrate Reductor is an external filter which works on a very slow rate, this allows the environment to be anaerobic (oxygen free) and also allows the water to have a greater retention time, approximately 2-4 hours, with the media inside the canister.
The Nitrate Reductor utilises an anaerobic environment in which the process is created. This anaerobic environment alone is not enough to consume nitrates as the bacteria has no ‘food’ source, in this particular system the food source can be added in two separate ways.
The first is via the injection port on top of the unit, here the Denimar tablets or Denimar powder can be added directly to the system when needed. The only problem with this method is the sheer amount of monitoring and dosing required, often up to a few times a week, this method is best as a short term solution or ideal for helping to establish the system. The second way is a much more stable and user friendly method, it utilises a product called Deniballs. Deniballs are a sphere like carbon ‘food’ source and are placed directly into the Nitrate Reductor, they are slowly consumed as needed and need replacing approximately every 12-24 months.
Water is fed into the unit using the supplied 4mm airline via a T-piece. This T-piece is placed inline on the outlet of your canister filter or via a power head placed inside your aquarium. A small tap is also placed inline so that the amount of water being feed into the unit can be regulated. Inside the unit is an internal circulation pump, the purpose of this is to circulate water inside the chamber to rid the water of any oxygen and to minimise any dead spots. The Nitrate Reductor has one inlet and one outlet, as aquarium water is fed into the unit, it slowly passes over the media where is utilises the nitrates from the aquarium and is then forced back into the aquarium via the 6mm airline on the outlet of the Nitrate Reductor. The reason for the larger outlet is so that it does not clog up with slime as fast, therefore minimising maintenance. As water is returned back to the aquarium it is virtually nitrate free. The water is returned back to the aquarium via a dropper at a flow rate of approximately 1-2 drips per second, this will vary with different models and situation
Your aquarium will never be completely nitrate free but with this system it can significantly reduce the levels to an optimum for your inhabitants, significantly reducing the nitrates in between water changes. It is not a replacement for water changes, just a means of reducing the frequency of water changes and maintaining a more stable environment. Nitrate Reductors will also be beneficial in heavily stocked aquariums and marine setups with sensitive inhabitants.
AQUOTIX specialise in, and stock, a wide range of nitrate reductors at any one time. We have installed the AquaMedic 5000 Nitrate Reductor on one of display tanks for demonstration purposes. Feel free to come in and talk to one of our staff, they will be happy to show and demonstrate to you the best Nitrate Reductor for your particular requirements.