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Thread: Sulfur Denitrator build.

  1. #26
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    I know this post is almost a year old and I'm curious to know how the denitrator is doing. I'm also curious to know if you would recommend them to others.

    I've been running one for close to a year now and it has worked flawlessly! Dick was stating he likes his equipment to be set up and walk away. As far as I'm concerned, after the initial week break in period, the sulfur denitrator is a setup and walk away piece of equipment. I clean mine every 6 months to get the junk that gets caught up in it out. I'll also top off the sulfur and the aragonite.

    I no longer count drops. I have a small steady stream leaving my denitrator and I check my nitrates about once every 2 months. API test reads 0ppm. I do still maintain regular water changes. 10 gallons a week on a system of about 200 gallons of water.

    Looking forward to hearing the conclusion of the thread.

  2. #27
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    Unfortunately it has turned out to be one of those 'projects' I will get to when I have time I have been thinking about it alot recently so its funny someone would post about it now. I have all the equipment, I am just nervous about putting it on my tank fearing what it might do to my corals/PH/Etc.

    I also would like to hear how others are doing with it after a year.

    Gary

  3. #28
    Crispy Reef Monkey **MOD** Phurst's Avatar
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    I have made a small DIY reactor I'm going to fire up tonight. We'll see how it goes.
    **KEEP ME AWAY FROM SUPER GLUE ... i tend to glue my lips shut !!**

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    Also, I know this is a sulfer thread, but someone had mentioned about their automatic water change system, and I have recently put one in place.

    I have a 5 gallon box with a float valve, that fills with RO/DI water when empty. I dump premesured salt into it when its full and run a pump for circulation and a bubbler for PH balance, within a few days pump it into my system.

    I didn't think the design all the way thru and now I want to know how others deal with sludge left on the bottom of there container. The pump that pulls the water from the tank cannot get the last 1/2" on the bottom, and after a few months I am starting to see a grey material form there. Its really a pain to clean. My nitrates on new water made is showing slightly, but less than 1ppm. Does anyone think this is bad, and short of cleaning it every month any other ideas on what to do about it?

    Thanks,

    Gary

  5. #30
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    Good luck Phurst. Mine was very easy to cycle, but I know some people that have had a difficult time getting theirs started. Once it's started it's carefree. Does yours have a aragonite chamber after the sulfur before it returns to your tank?

    Here is the one I have. I didn't get it from this site, but it was made by DTI.
    Dual Chamber Sulphur Denitrator

    Are you starting off with a one drip / second rate?

  6. #31
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    Mongor, I'm not familiar with an auto water changing system. It has an alluring sound to it!
    What is producing the grey sludge? I wouldn't think that uncirculated saltwater would create a grey sludge. Any way to get some water movement in your container?

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    Phurst, just noticed your signature. I had a buddy that was gluing coral to his rock in his 250 gallon reef tank. As he was leaning over the acrylic top he leaned onto the super glue container with out realizing it and glued the supper glue tube to his nipple!

    True story...
    Wish I'd gotten a picture :P

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by bychance View Post
    Good luck Phurst. Mine was very easy to cycle, but I know some people that have had a difficult time getting theirs started. Once it's started it's carefree. Does yours have a aragonite chamber after the sulfur before it returns to your tank?

    Here is the one I have. I didn't get it from this site, but it was made by DTI.
    Dual Chamber Sulphur Denitrator

    Are you starting off with a one drip / second rate?
    Mine is DIY. This was how I was going to go, but I have since picked up a second TLF reactor and have filled the first one with sulfur and the second with ARM. One drip a second to start. I just fired it up last night.

    **KEEP ME AWAY FROM SUPER GLUE ... i tend to glue my lips shut !!**

  9. #34
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    AutoWater change

    Well, its not completely automatic, but close enough for me. I built my own refugium and on the end of it I have a completely separated compartment that has a float valve set to allow exactly 5 gallons of water to fill. I have about 10 plastic containers that are marked with a line to let me know just how much salt to put in and store them above the auto fill unit. After I do a water change, I let the water refill and wait 24 hours for the ph to balance before adding salt.

    Then I just dump the plastic container of salt in and wait another 24 hours. If you see in the picture there is a plug hanging down, not plugged in, thats for the pump in this container that feeds into my refugium. I just plug it in and shut off the water to the refill float valve. After 15min or so (its a small pump) I come back and the container is 95% empty. I pull the plug out for the pump and turn the water valve back on to start the whole process over.

    My output of my return pump has a 'T' in it. One side of the T goes to a valve that goes into a drain. I manually open the valve after letting the water circulate for 12-24 hours and drain the appropriate amount of water.

    I know this is not completely automated, but honestly the hardest part is dumping the salt into the hole I made which is slightly too small.

    I don't know where the grey sludge I was referring to is coming from. My guess would be that after 30-40 water changes, the 1/2" of water left on the bottom starts to accumulate some resin in the salt that doesn't completely dissolve.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #35
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    Kewl system mongor!

    Phurst, if you don't mind, post your tank and the effluent of the denitrator's nitrate level so we can watch the break in.

    I've been running mine for over a year now. The peace of mind that I get being able to feed my fish and corals with out having the fear of pumping up my nitrates is worth way more than the cost of the unit. I started out with a DYI and it took my tank down to 15ppm but would never get any lower. Which at the time I was pretty happy about. Then I bought one and my nitrates have been undetectable by API's test kit ever since.

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    Yup, will do.
    **KEEP ME AWAY FROM SUPER GLUE ... i tend to glue my lips shut !!**

  12. #37
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    OK, so my ancient aqualifter crapped out last night. I replaced it today, so we'll count this as zero hour, since it barely ran last night. So, we have 10 PPM in the tank and 10 PPM in the effluent.
    **KEEP ME AWAY FROM SUPER GLUE ... i tend to glue my lips shut !!**

  13. #38
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    You've gotta love the timing on that! <ack>
    My DYI denitrator wouldn't lower my nitrates below 15ppm. Hope your build proves to be better!

  14. #39
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    This is turning into a great thread guys.

    How's your unit working phursty?

    so you guys just work off 1 drip a second & go from there .....besides the most logical answer of zero readings....how do you personally gauge when there is enough anaerobic bacteria in the chamber for it to have reached peak capacity.?

    You ever experience the rotten egg smell, & as such expand on your next moves & trains of thought

    Mongor, the sludge im tipping is a combination of dead bacterium & silicon discharge from inside your feed tubes. It could even be a slim coating that is ejected from your pump impeller & housing once it kicks in periodically. It may be one, or all of them concurrently. Over time at any rate, it must build up.

    Q: Mongor, if you where to do it again in hindsight, what would you change > i find this sort of discovery interesting because it shapes you far more efficiently

    i'll be following along guys. well done.



    Vquilibrium Productions

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    I'm only 24 hours in. Still 10 in, 10 out. It's my understanding that you go 1 drip/second until the effluent is 0, then increase the rate. Once it hits 0 again, increase a little more, etc. Of course you can't get the flow too high, or you run the risk of killing off your bacterial colony and having to start over. I also understand that if you're getting the rotten egg smell, you're producing hydrogen sulfide and need to bump up the flow a little.
    **KEEP ME AWAY FROM SUPER GLUE ... i tend to glue my lips shut !!**

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    Quote Originally Posted by V View Post
    so you guys just work off 1 drip a second & go from there .....besides the most logical answer of zero readings....how do you personally gauge when there is enough anaerobic bacteria in the chamber for it to have reached peak capacity.?
    I started out at 1 drop / second, increasing the flow as the effluent hit 0. I'm not sure I'll every know if it reaches peak capacity. For the last 9 months or more I've maintained a steady flow exiting the filter and my nitrates remain undetectable.

    Quote Originally Posted by V View Post
    You ever experience the rotten egg smell, & as such expand on your next moves & trains of thought
    Yup, been there. Wife wasn't happy about it :P

    Increase the flow when you smell rotten eggs. It's my understanding the smell is the bacteria dying. It's not a real strong over powering rotten egg smell unless you really have lowered the flow or a line is getting clogged up. Once I was doing some maintenance on my system and actually turned the denitrator off (i have mine plumbed straight into a manifold off of my return pump with John Guest fittings). It was probably off for a couple of hours when I walked by the tank and there was a nasty foul smell, I opened the the cabinet doors and the smell about knocked me backwards. It took opening the room and running a fan in my stand to get the smell out <grin>. But that is an extreme case. I had completely turned off the denitrator. I actually view the rotten egg smell as a nice warning system. It means I need to check it.

    I really enjoy being able to feed my fish a healthy diet without the fear of causing nitrate spikes.

  17. #42
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    I am really excited to get my denitrator up and running. It has been sitting around the house for 6 months now, and I keep saying 'Ill do that this weekend'. This forum has revitalized my energy to get started on it again.

    Just wanted to let everyone know that the ability to feed your fish healthy is not the only benefit. If others don't already know, the aragonite neutralizing the acid also releases calcium and should naturally increase the ppm in your tank (not enough to replace kalk but helps)

    Also, as I have recently learned with the testing and low readings of Iodine in my tank, not feeding your fish enough lowers iodine (it also comes from aggressive protein skimming) and some other trace elements in your tank. This is why some people swear that you need to does iodine and others say your tank is fine without it. Some people feed their fish more and the iodine is naturally in the food, especially seaweed for tangs.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by mongor View Post
    I am really excited to get my denitrator up and running. It has been sitting around the house for 6 months now, and I keep saying 'Ill do that this weekend'. This forum has revitalized my energy to get started on it again.
    Set it up yet? Half of Saturday is gone.......

    :P

  19. #44
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    your worse than my wife!

    I did empty out the old media (I actually put sulfur in it last time and got ready to start it) and washed them out and refilled them. I have to take a coral out of my 30gal tank that I will be using for testing. I am going to do that tomorrow then I can start this running. That tank has about 10ppm Nitrates right now, and has been established for 2 years. I am going to get a small damsel to put in there for testing and to create nitrates. I will keep everyone posted, and post pictures once its up and running.

  20. #45
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    Oh, I forgot to ask, on of the problems I had last time was getting my 1/2 tubing to drip one per second. I found some valves but they were very hard to turn (needed to be mounted) Does anyone know where to buy a good valve for 1/2" tubing that can be easily set to drip or some other way to drip? Don't say home depot or lowes they don't have any I have checked 10 times.

  21. #46
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    I just use those cheesy blue ones from the LFS.
    That is the toughest part. I have mine hooked to my manifold with a valve up stream then a valve on the effluent, made it much easier. eventually i switched to a 1/2 inch tube coming out because it was getting clogged alot. But I didn't do that until my nitrates were at 0 and i keep a steady flow moving through. And I still have the valve up stream on my manifold to control the flow.

  22. #47
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    I would not buy a damsel. They can be very mean and kill much more valuable fish.
    Carmie


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  23. #48
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    My tank is about 8 different breeds of Damsels. They all get along together but I cannot add any other fish to the tank besides a yellow tang. There are quite alot of different damsels out there if you can find them and some are really nice (I love mine).

    But I was talking about a damsel in the tester tank, not my main display.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mongor View Post
    My tank is about 8 different breeds of Damsels. They all get along together but I cannot add any other fish to the tank besides a yellow tang. There are quite alot of different damsels out there if you can find them and some are really nice (I love mine).
    Yes, they can be quite pretty and in a species tank make a nice display.
    But I was talking about a damsel in the tester tank, not my main display.
    Since it is cycled you should be OK. Many people don't realize their temperament but you obviously do.
    Carmie


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    Last night the effluent was somewhere between 10 and 5. Stupid API kit doesn't have anything in between, so I'm guessing, but it's definitely lower than 10.
    **KEEP ME AWAY FROM SUPER GLUE ... i tend to glue my lips shut !!**

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