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Thread: Sharing my experience with anoxic filtration

  1. #11
    MCA
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    No problem. The koi would use the type of water processing used by the crew where their urine is filtered and purified enough to be drinking water. I assume it must be some high end RO unit or something similar. But the water for the koi would have to be further managed for pH, GH, and electrolytes to ensure the koi's health. I would if they would pack Kenzen or Saki Hikari or.....?

  2. #12
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCA View Post
    No problem. The koi would use the type of water processing used by the crew where their urine is filtered and purified enough to be drinking water. I assume it must be some high end RO unit or something similar. But the water for the koi would have to be further managed for pH, GH, and electrolytes to ensure the koi's health. I would if they would pack Kenzen or Saki Hikari or.....?
    I spoke too soon. The pond still needs some water changes, as koi will still produce solid wastes. And those waste needs to be discarded, water along with them. But other than that, let's say no more water is changed in an anoxic system.

    Ammonia and nitrites would be zero. Nitrates at 10 ppm and phosphates at 1 ppm. What pollutants are you referring to that would require more water changes? Note also that kH declines very slowly when the anoxic filter has plenty of plants that use up ammonia directly, leaving less ammonia to be converted by nitrifier bacteria.

    Would there be plenty of DOCs? If a foam fractionator is being used, how much DOCs would remain in the water column?

    Will the water become stale? How would it become stale? What can be done to refresh and renew the water so that it becomes like spring water?

    For me, it would be because water can still become stale, even if all the water parameters are met, that make water changes necessary. Water may lose its vitality, similar to microwaved water, that its life-supporting qualities are stripped from it. So, I agree that more water changes are better.

    But I believe that with the use of anoxic filtration, the volume of water changes needed would be less than with the use of a nitrifier-based based biofiltration system. Less nitrates, less DOCs, more stable kH- all making the case for anoxic filtration.

  3. #13
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobF View Post


    Perhaps the biggest drawback to anoxic filtration is that it is DIY (unconventional and relatively cheap). It is not mats and beads and vortex and UV, it is “just” clay submerged in baskets. And that clay is conveniently and cheaply available as non-clumping kitty litter which is a pain to work with. Not impossible but really messy until you figure it out (and then it is still somewhat messy). The clay does dissolve to some extent. It is dusty. It is small pieces and leaks out of the biocenosis baskets. I know of at least one club member who gave up on anoxic because of how hard kitty litter is to work with. It is DIY. I do understand why this clay is the preferred medium, but it is not an ideal medium. And the relatively small amount of laterlite clay that is required at the core of the biocenosis basket is not cheap (for dirt).
    Another drawback I see is sourcing of cat litter that is guaranteed to work in an anoxic system. Even if you find one brand that is suitable, you cannot be assured of the same properties in a future purchase of the same brand. The problem is that the primary use is as cat litter, and the requirements for use as cat litter is much more lax than the requirements for use as a material for anoxic filtration. There is the risk that someday I might just find myself with a biofilter that is not doing its job. What is needed is a brand that guarantees the suitability of its product for use in anoxic filtration. There actually are some products like that, but they can't be priced like regular cat litter.

  4. #14
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I have seen discussions where someone who ended up with a huge mess was told they used the wrong cat litter. What is recommended is a baked clay that will not turn into mud or dissolve in the water. Certain cat litters happen to have the recommended properties, but apparently most do not. A blurb on the subject:

    "Cat litter.

    Guidelines are that you need unscented litter that has NO anti-bacterial additives. It also needs to be NON-CLUMPING. Read the labels to find out these things. If it says 100% pure clay on the ingredient list, and nothing else, that would be best. The cat litter I found here in Canada also has diatomaceous earth as an ingredient and Dr. Novak thought that would be fine to use, as well.

    In addition, it needs to to be baked clay and the labels do not tell you this. You have to buy a sample package of a possible candidate litter (one that fits the guidelines mentioned above) and test it by putting some in a jar of water for a few days. A baked clay will still be nice and granular after being submerged, the grains holding their original shape. Unbaked clay will turn into soft mush. DO not use a litter that turns into mush!

    People in some countries have a difficult time finding a good clay. In the US and Canada it's safe to use Walmart brand "Special Kitty" Non clumping. Good luck!

    ....Tryout your cat litter before you buy a tun of the stuff."


    So it is the really cheap stuff you want to check out. Fact that it is cheap does not mean it is what you want, but you definitely don't want the higher priced ones. I think all the brands at my local supermarket are clumping or scented or promote some additive. I know when you go down that aisle, the scent is in the air.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCA View Post
    . How does avoiding a water change reduce pollution and bring in KH and needed electrolytes needed for a healthy system?
    The Anoxic filter does not consume KH so there is no need to add anymore.

  6. #16
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    So it is the really cheap stuff you want to check out. Fact that it is cheap does not mean it is what you want, but you definitely don't want the higher priced ones. I think all the brands at my local supermarket are clumping or scented or promote some additive. I know when you go down that aisle, the scent is in the air.
    In my case, in the Philippines, the really cheap stuff is the a zeolite-based cat litter. It is the only non-clumping cat litter available now. Sadly enough, it cant be used for anoxic filtration. Even if it can be made to work, the risk in being zeolite-based is when I need to salt my pond, zeolite will release ammonia back to the pond.

    I think that importers have stopped importing non-clumping bentonite-based cat litter because it is not price-competitive with the cheaper locally-produced unbranded zeolite cat litter sold in bulk. The cat litter that is imported are all clumping types.

    I don't know who these importers are, and unless there is a local market from koi keepers and aquarium hobbyists using anoxic filtration, no importer would want to bring in bentonite-based non-clumping cat litter.

    So much for anoxic filtration non taking off, its growth is stunted by raw material availability. I wonder if other countries are experiencing it. Lucky for USA and Canada, you can buy the good stuff, and buy it cheap.

    I even wrote on the web inquiry form from the makers of Pura cat litter in India, and they are so un-Amazon-like in their callousness and impishness in not replying.

  7. #17
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Up until April this year, I have been using an anoxic filter system mixed with the use of Jap-mats to help with mechanical filtration, as well as to assist in nitrifying ammonia. Aprl merks the 17th month of my using the anoxic filter.

    From Aprl onwards, I have removed the jap mat filters, and I have transitioned from an anoxic- jap mat hybrid to a filtration system based solely on anoxic filtration. What spurred me to do so was because I found it very hard to clean the jap mat filters and when I get lazy in cleaning them, a pond crisis results, and I would have bacterial problem arising from uncleaned jap mats. It did happen, it likely cost me my yamabuki (the avatar). Lesson learned.

    Fast forward to now, and I have had no issues with water quality, as long as I am religious with flushing my bottom drain, siphoning the bottom debris from the chambers (settlement, mechanical filter, and bio filter).

    I have added enough plants to occupy 3 of the 12 anoxic baskets, and the plants directly using ammonia help reduce the need to nitrify ammonia to produce nitrates as byproducts. The daily water changes also help to keep pond water from becoming stale. I probably use the pond's volume of water per month, which translates to a 3% water change daily, roughly.

    Last week, I noticed a change in the pond water. I was starting to see some foam. It was not as much foam as I would be using when I was using the jap mat-based nitrifier system before, but it caught my attention nonetheless, as I had been used to not seeing any foam in my pond for some time already. So I tested the pond water for ammonia and nitrite, and sure enough, they came out with readings of 0.25 mg/l.

    I stopped feeding for the next 3 days as I went about finding out the cause of this development. I thought not feeding for a day would correct this, but the correction was very slow in coming, even after I flushed the bottom drain and siphoned all the filter bottoms of debris. It pointed to the plants not doing their job of consuming ammonia directly, and to my anoxic baskets not doing their job properly.

    True enough, the sky had been overcast, and there would be rain from time to time. This period is where the monsoon season is coming to a late end, and the sun isn't shining as directly already. This created conditions that made the plants less active, and the plants' consumption of ammonia was curtailed. This wouldn't be a problem, as the anoxic filter baskets can still act to nitrify the ammonia, with the only difference being that with nitrification the by-product would be nitrates. The nitrate reading may increase, but it would not be considered a crisis.

    However, this is already the 24th month that I haven't cleaned any of the anoxic baskets. And now I am experiencing the result of my neglect. I take that back, I had been siphoning off the top debris from my anoxic baskets, but I have never fully cleaned any of the anoxic baskets in its entirety. If I hadn't been siphoning off the debri from the top of the baskets, I may be facing worse consequences. But as it is, there's no bacterial crisis. But I wouldn't push my luck. What I know now is that I still have to do more than siphon off the debris from the top of the baskets. I need to do a thorough cleaning regularly.

    So, I started with cleaning three baskets, and will do another set next week, until I have cleaned all of the baskets. What I'm finding out about my anoxic filter system is that I need to keep it in tip-top shape, not just by relying on my plants and cleaning filter bottoms and flushing bottom drains, but need to clean my anoxic filter baskets often enough to keep its nitrifying capability on standby and ready, in the event the plants aren't able to consume ammonia. But hey, 24 months of not fully cleaning it fully still tells me there is some latitude here, but it's not something I want to use as basis since I don't want to skirt on the edge of another pond crisis.

    The takeaway here is that in an anoxic system, one has to be able to utilize fully the ability of plants to directly consume ammonia as well as the ability of nitrifiers to convert ammonia to nitrates. An anoxic filter without plants isn't a good design, nor would an anoxic filter that totally relies on its plants at the expense of neglecting the nitrifiers in the baskets. Making sure the anoxic filter gets plenty of sunlight helps to maximize the use of the plants, while cleaning the anoxic filter regularly and in appropriate intervals would keep the nitrifiers in tip-top shape. Certainly, the presence of facultative anaerobic bacteria can still do a job with denitrifying the pond of nitrogenous by-products, but without the aid of plants it wouldn't be doing as effective a job.

    A pond filter system should be able to function and adapt with the seasons, and proper maintenance and upkeep is always needed.

    I'm happy with the anoxic system, even if I still haven't installed my RDF. Even if I never will come around to installing the RDF, I don't think it will be a deal breaker to me. As long as I do the extra work. I will try to minimize the extra work though. For example, I've made my own koi food and found that minimizing on fillers and sub-optimal choices of food, you can drastically reduce the production of both solid wastes and ammonia. An example would be substituting seed-based crops such as soy and wheat with root-based crops such as potato, lessens solid waste. Seeds to me are a bad idea, but they are used in practically all koi food. We don't eat powdered wheat grains, we make them at least into bread, and still people experience allergy and digestion problem with bread. What more if you eat powdered grains? Yet it's okay to feed powdered wheat to our dogs, cats, and koi. Anyway, I digress.

  8. #18
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    Up until April this year, I have been using an anoxic filter system mixed with the use of Jap-mats to help with mechanical filtration, as well as to assist in nitrifying ammonia. Aprl merks the 17th month of my using the anoxic filter.

    From Aprl onwards, I have removed the jap mat filters, and I have transitioned from an anoxic- jap mat hybrid to a filtration system based solely on anoxic filtration. What spurred me to do so was because I found it very hard to clean the jap mat filters and when I get lazy in cleaning them, a pond crisis results, and I would have bacterial problem arising from uncleaned jap mats. It did happen, it likely cost me my yamabuki (the avatar). Lesson learned.

    Fast forward to now, and I have had no issues with water quality, as long as I am religious with flushing my bottom drain, siphoning the bottom debris from the chambers (settlement, mechanical filter, and bio filter).

    I have added enough plants to occupy 3 of the 12 anoxic baskets, and the plants directly using ammonia help reduce the need to nitrify ammonia to produce nitrates as byproducts. The daily water changes also help to keep pond water from becoming stale. I probably use the pond's volume of water per month, which translates to a 3% water change daily, roughly.

    Last week, I noticed a change in the pond water. I was starting to see some foam. It was not as much foam as I would be using when I was using the jap mat-based nitrifier system before, but it caught my attention nonetheless, as I had been used to not seeing any foam in my pond for some time already. So I tested the pond water for ammonia and nitrite, and sure enough, they came out with readings of 0.25 mg/l.

    I stopped feeding for the next 3 days as I went about finding out the cause of this development. I thought not feeding for a day would correct this, but the correction was very slow in coming, even after I flushed the bottom drain and siphoned all the filter bottoms of debris. It pointed to the plants not doing their job of consuming ammonia directly, and to my anoxic baskets not doing their job properly.

    True enough, the sky had been overcast, and there would be rain from time to time. This period is where the monsoon season is coming to a late end, and the sun isn't shining as directly already. This created conditions that made the plants less active, and the plants' consumption of ammonia was curtailed. This wouldn't be a problem, as the anoxic filter baskets can still act to nitrify the ammonia, with the only difference being that with nitrification the by-product would be nitrates. The nitrate reading may increase, but it would not be considered a crisis.

    However, this is already the 24th month that I haven't cleaned any of the anoxic baskets. And now I am experiencing the result of my neglect. I take that back, I had been siphoning off the top debris from my anoxic baskets, but I have never fully cleaned any of the anoxic baskets in its entirety. If I hadn't been siphoning off the debri from the top of the baskets, I may be facing worse consequences. But as it is, there's no bacterial crisis. But I wouldn't push my luck. What I know now is that I still have to do more than siphon off the debris from the top of the baskets. I need to do a thorough cleaning regularly.

    So, I started with cleaning three baskets, and will do another set next week, until I have cleaned all of the baskets. What I'm finding out about my anoxic filter system is that I need to keep it in tip-top shape, not just by relying on my plants and cleaning filter bottoms and flushing bottom drains, but need to clean my anoxic filter baskets often enough to keep its nitrifying capability on standby and ready, in the event the plants aren't able to consume ammonia. But hey, 24 months of not fully cleaning it fully still tells me there is some latitude here, but it's not something I want to use as basis since I don't want to skirt on the edge of another pond crisis.

    The takeaway here is that in an anoxic system, one has to be able to utilize fully the ability of plants to directly consume ammonia as well as the ability of nitrifiers to convert ammonia to nitrates. An anoxic filter without plants isn't a good design, nor would an anoxic filter that totally relies on its plants at the expense of neglecting the nitrifiers in the baskets. Making sure the anoxic filter gets plenty of sunlight helps to maximize the use of the plants, while cleaning the anoxic filter regularly and in appropriate intervals would keep the nitrifiers in tip-top shape. Certainly, the presence of facultative anaerobic bacteria can still do a job with denitrifying the pond of nitrogenous by-products, but without the aid of plants it wouldn't be doing as effective a job.

    A pond filter system should be able to function and adapt with the seasons, and proper maintenance and upkeep is always needed.

    I'm happy with the anoxic system, even if I still haven't installed my RDF. Even if I never will come around to installing the RDF, I don't think it will be a deal breaker to me. As long as I do the extra work. I will try to minimize the extra work though. For example, I've made my own koi food and found that minimizing on fillers and sub-optimal choices of food, you can drastically reduce the production of both solid wastes and ammonia. An example would be substituting seed-based crops such as soy and wheat with root-based crops such as potato, lessens solid waste. Seeds to me are a bad idea, but they are used in practically all koi food. We don't eat powdered wheat grains, we make them at least into bread, and still people experience allergy and digestion problem with bread. What more if you eat powdered grains? Yet it's okay to feed powdered wheat to our dogs, cats, and koi. Anyway, I digress.
    Nice update Mike.

    Sweet potatoes fed diet used to be the norm in fattening the koi for a koi show many years ago. Nowadays genetics and processed quality koi food have improved a lot to produce healthier bulkier koi. Of course feeding a lot will help grow the koi faster but may shorten the life of a koi.

    Im not sure why 0.25 ammonia and nitrite is troubling. In my new pond I had once had readings of 6.0ph, 4.0 ammonia readings and I was not worried as the koi showed good health and apppetite. I attribute it to the good filter installed, not enough water change with lots of rain. After putting 300gms of baking soda, the ph was back to 7.0 and the ammonia levels were back to near zero. Just shows bacteria that eats up ammonia and convert it nitrite are less active in lower ph levels. The low ph levels do however make the ammonia non toxic.

  9. #19
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    Up until April this year, I have been using an anoxic filter system mixed with the use of Jap-mats to help with mechanical filtration, as well as to assist in nitrifying ammonia. Aprl merks the 17th month of my using the anoxic filter.

    From Aprl onwards, I have removed the jap mat filters, and I have transitioned from an anoxic- jap mat hybrid to a filtration system based solely on anoxic filtration. What spurred me to do so was because I found it very hard to clean the jap mat filters and when I get lazy in cleaning them, a pond crisis results, and I would have bacterial problem arising from uncleaned jap mats. It did happen, it likely cost me my yamabuki (the avatar). Lesson learned.

    Fast forward to now, and I have had no issues with water quality, as long as I am religious with flushing my bottom drain, siphoning the bottom debris from the chambers (settlement, mechanical filter, and bio filter).

    I have added enough plants to occupy 3 of the 12 anoxic baskets, and the plants directly using ammonia help reduce the need to nitrify ammonia to produce nitrates as byproducts. The daily water changes also help to keep pond water from becoming stale. I probably use the pond's volume of water per month, which translates to a 3% water change daily, roughly.

    Last week, I noticed a change in the pond water. I was starting to see some foam. It was not as much foam as I would be using when I was using the jap mat-based nitrifier system before, but it caught my attention nonetheless, as I had been used to not seeing any foam in my pond for some time already. So I tested the pond water for ammonia and nitrite, and sure enough, they came out with readings of 0.25 mg/l.

    I stopped feeding for the next 3 days as I went about finding out the cause of this development. I thought not feeding for a day would correct this, but the correction was very slow in coming, even after I flushed the bottom drain and siphoned all the filter bottoms of debris. It pointed to the plants not doing their job of consuming ammonia directly, and to my anoxic baskets not doing their job properly.

    True enough, the sky had been overcast, and there would be rain from time to time. This period is where the monsoon season is coming to a late end, and the sun isn't shining as directly already. This created conditions that made the plants less active, and the plants' consumption of ammonia was curtailed. This wouldn't be a problem, as the anoxic filter baskets can still act to nitrify the ammonia, with the only difference being that with nitrification the by-product would be nitrates. The nitrate reading may increase, but it would not be considered a crisis.

    However, this is already the 24th month that I haven't cleaned any of the anoxic baskets. And now I am experiencing the result of my neglect. I take that back, I had been siphoning off the top debris from my anoxic baskets, but I have never fully cleaned any of the anoxic baskets in its entirety. If I hadn't been siphoning off the debri from the top of the baskets, I may be facing worse consequences. But as it is, there's no bacterial crisis. But I wouldn't push my luck. What I know now is that I still have to do more than siphon off the debris from the top of the baskets. I need to do a thorough cleaning regularly.

    So, I started with cleaning three baskets, and will do another set next week, until I have cleaned all of the baskets. What I'm finding out about my anoxic filter system is that I need to keep it in tip-top shape, not just by relying on my plants and cleaning filter bottoms and flushing bottom drains, but need to clean my anoxic filter baskets often enough to keep its nitrifying capability on standby and ready, in the event the plants aren't able to consume ammonia. But hey, 24 months of not fully cleaning it fully still tells me there is some latitude here, but it's not something I want to use as basis since I don't want to skirt on the edge of another pond crisis.

    The takeaway here is that in an anoxic system, one has to be able to utilize fully the ability of plants to directly consume ammonia as well as the ability of nitrifiers to convert ammonia to nitrates. An anoxic filter without plants isn't a good design, nor would an anoxic filter that totally relies on its plants at the expense of neglecting the nitrifiers in the baskets. Making sure the anoxic filter gets plenty of sunlight helps to maximize the use of the plants, while cleaning the anoxic filter regularly and in appropriate intervals would keep the nitrifiers in tip-top shape. Certainly, the presence of facultative anaerobic bacteria can still do a job with denitrifying the pond of nitrogenous by-products, but without the aid of plants it wouldn't be doing as effective a job.

    A pond filter system should be able to function and adapt with the seasons, and proper maintenance and upkeep is always needed.

    I'm happy with the anoxic system, even if I still haven't installed my RDF. Even if I never will come around to installing the RDF, I don't think it will be a deal breaker to me. As long as I do the extra work. I will try to minimize the extra work though. For example, I've made my own koi food and found that minimizing on fillers and sub-optimal choices of food, you can drastically reduce the production of both solid wastes and ammonia. An example would be substituting seed-based crops such as soy and wheat with root-based crops such as potato, lessens solid waste. Seeds to me are a bad idea, but they are used in practically all koi food. We don't eat powdered wheat grains, we make them at least into bread, and still people experience allergy and digestion problem with bread. What more if you eat powdered grains? Yet it's okay to feed powdered wheat to our dogs, cats, and koi. Anyway, I digress.
    I find several of these comments confusing. The concept of anoxic filtration is to create an environment that removes nitrogen from the system rather than relying on the bacterial nitrification process converting ammonia to nitrite to nitrate. Reliance on plant growth harks back to the vegetable filter/bog garden idea. The idea is to be able to minimize water changes and filter cleanings because ammonia is removed without the usual pond maintenance work. If water quality is maintained based on regular removal of debris, siphoning the bottom, cleaning mats and doing what amounts to 20-25% water changes weekly, it seems to me that the anoxic filter baskets are not contributing much of anything. The maintenance chores are the same and as much in labor as is typical of standard good practice.

    Am I missing something?

  10. #20
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    I find several of these comments confusing. The concept of anoxic filtration is to create an environment that removes nitrogen from the system rather than relying on the bacterial nitrification process converting ammonia to nitrite to nitrate. Reliance on plant growth harks back to the vegetable filter/bog garden idea. The idea is to be able to minimize water changes and filter cleanings because ammonia is removed without the usual pond maintenance work. If water quality is maintained based on regular removal of debris, siphoning the bottom, cleaning mats and doing what amounts to 20-25% water changes weekly, it seems to me that the anoxic filter baskets are not contributing much of anything. The maintenance chores are the same and as much in labor as is typical of standard good practice.

    Am I missing something?
    Im confuse as well. From what i have read in some anoxic setup the proponents seldom clean nor find the need to change the water. That is what they say IS the advantage of anoxic filtration system.

    Facultative bacteria is not hard to grow in specially design filter media placed in showers. Never had problems with nitrate. Even without plants, I believe the wall algae that grows in the pond wall helps remove some ammonia and nitrate as well. Koi on the other hand snack on wall algae.

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