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Thread: Sharing my experience with anoxic filtration

  1. #21
    Oyagoi yerrag'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?
    Plant roots assimilate either ammonium or nitrate. By assimilating ammonium directly, the ammonia load on the nitrifiers is lessened. The nitrifiers convert ammonia to nitrate, and the presence of plants help lower nitrate levels by their assimilating the nitrates. In doing so, it lessens the nitrate load on the facultative anaerobic bacteria residing at the laterite core of the anoxic basket (aka bcb basket, bcb for biocenosis). When the bcb basket is filled with fines over a long period of use and subject to excessive fines accumulation, the nitrifier bacteria and the facultative anaerobes will be hindered in their functions, the nitrifiers with converting ammonia to nitrates, and the facultative anaerobes with breakiing down the nitrate into oxygen for its use and nitrogen. Cleaning is still necessary, but the maintenance frequency is not as demanding.

    Thus, it isn't difficult to appreciate the plants' role in enhancing and supporting the biological filtrative role of the bcb baskets. The distinction between the plants in plant filters and the plants in an anoxic setup is that the plants in a plant filter are relied upon to take the main load as a bio filter, and thus they have to be in such large quantity that maintaining them would become difficult, and neglect in cleaning the plant filter is a very likely possibility, from which dead plants piling up at the bottom become a source of pathogenic bacterial colonization. In an anoxic setup, the plants don't take a major role, and if there are too many plants in an anoxic setup, it makes the anoxic filter hard to maintain, as the plants block access to areas such as the filter bottom, from being cleaned properly.

    I do not like the idea of anoxic filters that are so packed with bcb baskets and filled to the brim with plants. It makes maintenance difficult and prone to be shelved. If one can refrain from giving in to the temptation of "maximizing" the space in the filter, one can make the maintenance of the anoxic filter much easier and in the long run benefits are maximized and problems are minimized. The benefit of low nitrate levels is real, and even if we assume that the maintenance involved is just as laborious as that of conventional filters, it will still be worth it. Yet, the bcb baskets are clearly easier to maintain than jap mattings by a magnitude. I can't vouch for it compared to other bio filters such as bakki and dynamic k1's, as I've not used them. But bcb baskets don't cost much, and are certainly very much more cost-effective hands-down.

  2. #22
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sacicu View Post
    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.
    I can't see how sweet potatoes are fattening. Perhaps it would be so if feeding koi with large quantities. The most effective fattening food is wheat, which is used to maximize feed conversion ratios in livestock. However, those are fattened to be slaughtered, maximizing profit from the additional weight that comes along with being fat. No attention is given to how beautiful the cattle are when slaughtered. Koi, on the other hand, have to look good and the use of wheat in koi food detract from the beauty aspect in raising koi. Wheat is an irritant, and inflammatory processes are triggered in its use. As a seed that contains inflammatory lectins, wheat serves its purpose with tilapia and catfish, for the weight gain. But koi are not measured in terms of profits from additional weight gained. Better choice of food, such as root crops instead of seed crops, will go a long way in raising beautiful koi. It's no secret that the top brands don't use wheat. Yet, root crop-based koi food are not that much more costly to produce than seed crop-based koi food, but boy, the prices are way up there. The benefits of using such koi food clearly allow for some good pricing and margins in the manufacturing and distribution chain.

  3. #23
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    Plant roots assimilate either ammonium or nitrate. By assimilating ammonium directly, the ammonia load on the nitrifiers is lessened. The nitrifiers convert ammonia to nitrate, and the presence of plants help lower nitrate levels by their assimilating the nitrates. In doing so, it lessens the nitrate load on the facultative anaerobic bacteria residing at the laterite core of the anoxic basket (aka bcb basket, bcb for biocenosis). When the bcb basket is filled with fines over a long period of use and subject to excessive fines accumulation, the nitrifier bacteria and the facultative anaerobes will be hindered in their functions, the nitrifiers with converting ammonia to nitrates, and the facultative anaerobes with breakiing down the nitrate into oxygen for its use and nitrogen. Cleaning is still necessary, but the maintenance frequency is not as demanding.

    Thus, it isn't difficult to appreciate the plants' role in enhancing and supporting the biological filtrative role of the bcb baskets. The distinction between the plants in plant filters and the plants in an anoxic setup is that the plants in a plant filter are relied upon to take the main load as a bio filter, and thus they have to be in such large quantity that maintaining them would become difficult, and neglect in cleaning the plant filter is a very likely possibility, from which dead plants piling up at the bottom become a source of pathogenic bacterial colonization. In an anoxic setup, the plants don't take a major role, and if there are too many plants in an anoxic setup, it makes the anoxic filter hard to maintain, as the plants block access to areas such as the filter bottom, from being cleaned properly.

    I do not like the idea of anoxic filters that are so packed with bcb baskets and filled to the brim with plants. It makes maintenance difficult and prone to be shelved. If one can refrain from giving in to the temptation of "maximizing" the space in the filter, one can make the maintenance of the anoxic filter much easier and in the long run benefits are maximized and problems are minimized. The benefit of low nitrate levels is real, and even if we assume that the maintenance involved is just as laborious as that of conventional filters, it will still be worth it. Yet, the bcb baskets are clearly easier to maintain than jap mattings by a magnitude. I can't vouch for it compared to other bio filters such as bakki and dynamic k1's, as I've not used them. But bcb baskets don't cost much, and are certainly very much more cost-effective hands-down.
    Is reduced work cleaning mats the only, or substantially only, work-saving you have experienced?

    I ask, because mat cleaning is necessitated by its mechanical filtration function. Eliminating (or reducing) the amount of mats used would eliminate/reduce that chore, but the solid debris captured is then in the pond and needs to be removed by other means, such as the siphoning, etc. you are doing.

  4. #24
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    *** It's no secret that the top brands don't use wheat.
    ?? Which brands do you mean? ....Check the label of Saki Hikari. The two first listed ingredients are fish meal and wheat flour.

    Wheat has it's issues. But, it is preferable to many other carb/binders used, such as corn. The only major pellet food in the U.S. that I can think of using a root source for carbohydrate/binding is Kenzen, which contains potato starch. It's formula is purposefully based on potato to avoid the wheat issues. However,it is hard to knock the success experienced by those who use the Saki Hikari line.

    ...Sorry if it seems I'm picking on you. Your posts are very useful for folks pondering these topics.

  5. #25
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    I can't see how sweet potatoes are fattening. Perhaps it would be so if feeding koi with large quantities. The most effective fattening food is wheat, which is used to maximize feed conversion ratios in livestock. However, those are fattened to be slaughtered, maximizing profit from the additional weight that comes along with being fat. No attention is given to how beautiful the cattle are when slaughtered. Koi, on the other hand, have to look good and the use of wheat in koi food detract from the beauty aspect in raising koi. Wheat is an irritant, and inflammatory processes are triggered in its use. As a seed that contains inflammatory lectins, wheat serves its purpose with tilapia and catfish, for the weight gain. But koi are not measured in terms of profits from additional weight gained. Better choice of food, such as root crops instead of seed crops, will go a long way in raising beautiful koi. It's no secret that the top brands don't use wheat. Yet, root crop-based koi food are not that much more costly to produce than seed crop-based koi food, but boy, the prices are way up there. The benefits of using such koi food clearly allow for some good pricing and margins in the manufacturing and distribution chain.
    Many of the show koi in Japan and around the world are fed with branded wheat based + fish meal diet and not potatoe + fish meal diet. Wheat germ has around 30% protein levels as well which contribute to a higher protein levels which improves feed conversion at a lower cost. Yes perhaps the wheatgerm based meal does create slightly harder to maintain water but it does not really matter as long as the filtration system is up to the task. The way I see it your "up down" filtration design filter is good at collecting waste that gets trapped by the mats but creates anoxic zones because of water flow tracking issues. Removing the matts does simplify your ability to clean as there is less obstruction. Nevertheless the problem remains and if you do not clean regularly you will still have problems whether you have a anoxic filter in place or the traditional filter mats in place.

    And yes, lots of sweet potatoes were fed by breeders to fatten their koi before a koi show.

    There is also a difference between weight gain thru better growth in size and inprove muscle mass versus just fattening without growth.

    . "In doing so, it lessens the nitrate load on the facultative anaerobic bacteria residing at the laterite core of the anoxic basket (aka bcb basket, bcb for biocenosis). " -- How do you know that facultative anaerobic bacteria resides at the laterite core? Can bad anaerobic bacteria reside there as well?

  6. #26
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    ?? Which brands do you mean? ....Check the label of Saki Hikari. The two first listed ingredients are fish meal and wheat flour.

    Wheat has it's issues. But, it is preferable to many other carb/binders used, such as corn. The only major pellet food in the U.S. that I can think of using a root source for carbohydrate/binding is Kenzen, which contains potato starch. It's formula is purposefully based on potato to avoid the wheat issues. However,it is hard to knock the success experienced by those who use the Saki Hikari line.

    ...Sorry if it seems I'm picking on you. Your posts are very useful for folks pondering these topics.
    All's well Mike. We learn from each other in sharing ideas in these posts. I should probably have worded it as "some of the top brands." How good a food is nutritionally very often plays a lesser role in its choice as an ingredients. Its ability to lend itself well to being processed as pellets, as well as its ability to mesh well with binders to provide less turbidity to the pond water when fed- are just as important, if not more important consideration from a marketing standpoint.

    Koi keepers will look at the clarity of their pond water and could easily conclude that a certain brand is superior based on that metric. For a keeper to be able to observe the nutritional quality as seen in the eventual development of his koi is much harder, as other variables such as the progeny of the koi itself affects the development and quality of the koi. Even the progeny itself is not a sure-fire determinant, as the phenotype expression also affects the development and quality of the koi. With such murkiness, it is harder to ascertain how much better a koi food is nutritionally. So it is just easy to wade through this confusion by deciding based on which food takes more eyeballs in advertisements and endorsements.

    It is why I have to have to go down to the level of the choice of components in a koi food and ask such questions. If my choice is food can be based solely on the nutritional parameters, and putting it atop other considerations such as water clarity or even processability, and if I were my own customer, meaning if I make my own koi food based on my understanding of the nutitional quality of the components going to make the koi food, and if I were to narrow the discussion down my choice of carbohydrate, I would go for root-based crops rather than seed-based crops. Potato and sweet potato, would for me be a better choice than wheat. I would consider the higher protein content of wheat secondary to whether wheat produces inflammation that would affect its health as well as its appearance.
    Last edited by yerrag; 12-05-2016 at 10:49 AM. Reason: Meant progeny, not progenity

  7. #27
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    Is reduced work cleaning mats the only, or substantially only, work-saving you have experienced?

    I ask, because mat cleaning is necessitated by its mechanical filtration function. Eliminating (or reducing) the amount of mats used would eliminate/reduce that chore, but the solid debris captured is then in the pond and needs to be removed by other means, such as the siphoning, etc. you are doing.
    No, in a nutshell. When I shifted to anoxic, the bio chamber got as much debri as when I was using jap mats. It would not have been better than a jap mat if I left it that way. It forced to think how I could improve the settlement chamber and the mechanical filtration I had. I changed to a radial flow filter design to enable more settlement, and to a static k1 filter design in place of the tiresome-to-clean filter brushes. I had to change my food such that for the same amount of food given, there would be less ammonia produced as well as less solid waste produced.

  8. #28
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    "In doing so, it lessens the nitrate load on the facultative anaerobic bacteria residing at the laterite core of the anoxic basket (aka bcb basket, bcb for biocenosis). " -- How do you know that facultative anaerobic bacteria resides at the laterite core? Can bad anaerobic bacteria reside there as well?

    I didn't have to but trust the design and follow the specs of the design of the anoxic filter. It would be confirmed by water parameter testing.

    As for bad bacteria, it didn't show up as a problem. If I follow proper maintenance and clean the baskets within safe intervals, which are actually very forgiving, I hope I won't have to find out how much neglect I do before bad bacteria rears its ugly head.






  9. #29
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    No, in a nutshell. When I shifted to anoxic, the bio chamber got as much debri as when I was using jap mats. It would not have been better than a jap mat if I left it that way. It forced to think how I could improve the settlement chamber and the mechanical filtration I had. I changed to a radial flow filter design to enable more settlement, and to a static k1 filter design in place of the tiresome-to-clean filter brushes. I had to change my food such that for the same amount of food given, there would be less ammonia produced as well as less solid waste produced.
    Enough Static K1 traps debris although I find it harder to totally clean it unless one employs very powerful blowers to disintegrate waste. How is it that there are still waste that manage to go to the anoxic chambers?

  10. #30
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sacicu View Post
    Enough Static K1 traps debris although I find it harder to totally clean it unless one employs very powerful blowers to disintegrate waste. How is it that there are still waste that manage to go to the anoxic chambers?
    Fines still manage to get through. It's definitely tons better than the brush filter, by its filtering ability, and the ease of cleaning. Even if I have to scoop up the media once it gets filled with debri. And that's what I do with the media. I didn't start off with a static k1 design, and it was hard to put a static k1 filter into my filter setup when I have a pond filled with koi using the filter. I just had to make do with what I can do fashion a provisional k1 filter. So I have one now, but without the setup that will boil the k1 media to rid it off debri, and without a bottom drain to flush the debri that has settled after the boil. I just scoop up all the media to a 200-ltr plastic drum that's been cut in half, and in that plastic drum I boil the media, scoop up the media, and throw out the dirty water, and repeat the process about once or twice. Yes, I was also wondering how clean a regular static filter would be after 1 boil and flush, but your experience tells me it still isn't clean enough.

    It's a lot of work to clean that static media the way I'm doing it, but currently I have no choice, and I don't whine about it anymore. I just log it into my exercise routine. And the dirty water, I don't actually throw it away, I pour it into my compost pile of garden waste, which helps make new fertilizer for the succeeding year.

    There isn't a lot of fines that come through the k1 filter, and the waste currently goes thru a mini-river (a chamber that I meant to have an rdf installed) where a lot of fines settle. Still, fines will accumulate over time in the bio filter, and I still have to suck off by siphon what settles on the flooring of the bio filter from time to time. It hasn't been too difficult for me, as I appreciate that I'm forced to be in the filter area, where I am forced to assess the health of my filter visually.

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