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Thread: Removing Nitrate? advice pleaassse! :)

  1. #31
    Meg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paultergeist View Post
    With respect to DK's set-up: The "filter pond" is a small extension of the main (fish) pond, and my understanding is that it is only this smaller filter pond which requires some "de-mulming" on the order of twice a year. Whether or not this is a lot of maintenance would seem to depend a lot on how that filter pond is designed.
    and I suspect it has to do with how well the pre-filter/ mechanical filter is set up and maintained which is why I gave mine as an example, pre filters must be maintianed to removes those solids regardless of the bio filters, so why have a bio filter that adds so much work also?

    fish load is dependent on what the surface area of the bio material can handle, water volume per fish aids in the fish health and developement potential. (crampted quarters for revine fish is not the best situation long term. can it be done , guess so)

    I just don't see this anoxic as an easy answer filtration system.
    I hope you find your answers you are looking for

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meg View Post
    I just don't see this anoxic as an easy answer filtration system.
    I hope you find your answers you are looking for
    Hey Meg,

    I do appreciate the discourse and the sharing of thoughts and observations. I am neither a proponent nor a discreditor of this filtration system, but I am curious and interested in filtration strategies which may prove to be useful.

    Personally, I really think that this "anoxic filtration" strategy could benefit from a more organized scientific investigation than it has yet been given, at least to my knowledge. I would imagine that the most compelling experiment would involve several small container-type ponds -- each using a different filtration strategy -- and comparing water parameters over the course of several months. In particular, a claim made of this system is that the "anoxic" environment allows direct removal of ammonia. As near as I can determine, the developer is loosely referencing a naturally-occuring bio-chemical pathway known as the "anammox reaction," but I have not gotten a definitive response when I have inquired about this. My personal suspicion -- should actual denitrification be happening -- it that conventional denitrification is far more likely to occur within the interior of those baskets, and the truth may well be that a variety of pathways would exist in some sort of equilibrium.

    This point of denitrification crystalizes my own motivation for looking at this system with some interest. Most of our conventional pond filtration strategies address only nitrification -- that is, rendering ammonia into nitrite and subsequently nitrite into nitrate -- but do little to address the accumulation of nitrate except for making regular water changes. In my part of the world (Southern California), water is getting increasingly expensive and periodic water rationing has occured, with vastly increased water rates levied against water over-consumers. The idea of incorporating denitrification into a pond's filtration system is attractive. A very dramatic claim made by the developer of this system is that ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all at very low levels. Once again, I am not swearing that this (anoxic filtration) system is the way to prevent nitrate accumulation (based on the limited data I have seen), but I am intrigued.

    For my own pond design (still just a design on paper), my wife would like some plants, while I would really like Koi, and this has evolved into a dual pond design (upper pond with plants, flowing into lower pond with fish). Since this already resembles the "anoxic filtration" blueprint, I thought I might try to incorporate elements from this system in construction of the plant baskets. You mentioned the maintenance aspect of this design (i.e., cleaning out that plant pond). I guess my question is -- assuming I am putting in a plant pond anyway -- would I still have to empty the plant pond a couple of times a year to clean it? I have never had a plant pond, so I truly do not know. How much mulm do plants alone produce growing in a pond, all "anoxic filtration" issues aside? What do the "veggie filter" people do? Is this mulm a probelm for them as well?

    Lastly -- and on the subject of plants -- it is not lost on me that plants themselves will convert/consume nitrogen from the water. All of the "anoxic filtration" installations of which I have seen photos have had pretty significant plant growth. Any stringent investigation into the performance of this filtration system (should anyone ever do that) would have to take into account the nitrogen up-take of plants, and isolate the actual filtration function sans plants.

    I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

    Paul

  3. #33
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    To get an honest evaluation of the effectiveness of the anoxic baskets in any application it would need to be plant free, otherwise the plants introduce a massive and completely unaccountable variable into the equation. To look at the anoxic filter bay on the previous page it would be pretty much a joke to try to measure the effectiveness of the anoxic baskets. With that many plants crammed into a small space they have to be consuming a huge amount all by themselves.

  4. #34
    Meg
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    Paul I am learning right along with you....perhaps behind your curve.
    your science is ahead of mine, but I can observe what goes on in my own two ponds.

    as far a plant only pond, mine has next to no filtration. Lilies prefer still waters. and I don't mind the green water. The pond houses sarrassa goldfish, 19 different lilies and three different lotus, a gallon pot each of saw grass, iris, and papyrus.
    running for three years now, no bottom drain, water pulled from bottom by a reto over the side of the pond slotted pvc pipe which lays on the bottom. no rocks
    cleaned it out once, this past spring, I'll post some pictures to show you.
    lilies potted with clay....when I re pot them it smells foul. plants are dirty period. even the floaters when disturbed fill the water with a cloud of the crap they have collected. I pick spent pads and flowers weekly.
    my steam bed gets a cleaning every year....silly me thought it would be filtration! LOL!
    the few times I have bothered to test the water it tested good, I testd for curiosity.
    don't get me wrong, I LOVE my lily pond....but it is WORK, my koi pond is not. you may want to do separte ponds, as I have, so the Mrs can have her plants....but you may want to tell her it is her pond and she gets to tend to it!

    I agree with Larry ... to test the effectiveness of the anoxic baskets it would have to be with out plants for many reasons!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Removing Nitrate? advice pleaassse! :)-img_8496.jpg  
    Last edited by Meg; 08-25-2009 at 04:28 PM. Reason: clean out pictures didn't post I'll get them tonight for you

  5. #35
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    Larry, Meg,

    Good thoughts all around. Of course I completely agree with both of you that any focused inquiry into this "anoxic filtration" concept would have to be stringently designed, such as to evaluate the effects of the filter baskets without plants, compared against planted baskets, compared against generic substrate. I figured I could set up such an experiment fairly cheaply -- using guppies and large plastic storage tubs (a la Home Depot) as the ponds, but I would still have to buy small pumps, etc. It would probably cost a couple of hundred bucks all told. I guess I have not yet been curious enough to go "all out" and do this sort of experiment myself. I keep hoping someone else will do it!

    Meg, a good friend of mine also cautioned me about the plant pond. He stated that the plants really leave a lot of fine sediment in the water over time -- he wasn't sure by what exact process -- but he said that it was due to the presence of the plants themselves. My friend advised me to try and at least incorporate a bottom drain in the plant pond to get rid of some of this *mulm.* It sounds like you have made similar observations? I look forward to seeing the rest of your pictures.

    Thanks much,

    Paul

  6. #36
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    This is a little off-topic, but this link was referenced over at KP, and I had not encountered this before:

    Algae Scrubbers • View topic - Misc Scrubber Designs (newest designs are at the end)

    It is an interesting idea. Intentionally run the water down a substrate which is strongly illuminated, thus optimizing algal growth on this intended surface -- thereby depleting/reducing necessary algal nutrients from the water and keeping the aquarium proper algae free.

    I don't see why this would not work on a pond, using a larger scale. My guess is that the nitrates are pretty low?

    Has anyone encountered this sort of thing before?

    Paging Dr. JR, paging Dr. JR.........

  7. #37
    Daihonmei
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    Hi Paul, any one who has read my ramblings knows that I'm also a big fish aquarium guy besides being a koi maniac! ( just got two blood red discus for the 180 gallon cardinal aquarium! ) And as I've mentioned before, a person crossing over from the aquarium hobby to the ponding hobby has a huge advantage generally speaking as they know the basics of water keeping already and have a real handle on some of the translated technology. But koi keeping is also a very humbling experience- especially for the aquarium keeper when the volume of the 'aquarium increases' and the 'aquarium' gets moved OUTSIDE where things like light and temperature are no longer controlled nor are the things that get into the pond water from nature! This means that , to a degree, aquarium hobbyists need to 're-learn' certain aquarium truths.

    So things like algae scrubbers can work quite well in an indoor, light controlled pond but they fail when moved outside to an outdoor pond in natural light and with natural algae already present. Remember the walls of a pond are loaded with algae species and they are limited by competitive exclusion and by the seasons. Basically, algae scrubbers use the ammonia and nitrate from a relatively small biomass of tropical fish. The fish might weight a pound or usually less, as a total biomass and the scrubber might be 30 inches and 12 inches. But in a koi pond the fish mass might be 15- 25- 40 pounds! So an algae scrubber might need to be 40 feet X 12 feet to actually be meaningful ! In addition, algae is fairly sensitive to changes in light, temperature and the seasons. And any filter or addition needs to work 365 days a year or at least in sync with the koi's metabolism. - JR

  8. #38
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    That makes perfect sense to me, JR. I can see that you have traveled down the thought-process of this road before. Thanks very much for providing such an insightful response.

    You may have just stopped me from a disastrous attempt at trying to turn the roof of my house into a giant algae scrubber!

    Kindest regards,

    Paul

  9. #39
    Meg
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    this was the bottom of my large lily pond after two years....cleaned it out this past march. filled half a 55 gallon trash can. not enough goldies in it to make this much sludge, the plants and mother nature did most of it. To get it out by bottom drain I think I would need 3 bottom drains on this pond and three times the water flow for the currents to get this stuff to the drains instead settling on the bottom.

    the picture of the small upper pond with the Lotus was taken today. there is nothing in this pond but the lotus in a 3 gallon bucket and the pot of saw grass. the lotus was planted two years ago and should have been repotted this spring. the dirt level when planted was 6 inches below the rim of the pot, a sand/topsoil mix. the top of the dirt now is 3 inches above the pot as the lotus is climbing out and the soil is now a black sludge like what you see on the top of the pot of saw grass(which was fresh potted last summer and has a lovely layer of white gravel hidding under that black sludge) this summer the lotus has gone from simply pushing the dirt over the top of the pot rim to sending runners out all around the pond! and see what collects!
    cleaned out maybe a hand full of magnolia leaves when this upper pond was emptied and cleaned this past March, it has held only the two plants.
    pretty gross, eh? but my test numbers are all good.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Removing Nitrate? advice pleaassse! :)-img_4543.jpg   Removing Nitrate? advice pleaassse! :)-img_5498.jpg   Removing Nitrate? advice pleaassse! :)-img_5496.jpg   Removing Nitrate? advice pleaassse! :)-img_5500.jpg  

  10. #40
    Meg
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    and Paul you asked how bogfilters did.
    well at the bottom of my little stream I put a shallow pool to slow the water down and hopefully have it filter through a bunch of gravel.
    the picture is of it newly built......
    this whole upper pond and stream get cleaned out every year (it is the big part I have only cleaned once, this past March) all the gravel gets pulled and rinsed and the top pond gets emptied. takes two days hard work!
    so to say "la-de'da! I just clean my planted anoxic filter out twice a year it is so easy to do". I have a hard time buying into the line. and I looked through the pictures, some/most of the filters are packed with plants.
    how they are discribing it just isn't real....but it is real work.


    oh, and the picture with my hand in it is the gravel bed taken today, had to stir it up so you could see what was in/under the gravel, Most of my pictures of my lily pond I post show a lovely paradise not this ugly side of it all. Just like other ponders I want folks to see what a beautiful pond I have created.....if you get my drift.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Removing Nitrate? advice pleaassse! :)-streambed5.jpg   Removing Nitrate? advice pleaassse! :)-img_5504.jpg  

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