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Thread: Bakki efficiency

  1. #1
    Jumbo RobF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Orlando, FL

    Bakki efficiency

    As I understand it Bakki Towers and other showers remove ammonia from water by two methods. The first is the usual cycle of ammonia-nitrite-nitrate to waste (by water change) by way of aerobic bacteria. And the second is the more unusual stripping of the ammonia from the water which is then disposed into the air. What percentage of the ammonia is released by each method?

    I know only what I read in the newspapers (and science papers) journal.kcsnet.or.kr/main/j_search/j_download.htm?code=B080307 (you may have to copy and paste this). The math in this thing looks a bit daunting (the substitution of terms makes it look a lot grander than it is). The dynamics of the test set up are different from a Bakki, and the concentrations and temperatures are different, so this model may not fit both. But I found the explanation and quantification of the affect of higher pH, higher temperature, and the additional air flow through the water and ambient air interesting since the range of high efficiency seems so far outside of Bakki parameters.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Hi Rob,

    Great question, and I will confess right off that I do not know if there is a definitive answer. Based on a limited amount of reading, my understanding is that the percentage is going to depend on a lot of variables, notably the degree of mechanical agitation, contact of the substrate column with environmental air, temperature, and especially pH of the water. Unfortunately, the efficiency of ammonia off-gassing is really increased at pH levels which are higher than appropriate for ponds.

    I am currently doing a very small-scale experiment of a shower in my garage. My pH (using just some feeder goldfish in the system) is around 8.0. While I am seeing good initial nitrification results (ammonia-nitrite-nitrate), I never saw any appreciable off-gassing of ammonia. In other words, I had to wait for the ammonia to be converted to nitrite, etc. I know of one other experiment -- using bottled ammonia -- yielded similar results as mine, in that this other system also did not show appreciable off-gassing at pond-appropriate pH.

    A more definitive experiment would involve ramping up the pH to see how ammonia off-gassing was effected at a range of pH values.

    I know that Steve (Birdman) has been doing a lot of work with showers -- perhaps he can weigh in on this.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Crooked River Ranch, OR.
    Quote Originally Posted by Paultergeist View Post

    I know that Steve (Birdman) has been doing a lot of work with showers -- perhaps he can weigh in on this.
    I have no idea what percentages are gassed off or broken down. All I know is they work.

  4. #4
    Jumbo RobF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Orlando, FL
    I think the bakki tower concept is taken from wastewater treatment applications and from use at Japanese koi farms. These operations face more intense nitrogen concentrations than koi ponds. Yes, it would make an interesting study to take a bakki watch it establish and measure the change in ammonia, then vary the parameters and see how it responds. In principle it wouldn’t be that hard since the test chemicals are the common ones, but setting up a pristine shower and feeding it ammonia would require a lot of effort. I wouldn’t be surprised that someone has already done pretty much this, but I am new to the hobby so I don’t know much about who has done what. Bakki affect on CO2 would also be interesting.

    Like the paper I posted seems to say to get ammonia to outgas higher pH and higher temperatures than are found in koi ponds are used to increase efficiency. While I don’t doubt that bakki towers are excellent bio-filters, I am somewhat skeptical that out gassing of ammonia (even with repeated passes) is much of a feature. Paul and Steve you are koi scientists (a small group to be sure).

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