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Aquaripure Denitrator


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I have seven fancy goldfish in a 75 gallon tank. With weekly water changes my nitrate typically rises to 40 ppm. In order to keep it from creeping up too much I have been doing twice weekly changes lately. Health problems make frequent large water changes somewhat of a challenge for me, so I have been looking for a way of reducing the need for water changes without having to starve my fish. I have a humongous UV sterilizer (which helps prevent harmful bacteria from accumulating too fast) so nitrate was the remaining problem.

I purchased the Aquaripure Denitrator (http://www.aquaripure.com/index.htm) two weeks ago. The medium size was pricey ($239.00), but I figured it would be worthwhile if it worked as described. The unit looks like a tall canister filter (barely fit in my cabinet). The top is sealed with a tube in, a tube out, and a place to squirt food for the beneficial bacteria (8 mL of cheap vodka per week). The unit comes with a small pump that you put in your tank. It was easy to set up -- you attach the pump and adjust the outflow to three drops per second. The outflow has to be adjusted every 2-3 days to keep it at a consistent rate. If I were DIY savvy (which I am not), I am sure it would be easy to make a filter like this yourself for a lot less money.

It has been ten days since I set the unit up. The product literature said that it would take up to 8 weeks to cycle, so I wasn't expecting too much right off the bat. My last water change was Saturday (four days ago). Immediately after my water change nitrate was 10 ppm. I was very surprised tonight when I tested my water and found that my nitrate is zero. I actually tested the water three times with three different test kits because I was so surprised by the result. I also tested ammonia and nitrite, just to be sure my cycle didn't crash. Everything is zero. Woohoo!

So now my tank is totally tricked out and I am feeling kind of guilty about all the money I've spent on bells and whistles like the denitrator and the UV sterilizer. But I figure that these fish really enhance my quality of life. I still enjoy water changes when I am feeling good physically, and will certainly continue with a weekly water change for good measure, but it is nice to have the heat off with regard to accumulating nitrate.

So now I am off to give my fish an extra snack!

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See I told you they work !!! One thing I will caution you about a denitrator is that the water that comes out is completely devoid of oxygen.....Make sure you put the drips in a spot where the water moves around a lot....I have extensive experience using a denitrator and I had great results using them tho i must admit the ones that I used were sulphur based and they can lower the PH....Keep me informed how the aquaripure works....I have heard that there can be problems with the out put clogging (excess bacteria) but from what I have read all you have to do is cut back on the feeding a little bit....I'm stoked that it is working great for you....now I'm going to have to get one !

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One thing I will caution you about a denitrator is that the water that comes out is completely devoid of oxygen.....Make sure you put the drips in a spot where the water moves around a lot....

Yes, I have arranged the output so that it drips right in the outflow of one of my HOB filters, so there is plenty of water movement going on. The output tube is kind of fussy -- I am finding that it needs to be adjusted on a daily basis. That is no big deal, however, I just do it in 20-30 seconds while I am feeding my fish.

I will keep you all posted on my nitrate numbers over the next couple of weeks.

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Update, as promised...

Two days later and nitrate is still zero. Not even the tiniest hint of orange in the test tube.

One thing I have noted is that the anaerobic bacteria in the denitrator must consume carbonate like crazy. My KH is very high, between 350-395 ppm, so I have never had a problem with falling pH. Generally my pH is 8.2-8.4. Last night I tested it and it had dropped to 8.0. Now I know that certainly is no pH crash, but definitely a downward trend that I hadn't expected given the very high buffering capacity of my water. I can see how this could be a rude shock to a person with water with a more average KH and pH. I have ordered Buff It Up and will have to experiment with how much needs to be added when I do my weekly water change so that my pH remains steady.

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Update, as promised...

Two days later and nitrate is still zero. Not even the tiniest hint of orange in the test tube.

One thing I have noted is that the anaerobic bacteria in the denitrator must consume carbonate like crazy. My KH is very high, between 350-395 ppm, so I have never had a problem with falling pH. Generally my pH is 8.2-8.4. Last night I tested it and it had dropped to 8.0. Now I know that certainly is no pH crash, but definitely a downward trend that I hadn't expected given the very high buffering capacity of my water. I can see how this could be a rude shock to a person with water with a more average KH and pH. I have ordered Buff It Up and will have to experiment with how much needs to be added when I do my weekly water change so that my pH remains steady.

That is odd to me becuase Carbon based denitrators (which is what you have) aren't supposed to effect the PH like Sulphor based denitrators.....Are you sure that it just isn't an anomoly? Part of the reason that I want an aquaripure denitrator like you have is because the only negatiive effect it should have on the water is that the water going back in to the tank is devoid of oxygen (which shouldn't be an issue at a drop or two a second in a high flow area).....Keep us updated....I can promise you one thing that I will be joining you as an aquaripure owner soon as my tank finishes its cycle !

Rich

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The reason it is lowering the pH is that the anaerobic bacteria are consuming carbonates (KH). Aerobic filter bacteria do the same thing, it is just that now I have a much larger population of bacteria working in my tank. So in addition to feeding the bacteria vodka I will need to figure out an appropriate weekly dosage of baking soda (and eventually Buff It Up) to keep them happy.

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Got this off the Aquaripure website...

In a "sulfur" nitrate filter the effluent is highly acidic and must be buffered. The resulting effluent is very hard and high in sulfates. Also, they generally are more expensive and the costly filter media must be replaced. None of this is an issue with Aquaripure's filters.

When was the last time you did a water change?? and how much?? I'm thinking that if your water change was less then normal then that could be why your PH is lowering...great ideeeer on the buff it up tho I just ordered some for myself as well as the cheap dechlorinator !

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My last water change was six days ago and 75%. Without the denitrator in the past my pH has remained steady under these circumstances. With it the KH and pH have gone down slightly. This is because there are more bacteria in the system consuming carbonate.

Here is excerpt from an email from Aquaripure:

Yes, the nitrogen cycle consumes carbonate and the anaerobic process does as well. You will need to monitor pH and add Sodium Bicarbonate (and a little calcium carbonate in a SW tank) regularly to maintain the pH and keep the tank well buffered. You shouldn't need much but it does need to be done regularly. This is in the manual on on the website but perhaps I could make it clearer.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Wow! That's pretty cool. Both my 55 and 29 have a nitrate issue. No matter how much I change the water a day, it never stays at zero for very long. I wish I had that much extra money...

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  • 6 months later...
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Yes, I'd like an update on how this denitrator is doing as well. My boyfriend just showed me the site for it, and I read the front page of that and then immediately came here for some more input.

Deahttub, have you been using one in your tank? How is it working for you?

Edited by onefish3
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  • 2 years later...
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Anyone still using a Aquaripure who can update on performance, frequency of water changes, fitler life, and how your fish are doing.

I'm interested in buying one, but would like to hear from some GF tank people, rather than rely on all the "this thing is great" comments on their website.

For example:

-Did you keep your existing HOB or Canister filter full of biomedia, or remove all or most of it?

-Did your pH crash and do you now spend a bunch of time testing it and screwing with keeping it stable?

-Is the feeding of Vodka to the Aquaripure a pain?

-Is keeping the drip rate a pain?

-How often are you replacing whatever is inside the Aquaripure?

-Can their smallest unit work on a much larger tank? Or does a person need to follow their recommendation?

It'd be nice to not be draining 50 gallons of water every week or 2, but it would be a real disappointment to spend tall dollars and find out that the water still needs to be changed (of course I'll still need to vac the gravel) plus I have to mess with feeding and adjusting and maintaining the Aquaripure.

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Unless one has nitrate in the tap water, this device would seem to be counterproductive. Nitrate has low toxicity, but it serves as a good indicator of when your water needs changing because of other substances that are accumulating. When you use a plant or algae filtering system to remove nitrate, they clean up a lot of other things as well.

I wouldn't be willing to destabilize my pH to remove nitrate.

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Nitrate has low toxicity, but it serves as a good indicator of when your water needs changing because of other substances that are accumulating.

I couldn't agree more!

It is an interesting system, though.

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Having a second tank full of plants isn't an option for me, so that's why I asked about this.

What other things are there in the water, other than Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate, that require the water to be changed every week or 2?

How much does this thing affect the pH? And is that effect enough that you then have to screw with adjusting the pH?

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If give you a glass of clear, "recycled" water and tell you it has no ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate in it, is that enough for you to drink it? The products of decomposition are almost limitless. If you have a large body of water with a highly diverse ecosystem, just about anything will be consumed by microorganisms. But if you don't even have plants in the picture, you have a chemical soup. Most of the stuff is harmless, but you don't know whether that's all you have.

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Here's the response I received this morning from John at Aquaripure. My questions are in blue. His answers are bolded.

Hello Todd,

Thank you for your interest.

-I have a 70G with 3 large single tail goldfish (8", 7", 6" long) filtered by a Fluval 405 that has 7 of the 8 internal compartments full of ceramic biomedia and the 8th compartment will have either a water polishing pad or carbon. The filter outputs through a 44" spray bar at the top rear of the tank. There's a Tetra Whisper 60 air pump powering a 43" bubble stick burried at the base of the back wall under about an inch or so of gravel.

With that in mind, which of your filters would you recommend?

I recommend the Medium Aquaripure

-Can I leave the all of the biomedia in the Fluval?

I would recommend removing 50%-80% of it. In it's place I recommend any sort of filter floss/pad/media that can be regularly replaced or rinsed out thoroughly.

-How often would I do partial water changes?

It would depend. The filter usually takes a few months to really get the tanks water quality under control and I recommend water changes to keep nitrates in the 20 ppm- 60 ppm range in the meantime. Once water quality is high and nitrates are negligible then I recommend a 35% water change every 2-3 months. Some people will like to do more and others might get by fine with less.

-How often does your unit need to come apart and have it's filters replaced?

You will never, ever need to take the filter apart or replace the internal media. At the most you will need to clean up the outflow line but NOT the filter itself.

-I have water that's up around 8.3pH and I don't treat it other than for

chlorine. Is your unit going to drop the pH and if so, how much. If it does

drop it, will I need to treat it or will the fish not be harmed?

Yes, the Aquaripure will lower pH but it will do so slowly. This is because some of the bacteria in the Aquaripure will use carbonate ions as an electron receptor.

You will want to check the pH every couple of weeks or so. You will need to add maybe a teaspoon of baking soda or sodium bicarbonate. This will be ALL you need to do to keep the pH up.

I am not an expert on Goldfish but it is my understanding that they like a pH of 7.2-7.6 and so it might be beneficial to let the pH gradually drop a bit and just very occasionally add some carbonate to keep it in the 7.2-7.6 range.

Please let me know if I may be of further assistance.

Kind Regards,

John Strawn

Aquaripure, LLC

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I responded to John's email asking him about how much the Aquaripure can be expected to lower the pH and I also asked if I really needed the medium, or if I could get by with the small.

Here's his answer:

Hello again,

The unit never needs to be taken apart and it will never become clogged internally. I've opened one up that was in heavy use for 5 years and the internal media was as good as new. The most that you will need to do is occasionally clean the outflow lines but that is easy to do.

The pH drop is not a big issue in my opinion. In my 55g reef tank I keep the pH at 8.2 I find that a teaspoon of baking soda every 2 weeks is enough to keep the pH in check. In this tank I would say the pH drops about 0.1 per week and so it is never a fast or dramatic difference. A little cheap baking soda is all it takes to bring it right back up. In different tanks the pH might drop a little faster but in my previous 180g tank it was about the same.

Most people buy my filters for zero nitrates or as close to it as possible and so I would recommend the bigger filter. Again, the pH thing is pretty easy to take care of. I need to explain it better on the website and manual.

I do understand that a lot of people really love goldfish and it is a big community. Honestly, there are a lot of different types of fish where the owners really take pride in them (i.e. discus, oscars, arowanas, cichlids, etc.) and I truly want a company and products that can take care of ALL of them. The simple truth is that I am finding all the different tanks have more in common than not and it is my personal goal to help them all and inform and educate aquarists across the board and provide truly innovative and effective products to improve the quality of life for both the fish and their owners.

Please let me know if I may be of further assistance.

Kind Regards,

John Strawn

Aquaripure, LLC

www.aquaripure.com

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