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DIY De-nitrator UPDATE
#1
I thought I would take the time to share my experiences with running a DIY De-nitrator that has been very successful for me so far.
Reef central has a very good (and long) thread on them found here if anyone wants to take a look.

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread...genumber=1

The majority of the de-nitrators that are covered there are recirculating types similar to those that are available commercially. I decided to build a passive De-nitrator, which does not use a recirculating pump for a number of reasons. Simplier design, I didn't have a pump on hand and also I had seen cases of a people running their de-nitrator passively once they had got their nitrates under control.
The design is simple, pump water into the bottom of the stack of sulfur and take it from the top using a valve to restrict flow.

I kept the idea of the de-gassing valve but I see some designs don't use that any more. Mostly I looked around to see what I had lying around and used that, parts from an old RO unit plus the piping from home depot. Probably cost me at the most $30 plus the sulfur media. 


3' of 4" ABS pipe
4" cap (for the bottom)
Closet flange with threaded test port (for the top to allow me to fill and empty media)
2 small valves (one for restricting outflow, the other mounted in the test port cap for de-gassing)
2 filter pads (old generic pads I had that where part of  canister filter, purely there to be dividers between media)
Old 60 gph pump

I didn't think to take photos when I built it but below is a photo of it
[Image: 20180621_190410_1529802050966.png]


The first 4" of the stack contained rubble from my sump, then one of the pads.
Next approx 20" contain the sulfur. I used CaribSea L.S.M. Live Sulfur Media. About 1 gallon though I had a little left.
Another filter pad then approx 8" of coarse crushed coral.
It took around 10 days to hit 0ppm output of nitrates at the 1 drip a second output.

Currently I have it running it at .25 gallons an hour, this has slowly chipped away at my nitrates from around 20-30ppm down to as best as I can tell around 5ppm and still dropping. 
Picture below has output water on the left and tank on the right.
[Image: 20180623_205425.jpg]


The main drawback from these seems to be the drop in alk from the output. I'm dropping around 1 dKH on my output. Not to much of a concern considering my total volume is around 130 gallons it should take roughly 21 days for the tank to drop 1 dKH. Something I can easily compensate for during regular tank maintenance.


While it's not as fancy as the commercial options, for the price I would recommend getting one of these setup to anyone.
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#2
That’s awesome. I’ve also had amazing results using mine as you’ve read. I did take your advice and tested my alk coming out of mine tonight. There is a slight difference of about a half a dkh coming out but mine is processing I’m guessing 20 gallons an hour so the drop will add up and did. As I mentioned my alk was down to 5.8 when I caught it. No wonder my ph was getting so low. That is one thing I did read setting these up but obviously failed to heed the warning. It’s good of you to bring it up. That’s awesome you were able to set it up so cheap and it’s obviosly working great too. I know it’s so nice not to have to worry about nitrates anymore. You know the feeling I’m sure lol
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#3
API test kits are not reliable beware.
[-] The following 2 users Like KingFish's post:
  • DavidLong, Greenough
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#4
Never really had to many issues with between them and salifert. I'd say they aren't overly accurate but I'm currently not running ULN and I've found that level of accuracy enough.
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#5
Its more the variance from kit to kit. They are quite inacurate(seen them test 20ppm off), however if your nitrates do get low enough, your tank will show the effects before the test actually reads 0.
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#6
I just got back from a 14 Day vacation back home to the UK, so first thing I usually do is test everything including output from the De-nitrator which I have not tested in a while.

[Image: 20191231-094950-1577801682189.png]

This is my tank reading (center vial) its between 1-2ppm

[Image: 20191231-100446-1577801776450.png]

This is the De-nitrator output (center vial) showing 0ppm

So far 6 months on it's still working well at reducing nitrates and keeping my levels down.

I had an issue over the summer with the output valve failing full open, combined with summer 2 week vacation resulting in a massive drop in Alk ~5 dhk and Nitrates down to 0ppm in the tank by the time I got home. It cost me a couple sps frags and a nice long tentacle plate. Thankfully everything else recovered. 

I have a better quality valve, the trident and a apex Valve to cut it off in the event Alk drops below 7.
However my advice would be if your leaving the tank and can't test for a couple of weeks disconnect your De-nitrator. The flow is that low it takes weeks to start to impact the tank anyone with regular weekly tests will be fine.
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