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  #1  
Old 12-05-10, 21:18
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IPM IPM is offline
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Nitrate Reactor (DIY)

* Update - I've discovered that this reactor will reduce your Phosphates and your Nitrates, my nitrates and phosphates are now ZERO *

Hi, I've built this nitrate filter / reactor due to my nitrates creeping up in the last couple of day's. I checked out buying one online but they seemed to be pretty expensive so I thought I'd make one myself, I'm pretty exited about getting it going. I thought I'd share it with you as I'm sure there are loads of you in the same predicament as me.

So, I looked around and tried to figure out what I'd need and what I had lying around the house.

I had these pumps kicking around so thought OK one of these will do the trick as they have a pretty slow water flow rate which is needed for the seachem De - Nitrate product that I'm going to use in the reactor..



Next, I found my wife's drinking bottle lying in the kitchen so thought great here we go, off to a good start, it's a cheap water bottle from Boots the Chemist. I also thought of using my daughters guinea pigs drinking bottle but thought I'd rather face the wife than my daughter and guinea pigs.

Incidentally! if you're really stuck for a bottle you could just use the Seachem de-nitrate bottle that the de-nitrate media comes in, just make sure you get a good seal with the lid.




Next, I needed something to fit onto the bottle that would allow me to attach some water tubing and a pump, so off I went to B&Q and found these Speedfit fittings / u bends which I think is for central heating . the ones i bought were 15 mm which allows me to fit my spare eheim tubing that I had lying around. You could also use the black connector below which I got in the LFS but I opted for the Speedfit bends.



Here are all the bits that I needed to put the reactor together. I used 2 U bends even tho there's only one shown in the photo.




So all I had to do now was drill some holes and connect everything together. Here is one hole on the bottom of the bottle that I drilled with a regular hole cutter and a drill.



Here is the 25mm hole cutter attached to my drill, they're really cheap and come as a set from B&Q.



And here is the hole I cut out of the bottle lid.



Next, I attached the U bends - one to the bottom of the bottle and one to the bottle lid and sealed them with aquarium sealant.

WARNING! It's extremely important that you take the grip washer out of the U bend / Speedfit fitting (see below) as there are little metal grips hidden within the gripping part which as far as I know aren't reef safe.
Thank you very much silentbobt for pointing that out.



Here are the offending metal grips within the gripping part.



They do pop out extremely easily, I just put a knife under the lip and pop it out. Remember that you don't need to use the Speedfit bends, you can use elbow bends or even straight tube joints bought at your LFS specifically for aquarium use.

The grip popping out.




I then decided that I needed something for my reactor to sit on so that it would be in an upright position as I will want the water to flow from the bottom up to the top of the bottle and out into the aquarium. I found this plant pot lying in the shed which is ideal, a round one would also work.



I now needed to drill a hole in the bottom of my plant pot and one on the side (i'll be using the pot upside down like a plinth). As you can see below in the next photo I needed the U bend coming out from the bottom of the bottle and out through the plant pot.



Almost there. Here is the finished bottle sitting on the plant pot plinth. just have to add some filter foam at the top and bottom inside the bottle and put the De-Nitrate product into your bottle.



I have used some old foam that was lying around from my old Tetra tec ex 700.

Here's the filter foam I'm using.



Here is the foam cut to the inside shape of the bottle.





WOOHOO! it works really well.

Here is my new Nitrate reactor, it took me something like fifteen minutes to make and It cost me about 5 for the U bends, everything else was lying around the house so was practically free. The De-Nitrate product is 10.

By the way, the wife wasn't amused that I used her drinking bottle.

So, I put some foam at the top and the bottom of the bottle, two pieces in the bottom then I put in the De-Nitrate and then one piece of foam on top of my reactor to stop the De-Nitrate product from travelling into in tubing, make sure your foams are a nice tight fit.



The above photo show's the Nitrate reactor working in a fresh water test by the kitchen sink.

The water will travel through the tube starting at the bottom of the bottle from a pump in the sink (your tank), through the filter foam, through the De-Nitrate stones, through the top filter foam back out of the bottle's top tube into the sink (your tank) as de-nitrated water.

FYI, I put the whole 500ml bottle of stones into the reactor, I figured that the more space for the bacteria to live the better.

I tried the reactor with all three pumps, they all worked really well, the cheap ebay one (top photo to the left) worked really well, the Aqua medic pump (top photo in the middle) worked the best as you can control the flow really well with it, the Maxi Jet 1200 also worked well but I think the water flow was a bit fast, if you were to use a Maxi jet, I'd go for the Maxi Jet 400 or something in between.

The De-Nitrate product works best with a water flow that doesn't exceed 200 litres per hour / 50 Gallons per hour.

I'm really happy with the reactor it works really well. See below for the filter hooked up to the tank.



And here is a photo of inside of the tank (below). You can see that I decided to use the cheep ebay pump in the end, simply because it gave me the correct flow that I was looking for, I also attached the return to a spray bar.



That's it, All I need to do now is sit back and wait for my nitrates to disappear.

This design can also be used for charcoal and phosphate removers like phosban etc.

I've been checking my nitrates every day and I'm pretty astonished at how well and how quickly the reactor has worked and brought down my nitrates.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++

Update:
After only one week my Nitrates have surprisingly dropped from 30mg/l to 10mg/l

Update - Friday 21st May:

It's only three day's since my first update and my nitrates have dropped to 5mg/l

Update - Monday 24th May:

Which is just another 3 days from last update and my nitrates are 2mg/l

Update - Friday 11th June:
My Nitrates are now ZERO and have been for a 2 - 3 weeks now. The strange thing is that my phosphates have also gone to ZERO, i don't know if this is just a coincidence or not.

Update - Friday 16 th June:
I have discovered that the nitrate reactor also reduces phosphates, sinse using my nitrate reactor my phosphates have disappeared completely, they don't even show up with the phosphate test, the water sample is completely clear. I have chatted to a couple of people now about this including a very knowledgeable person at my LFS and we have come to the conclusion that the bacteria in the reactor are eating the phosphates, I'm pretty amazed by this, surely if it is this easy by someone like me who has only been keeping a reef tank for 5-6 months to get rid of Nitrates and Phosphates with a home made reactor (or am I missing something) then why isn't it common knowledge within the industry - why aren't we all doing this, why are we all paying a fortune on umpteen different reactors. The guy at my LFS told me that they are now going to empty there huge fluidized sand bed reactor and fill it with De-nitrate (I should be getting a commission from SeaChem for this ). I saw a water test that the LFS did yesterday for their nitrates and they were sky high, going of the scale, this is supposedly common place for fish shops to have sky high nitrates incidentally as far as I can gather it's also common place for the suppliers to the fish shops to have sky high nitrates go figure. Anyway apologies for that, I went off on a rant there, I just find all of this interesting.

If you do decide to build a DIY Nitrate reactor or should it be called a DIY Nitrate/Phosphate reactor , I'd be interested to hear your results.


Update - 13th November 2010

I've found a great new bottle, so I thought I'd add this as an update. ( I'm always on the lookout for new bottles )

I made a charcoal filter and phosphate filter from this one, just to show you that any of these bottles can be used for various things.

I got this bottle from Millets for about 4 pounds, which was half price if you buy something else i.e. another bottle .

I've done a step by step in photos, I think it's self explanatory but let me know if you have any questions.


New Drinking / water Bottle, hose fitting for bottom and pump




Tubing / hose just fits on the end / mouth piece of the actual bottle so no need to fit anything this end.










Screw the lid on and bing, bang, bong, job done.

Don't fill it as tight as this, it started to slow down a bit, put less charcoal in or don't put the phosphate remover in or as Steve at Coral Tech suggested use pellets.



all the best and good luck

Ian

Thanks for reading
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| 4x2x2 + sump | 8 x 54w ATI power module + aqua rays | Aquatronica computer | Deltec apf 600 | Korallin c 1501 | Phosban 150 | Vecton 600 UV |

Photos of my 4 x 2 x 2 build / upgrade
Me And The Bairn's old humble reef before the new upgrade

My DIY Nitrate Reactor


Last edited by IPM; 13-11-10 at 13:06. Reason: updates
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  #2  
Old 12-05-10, 21:55
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Looks great did you strip down the speedfit fitting before fitting it in the cap?
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Old 12-05-10, 22:06
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Thank you Silentbobt, All I did was unscrew one end of the speedfit put it through the hole in the lid / cap with some sealer on it and screw it back together again.

all the best

ian
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Have you eaten a Tang ? A Colony Of Mouths


| 4x2x2 + sump | 8 x 54w ATI power module + aqua rays | Aquatronica computer | Deltec apf 600 | Korallin c 1501 | Phosban 150 | Vecton 600 UV |

Photos of my 4 x 2 x 2 build / upgrade
Me And The Bairn's old humble reef before the new upgrade

My DIY Nitrate Reactor

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  #4  
Old 12-05-10, 22:25
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silentbobt silentbobt is offline
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Ian the speed fit has small metal claws inside the push fit section ( just used alot of it moving my tank ) these claws will only come into contact with the water if submerged, nobody could tell me if they were reef safe luckily none of mine are under water but yours would be, it would be worth checking they are just inside the lip and quite difficult to see they act to hold the pipe inplace as you dont have any real pressure you could just remove them.
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  #5  
Old 12-05-10, 22:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silentbobt View Post
Ian the speed fit has small metal claws inside the push fit section ( just used alot of it moving my tank ) these claws will only come into contact with the water if submerged, nobody could tell me if they were reef safe luckily none of mine are under water but yours would be, it would be worth checking they are just inside the lip and quite difficult to see they act to hold the pipe inplace as you dont have any real pressure you could just remove them.

Jings! Thanks for letting me know, I'll check them out in the morning (off to bed now), I never even noticed them, I thought the whole thing was plastic with plastic grips inside. I'll take them out if that's the case as there not needed anyway, I only used them as a hose fitting.

Thanks again for that.

all the best

Ian
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Have you eaten a Tang ? A Colony Of Mouths


| 4x2x2 + sump | 8 x 54w ATI power module + aqua rays | Aquatronica computer | Deltec apf 600 | Korallin c 1501 | Phosban 150 | Vecton 600 UV |

Photos of my 4 x 2 x 2 build / upgrade
Me And The Bairn's old humble reef before the new upgrade

My DIY Nitrate Reactor

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  #6  
Old 12-05-10, 22:36
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silentbobt silentbobt is offline
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Yeah I had missed them too it was Disco Dave over on the NIRC that pointed them out to me
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  #7  
Old 12-05-10, 22:48
Gallandro Gallandro is offline
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The metal in the speedfit is not reef safe.
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  #8  
Old 13-05-10, 06:28
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It's not a problem now, I've just taken them out they just pop out all at once, really easily.

Thanks very much guy's, that could have been horrible.

I'm really happy these were pointed out

Best

Ian
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Have you eaten a Tang ? A Colony Of Mouths


| 4x2x2 + sump | 8 x 54w ATI power module + aqua rays | Aquatronica computer | Deltec apf 600 | Korallin c 1501 | Phosban 150 | Vecton 600 UV |

Photos of my 4 x 2 x 2 build / upgrade
Me And The Bairn's old humble reef before the new upgrade

My DIY Nitrate Reactor

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  #9  
Old 14-05-10, 13:06
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IPM IPM is offline
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I've updated the Nitrate Reactor and I've connected it to my tank, all I have to do now is sit back and watch the nitrates drop.

He say's confidently.
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Have you eaten a Tang ? A Colony Of Mouths


| 4x2x2 + sump | 8 x 54w ATI power module + aqua rays | Aquatronica computer | Deltec apf 600 | Korallin c 1501 | Phosban 150 | Vecton 600 UV |

Photos of my 4 x 2 x 2 build / upgrade
Me And The Bairn's old humble reef before the new upgrade

My DIY Nitrate Reactor

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  #10  
Old 14-05-10, 15:04
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have you checked the ph after the water has been through the filter?
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