Nitrate reduction of Tap water
Hello everyone; been awhile dealing with many rather more critical issues but it is time I revisited my nitrate removal project from hell.
Since my wellwater has developed nitrates (now about 10 ppm) and while this was starting to happen, I decided, since I had discus, to remove these using an off-the-self bio-based filtering system (for ease of water changes and to get pure water again.) As I posted this was a VERY bad move on my part - learned a bitter lesion. That commercial system killed all the discus in the tank (their instructions are very poor and make no mention of any danger like what occurred.)
What happened was an oxygen loss in the water due to a bloom because of the device's own special bacteria got into the tank and started to feed on nitrates in the tank water (they were between 10 ppm and 15 ppm.) I had a canister running but stopped my HOB as per their instructions - that was an extremely bad move but hindsight now.
Well, some months later now, and since I own the unit and have a spare tank (the one where all the discus were killed) I continued to monitor it and test the unit more for information than desire to use it. After a few MONTHS(!) the unit has started to operate properly (this required months of feeding the damn thing both ammonia and alcohol.)
Maybe it is now fooling me but for the last month it has been consuming nitrates (but started producing nitrites for one week(?!) Yes, that is normal when such a unit is newly cycling but this thing had cycled before I added the original discus; why it did that again is just another reason to avoid these units.)
That all said and done, I decided to move it to my existing discus tank (with lesions learned!) and the thing has within a few days pulled the nitrate level down to 1 ppm from the 10 ppm reading in the discus tank. As per lesion learned, I now have a long bubble strip and an algae scrubber running to be sure there is enough oxygen (besides a canister with some active bio media to be ready if the darn thing tries producing nitrites again.)
The algae scrubber is far too small to remove the nitrates but works very nicely for the phosphates. I guess the nitrate filter works but all I can say is only a very experienced and hyper careful user should consider these killers. Algae scrubbers are far, far safer but require a good bit of room (which is hard for some to make) and do require weekly or bi-weekly cleaning. Still, if I had it to do over, I'd go with a big enough algae scrubber.
Of course, some here use hydroponics (!) and that is a really, really a cool idea (and I’d love to try it but that would entail having a bit too much work for me that I can't currently handle and the space required would be an issue, too) but one could not get a more natural (nor balanced!) aquarium setup as well as a fantastic garden with their aquarium.
That is the latest update. I'll add pic’s soon when I get my camera charged. Still have a lot of house repair items that have built up the last few months to complete now that I'm getting close to being 100% again. Still, my remaining discus have been doing good - I gave away the neon’s and hatchet fish due to the need to give them different food than the discus which required my having to clean up after them independent of the discus - also, others feed them and didn't clean up the extra food - the Cories could handle only so much.
Hope to post more on other topics and hopefully, will not need to post nothing bad on thiis unit again ... .