Nitrate bio-reactor from Hell
Been both busy and concerned by my nitrate filter from hell (a commercial unit) so have been mostly lucking the last month or so. Now that I have figured out my latest tank issues, I decided to post them to warn others if they are considering a commercial bio-reactor to remove nitrates from their tank water (fresh or salt.)
My commercial nitrate removing bio-reactor has been, of late, creating a nitrite signal from its output water! Luckily for me my tank is over filtered so this is not terrible issue nor dangerous . Of course, for these bio-processing units this is unusual once they have cycled the first time (power lost, even for a day would mean little to this class of filters but I have had no power loss anyway.) So the issue of late was ‘Why was it cycling again?”
After a few days of confusion I discovered that the units extremely stupid pumping attachment system had partly failed (a piece of piping tore open) – the damn unit used three different tubes each of a different (!) diameter to couple the external plastic tube that feeds the main processing units to the in tank water pump (why that many tubes just really shows what clowns this company employ’s for design work.)
I removed their joke of a connector system and installed a single stainless steel compression fitting to link the pump motor to the filter’s main feed line – luckily, the threads for one side of the compression fitting easily cuts and seals into the inside diameter of the in tank water pump intake pipe – of course I choose a compression coupling that matched the bio-reactor’s intake plastic hose.
I have always hated their coupling system and wondered if it would cause problems later (boy, did it) and how have even more reason to hate that companies’ design.
The nitrites from the bio-reactor have dropped but are still too high but my canister and algae scrubber remove all these nitrites so my tank still reads zero (under 0.05 ppm) but it is not acceptable for that unit to be adding toxic waste to my tank, anyway! The strange part of this latest issue is that the nitrate bio-reactor filter from hell is now putting out a higher nitrate signal (0.2 ppm) water than my tank water reads (only 0.1 ppm.) Apparently my low cost, and simple algae scrubber can handle that trivial level.
I refuse to abandon the nitrate bio-unit from hell since it was so expensive (and does remove nitrates) but this just proves that commercial units are basically poorly designed (but do work) and I’d say that except for experts, no one should ever consider buying these units.
On the other hand, my simple algae scrubber is a delight and saves me yet again.
Quick update relative to my previous lucking ... I mean lurking ... do need to edit before posting.
I've been keeping a close eye on the reactor. So, my nitrates are back down to zero on the output water from the reactor - I guess the repair is working well and the nitrites are now down to a trace - under 0.05 ppm and barely showing a color. Should drop to zero very soon. Again, a bio-reactor is not something anyone should consider unless a real expert - still, the manual said nothing about that danger, either. Overall, just bad design combined with poor instructions is an extremely poor way for a company to do business.
Again, the reactor does do what they say it was designed to do but as some here would say, just adding clean water is always the best idea - just wish my tap allowed that.
I guess a R/O unit would have been a better buy (similar in initial cost) but at the time, I figured the replacement R/O canisters made the reactor 'lower cost'. So, except for the alcohol feeding of the unit, long-term costs are zero but one must monitor the unit carefully.
So even good logic can, when there are no reviews at least, create a very bad result (combined with stubbornness (really, TWO "n’s” in that word! The old time Monks sitting in their towers writing those loong books really were strange in their approch to spelling ideas when creating English – that word just looks weird with two "n's") ... such a mind-set is a bad mix with keeping discus.)
Last edited by Cermet; 05-12-2013 at 04:49 PM.
Nice read there.
When I was into saltwater, right at the end I made my own reactor ,a Calcium one ,but never got around to hooking it up.
Not hard to make yourself, but as yours is something different and on a Fresh water tank that is wild, so any name given of this bad design?
Sometimes we see and can make things better then the ones that do it for a living.
I have been experimenting with large DIY type reactors and sulfur reactors so I understand how annoying they can be! The latest reactor I am messing with is the Dr. Tim's pearls.
Would you be willing to PM which reactor you bought?
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