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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Nitrobacter, nitrosoma for aquarium water filtering

02/22/2009 6:11 PM

Where can I find a set up plan which will allow me to filter my fish tank water using the above bacteria to rid it of ammonia ? Essentially, I want to build a scale model of an aquaponics set up before, before I undertake a full scale system. I want to know the possible ways to detoxify the water from the fish tanks and make it ideal for hydroponic use. Where, how, and in what quantities does one obtain the bacteria strains to get started ? What apparatus does one use to treat the water with this bacteria ? What's the best category to place this question ?

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#1

Re: Nitrobacter, nitrosoma for aquarium water filtering

02/22/2009 9:24 PM

A normal attached media biological filter as used in an aquarium is good enough for a small set-up. For a very large one, a reinforced concrete filter as used in ornamental fish ponds will be needed. Obviously what size the filter should be will depend on the total mass of fish being kept. As a general rule of thumb, 1m2 of filter media surface will remove 1 gram of NH3 per day, while 1kg of fish will excrete 0.25g NH3 per day. Add another 0.02g NH3 from the fish food, and you'll get 0.27g NH3 per kg of fish per day.

If you have a friend who has a healthy cycled fish tank, get some of the brown sludge from his filter: it's essentially a dense colony of bacteria. Another way is to put one or two slices of fish into an empty tank and let the pump circulate the water continuously through the filter. After 2 weeks to a month, the tank should have cycled. Use a nitrite/nitrate test kit to check the water NO2 - NO3 levels. A properly cycled tank should only show NO3, with no detectable NO2 or NH3 levels.

Your process flow should look like this:

Fish tank → biofilter → plants

Note that once the plants have removed the NO3 from the water, it is safe to return the water back to the tank. Note also that excessive NO3 levels will eventually harm your fish. I have set up one such pilot plant and have not needed to replace the water for > 6 months. And yes, the fish is still very healthy.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Nitrobacter, nitrosoma for aquarium water filtering

02/23/2009 3:32 PM

I'm wondering about some of the "specs" for the simplest possible biofilter I can make and how rapidly it might be able to do the water cleaners. For instance, if I pumped the "dirty" water into a 1 quart (1 liter) container, , filled with aquarium gravel, or beach sand and let it sit for 30 minutes (or two hours?), would the bateria have enough time to operate on that amount of water before being passed by the plant roots in a hydroponic set up ? Which would be better for the bacteria or settle on, sand or gravel, or something made of a plastic, or metal ? Would a "wool", or some other fiber spun material, e.g. glass, or rockwool, be better yet ? (is it better if the water is flowing rather than sitting, and at what "speed" ? If I can get the two separate bateria, nitrosoma and nitrobacter, is it better to have each act on the dirty water separately or together ? (I'll ask my questions one (or two) at a time, to get fullest detail. Reference to some visuals would also be very appreciated.) Thanks.

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Guru
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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Nitrobacter, nitrosoma for aquarium water filtering

02/23/2009 9:13 PM
  1. Nitrosomonas oxidizes NH3 to NO2, while nitrobacter oxidizes NO2 to NO3, so it's better to have nitrosomonas, then nitrobacter in that order. In reality though, they'll probably be found in mixed colonies.
  2. Minimum required contact time is 20 minutes as a general rule of thumb. Obviously longer is better.
  3. Both nitrosomonas and nitrobacter are aerobic bacteria, so flowing water is better. Alternately, you can have standing water if it's well aerated. Note that they are facultative bacteria, so without sufficient DO, they'll breakdown the NO3 to obtain oxygen. This by itself isn't a bad thing, except then your water will be NO3 depleted and thus will not provide a nitrogen supply for your plants.
  4. Use a medium with an extremely high specific surface area e.g. activated carbon or crushed coral to get maximum growth space for your bacteria. You can get the details from your supplier.
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#3

Re: Nitrobacter, nitrosoma for aquarium water filtering

02/23/2009 6:40 PM

Email the guys at www.1aquaponics.com.au and they will give you some written plans for aquaponic aquariums. andrew

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