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DIY Coil Denitrator (Step by Step walkthrough with pics)

Postby elgenyo » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:04 pm

I am going to try to demonstrate step by step how to create one of these bad boys. I've always wanted one and since I am planning a new 100gal Tang tank in my office, I want one up, running and cycled ahead of time.

This is what you'll need!

Lowes shopping list!

$3 - 4" S&D PVC pipe (non schedule 40) got a 10' piece on clearance because the end was cracked
$9 - 75' 1/4" tubing (get more as 75' just fills the pipe and you'll need some for plumbing)
$3.34 - 4" S&D cap X 2
$.33 - 3/4" tee
? - 3/4" ball valve I had laying around
$.46 - 3/4" to 1/2" adapter
$16.64 :o qty of 3_1/8" Barb x 1/4" MIP(I'm sure something else could be used but I was in a hurry so I grabbed what I knew would work)
$4.36 - qty of 2_1/4" brass coupling
$4.12 - 1/4"x1/2" compression coupling

Last edited by elgenyo on Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby elgenyo » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:04 pm

Now that we have the parts lets get to building this thing!

1. Cut the 4" PVC pipe to 24" (I used a saw but I imagine you could use your teeth if you don't have a saw around)
2. Insert the airline tubing into the pipe (This is where most people will quit because I almost did. My recommendation is to wrap the tubing around the outside first so it takes the general shape of the pipe then insert it using both arms, one in each end. Use a clamp to keep the starting end in place. This will allow you to keep torque on the tubing as you wind it tight along the inside wall)
3. Once finished clamp the end piece so it doesn't unwind on you.
4. Fill pipe with sweet bacteria condos of your choice (I used scrubbies, good luck finding them)
It took 24 pads to fill it to the top.

Set this piece aside as we will now start on the top cap. Don't forget to clamp that end piece because it will unravel on you!
Last edited by elgenyo on Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby elgenyo » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:05 pm

Forgive me on this part as my camera settings were changed for photographing fish and these closeups of the pvc pipe came out way too bright. I'll try to compensate with detailed description.

5. Get out a drill and a universal bit.
You'll use this to drill the inlet and outlet holes on the 4" cap. So I wouldn't drill holes too big for the 1/8" barb adapters to fit, I traced out the bottom of the adapters using a sharpie.
Again sorry for the brightness! Once the "threaded" end of the adapter has been traced out on the cap take your unibit and slowly drill out the holes being careful not to exceed the trace lines you made. I drilled mine just large enough to where I could screw my adapter into the cap creating a tight seal.
6. Flip the cap over and use plumbers tape around the threading of both adapters.
7. Place a 1/4" brass coupling on both. Tighten the couplings to the adapters using wrenches. Mine were tight enough that leaks were not a concern in this low pressure application.
8. Place the third 1/8 barb adapter on the coupling mated to the inlet, again using tape on the threads.
9. Grab the pipe that we set aside ealier. Attach the airline tubing to the inlet barb. Use PVC primer and cement to secure the cap. Voila! Hope you didn't forget anything because its sealed tight now!
Last edited by elgenyo on Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby elgenyo » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:05 pm

Let's give this thing a name!

10. To attach it to your setup will differ depending on pipe sizing and such. My return plumbing is 3/4" pvc so adjust according to your setup.
11. Attach 3/4" tee to 3/4" ball valve using 3/4" pvc, primer, cement.
12. Attach ball valve to 3/4" to 1/2" pvc adapter
13. Screw on 1/4"x1/2" compressions coupling
14. Attach airline tubing to the compression end and run this into your sump

Last edited by elgenyo on Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby booba5 » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:05 pm

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Postby iceblue » Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:48 pm

Could you give us an overview of the path the water will take through your denitrater?
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Postby elgenyo » Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:35 pm

Its the same as the other DIY Denitrator plans out there. The water enters at the top via the airline tubing travles 75' and exits at the bottom filling the chanber with scrubbies and pushes its way back out of the denitrator via the airline tubing connected to the exit going into the sump.Image
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Postby prov356 » Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:16 pm

Here's a link with some description. Here's a thread that I'd suggest reading too. I"d be careful about implementing these unless one has studied up and understands the principles behind them.
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Postby KaiserSousay » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:54 pm

:D I like it :D
Thanx for the walk thru :thumb:
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Postby Terry_Teater » Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:54 pm

:fish: I was wandering you have the power head from you sump pushing water into the inlet, the water goes through the wrapped tubing, the water exits out of the tubing into the base of the cylinder, that is when the sponges/bio balls plays it part, then the water gets pushed out of the outlet hole back into the sump, is that right? I'm considering building me one.

I have a 100 gal predator tank, one 4" clown trigger, one 4" undulated trigger and a 14-16" eel, I have 80-90 lbs live rock, pumping 700 gph, two 1200 gph waver makers, two 1300 gph wave maker, coralife super skimmer,coralife uv, 15-20 gal refuguim with 130 watts reef light (12-14 hrs per day). Salinity 1.025-6 ph 8.2-8.4 Ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 20-50. I do 25% water change a week and one 50% a month. I have a RO DI pump.
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Postby planenut007 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:27 pm

WOW! Gonna have to look into this one when a few less crown and ice's are involved, will do some research.
Again, I say the water is the most interesting part of the hobby(sickness).
Any cleaning involved?
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Postby TNprogrammer » Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:12 am

Prov, I read your link. VERY informative. I was wondering what part the long tubing played and it was clearly explained. I think this is definitely worth a shot. Especially for the price. I have 4 tanks in my house now, and water changes do not get done as regularly as they should. I don't expect this to eliminate water changes by any means since I want my fish to have nice clean water regardless of whether or not it has nitrates in it, but it could give me an edge on keeping my water quality as pristine as possible BETWEEN those changes.
Can I use this WITHOUT a sump by just running the intake and output tubes straight into my tank right beside by canister filter tubes?
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Postby Stickzula » Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:02 pm

The danger with using them without a sump is the potential for hydrogen sulfide gas getting in the tank. The denitrator has the potential of producing this gas, however, it can be dissapated by airating the water. This is easily done in a sump. Essentially, the water comes out of the denitrator with hydrogen sulfide in it. Then the water goes into the sump and mixes with the water there and both are exposed to air. Theoretically, by the time the water gets back in the tank the hydrogen sulfide is gone. By letting the denitrator drip directly in the tank, you eliminate the opportunity for airation and increase the probability that hydrogen sulfide will enter the tank water.
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Postby warbyd » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:07 am

If the output from the denitrator is only a very slow flow though, if it were directed into an area with alot of agitation (eg directly above an airstone or powerhead) would this be sufficient to allow the gasses to vent?
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Postby Terry_Teater » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:42 am

I just finished making mine, I did 22 X 4. I am going to hook it up tomorrow and see what happens. Its cost about 50 bucks to build and I had to buy a maxi jet 600 which was another 31. I used the pre coiled tube from wal mart. I used all plastic fitting ( brass has copper into which can harm fish/plants). I'll do a up date when I get it up and running. If anyone has any questions about building one, just ask.
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