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RockFella,
I had a look at your videos. Do you know what your Nitrates normally are with that set up? Do you mind sharing that? It looks like a good size basket.

So far 4 bags 7x4x4 inches is consuming about 5ppm Nitrates per week, for 125G + Sump. So my Nitrates are 5ppm lower then normal before I do my weekly water change.

Most of the example tanks that use Anoxic filters are planted, so I think our tanks will be a good test case for this.

After 2 months my ORP (Redox) went from 270 to 315, and TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) seems to agree with my nitrate tests. TDS is not increasing any more than the Nitrate. I was checking that because I wanted to be sure that the nitrate was actually being removed as N2 gas and not just being converted into something else that stayed in the tank.


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RockFella,
I had a look at your videos. Do you know what your Nitrates normally are with that set up? Do you mind sharing that? It looks like a good size basket.

So far 4 bags 7x4x4 inches is consuming about 5ppm Nitrates per week, for 125G + Sump. So my Nitrates are 5ppm lower then normal before I do my weekly water change.

Most of the example tanks that use Anoxic filters are planted, so I think our tanks will be a good test case for this.

After 2 months my ORP (Redox) went from 270 to 315, and TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) seems to agree with my nitrate tests. TDS is not increasing any more than the Nitrate. I was checking that because I wanted to be sure that the nitrate was actually being removed as N2 gas and not just being converted into something else that stayed in the tank.


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Thanks for checking out my videos. My situation is very different.
1) I have 40/80 ppm Nitrates in my tap water! Another problem is I really can't see the difference between 40-80 ppm on API test kit so when I do WC I don't know if I am getting rid of 80 ppm to come down to 60 or what.
2) The BCBs you saw in the video were set up in early sep with Oil-dri and something I thought was laterite but it was not. Now I have a bigger BCB which was set up with this :
JBL PROFLORA Florapol as iron source on Feb 2nd 2022.

I saw no reduction in nitrates since Sep 2021 in both aquariums : IDK why, I am assuming it could be because the BCBs were never set properly. However all fish in both tanks are doing fine, none of them look sick or stressed (Few smaller cichlids do feel a bit of stress as they are lowest in the hierarchy). All of them are active and eat well.

Just 10 mins ago I saw 6 babies (I have platys) in my small tank (the BCB in that one is still without iron source/not set right.

New BCB bigger than before and with proper iron source in the center was set on feb 2nd so my countdown started that day. I am not hoping nitrates to be zero but anything in the orangish range (API test Kit) will make me happy as the whole filtration system has to deal with tank + tap water nitrates: This is my understanding as of now. I am very happy that my fish are doing good but not happy with 40/80 ppm constant nitrates.

PFA pics.

I don't think you should worry about how your nitrates are getting reduced. IDK if there is a way to find out how anyway. Increase in redox is good. One guy had good success when he got rid of the baskets and made BCMB (biocenosis clarification mesh bags lol) Baskets did not do anything for 4 months, the mesh bags worked faster and his discus have been spawning now for first time after 10 years! Dr. Novak stated he is testing mesh bags currently.

EDIT: Now I can't see any babies now clue why. Either the big ones ate them or they are hiding.
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@marten Consider making a plenum? You can keep a mesh on 2" sand so the fish don't dig and cap it with more substrate you use. Simple.
Your set up is working for you. I have around 20 mbunas in a 70g (not the typical 70g) with 40ppm nitrates in tap water. Let's see what happens in 3 months :)
 

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@marten Consider making a plenum? You can keep a mesh on 2" sand so the fish don't dig and cap it with more substrate you use. Simple.
Your set up is working for you. I have around 20 mbunas in a 70g (not the typical 70g) with 40ppm nitrates in tap water. Let's see what happens in 3 months :)

I clean my substrate every few days by siphoning into the Sock section of the sump. I also regularly clean the socks, so I think I'm only missing the larger anoxic zone created by a plenum, and the sand is not very deep. I will never do less than 25% weekly water changes anyways, and i just doubled the volume of my BCBs last week.

I set up a plenum in my son's 10G to see how that goes. I guess i really just want to see it all for myself first, so I'm testing everything out.

What i didn't expect to see was how TDS went down between water changes after the BCBs matured. The BCBs consume Ions, but not only Ammonia / Nitrite / Nitrate. I really don't know what is coming out of my water between water changes, but PH is actually more stable than it was before, so i don't think it's negatively affecting my KH.
 

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I clean my substrate every few days by siphoning into the Sock section of the sump. I also regularly clean the socks, so I think I'm only missing the larger anoxic zone created by a plenum, and the sand is not very deep. I will never do less than 25% weekly water changes anyways, and i just doubled the volume of my BCBs last week.

I set up a plenum in my son's 10G to see how that goes. I guess i really just want to see it all for myself first, so I'm testing everything out.

What i didn't expect to see was how TDS went down between water changes after the BCBs matured. The BCBs consume Ions, but not only Ammonia / Nitrite / Nitrate. I really don't know what is coming out of my water between water changes, but PH is actually more stable than it was before, so i don't think it's negatively affecting my KH.
Clay reduced PH for sure. Doubled the volume of BCB as in added more bags? If possible make water turnover faster... faster the better.
 

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I'm happy to come back and see that there is a lot going on in this thread! My friends, thank you for posting, and sharing your experience with this type of nitrate management in the aquarium!

Coming back and reading through, I'm not very surprised that this isn't functioning very well in the absence of plants. I struggled with what/how much to say to this question when originally posed. Here it is in a nut shell - I don't believe that "Anoxic" or "Anaerobic" removal of nitrates is really feasible cheaply in a home aquarium.

I'm happy to discuss further, but I don't have a lot to say that can even be politely framed for this conversation. I think that Biocenosis baskets are bunk. I don't see any claims made which detail the underlying scientific substance of what's going on. All of Dr. Novak's tanks have plants in them. I'm not surprised we've not seen nitrate removal in our own tanks as it's almost impossible.

I'll cite one piece of evidence: The profit motive. The release of nitrate and phosphate into the water cycle from sewage treatment plants is environmentally devastating. If it were possible to do this with laterite and flourite (Both very cheap) every municipal water plant in the world would by more land and build a BCB effluent discharge to remove nitrates before they go into the rivers and kill the oceans (interestingly by removing oxygen from the water column). Nitrate removal systems are very expensive, require massive amounts of maintenance, and the injection of a carbon source into the reaction chamber. The chemistry won't work without these things.

I just flat don't see a lot of scientific claims going on in the article cited. There is what i would define as pseudo-science. Explanations that the bacterial eat one atom of this or release one molecule of that, but they don't say what kind of bacteria, they site no studies at all. They don't scientifically test for variables (All the tanks have plants in them. We know plants remove nitrates, therefore any data from a tank with plants in it are scientifically useless, and please don't even get me started on statistically significant sample sizes.)

The statement that the basket is "ionic" is... something. Perhaps it was, for about 15 seconds, but then in a closed system, it found a balance...

To that end - I hope this works. I hope you both see reductions in nitrates. I am simply scientifically unconvinced. Please keep us posted for the results. I honestly do look forward to reading more from you
 

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Clay reduced PH for sure. Doubled the volume of BCB as in added more bags? If possible make water turnover faster... faster the better.
I added one large bag that doubles the volume of the BCBs I have in the sump. Plenty of water movement in the sump too. PH is stable.


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@SenorStrum

The reduction of TDS I’m now seeing between water changes definitely suggests that Ions are being removed. I think that, because TDS normally increases between water changes from buildup of Nitrates and other pollutants.

I’m cautiously optimistic about Anoxic Filtration.


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Any update on your progress? @Rockfella

My Nitrates have been absolutely zero since May 5th (measured before weekly water changes). It seems to take a while for the media to mature, but when it does it's really something.
 

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My Nitrates have been absolutely zero since May 5th (measured before weekly water changes). It seems to take a while for the media to mature, but when it does it's really something.
[/QUOTE]
Glad it worked for you! You should also notice less illnesses overall. Clay seems to a very underrated thing in this hobby.
 

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I converted my 135 to anoxic filtration a few months ago. I made BCB baskets that were WAY too big (used milk crates). It tanked my pH. But after that stabilized on its own, oh my god. I guess because my BCBs were so large they soaked up every bit of ammonia as they cycled, but I literally never saw a reading for ammonia, nitrite or nitrate since converting. I think they're fully cycled now and just doing their thing. I'm beyond impressed.
I recently converted my other 3 tanks (75, 55, and 20 gallons) as well and with fish in them have had the same results (without the massive pH crash, it still came down but I used reasonably sized baskets on them and it's much better). All 4 tanks now have plenums (I added one to the 135 when I set up the other tanks, it's the only one without clay in the plenum though). The 55 and 75 have overhead sumps I built out of planters (years ago, just converted the media) that run small brick sized BCB's (1 for the 55, 2 for the 75). The 20 just has a plenum. All the canisters and HOB's got converted to just mechanical and chemical (I use homemade chemipure because I don't trust the city water). Again, I haven't had a reading for anything nitrogen related since they were set up and it's only been a few weeks, so the BCBs and plenums aren't fully cycled yet on the smaller tanks. I'm doing water changes some, but mostly because I feel guilty not doing them. The tanks, fish, plants and test readings are showing no signs they're needed. No spikes, no bacteria bloom, water is crystal clear (except my 75 where I used cheap sand that seems to have had more dust than sand in it). I genuinely am having trouble accepting these results and just keep waiting for something to go wrong, haha.
Has anyone run into long term problems I should be aware of? It was scary ripping out all that old biomedia that was working as intended, but now I just wish I had found this years ago. It genuinely feels like a cheat code for fishkeeping.
 

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I converted my 135 to anoxic filtration a few months ago. I made BCB baskets that were WAY too big (used milk crates). It tanked my pH. But after that stabilized on its own, oh my god. I guess because my BCBs were so large they soaked up every bit of ammonia as they cycled, but I literally never saw a reading for ammonia, nitrite or nitrate since converting. I think they're fully cycled now and just doing their thing. I'm beyond impressed.
I recently converted my other 3 tanks (75, 55, and 20 gallons) as well and with fish in them have had the same results (without the massive pH crash, it still came down but I used reasonably sized baskets on them and it's much better). All 4 tanks now have plenums (I added one to the 135 when I set up the other tanks, it's the only one without clay in the plenum though). The 55 and 75 have overhead sumps I built out of planters (years ago, just converted the media) that run small brick sized BCB's (1 for the 55, 2 for the 75). The 20 just has a plenum. All the canisters and HOB's got converted to just mechanical and chemical (I use homemade chemipure because I don't trust the city water). Again, I haven't had a reading for anything nitrogen related since they were set up and it's only been a few weeks, so the BCBs and plenums aren't fully cycled yet on the smaller tanks. I'm doing water changes some, but mostly because I feel guilty not doing them. The tanks, fish, plants and test readings are showing no signs they're needed. No spikes, no bacteria bloom, water is crystal clear (except my 75 where I used cheap sand that seems to have had more dust than sand in it). I genuinely am having trouble accepting these results and just keep waiting for something to go wrong, haha.
Has anyone run into long term problems I should be aware of? It was scary ripping out all that old biomedia that was working as intended, but now I just wish I had found this years ago. It genuinely feels like a cheat code for fishkeeping.
I'm not surprised. Another thing is one doesn't need to cycle tanks with this method. I feel lucky to jump straight into this filtration method after getting into this hobby after 20 years.
 

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And so it begins?
Who knows? With enough people trying and playing around with this concept... we may have just found that aquarium keeping 'unicorn' @SenorStrum was talking about!
There are two sources of Calcined Clay in the U.S. that seem to have the most promise for use in Anoxic Filtration.
  • Turface Athletics, MVP. I would sift out the fine particles to enhance water flow rate through the media.
  • 'Monto Clay' by Bonsai Jack Monto Clay – Bonsai Jack ©
(Both products are manufactured by Turface Athletics)
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And yes, I'm hoping this concept pans out successfully. Be nice to know about how large to size the baskets in relation to the size of the aquarium volume being serviced. And, basket configuration could be important as well. Hmmmm.... the easiest method to implement this thing, might be to just pack out a canister filter completely full of that Calcined Clay?
The all or nothing approach?!!
 
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