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Hennie's Corner Hennie Landman (Reef Maniac) has a vast amount of knowledge in all aspects of the Reefkeeping hobby from DIY to chemical additives. He has written many articles about the hobby, some of which are used on Reef Central. So if you need some beginners or specialised local advice, Hennie is here to help.

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Old 27-02-2008   #1
Kanga
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Default Denitrators
Hennie

I have been thinking (yes it hurts when I do) whether denitrators have any benefits for us. Do they have a place in your average reeftank, or is it just the manufacturers trying to find an alternative for the DSB .

I guess what I am asking is
  • Under what circumstances should one look at using one of these?
  • Does it need to be run with a controller IYO?
  • Are they safe in the hands of the average aquarist?
  • If they are worthwhile, what type of unit would be the preffered one?
Thanks

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Old 27-02-2008   #2
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For your first question, I'd say that you would look at running one when you don't have space for a DSB /Sump. Simply because I believe that a DSB should be the preferred method as it adds so much more than just denitrification. Whereas a denitrator does only that with the risk of sulpher poisoning.
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Old 27-02-2008   #3
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Originally Posted by Galibore View Post
For your first question, I'd say that you would look at running one when you don't have space for a DSB /Sump. Simply because I believe that a DSB should be the preferred method as it adds so much more than just denitrification. Whereas a denitrator does only that with the risk of sulpher poisoning.
Now see thats what I am thinking, if I was "Mr. Aquarium equipment manaufacturer" a DSB would be my worst nightmare, how do I make money from it, its local glass, or plastic tubs and also some sand (even though some might be expensive sand) and that is it. So along comes the denitrator. No dont get me wrong but there is surely uses for it I would imagine but not that widespread.
Just my thoughts I might be way off base

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Old 27-02-2008   #4
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Exactly.
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Old 28-02-2008   #5
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Dont know what has happened to Hennie? I will give my views on this subject. I have seen to many accidents with denitrators to feel confidant at running one, yes they should be run with controllers. My prefered method for denitrification would be the DSB as it is totally natural and adds so much more bio diversity to a system as it becomes a living sand bed.
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Old 28-02-2008   #6
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If I may too offer an opinion (more than fact based):
As with everything in this hobby - "the local flavor of the day" is what makes ANYTHING popular in this hobby. The same with denitrators. As you said Kanga - the possiblity exists for someone to make money of this.

I also think that the importance of the DSB is not impressed enough. Importance as denitrator (w.r.t nitrification process), as well as food source, and breeding ground for the micro cleanup crew.

Yes - plans exist for DIY denitrators (geez - I have even built and used one at some stage) - BUT, I think that the usage of one is taken up FAR too lightly. As Alan said. It can even be dangerous....

Personally I would ALWAYS tout the usage of a DSB rather than a "tool". If there was an even more natural way of exporting phosphates - than using a reactor and phosphate removal media - then I would use that too (except for using an algae scrubber, that is)....

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Old 28-02-2008   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
Dont know what has happened to Hennie?
Been working VERY hard, and have not really had time to even switch on the computer since Tuesday

Quote:
I have been thinking whether denitrators have any benefits for us. Do they have a place in your average reeftank, or is it just the manufacturers trying to find an alternative for the DSB .
I used a DIY denitrator many years ago, before I discovered the magic of a DLSB. In my opinion it is at best a manufacturer's "gimmick" to make money, and although it CAN reduce nitrates, it is really not worth the cost, even if you DIY one.
  • Quote:
    Under what circumstances should one look at using one of these?
I really cannot think of any setup or circumstance where a denitrator would work better than a DLSB, either in tank, in sump, or even a sandbed-in-a-bucket...
  • Quote:
    Does it need to be run with a controller IYO?
Yes, an ORP controller. It is quite tricky to keep the oxygen (ORP...) at just the right level (not too much O2 , and not too little either...).

Apart from the O2 , one also needs to dose a (constant supply of) carbon source as food for the anaerobic bacteria.
  • Quote:
    Are they safe in the hands of the average aquarist?
Safe, Hmmm... probably not too dangerous, but they can release harmful hydrogen sulphide if they become anoxic. They are probably more "dangerous" in the sense that they can lull one into a false sense of complacency, and one can wake up one morning with a nitrate problem and it's accompanying outbreak of hair algae.
  • Quote:
    If they are worthwhile, what type of unit would be the preffered one?
A Deep Live Sand Bed type

Hennie

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Old 28-02-2008   #8
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Originally Posted by Reef Maniac View Post
A Deep Live Sand Bed type

Hennie
Touche'

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