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Old 01/07/2008, 09:41 AM   #1
djfrankie
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DIY Sulfur Denitrator

After so many people asking about pics and so forth on how to create one here it is.

Last night cubano2480 went by my place and we decided to make one for him and take pics at the same time. If this helps one person it would have been worthwhile.

This is not a thread about the pros and cons of using one. There are plenty of threads here and elsewhere regarding the usage of these.

Sulfur denitrator are also not new toys in the market. They were first used by Marc LANGOUET back in the early 90's. Like I said there is plenty of information around here on these.

So to answer many questions from the get go:

Do they work?

Yes it does work.

How long before you see 0 nitrates coming out of the effluent?

3 days in my tank. My nitrates are hovering in excess of 80 ppm as we speak. It will take about a month to process all my tanks water.

Where did you buy the media?

I bought it from premiumaquatics for $55. It is exactly the same media midwestaquatics uses in their reactors. The media fills about a 1/4 of reactor and I used a bunch of ARM on top since the low ph helps dissolve the aragonite into more Calcium and Alk.

How long does the media last?

About 3 years according to the manufacturer.

Is it hard to adjust?

Not harder than a calcium reactor. The only daily adjustment you have to make is bleed the system from the top valve. Abou t 5 seconds.

What is the effluent's PH?

Mine reads 7.5 slightly higher than my Calcium reactor.

How did you adjust it?

One drop per second during first 3 days. Then ramp it up to to 2-4 drops per second and let it catch up. After that every tank is different, but here are some guidelines:

If you smell sulfate (end product) your bacteria is not gettting enough food (nitrates). Ramp up the flow or remove and store half the media for later usage.

Why not water changes?

I didn't feel like shocking my system with all the water changes. My fish (Tangs) hate water changes. They have all been with me for quite a while. The purple tang has been with me for a little over 10 years...so I know my fish.

BTW, there are many ways to deal with nitrates as you'll hear from others in the reefkeeping community, but this is the method that I'm trying in this thread so please don't hijack this thread. I've been in the hobby long enough to know how to deal with nitrates and spent probably thousands of dollars in test kits and chemicals and probably millions of gallons of water :-(

In essence, this thread is not about my tank; it's about a DIY Sulfur Denitrator.

One last thing DISCLAIMER try this at your own risk and please be careful when using power tools. Furthermore, I'm not afiliated with any company whatsoever and have not intentions of doing so in the future.

Ok so here we go:

Tools that I used
Router with flush trim bit
Jigsaw
5/8' Forstner bit
1/2" Drill bit
Drill
Flat Screwdriver
3/8" Pipe tap
Unibit
1/8" Drill bit
PVC cutter
Utility knife

Supplies
2 feet 4" pvc (HD)
1 4" flange (base) (HD)
1 4" flange with knockout (top) (HD)
1/2" CPVC (HD)
Scrap white acrylic from Juliovideo
Nylon screw and nuts (Ace)
1/2" CPVC elbow
1/2" CPVC tee
Maxijet 1200 (old)
Gasket material
All purpose PVC, CPVC glue (HD)

Here are the pics:

Start out by glueing flange (base) to PVC tube
Photobucket


Next with 5/8" Forstner bit drill at the bottom making sure you go through flange as well.
Photobucket

Photobucket



Last edited by djfrankie; 01/07/2008 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 01/07/2008, 09:45 AM   #2
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Next cut out a 2-1/2" of CPVC pipe and glue to elbow
Photobucket
Photobucket

Insert in the bottom hole you just drilled. Leave out about and inch and apply glue to this section.

Photobucket

Now push it all the way in and make sure it is as lined up parallel to tube.

Photobucket


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Old 01/07/2008, 09:50 AM   #3
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This is the way it would look after you glue the bottom pipe.

Photobucket

Next step is you're going to create a template out of mdf or whatever scrap of wood you got laying around that will fit inside the 4" pvc tube. Like so:

Photobucket


Use the jigsaw and cut a piece of acrylic slightly larger that the template of wood or MDF

Photobucket

Use double sided tape and affix both pieces together, now your will route your acrylic piece.

Photobucket

Drill lots of little holes with a 1/8" bit on the circle you just cut

Photobucket

Photobucket


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Old 01/07/2008, 09:58 AM   #4
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This will sit inside your pvc pipe on top of the flange like so. Use a filter pad before adding your media. One in the bottom and one between your sulfur media and ARM media if you're going to be using ARM on top.

Photobucket


Next drill two holes in the ovc body with the 5/8" forstner bit. One hole has to be aligned with the bottom elbow you glued earlier. Use a ruler for that. Drill the other hole slightly higher. This will be your effluent out. Tap this one out.

Photobucket


Tap the 1/2" T

Photobucket

Pump section:

Cut a 1" piece of CPVC
Photobucket

Drill with the 1/2" drill bit into another piece of pipe this could be any length. You'll cut it later. This will fit into the output of the maxijet.

Photobucket

Glue both pieces to the maxijet.

Photobucket



Last edited by djfrankie; 01/07/2008 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 01/07/2008, 10:02 AM   #5
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Glue the elbow that was tapped earlier. The elbow goes in the output of the maxijet.

Photobucket

Next cut a piece of 1/2" CPVC long enough. This piece will go from the bottom elbow to the T that you just glue. Now glue the intake of the maxijet to the 4" pvc pipe as such.
Photobucket


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Old 01/07/2008, 10:10 AM   #6
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Now to the cap.

Cut a piece of acrylic slightly larger than the top flange. Drill two 1/4" screws using the flange as your template.

Photobucket


Route it out and drill the remaining screws. Now tap the top lid. This will be you degassing output.

Photobucket

Trap your gasket material between your flange and lid and cut it out using a sharp utility knife.

Photobucket

Now glue your top flange.

Add your fitting making sure you use teflon on them to prevent leaks.

Here's what the finished product should look like.

Photobucket
Photobucket

Hope this makes sense and enjoy the hobby!

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Old 01/07/2008, 10:41 AM   #7
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on the finished product frankie I know the middle hose is your out put and the one hooked to the maxi jet is the input what is the top hose for?


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Old 01/07/2008, 11:11 AM   #8
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To degass the unit. There's quite a bit of sulfate (end product) built up while cycling the unit.

All the gases accumulate on the highest point on the reactor.

I ran the effluent hose through the top to see if I wouldn't have to degass it anymore, but it didn't work. The effluent would get clogged up really quick. This way is just a quick 5 second degassing and you don't have to fiddle with the effluent rate every time.

HTH,
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Old 01/07/2008, 05:02 PM   #9
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A cheap way to make a nice Sulfur Denitrator that really work thanks frankie


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Old 01/07/2008, 08:53 PM   #10
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Just to show you guys what a difference it has made in my tank only in a matter of days. No water changes have been done!

Picture taken 01/03/2008

Photobucket

Picture taken 01/07/2008

Photobucket

Effluent out of Denitrator

Photobucket

All I can say is that I'm very impressed at how fast my nitrates have come down. I'm very excited about this.

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Old 01/07/2008, 09:10 PM   #11
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Great djfrankie !!!! good job




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Old 01/07/2008, 09:12 PM   #12
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WOW Very NICE!!!
I was just reading TODAY about these in Coral Mag.
Just watch out for the sulfate build up in your tank if you use it long term.


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Old 01/07/2008, 09:51 PM   #13
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I thought about making one out of PVC, now I have a plan to follow.

Thanks for the write up!


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Old 01/07/2008, 11:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by funman1
WOW Very NICE!!!
I was just reading TODAY about these in Coral Mag.
Just watch out for the sulfate build up in your tank if you use it long term.
Not planning on using it long term. Once my nitrates come down to zero I will use it on/off as I need. It's so easy to take offline and re-start it back up anyways.

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Old 01/07/2008, 11:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Snowboarda42
I thought about making one out of PVC, now I have a plan to follow.

Thanks for the write up!
You're welcome!

Let me know when you finish it.

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Old 01/08/2008, 09:45 AM   #16
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Very nice DIY!! What size pump are you using as the feed?


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Old 01/08/2008, 09:53 AM   #17
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when you take it offline for a long period of time does it have any effects on the media? like if i put it on a 7 day timer that ran it for 2 days then off 5 days then on 2 off 5 and repeat for ........ would the media get "sour" for lack of a better term?


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Old 01/08/2008, 11:08 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by geoxman
Very nice DIY!! What size pump are you using as the feed?
I tee it off my main system pump. As a matter of fact, I tee everything off my main pump. It is a MAK4 and solely used for recirculation. I have a couple of 3000 gph tunzes inside the tank to accomplish the rest. The skimmer is simply fed from one of the overflow so all the overflow water from one side of the tank gets skimmed before going into the sump.

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Old 01/08/2008, 11:15 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by marinoob
when you take it offline for a long period of time does it have any effects on the media? like if i put it on a 7 day timer that ran it for 2 days then off 5 days then on 2 off 5 and repeat for ........ would the media get "sour" for lack of a better term?
I don't know about timing it that way. You might want to contact premiumaquatics or midwestaquatic for that answer.

According to the manufacturer you can take out the media, rinse it and store it away for an indefinite period of time. It doesn't go bad.

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Old 01/08/2008, 10:26 PM   #20
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hey this is such an awesome write up, going to give it a shot on my day off friday. thanks again!!! will post a few pics upon completion if i dont eff it up lol.


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Old 01/09/2008, 04:26 PM   #21
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djfrankie, how did you determine the size that you would need to make it? From my experience with these, they can be too small and if so, they will not work.


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Old 01/09/2008, 04:34 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by klasiksb
djfrankie, how did you determine the size that you would need to make it? From my experience with these, they can be too small and if so, they will not work.
You have experience with Sulfur or with coil denitrators?

The amount of media determines how big of a tank you can run it in, not the size of the chamber. In other words, as long as the media fits it's ok. The amount of media that I bought is good up to 250 gallon tanks. In most cases, once the nitrates have come down to near zero levels you have to remove some of the media. The sulfur media works very well.

Hope this answers your question.

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Old 01/09/2008, 04:39 PM   #23
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what kind of cycle time did you have with this reactor? Also which is the input and outlet for the efluent?


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Old 01/09/2008, 07:04 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by EnderG60
what kind of cycle time did you have with this reactor? Also which is the input and outlet for the efluent?
After 3 days my effluent (out of the reactor) was 0.

The input is on the same tube where the maxijet's output flows.

Effluent output is attached directly to the pvc pipe.

Degassing valve is on the top lid.

Here's a pic of how it's running now.

Photobucket

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Old 01/09/2008, 08:51 PM   #25
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maybe i missed it, but in the pic you just posted of it working currently, where does the hose next to the effluent and off the "T" go? One other thought, would it be too difficult/expensive to use a 4" clear tube for the body rather than the pvc?


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