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Unread 12/07/2007, 04:51 AM   #1
chicken
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DIY Sulfur Denitrator

Well with some information and motivation from Carlos over on the NJ Reefers Forum I am finally starting my Sulfur Denitrator. Hopefully I'll finish up this weekend but here are some pictures and information what I have gotten done so far.

Goal: Build a sulfur denitrator for my FOWLR system. System consists of a 600g tank (120x30x36T), 300g Rubbermaid sump & a 900g Fuge. The reactor is going to be two chambers. The first chamber will be a recirculating one made of 8" acrylic tube 18" tall. 2/3rds of the chamber will be full of SeaChem Matrix Biomedia while the other 1/3rd will be High Purity Sulfur from Midwest Aquatic. The recirculating pump will be an eheim 1250. The second chamber will be full of course CaribSea ARM media. That chamber will be 6" acrylic tube 12" tall.

Here is a shot of the plumbing for the pump. I am using Schedule 40 gray PVC for everything as I like the looks a lot better. All my PVC parts are from US Plastics. They have a great selection of parts and are cheap. I do not like using vinyl tubing anywhere so the pump will be hard plumbed. The eheim uses 3/8" thread on the output and 1/2" on the intake. The problem is the threads are British Standard Pipe Thread (BSP). Normal US fittings fit very tight on the 3/8" side but very loose on the 1/2" side. I just loaded up on Teflon tape and it has worked fine in the past for other DIY Projects. If anyone knows a good source for BSP fittings let me know as I have not found any. For the 3/8" side I just used a 3/8" close nipple (USP # 30209) to a reducing bushing (USP # 28252). On the intake side I am using a T at the end with a threaded female adapter. This will allow me to put a strainer on (as pictured) so the Denitrator can be used without a feed pump like the H&S ones, or I can put in a threaded reducing bushing down to 1/4" and use a john guest fitting to feed it with.



Next comes the base plate the two Acrylic Cylinders will be attached to. I like using Ridged PVC sheet for this type of stuff. It machines nicely and does not crack as easy as acrylic. You just need to make sure you use the right glue. IPS Weld On 16 works great for PVC to Acrylic joints or IPS Weld On 2007 for PVC to PVC joints.

So for the intake and output pluming I wanted to drill two holes through that would be water tight and have no gap so I could glue them perfectly. The problem is I don't have a bit that is the exact OD of 1/2" PVC. So I picked the forstner bit that was just a little bit smaller and drilled through the PVC.



From there I made a jig for my router table so I could use a flush trim router bit. The jig is just a piece of scape wood with a 1/2" pvc coupling hot glued in. I did this on a flat surface to make sure I got the coupling in strait.



From there I just applied double stick tape (the really paper thin type) to the wood and centered it over the PVC.



From there I just put the piece over my bit in the router table and flush trimmed it. Make sure to use a good quality spiral flush trim bit. It leaves a perfect finish on the PVC



Tomorrow I am going to start working on the cutting the acrylic tubing and building the flanges for the top. From there its time to start gluing it all together. BTW the cheapest source I have found for 1/8" Cell Cast acrylic tubing that I use is Freckle Face. Great people to deal with.

Here is a parting shot of the 20 L container of Matrix I bought. As soon as I am done with this denitrator I have one to make for a friend of mine who is a wholesaler with a 3000g Fish System. Sump is only 400g so there are a lot of tanks to deal with.




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Unread 12/11/2007, 04:30 AM   #2
djfrankie
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Any update on this?

BTW, great shop!

djfrankie


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Unread 12/11/2007, 09:53 AM   #3
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djfrankie I'll have an update by this weekend. Thanks for the shop comments. I love my shop. Gets me away from my damn job


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Unread 12/12/2007, 06:01 PM   #4
russ49merc
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can you use just a phosban reactor for this?


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Unread 12/12/2007, 06:18 PM   #5
uncleant
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caint wate to see it finished


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Unread 12/12/2007, 06:47 PM   #6
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Russ... You could potentially use a phosban reactor but you would need to convert it to be recirculating like a CA reactor. Also that size reactor would not be anywhere near large enough to deal with my size system. I am planning a few hours in the shop tomorrow night so I should be able to post some updates then. Thanks


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Unread 12/13/2007, 12:18 AM   #7
megaspoot
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I agree, awesome shop! Can't wait to see it finished.

Got any pics of your FOWLR?


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Unread 12/13/2007, 02:49 PM   #8
russ49merc
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Quote:
Originally posted by chicken
Russ... You could potentially use a phosban reactor but you would need to convert it to be recirculating like a CA reactor. Also that size reactor would not be anywhere near large enough to deal with my size system. I am planning a few hours in the shop tomorrow night so I should be able to post some updates then. Thanks
thanks for the reply. I know you need a huge one but I was saying for a smaller system. I can't wait to see yours finished and then i can probably get a better idea of how it works.


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Unread 12/15/2007, 02:27 PM   #9
uncleant
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any updates?


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Unread 12/15/2007, 11:31 PM   #10
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Sweet..How about some pics of you setup too...


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Unread 12/16/2007, 01:38 AM   #11
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Unfortunately no updates yet. My friend came over today and helped me tear apart a few other things and get some other projects done. Hopefully tomorrow or Monday I'll have an update. Thanks!


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Unread 12/16/2007, 10:13 PM   #12
janey
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OOoh can u build me one ??/


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Unread 01/16/2008, 06:04 PM   #13
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how are things looking now.. I have a 1200 gallon system i need to build one of these for.. would love to see how your system works...


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Unread 01/16/2008, 07:41 PM   #14
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cant wait to see updates. you shop looks awesome!


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Unread 01/16/2008, 07:42 PM   #15
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I ended up getting side tracked and have been building the cabinets to go around the steel stand for my 220 g tank. I should be back on this starting Saturday and will get an update out. Thanks!


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Unread 01/16/2008, 08:02 PM   #16
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Not as fancy as yours I'm sure, but it does the job.

Check out my thread here:

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...readid=1288082

I think the next one I make will be out of acrylic.....I'm waiting for yours so I can get some tips :-)

Thanks,
djfrankie


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Unread 01/16/2008, 09:25 PM   #17
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djfrankie, looking good. thanks for the link. I just need to get off my you know what and finish it up. I have had all the materials sitting here for months but I just have so many unfinished projects so I am always battling for time.

Black71gp, I have done a bunch of research on RC and other forums and to make a reactor for your size tank should not be to big of a deal. As soon as I am done with mine I need to build one for a friend of mine who is a wholesaler and his system is a FO 3000+ gallons that has an extremely high bio load. That system is going to consist of a primary chamber that is 8" x 24" and a secondary 6" x 12" chamber. That should be enough to support a 4000+ gallon system without any problems.

My understanding contrary to popular belief is that you do not need much sulfur for these reactors to work. The thing you need is a real high amount of surface area for the bacteria to grow and just a little sulfur in the water for them to "eat" as food. All of the commercial Sulfur reactors create this surface area by stuffing tons of sulfur media into the reactor. The problem is the sulfur media is a very poor bio media as it just does not have the surface area that something like SeaChem Matrix Biomedia has. It is also very expensive compared to something like Matrix. The other problem is that since you have to stuff so much sulfur media in the reactor as soon as you get your tank down to ~0 nitrates you need to start removing a bunch of sulfur otherwise the reactor "sour". I am planning on using 2/3 of my reactor full of SeaChem Matrix with only a 1/3 of Sulfur. I'll have a completely separate chamber for the calcium media. I don't want to have to open the main chamber every few months to top off the calcium media as that means I am going to have a partial to full cycle again for the sulfur. With that 2nd chamber all I have to do is open it up put more calcium in and start the reactor right back up, so I wont have any recycle time. The only time I'll have to open the primary chamber is every 12-18 months to add some additional sulfur. It will make the whole unit a lot easier to run.

The other major difference I am doing is I am going to use an ORP probe in the reactor. Tuning commercial reactors is mostly guess work. Oops I smell rotten eggs, I need to increase the flow. Oops I am seeing Nitrites, I need to slow down the flow. With an ORP probe you can know exactly how the reactor is doing. PM me and I can send you a link that has a better description on this.

Thanks
Chris


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Unread 01/16/2008, 10:39 PM   #18
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Hey, Chris post the link here please.

It sounds interesting to be able to monitor with an ORP. I have one sitting around and have never found a use for it.

Another thing some people are also doing is running the eflluent out of the Sulfur reactor straight into the Calcium reactor. I haven't tested it this way though but , may do in the future.

Also, for what it's worth my effluents' Ph out of the denitrator is 7.5. I filled the rest of my tube with GenX media. The coral looking type of media.

I will measure this weekend the Calcium and Alk that it puts out.

Maybe adding the aragonite media is not even necessary if you run the effluent into your Calcium reactor.

Many ways to play with it here.

Keep the ideas coming!

djfrankie


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Unread 01/16/2008, 10:49 PM   #19
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The link is to another reef forums so I don't think I can post it here. PM me and I'll send it over. As for the sulfur reactor right into the calcium reactor my understanding is that as the nitrates fluctuate and you tune the sulfur reactor the PH will change thus requiring you to adjust the calcium reactor. I am going to keep mine separate so I only have to adjust one and not both at the same time. Thanks


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Unread 01/16/2008, 11:01 PM   #20
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You can post it here.


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Unread 01/16/2008, 11:10 PM   #21
chicken
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RC Mod, remove if this is not OK to link to.
Thanks!

http://www.njreefers.org/joomla/inde...6&topic=4537.0


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Unread 01/17/2008, 08:47 PM   #22
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Thanks. I 'll have to read this one too. I have just set up a 300 display and want to pack it with fish. I look forward to your updates.


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Unread 01/21/2008, 03:18 PM   #23
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clear acrylic is a little out of my price range at the moment so i am thinking of either PVC or square reactor... what sulfur media are you using? so since i need enough for 1200 gallons. should i mock your system? maybe will just wait and see how yours works for you and nitrate reduction and such. still searching trying to figure out the right way to build this so i can get my nitrates down they sit about 50ish right now.


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Unread 01/22/2008, 12:34 AM   #24
chicken
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black71gp, clear acrylic is not that much more expensive than trying to find the right PVC parts or when you take into account the extra time to build a square reactor. you can get a 8" x 30" piece of 1/8" thick cell cast acrylic for $95 from freckleface.com. I bought a 60" piece but I have a few other projects to build so I wanted some extra. As for the sulfur I bought mine from mine from midwestaqutic.

-Chris


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Unread 01/22/2008, 12:44 AM   #25
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I have still been busy working on other projects but had a little time tonight to work on the reactor. I needed a way to cut the acrylic tubing perfectly flat so I would not have any glue-up issues so I created this little jig to hold the acrylic while I cut it on the router table. Pretty just just a piece of MDF with two pieces of MDF cut and glued to form a V shape. From there I made a stopper that touched the entire back of the tubing so that when I rotated the tubing any bumps, etc would not have an effect on the cut. The cuts came out great.



Here is a quick shot of what the reactor is going to look like. I still need to build the base so the pump can sit under the bottom plate and I still need to cut the tops for the two chambers



I hopefully will have some time tomorrow night to build the base and glue it up. Thanks


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