Table of Content
Denitrification Filter
Aqua Medic turboflotor 1000 multi
Wave-Making Power Bar and Rotating Power Head
Redox Measurement and Ozonizer
On the MoreBioFilteraton page, we have only briefly mentioned the different technologies used in maintaining the biological filteration aquariums. Here we would like to include the details of the different technologies that we did not covered on the that page.

Denitrification Filter

We mentioned that the denitrification filter is responsible for the dissimilation process in the denitrification cycle. The dissimilation process is very important because if it fails, we will have nitrate and nitrite left in the tank. So a good denitrification filter is a-must in maintaining your tank. Below is another picture of the denitrification filter:
Here is a re-take of the same denitrification filter together with the Deni-Balls from Aqua Media. The denitrification tower has a circulation pump on the top to circulate the water inside. But remember, we do not want a strong circulation. Unlike a biological filter, the bacteria living in the tower is anaerobic in nature. The black balls inside the tower are where the bacteria live. Each ball can be thought of having many slices of plastic glued together. This is to allow as much the interior of the ball to be taken away as possible. This, in turn, allows more water to flow through and so there is a larger surface area for the bacteria to make contact with the ammonia and ammonium.

The Deni-Balls besides the tower actually contain bacteria needed to set up the dissimilation process. In order for the denitrification filter to work, you must put in a certain amount of Deni-Balls to kick off or to maintain the cycle. The number of Deni-Balls that you must use will depend on a few factors:

1) Are you setting up a new tank?

2) Has your filter been running? Generally speaking, an used filter already has a certain amount of bacteria living inside. The cycle can then be accomplished earlier than using a brand new filter.

3) How big is your tank?

4) How much bio-load is already present in the tank?
If you are uncertain about how many Deni-balls you should use and how often the replacement you should do, please check with your local pet shop.
Always remember that the effluent of this filter is extremely low in oxygen, so never connect the outlet of this filter directly to the tank. Connect the outlet back to the sump or to your other filteration unit at all time.
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Aqua Medic turboflotor 1000 multi

Towards the end of the MoreBioFilteration page, we have talked about the basic principle of a protein skimmer. Here we would like to continue our discussion with a better protein skimmer.
The turboflotor unit is manufacturered in Germany and is capable of handling 125 to 250 Gallons. This unit, unlike the simple Lee's product shown before, has an external motor (the bottom left) to drive the water (and air) into the skimmer.

If fully assembled, the plastic pipe is to be connected between the motor and the grey nozzle. Water will first enter the motor and then "processed" before entering the skimmer through the inlet. The motor has another inlet for an air pump to be connected. Inside the motor, there is a needle wheel, one of the key features of the turboflotor. The needle wheel is driven by the motor and is constantly rotating. When the wheel is rotated, the rotation allows the air entering to the motor to dissolve into the current. The significance of the needle wheel is that rotating the wheel with many fine needles on it forces the water to go around the needles, and hence, more water surface is produced. This increase in water surface makes it very effective in generating fine air bubbles. This makes the skimmer work more efficiently than the simple Lee's skimmer.

With the Lee's product, the fine air bubbles, which are used to carry the electrically charged protein molecules to the collection cup, are generated by an air-stone. You can easily image that you will need a bunch of air stones to produce enough air bubbles once the skimmer exceeds a certain level of capability. So the simple skimmers that rely on air stones are only suitable for small tanks. Compared to the Lee's skimmer, we say that the needle wheel is one of the features that the turboflotor 1000 unit is a better choice. This is because there is no need to replace any air-stone periodically (because it has none) and it is much more effective in generating air-bubbles, the carrier of the waste.

The turboflotor 1000 unit is a very popular equipment in our store. These two pictures are taken from two of our different systems. The tank on the left is the same one that we use to demonstrate different lighting systems - Phase IV, Power Compact - on the MoreLighting page.

The collection cup has just been cleaned before this photo was taken. The collection cup should be cleaned regularly.
Each of the skimmer is placed inside a sump. Pay attention to the shape of the Foam Raiser Tube. You see that the Foam Raiser Tube, the tube inside the collection cup, has a unique shape. The Foam Rasier Tube has a shape of an inverted-cone.
This inverted-cone shaped Foam Rasier Tube is indeed another advantage of this product as compare to the others. Remember that there are two types of foams that will be producted when the air bubbles reach the top: dry and wet foam. We know that only the wet foam is what we want to collect. The inverted-cone has such a shape that it reduces the surface area gradually as the foam reach the top. The trick is that the dry foam will stick to the inside surface of the Foam Raiser Tube, but the wet foam will reach the top and will be collected outside the Foam Raiser Tube. Do you see the foam in the middle of the Foam Raiser Tube? The top portion of the foam is brownish, but the bottom portion of foam is white. The brownish foam is the wet foam and the white foam is the dry foam. Once the wet foam reaches the top of the Foam Raiser Tube, the wet foam will be collected because the foam is more heavier (because of the water molecules) than the dry foam. The wet foam will be collected in the volume outside the Foam Rasier Tube and inside the collection cup. So immediately we see that this skimmer is a lot more efficient than the simple Lee's product. It handles most of the problem of sorting the wet foam from the dry foam. For these two features, the needle wheel and the inverted-cone shaped Foam Rasier Tube, we highly recommend this unit to people who are considering of upgrading their skimmers.

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Wave - Making Power Bar and Rotating Power Head

We mentioned on the MoreBioFilteration page that it is very important to have a good current flow in the tank. A good current flow can distribute oxygen more evenly in the tank, which reduces the anaerobic zone in the tank. It can also distribute heat evenly in the tank so that the temperature near the water surface is not much different from the bottom of the tank.

The product that we mentioned before is the Natural Wave Multi-Cycle Pump Timer manufactured by Aquarium Systems. Since the publishing of the MoreBioFilteration page, we have been receiving a few questions regarding the use of this particular product. We feel that it is better to give a concrete example to explain this interesting point clearly. Let us have a closer look of the power bar:
The three rightmost outlets are connected to the timer. The frequency of the timer can be adjusted by turning the knob at the other end. Suppose you have three power heads inside your tank and you put the first power head near the water surface, the second one in the middle of the tank, and the third one near the bottom of the tank.

From the timing diagram shown on the previous page, you know that the first power head will be turned on first, then the second one, and then the third one. (Let us assume that the first one is connected to outlet 1, and the second one is connected to outlet 2, and so on.) Also from the timing diagram, you see that when the first one (outlet 1) is on, the other two (outlet 2, 3) are off. So there is a stream of current flowing near the surface first. Then there is another stream of current flowing in the middle portion of the tank, and another stream flowing at the bottom later on. This is one way of stimulating the natural wave motion in your tank. The other way to do this is to have two powerheads arranged so that their streams will be opposing to each other. For example, one is going from the left to the right and the other is going from the right to the left. If there is no such power bar to supply the electricity periodically, the two streams will always be fighting with each other. Because the water waves interfere with each other, the result is usually an uncontrollable stream in your tank. The overall stream, however, is not going to be very useful because how the water waves interfere with other depends totally on where the power heads are located, which power head is stronger than the other, and how the water waves interfere with the waves bounced off the glasses. There are too many variables in the tank and since it is not a physics final exam, it is virtually fruitless to do it this way. With this kind of timing devices, however, you can develop a motion pattern inside your tank very easily.

There is indeed an even better solution to generate a natural wave motion in the tank. This involves not only the timer - power bar, but also better power heads. Below is the front of the power head. The grey nozzle is the inlet of the water. To see the back of the power head, click on the the following link "better power head".
The better power head is manufactured by Aquarium Currents Inc. This power head can rotate its outlet by 90 degrees. This can spread the stream more evenly. The idea of having the rotating power heads is not new and there are other inexpensive ones in the market. However, those inexpensive ones are not quite reliable. Very often the power head stops rotating after only a few days of use. To the best of our knowledge, this product from the Aquarium Currents Inc is quite reliable and we have not received any customers complaint about it so far.

We believe that a better solution in simulating the natural wave motion in your tank is to combine the timer - power bar together with a reliable rotating power head. However, there is no need for you to change all the power heads to this type of rotating power heads. If you put a rotating power head in the right position, it can direct the streams from the other regular power heads to the desired direction to eliminate the anaerobic zone in the tank effectively.

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Redox Measurement and Ozonizer

Recently, we have observed that more and more customers are interested in learning about the Redox measusrement. The basic idea of the Redox measurement has been dealt with in the MoreBioFilteration section. Simply put, the Redox measurement indicates the degree of chemical reactions (i.e. reduction and oxidization) that are critical to the decompositions in the denitrification cycle. The measurement is in voltage. However, there is not a single number that all the books can agree on. Click MoreBioFilteration to review the discussion.

On the previous page, we have also mentioned that use of Ozonizer can distort your Redox measurement severly. It can even double your Redox measurement. Here, we would like to describe the relationship between the Redox measurement and Ozonizer, and the PINPOINT ORP controller shown before.

Let us have another look of the ORP controller:

The Front Panel

To the left is a picture of the front panel. It has a display screen on the top and a display mode switch on the bottom right. By switching the display mode, you can see the corresponding values on the screen. Hi mode shows the upper limit; ORP mode shows the measurement from the probe, and LO mode shows the lower limit.

If the measurement from the probe is outside the range bounded by the upper and lower limits, the controller will switch on or off the power to the units that are connnected to it. When the controller is interrupting the units, say an Ozonizer, the one of the Hi or LO lights and one of the OUT1 or OUT2 on the top right will be on. The OUT1 and OUT2 lights illustrate that the corresponding device is powered or not.

Setting the Range

For this American Marine product, you need to decide the center value and the range value in order to set the Redox levels for the controller. First decide the two limits that you want to target. Then find the average value and use it as the Center Value (the right white screw in the middle section). The Center Value is in the range of 5 to 900 mV. You can use the display mode to see the Hi and Lo values for the Center value that you just set. The last thing that you need is to set the Range. For this device, you can set the range between 10 to 100 mV. The Range Value that you actually set is then between 5 to 50 mV. So if the Center Value is set to be 300mV and the Range is set to be 50 mV, the the upper limit is 350 mV and the lower limit is 250 mV. A screw is included in the test kit for you to turn the screws. Again you can always switch the display mode to see what the current range is. After you have set the values and you have put your probe inside the water, switch the display mode to ORP to see the current reading. You may need to wait for a few minutes for the reading to become stable.

The Back of the Controller

The back of the controller has two power outlets, 110 VAC each, to be connected to a maximum of two devices. The probe is also connected to the back of the controller. You must keep the probe either in the water or inside the protective cap (with the sloution provided) included. If the probe is exposed to the air for about half-an-hour, the probe will no longer be functional. That is, you have just lost your probe! We have a few customers made that mistake before. In fact, this is true for all the pressure probes that most of the aquariums use. So please do not make that mistake.
When the ORP measurement is above the upper limit that you have set, the OUT1 light and the corresponding power outlet will be energized. Similarly, when the ORP measurement is below the lower limit, the OUT2 light and the corresponding power outlet will be energized. Since the Ozone gas increases the Redox level in the tank, you would plug your Ozonizer into the low control outler, OUT2. This is because we only want the Ozonizer to turn on if the Redox level is below the pre-set value. If you have another unit that you want to be controlled by the Redox level in your tank, you can plug into the other outlet of the device. But remember that this outlet is the high control outlet. The high control outlet is only energized when the Redox level is above the pre-set value. That is, you never plug an Ozonizer to the remaining high control outlet. Otherwise, you will have your Ozonizer turned on when the Redox level is already too high!

For the details of its operation, you can consult with your local pet shop and the manual included with the device.

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