Backyard Aquaponics

Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???
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Author:  BuiDoi [ Sep 11th, '15, 06:25 ]
Post subject:  Re: Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???

Yavimaya wrote:
please definitely give more info if you can and / or let us know how it goes, rossco.

Indeed.. any results will be of great interest.. Rossco

I will also be implementing a setup in my raised bio-bed, replacing the clay balls with the baskets.. Still looking for the right material to use as the "clay".. I suspect that a number of materials would work, provided that they had the right. Size ..
Thinking of trying milk crates with a liner of Agg-Fabric.. but don't tell Dairy Farmers. :naughty:

I must say that I wonder why Zeolite itself would not work as the medium, because of the assumption that whilst it may trap the ammonia, then surely the same bacteria will be there and go to work on that bacteria, provided again that it was the same physical consistency as the Kitty-Litter..

I , for one, am still only guessing about the action of the Laterite, and how it is claimed to attract the ammonia ions towards the centers of the baskets.. as Guna says, it won't likely attract, but may convert as I implied and create a concentration gradient, causing the pseudo "attraction "
Perhaps using Zeolite in place of clay, will mean that the Ammonia Ions will the held at the perimeter of the mass and form a barrier preventing any further migration.. yes.. I'm guessing.. until bacteria does their thing..

I also wonder about the comment that Zeolite can.release the.ammonia, making it a temporary fix for an ammonia spike.. again I would assume the same bacteria will work on the trapped ammonia, otherwise it would be pointless using it in aquariums etc..

Zeolite is readily available from a local cleaning supplies company, who also sells pool supplies.. Laterite, he knows about, but has to get in and suppliers be the pallet..

Author:  BuiDoi [ Sep 11th, '15, 07:28 ]
Post subject:  Laterite or Ping-Pong Ball

Thought Bubble - :oops:

If the Laterite does no more than deplete/convert the Ammonia to something else, creating the ion gradient that creates the "Attraction", then won't it happen ANYWAY..
eg If (and please correct me-if wrong again), ammonia has entered the center of the media mass, and assuming the bacteria thing IS working, then surely, there will be a higher concentration of released Nitrogen in the center, and the lowest concentration of Ammonia, creating the same Ion gradient and thus the claimed flow..

So a Ping-Pong ball might have as much effect on the whole operation... ie No more than Laterite and thus none at all :oops:

Any chemist able to speculate how the Ammonia might be affected by the concept.. Do the Ions "Migrate" from high to low density, as my basic physics memory would suggest

I still wonder if it is Mumbo-Jumbo, but I truly can't see how Koi growers would put up with a bulky filtration system that does SFA for their ammonia levels, but I can see that if it works, then all have followed the original design, simply because they know no better.. ( like me :support: ) and never question the alternatives..

Author:  Sleepe [ Sep 11th, '15, 11:12 ]
Post subject:  Re: Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???

This is the theory for those who have not waded through many pages on the Koi forum :-

"The Anoxic Filtration System does have a remarkable difference from that of other filtration systems, because of the value of the electrical charge that accompanies matter in the depth of its substrate. This electrical charge is measured in millivolts (mV). Even though the mechanism and pathways associated with cat litter mixed with Laterite are quite involved, it could generally be said that the baskets themselves are basically chemolithotrophic, where the diffusion of nutrients through them are influenced by electrical charge. Moreover, those positive charges are attracted to negative charges. Accordingly, the water’s surface and the air above the pond is a negative mV. In the bulk water of the pond there are many charged molecules. Much of it is positive mV. So is most of the living biomass, example: The fish, gastropods, and plants. The substrate surfaces, which are the sides of the baskets, inside and including top and bottom, are largely a negative mV. The cat litter itself with the Laterite is negatively charge, with increasing magnitude with depth. The deeper the cat litter and Laterite, the more negatively charged it becomes and the more positively charged nutrients are naturally attracted to lower depths inside the baskets. In each basket, small amounts of oxygen have actually been tested and shown to usually stay slightly above 1.5-.5mg/l. The ability to retain some oxygen appears to keep the majority of the bed in an ”anoxic” state. You must also remember that obligated anaerobic heterotrophs, will die if exposed to oxygen.

Dissimilatory denitrification occurs in zones having a small amount of oxygen. One of the nice things about facultative anaerobic bacteria that reside in the baskets is: They are capable of living in areas containing little or no dissolved oxygen (in other words they are dimorphic in nature). They are enormously more efficient than the microbes living in the anaerobic zones!

That is of great value here since the biocenosis clarification baskets can easily be kept in an anoxic state for the reason that excessive bulk water nitrate levels can potentially be controlled, because microbes actively strive to stay in equilibrium with the available foodstuff. Yes, it would be fair to say from the studies conducted that when and anoxic system is created, the depth of its anoxic zone is then extended and insured. The potential is now greater for increasing astronomically the number facultative anaerobic heterotrophs; do to its substrate and basket configuration.

Many hobbyists promulgate that: “It is impossible to have oxygen in the baskets because the substrate will compact, and therefore will inhibit any beneficial biological process to take place!” However, they forget about the substrate permeability qualities, and the large part it plays in the microbial and chemical processes. The permeability of cat litter and Laterite allow oxygenated pond water with inorganic compounds to pass through the substrate on a current-carrying magnetic field, which then allows the substrate to stay more aerobic. Such substrate has two characteristics that enable fluids to move through it: (1) porosity and (2) permeability. Porosity is the presence of small openings, or pores. Permeability means that some of the pores are connected by spaces through which fluids can move. Nonetheless, actual tests of the baskets have confirmed the existence of oxygen at low levels for bacterium to exists and exists it does.

Oxygen penetration becomes less and less with depth of a substrate. It decreases for two reasons: microbial metabolism and subsequent biogeochemical processes. Diffusion is a very effective process over a short distance; however, it does have its limitations. Yet, the presence of oxygen in the biocenosis clarification baskets suggests that oxygen does diffuse as far as the center of each basket. Concomitantly, biogeochemical processes may produce or retain some oxygen.

Differential pressure existing across gradients. Ion displacement (differential pressure) exists when there is an association with carbon dioxide removal. If there is a substrate producing some carbon dioxide like that of cat litter and Laterite, it then becomes a factor in creating anoxic condition. The addition of anion producer such as microbial or aggregate or both needs to produce enough oxygen to engage or attract the carbon dioxide and that will then get cations moving, releasing the oxygen and consequently making the substrate to go more aerobic. What I am saying is: Oxygen is present in the substrate of each basket, it is clearly not there only because of diffusion, and electrical magnetic charges alone.

The fact remains that grain size; depth and essential trace elements from that of Laterite, play a major role in the class of bacteria that inhabit the biochemical pathways of the substrate of each basket. However, when the right percentages of each are present, the substrate world has a very positive impact on the overall pond water quality, its turbidity, and aquatic animals!"

And I should point out the normal regeneration recommendation for pool zeolite with salt is 10% for 10-12 hours.

Oh and I still would not do it, if you go anaerobic you could be in deep shit. :)

Author:  BuiDoi [ Sep 12th, '15, 07:06 ]
Post subject:  Re: Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???

Sleepe wrote:
And I should point out the normal regeneration recommendation for pool zeolite with salt is 10% for 10-12 hours.

Oh and I still would not do it, if you go anaerobic you could be in deep shit. :)

Thanks for that.. I had thought to insert it but assumed folk would have read the referenced material..

I assume these lines quoted are your words..

So Rossco is likely right. That Zeolite works fine at normal Marine Aquarium salt concentrations ...

And I would wonder if your concerns are valid, IF you do it right.. what could go wrong...
I assume that there are NO SOLIDS, and even if there was, it could not "GET IN" to the potentially anaerobic zone..

Again I oberve that MANY Koi owners are using the concept, and you would think there would be catastrophes being reported..

The one concern I have for implementation, is the repeated insistance on water depth, and the image of installations with baskets under a fair head of water.. I would have only just covered the baskets.. so there was the required FLOW over/around...

Author:  Yavimaya [ Sep 12th, '15, 07:32 ]
Post subject:  Re: Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???

high flow isnt always the right amount of flow.

Author:  Sleepe [ Sep 12th, '15, 07:43 ]
Post subject:  Re: Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???

You are relying on the center remaining anoxic, I note the person who did it cleaned them twice a year and still did water changes though less frequently (I could imagine bio film would be a problem).

If you want an idea unproven.
Set up some baskets in a bakki shower, like Andy did and make them individually removable. Grade some pool zeolite to keep the larger bits. Fill your trays to about 4" depth. Initially this would remove ammonia etc as the Zeolite slowly became depleted and bacterial colonies developed through the Zeolite obligate aerobes facultive aerobes and possibly obligate anaerobes, their byproducts should be gassed off before the water hit the sump.
As your trays would be removable you could always remove them individually and regenerate or replace the zeolite.
As I said unproven but imho a safer option. :)

Edit and by the way your system will still produce some nitrates.

Author:  coachchris [ Sep 12th, '15, 08:15 ]
Post subject:  Re: Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???

This is a very interesting thread.

Author:  rossco_argus [ Sep 12th, '15, 09:15 ]
Post subject:  Re: Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???

For the baskets how about the fold up plastic crates that coles and woolies get their fruit and veg in/ use for home delivery. No geofabric required and they are available in various depths, with the zeolite reactors I used to use these were used as a polisher.
The system i used for saltwater involved a baffled sump starting with 4X scotch brite sediment catcher > 2X 1000lph protein skimmers > Bio ball chamber > 1X2000lph canister filter > 2L reactor chamber with 500ml of zeolite and vodka dosing pump

Author:  sparhawk817 [ Sep 21st, '15, 05:29 ]
Post subject:  Re: Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???

Also, nitrates aren't the only reason people do water changes. Aquarists do water changes even if they have other ways to reduce nitrates, because of "heavy metal" buildup. Basically, nitrates are the easiest way to measure that your water is getting old, so if you use chemicals or other processes to remove them, you no longer have an easy way to tell how toxic the water is getting. I encourage you to try it, but you will have to do water changes still. Good luck in your endeavors!

Author:  BuiDoi [ Sep 28th, '15, 11:51 ]
Post subject:  Re: Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???

I have bought Root-Pouches as the most practical device. Basically round and thus the ideal shape ( thanks RobBob)
They can be constructed and de-constructed at will... just gotta find some Laterite
Likely will sift true bags of fines and use them in the actual grow bags and the granular stuff in the pods..

Author:  sparhawk817 [ Sep 28th, '15, 14:19 ]
Post subject:  Re: Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???

They sell laterite in pond supply, and fish stores that have a lot of aquatic plants. You could also try online, but shipping gravel isn't going to be cheap. They have overpriced bags of it at big box pet stores in the states, but not sure otherwise.

Author:  BuiDoi [ Sep 28th, '15, 15:48 ]
Post subject:  Re: Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???

LATERITE.. I have to wait 'till I get home, but the zeolite supplier thought he could get a bag, where he normally takes only pallets ..
Been speaking to a few folk now, who seriously believe the average APer is doing it wrong and that you MUST separate FISH & PLANTS..

so I am pleased that I am on the right path.

The interesting point is that these started on BYAP, and then realised we were wrong, trying to keep things super-simple..
It is simpler to remove the waste and add it to the plant system and thenadd all the supplements your heart desires. Or rather. What the plants desire..

Author:  BuiDoi [ Jan 4th, '16, 11:20 ]
Post subject:  BioCenosis in action... What else could give these results.

I just reported my progress with what I am calling BioCenosis, in my system thread.
For completeness, it's worth repeating my findings here..

100plus mature fish (up to 200mm) and virtually no plants
(qualified - one shrub of Hoan Ngoc , going mad)

So, historically, I sunk simple bags of ZEOLITE into a bed of clay balls (the primary bio filtration for the new system),

~A-ZeoliteBags.jpg [ 30.97 KiB | Viewed 4251 times ]

and after near 2mths, I have got some basic figures on the "N" values.

~N-Values-PostBiocenosis.jpg [ 50.26 KiB | Viewed 4251 times ]

I have actively tried to keep the pH at the lower end of the dial.. :cheers: and with some salt..

The problem is not being sure just what the pH value is below 6, as API Yellow is still yellow..
(yes a pH meter would be more helpful - but cheap ones seem to fail easily :support: )
I am slightly deliberately trying to remain Low-Tech with instrumentation, as fancy instrumentation is a bit against the goals of BYAP - IMHO

One thing that I know is that when the fish go off their food, then the pH is "Too Low"..
Throw in some BiCarb-of-soda, and they start eating, and I have a slight green test tinge.. :thumbleft:

There was the prediction that the Zeolite would saturate, and all would go pear-shaped..
There was the prediction that the salt would cause the Zeolite to shed the Nitrates, but that seems FALSE, and I note that re-activation, requires a salt level , way above where the fish would be likely DEAD.. :bootyshake: and Zeolite has been used in Marine-Aquariums for a great many years..

Now I have taken a small liberty in calling my system, "BioCenosis" , because it is NOT what was described as such , with a core of Laterite, but my feeling (uneducated/unqualified) is that I am getting the same effect, by using Flood and Drain.. where the bag core is remaining Anoxic

Bottom line - the results are very encouraging, and I suspect some will find it unbelievable.

The plot starts after the sixth bag was added..
Prior to that, there had been (I think), just two bags for the previous month..
There is NO SCIENCE behind my choice of bag size or number..

I feel (non scientific - but obvious) that I can easily control the wild "N" dance, by the amount of food that I feed, but interestingly, (ATM) I am feeding fish, whatever they continue to eat, and many times during the day/night.. ( IE.. TRYING to force a disaster :think: )

Author:  Gunagulla [ Jan 4th, '16, 13:24 ]
Post subject:  Re: Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???

Buidoi wrote:
(yes a pH meter would be more helpful - but cheap ones seem to fail easily :support: )
I am slightly deliberately trying to remain Low-Tech with instrumentation, as fancy instrumentation is a bit against the goals of BYAP - IMHO

Hey Peter, there's nothing wrong with knowing exactly what is going on in your system using decent quality equipment! This is especially true when you have hundreds of fish like trout to look after, but sure, if you have half a dozen goldfish, it is not critical.

Author:  BuiDoi [ Jan 4th, '16, 13:51 ]
Post subject:  Re: Laterite or Zeolite... Any known issues..???

Gunagulla wrote:
.....there's nothing wrong with knowing exactly what is going on in your system using decent quality equipment! .....

indeed Gunna.. it is great to just look at the figures and see that all is well..

I did not intend it as a dig at anyone, and suggest that my thinking is part, a reflection on not wanting to get into instrumentation..
but, as I suggested, and given the implied beliefs of BYAP, KISS does not include fancy monitoring telemetry etc., which requires a deal of time dedication and finance.. ie. a real distraction to BYAP and Keeping it Simple.. :think:

eg.. I suspect that I could fund a new AP system for the cost of a DO probe that might last and give accurate results

PS - and instrumentation.. how easy it would be to have sensors in the BioCenosis bags, and actually SEE what the gradients were Outside, Part-Way, In-the-core..
I have wondered if I could insert straws, such that samples could be taken from sample depths..

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