Sulfur Reactors (denitrators) are used to effectively reduce nitrates in a closed aquarium system.
The natural reduction of nitrate to nitrogen gas will only occur if there is a very low oxygen level area within your system which will allow anaerobic bacteria (thiobacillus denitrificans) to exist (in sufficient quantities) to handle the waste that is being produced by your tanks inhabitants such as within live rock or in a deep sand bed. Where this does not exist, it is necessary to create such an environment, and this is where the sulfur denitrators come in to play.
Neither bio-pellets nor traditional nitrate reactors (alcohol) are maintenance free and without consequence. It’s their inadequacies that have led to the popularity of sulfur based de-nitrates.
Sulphur nitrate reactors implement a process called autotrophic sulfur denitrification. This process has been used to remove excess nitrate from fresh drinking water for over 15 years. Bacteria (such as Thiobacillus denitrificans and Thiomicrospira denitrificans) inhabit the reactor, under anoxic conditions. Here they oxidize reduced sulfur to sulfate, while reducing nitrate to liberate the oxygen for their own use. The bacteria uses residual co2 within the water as their carbon source, so they don’t need constant dosing.
Like any filtration method that uses bacteria, sulfur nitrate reactors require cycling. The time span for proper functioning can be rather long. After the running-in period, maintenance (apart form checking the exact water flow) is simple. Once cycled, sulfur reactors may the most effective method of nitrate removal.
Advantages of Sulfur Denitrification:
- Simple to set-up
- Needs no additional feeding with carbon based foods
- Protein Skimmer not required
- Long lasting: Sulfur media lasts up to 2-3 years
- Units can be easily refilled or serviced
- Can be used in freshwater or saltwater aquariums
The water coming out of the Deltec Sulfur Nitrate Filter will have a low pH value and should be lead through a container with ROWAlith C or similar. For better performance the filter is fitted with a Aquabee circulation pump.
- Dosing/Peristaltic Pump (Find Pump Recommendations HERE)
- Sulfur Media (Find HERE)