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Philips Aquarium Purifier

worwood

Member
Joined
17 Sep 2007
Messages
29
Location
London
Has anyone used one of these before?

http://www.charterhouse-aquatics.co.uk/ ... -3681.html

I had one brought for me as a surprise birthday present but i'm a bit sceptical to say the least- any ideas if it would cause problems with a planted tank? I'm running out of excuses to stall installing it any longer.

Thankfully i'd asked for a new test kit for my birthday!

Thanks
 
from phillips website q&a

3. Does ozone have an effect on medication / fertilizers?

Answer:
Because a lot of fertilizers are made up of metals or carbon-based materials, they will be affected by ozone. We therefore recommend you to switch off the TAP 2 hours before adding any medication or fertilizers and leave the ozone off for 2-3 days to allow time for the medication to take effect.
 
Hello,
For freashwater planted tanks ozone is not really a good idea. Ozone works by being an unstable molecule which is, of course, a powerful oxidant. Reefers use it to clarify water and it works by interfering with the Carbon bonds of organic waste products in the water column. This breaking up of organic compounds is something that bacteria typically perform, but they require Oxygen to do it and therefore they pull Oxygen from the water and sediment thus lowering the overall Oxygen availability for fish. Ozone short circuits this procudeure and so is a very attractive option. When the C=C bonds are broken in a complex organic molecule the result is that this forms much simpler molecules which are colourless, so the effect is better clarity and higher Oxygen availability. In saltwater tanks, the simplified organic compounds are easier to skim so the skimmers work better. Bacteria and viruses are also attacked by ozone as their complex Carbon bonded molecules get oxidized, although at aquarium dosed levels the bacterial and viral popolations are not wiped out, just damaged.

There is a catch in a planted tank though. Plants are also made of complex organic molecules having multitudes of C=C bonds. One of the most important organic molecules having this characteristic is Chlorophyll. Ozone can therefore severely damage a plants ability to photosynthesize as a result of this severe oxidative stress. Ozone can also react with various other compounds in the water to form other strong oxidants such as hypochlorite (bleach).

As a result of this risk it is a much better practice to use other methods. A UV, for example will do just as good a job of killing bacteria and viruses and water changes along with good CO2 will clarify the water just as well.

The area of effect on nutrients is the least of our concerns. Ozone does amazing things like Oxidizing ammonia/ammonium and Nitrite immediately to Nitrate, so nitrate levels increase while these other highly toxic substances decrease. This is really useful in a fish farm for example, which produce massive quantities of ammonia and organic compounds due to fish waste. Since Ozone oxidizes, the chemical effect is to remove electrons from the outer valence shells of compounds and ions in the water. This means for example that Ferrous Iron, having an electric charge of Fe++ loses an electron to become Ferric Iron Fe+++. But this is not really a big deal because Fe+++ is more soluble in water and is therefore easier for plants to uptake. The downside is that Fe+++ then reacts more vigarously with PO4 to form insoluble precipitates. Ozone will also break the bonds of chelates thus releasing the metal ions into the column.

So there are some upsides and some downsides in terms of nutrient reaction, but all of these pale in coomparison to the possible effects of ozone contamination of plant cells, which is a major downside. I'd advise to stay away from this in a planted tank.

Cheers,
 
As a result of this risk it is a much better practice to use other methods. A UV, for example will do just as good a job of killing bacteria and viruses and water changes along with good CO2 will clarify the water just as well.

Just to caveat, UV sterilizers (and not purifier) is good as long as you keep the sleeves clean and replace the bulbs.

Actually Clive, just to confirm with your thoughts, unlike lighting for plants, one does have to replace the UV bulb every 6 months or so ( if on 24/7) for sterilisation to continue to be effective?
 
Thanks for the replies guy :thumbup:

I think I'll use it in the goldfish tank which has some plants but nothing particularly demanding and see how it goes. Do you think it'll have a big impact on the bacteria in the filter since it won't have anything to 'eat'?

It does say keep the filter running alongside the purifier, but I assume that's more for flow and removing solid waste.

Will try and keep you update on how it fares anyway.
 
sanj said:
Just to caveat, UV sterilizers (and not purifier) is good as long as you keep the sleeves clean and replace the bulbs.

Actually Clive, just to confirm with your thoughts, unlike lighting for plants, one does have to replace the UV bulb every 6 months or so ( if on 24/7) for sterilisation to continue to be effective?
Hi sanj,
Well yes, this is the current wisdom, although it's only so because everyone assumes that the power output of the bulbs decline over time. People use to say this about T5 until it was actually measured and discovered that the PAR falloff was not nearly as much as previously assumed. In the case of regular bulbs the PAR decline is not a big deal and is usually a good thing anyway, but in the case of UV, the effectiveness of sterilization is a function of the combination of power output and dwell time, so any falloff of the bulb output has a real impact on it's effectiveness. Best to replace them for now - at least until someone's data shows otherwise...

Here's a fairly comprehensive page which discusses UV (a vendors take, not independent researchers but a good introduction anyway)=> http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com ... ation.html

Cheers,
 
Thanks Clive. I had read that link before when deciding whether to use it or not. I think the guy did slate aquamedic,but im not sure exactly why. They were the only one that I could find for my size tank.

I use the 55w helix max. Rated I think for 1500-2000 litres. I suppose using 2 x 25w tmc ones could be another option.
 
Well i've had it running for a week now and cue massive algae attack :-s
I suspect Nitrate might be the main cause as buy the end of the week i had a nitrate reading of about 50ppm - kudos i suppose it's doing what it's meant to.

I did a water change as the brightness of pink in the test was burning holes in my eyes, but the problem i now have is my tap water is about 30ppm so it's never going to be lowered much (before i installed it the plants used to happily use the majority of the nitrates up, so on water changes the nitrates used to be about 10ppm)

my conclusion to date: this isn't really helping me cut back on water changes thus far and now i need to tackle nitrates with something!
 
Nitrate cannot cause algae so you must have done something else to cause an algal bloom. I use 50ppm NO3 on a regular basis and I don't get algae. In any case, if you are measuring NO3 with a test kit you really have no idea what the actual NO3 levels are.

Cheers,
 
Interesting...

I'm intrigued, can you elaborate on how to get an accurate NO3 reading?

There was quite a lot of algae in the tank to begin with of various kinds - would increased nitrates not encourage this to grow or do they not use nitrates in the same way plants do?
 
worwood said:
Interesting...

I'm intrigued, can you elaborate on how to get an accurate NO3 reading?
Unfortunately, you can't. At least not with hobby grade test kits. NO3 test kits are the grandest of all illusions because they are inconsistent. You can test one day and get a perfectly accurate reading. You can then test another day and be completely off the mark. The problem is that you cannot know which day is which - and that renders the kit useless. In planted tanks, you will have trouble if your NO3 goes too low, so there is never a real reason to fear the NO3 levels because NO3 helps you to maintain excellent water quality by supporting plant growth. In fact, low NO3 is implicated in BGA, Rhizo and Clado blooms, so the reality is actually the complete opposite of what you think, thanks to The Matrix which is designed to act as a prison... for our minds.

worwood said:
There was quite a lot of algae in the tank to begin with of various kinds - would increased nitrates not encourage this to grow or do they not use nitrates in the same way plants do?
Well if there was algae in the tank already then there is no way one can attribute the blooms solely to high nitrate. There are too many causal factors and you do not have control of the environmental factors that contribute to the blooms. In fact, you have not even specified what type of algae you have ion the tank. Each algal species is caused by a specific combination of stimuli. Once you have identified the species you can then easily conclude what the cause is. One thing you can be certain of though is that the answer will never be "too much NO3" or "too much PO4/Fe" etc. The answer is normally, too much light and not enough CO2/nutrients/flow/distribution. Tell us what algae you have and we can tell you which direction to turn.

Algae use nutrients in exactly the same way as plants. Plants are descended from algae. The difference is that algae do not care about nutrient levels but plants do. You can have algal blooms with NO3 levels 1000 times lowere than what plants need for survival, so you cannot elliminate algae by adopting a policy of starvation, because the plants will always starve first.

Review the following threads for more information:
Why dont nutrients cause algae?
Do excess nutrients = algae? Is it possible to "know"?

Cheers,
 
As far as I know, the UV bulbs are just normal fluorescent bulbs but without the phosphor coatings and made with quartz glass instead of regular glass. So if the output of T5s dont reduce too much over time, shouldnt it be the same for a UV tube ?
 
Well the fact the normal bulbs have a coating makes all the difference in the world. The phosphor coating blocks a significant percentage of the UV photons and instead, uses these UV photons to excite the phosphor atoms. As the electrons from the phosphor atoms return to their ground state they release photons in the visible spectrum, effectively converting UV energy to visible light energy.

Secondly, the phosphor coated bulbs are not close enough to the bacteria to impart enough energy to the bacteria and the contact time is uncontrolled, even if som UV photons do manage to escape through the coating.

As mentioned previously, the distance between the lamp and the pathogen must be minimized and the contact time between the UV photon discharge and the pathogen must be maximized so that there is sufficient power for these photons to penetrate and break the molecular bonds that holds the DNA molecule together within the microbe. Disruption of the DNA either results in mutation, instant death or loss of ability to reproduce. This is not so easily accomplished, so the water must be very close to the lamp and the flow through the unit must be slow.

Cheers,
 
ceg4048 said:
Nitrate cannot cause algae so you must have done something else to cause an algal bloom. I use 50ppm NO3 on a regular basis and I don't get algae. In any case, if you are measuring NO3 with a test kit you really have no idea what the actual NO3 levels are.

Cheers,
Your right, but it's conceivable that a sudden increase in NO3 can 'cause' algae since it's just the sort of trigger that algae are waiting for - depletion of a nutrient making the algae release spores so it can survive the upcoming lean times, then growth of spores when the nutrient returns.

You don't get algae because you maintain high levels so you don't hit the trigger.
 
No, I'm sorry but it's absolutely inconceivable. First of all, as the OP mentions there was an algal bloom in the tank already. Secondly, he did not mention what kind of algae. There are some algal forms that are not related to nutrition but are CO2 related. Nitrate addition is not a trigger. If this was the case then increasing the nitrate levels suddenly would have no effect on BGA and would trigger algal blooms. This never happens unless some other factor is occurring in the tank.

We do not know all the things that the OP did. We do not know whether, for example he somehow restricted the flow rate when he installed the implement. We do not know whether he changed the distribution, we do not know what he did about lighting. Really, we have absolutely no idea what he has done or is doing to this tank and it's unwise to assume anything other than the facts. We do not even know whether the device works and whether there actually is a NO3 spike. It's all speculation. And because the OP has been programmed to automatically suspect NO3 as a causal factor for any algal bloom he will tend to hypnotize himself into thinking that all events point to a NO3 spike and a resultant algal bloom. This is precisely why people continue to get algal blooms, even after being told the truth.

We should have learned by now not to accept things at face value when it comes to plant nutrition, but to follow the path, to be systematic, to make no assumptions and to adopt clinical and forensic point of view when assessing the ploblems in a tank.

If you are predisposed to thinking that nitrates cause algae you will continue to have difficulties, because you will always overlook the real causal factors. I don't have algae because I never persuade myself that NO3 or PO4 or Fe or Silicates cause algae. Algae do not care about NO3 levels at all. They act in response to plant health and environmental degradation. BGA for example is triggerd when nitrates are low, and BGA almost immediatedly recedes with sudden increases in the inorganic nitrate levels so it's actually the opposite of what you have concluded. Nutrient spikes are not algal triggers.

When analyzing the causal factors for algal blooms you must first identify the algae and follow the path that leads to that bloom. Doing this consistently will lreward you with an algae free tank.

Cheers,
 
sorry i've not been able to reply as life's been a bit of a roller coaster recently.

Ceg you're right i didn't clarify much and was quick to jump to conclusions - it's a very low tech tank and really isn't run with plants in mind but i like having them there as the Goldfish are so messy it can't do any harm to have them around.

Lights are not on a timer so are literally on when i'm in and turned off when i'm not which can differ massively; no CO2 except easy carbo now and again and then a weekly dose of fertilizers if i remembered. Flow isn't great as the Goldfish are 'fancies' and wouldn't appreciate it. Roughly 30-40% water changes once a week. Knowing what i've learned so far from UKAPS I'd be surprised if i didn't have algae tbh!

I mainly had BBA and green spot algae with a small amount of brown algae that i removed every week; the BBA seems to be concentrated on the wood i have in the tank and the green spot and brown algae prefer the glass. The plants largely got off unscathed!

Thinking back i'd actually changed quite a lot around the time so it was wrong to jump to conclusions
- i'd switched from API Leaf Zone to TPN+ and missed the previous week's dosage
- i'd been quite lax with the easycarbo following a week where i'd been quite religious about dosing it daily
- i'd moved some of the plants around to accommodate the purifier

Anyway the purifier is working well as far as i can tell - I know you're not a fan of testing kits Ceg, but I never get any traces of ammonia or nitrite, whereas before i just to get tiny traces towards the end of the week when a water change was due. I've been doing 10% water changes just for my peace of mind (I still feel uncomfortable with nitrate being so high, but i'm sure i'll come around eventually). Algae has settled back down to prior levels since i've been more thorough with my dosing. Main problem I have is the snails crawling into the diffuser and getting wedged by the impeller so it makes a rattling noise but they're easy to remove, so more fool the snails!

To be clear I'm not trying to eradicate algae in this tank, it does no harm and the plants aren't really affected - in fact it's quite useful as it gives me an endless supply of fresh algae to feed the otos! 😀
 
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