Nitrate filter Deltec NFP 509

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I have had my filter running for a few weeks. You have to slowly increase the flow I am currently at the min flow (tank turnover once every 28 days) and I am seeing positive results.

Before I get going I would like to point out that the use of a nitrate filter is by no means a substitute for water changes.


It is for most people a means to getting closer to achieving that ultimate goal of ZERO NITRATES.

I personally have opted for a nitrate filter because of a single event where heavy agricultural runoff caused nitrate level to go beyond the legal limit for human consumption (100ppm +). This meant my RO unit could not remove all nitrates from the tap water. Each water change I was throwing away 800-900 litres of waste water from the RO unit and 450-500 litres waste water from the tank itself. Even at this rate I could only get the tank nitrates down to 20-40ppm. I couldn’t do water changes any more often because my RO unit isn’t fast enough.

All the water changes paid off my Oscar has very little evidence of HITH but there is still some evidence of it. Even with the use of Seachem Purigen and failed attempts of using plants; I was facing what I considered a real possibility of Giving up my Oscar because I couldn’t provide the water quality required.

Magic does exist
Let’s start looking at the NFP509 beginning with some proof that this magic filter really is magic. On the right is water taken from the tank (feeding into the NFP509) on the left is water taken from the outlet of the NFP509.



How does it work?
There are many types of Nitrate filters that work in different ways. This particular type works by using probiotics (opposite of antibiotics) where bacteria are encouraged to grow. AKA a type of filter we all know and love, a Bio-filter.
This type of nitrate filter relies on regulating a carbon based feed and oxygen control. The bacteria are grown by feeding the filter a carbon based solution. The bacteria remove an oxygen molecule from No3 (nitrate) which becomes N02 (nitrous oxide) which is a harmless gas.
To keep the bacteria alive and stripping the nitrate of that extra oxygen molecule an extremely low oxygen level is required in the filter. This is firstly reduced by letting the filter stand for a couple of days where the water will de-oxygenise to a certain extent.
You then open the valve and allow water to flow from the tank. This is done at an extremely low rate so that you limit the amount of oxygen entering the filter being carried by the water from the tank. The initial set up flow is even slow but at full flow. The NFP 509 should turn over the tank at maximum of once every 14 days and a minimum of 28 days.

Selecting size of filter for you aquarium


There are a number of different size filters for you to choose one; with this type of filter it is not a good idea to go up one size from the manufacturers recommended sizing. This is to do with redox, nitrates, and bacterial control. Once you have control of your nitrates you will need to back off the filter so to avoid a bacterial bloom; with a larger filter this bloom will be much larger. So you will need to back off further. It is easy to back it off too far and crash your colony completely if your filter is incorrectly sized. In short a smaller unit is easier to control effectively and control is large element with this type of filter.

What you get in the box

This depends on which model you go for. I bought the smallest unit one without any options so it’s as basic and as cheap as you can get; luckily I got in offer for about £200. You don’t get any hose either so you will need to get some 5mm hose for your inlet. Then for the outlet they have I used (need to check size) from an old filter. I’m sure you can get a step down, but the hose I’ve fitted doesn’t seem to cause any problems. You also don't get the check valve (one way valve) that I fitted on the syrynge; without it trying to feed the filter doesn't really work.

- Nitrate filter
- Aquabee 10w re-circulation pump
- One syringe
- 1” of hose 5mm ID
- Inline regulation valve
- 500ml of Nitrate fluid (only with uk suppliers)
- 1 osmotic bag (only with UK suppliers)



Manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic.

The manual version is the basic NFP509 it costs £294.99. The manual one for the UK market comes with an Osmotic bag, which can be used to semi-automate the filter as well. The actual sold semi-automatic NFP509 (P) comes with a dosing pump for the nitrate fluid these unit costs £369.99 from aquarium solution, but you will need to buy a timer. I intend to upgrade my filter with a Grotech TEC NG-1 channel dosing pump to achieve the same level of automation.

The fully automatic version is a little more expensive; unless you already have an aquarium computer. Deltec don’t sell these and apparently its not very easy to get a hold of a good one without spending a small fortune. I am currently looking into a DIY version.

Osmotic bag

I have one of these because it comes with the filter as the standard package for the UK. Frankly if I didn’t have it I would not bother buying one. It is a cheaper way to achieve semi-automatic feeding for the nitrate filter. You fill it with nitrate fluid and place it in the filter, where it will slowly release fluid for up to 5 weeks. Then every time you need to replace the bag you will need to partially refill the filter with oxygenated water. This will add oxygen and kill off some if not all of your bacterial colony. During the set up process they do not mention using the osmotic bag. I haven’t tried it at all mostly because from what I understand it’s more trouble than its worth. I suppose it’s useful to have as a backup in case of emergency.

PP1ml Perstaltic pump

This is a simple dosing pump that comes with the NFP509 (P) (Or you can buy it separately). It supplies nitrate fluid to the filter between 8-11ml per day. You will need to plug a timer onto it. This will be my first upgrade but I will not be purchasing the Deltec PP1ml pump. I will likely purchase a Grotech TEC1 NG- 1

PP32ml Peristaltic pump.

This is to feed water from your tank. In my manual version water is added by syphon and controlled with a tap in the line. Relying on the tap I have found the flow to vary, without even touching it. That said the flow rate does seem t settle after a while. A more regulated flow the filter is more effective. The pp32ml is non-adjustable and you would have to buy it separately for the meantime personally I do not think I need one of these. In either case I would advise trying without first.

Redox sensor,

A RedOx sensor put simply monitors the amount of oxygen in the filter. It is installed in place of the red bit sticking out of the top of the filter (see photo). These are also called Electrodes or ORP sensors. It is not essential but it is a piece of kit I plan to get just so I can see what’s going on in the filter. You will need to buy this separately.

Redox controller and Solenoid

This is the main part of the fully automated option. The controller is connected to the redox sensor. The control unit then controls a solenoid valve which then adjusts the amount of flow and therefore oxygen entering the filter. It will increase the effectiveness of the filter for removing nitrates. Again you need to buy this separately. As previously stated this gets very expensive for what is little more than a cool gadget.

I am currently researching into a DIY option and found atlas scientific sell an ORP sensor and shield which plug into a Raspberry Pi. You can then add a solenoid valve; it shouldn’t be too difficult to calibrate and program from here. If I ever get this done I will of course post full instructions. You wouldn’t need to wire in the dosing pump, but if you’re messing about with a Pi you might as well. This would allow another adjustable variable to control the redox more effectively in the filter. Wiring the Grotech dosing pump in would be a little tricky. If you are confident with Raspberry Pi and intend on wiring in a dosing pump it would be much simpler to do this with the Deltec pp1ml. In this case obviously you would use the pi as the timer.

Running costs

Although for the American market they recommend simply using cheap vodka. Getting the dilution is an art in itself. I have read it’s at similar dosage. I have not used vodka yet; so I don’t know the cost of that I’m afraid

Dosage will range between 8 and 11 ml per day for this size filter. A larger filter for a larger tank will require a higher dosage. So let’s go on the max dosage for a deltec nfp509.

A 500ml bottle you get about 45 daily doses, about a month and a half so about 8 bottles a year add an extra for spillage 9 bottles a year x 10.99 = £98.91. Or you could buy a 5L bottle for £73.99. You have the 10w recirculation pump as well, maybe a dosing pump of similar wattage; which is minimal cost when you compare it to say a 40 watt light.

For me I hope that when tap water nitrates drop later in the year I won’t have to use my RO filter so much which will save a lot of money in terms of water costs and electricity for the pump on it.

Set up

The set-up instructions are fairly straight forward and a lot simpler than you’d think. They ask you to fill it up with sponges water from your matured filter check it for leaks and then leave it a few days for the oxygen to reduce.

Before you chyeck for leaks you take the 1" hose they supply you with attach one end to your syrynge and the other to the little pip coming off just belkow the filter. I replaced mine with some green pipe because for some reason I decided to cut the piece they supplied down and it ended up to short.

I found two leaks, one where I had incorrectly installed the dummy redox sensor (the red bit at the top) and where the inflow line met the regulation valve. I solved this by using a zip tie as shown.



The only thing I would advise is to be patient. If you happy with the flow rate and the zero nitrates coming out and your wandering whether to give it another day. Give it another day.

Check your flow rate every time. I have found for the most part it slows down from the original setting; which better than speeding up. They advise that you don’t increase the flow rate by more than 30% max. If your flow has slowed and you don’t check it increasing your flow rate from what you originally set it as will likely be over the 30% margin. This can delay the setup of your filter or cause it to crash.

This has happened to me once or twice already so I am currently checking both flow and nitrates every night to see whether I can increase the flow. Often enough I can, but I am increasing it back to what I originally set it as.

In conclusion

- Yes it’s an awesome piece of kit
- Yes it can get you down to zero nitrates
- Yes it improves the water quality for your fish
- It’s a lot more simple and safe than you’d think
- No it does not replace water changes

is it worth the cost?

In my position it would mean I’d have to give up my Oscar. So for me yes definitely worth it. If your happy with your current water change scheme and you are confident you can maintain it for the entirety of your Oscars life. Then no, probably not when you compare the cost of extra water changes against the running costs. I would advise if you have nitrates outr of the tap consider it, but be wary that nitrates out of the tap can change from season to season. At best I get 20-30ppm at worst it gets to 100ppm. This kind of filter seems to be more popular with salt water aquariums.

There is a link below where a marine bioalgist achieved the same without useing a seperate filter unit. Directly doseing his aqaurium with vodka.Personally I do not have enough confidence in my knowledge to attempt this. I would not recomend it either; for fear of damaging your fish.

I like the seperated filter because all the nitrate feed is seperated from the aqaurium; yes there is likley to be some leakage, however because of the low flow rate this leakeage will be drastically reduced and spread over a longer period of time.

References/links

www.deltec-aquaristik.com/english/ Deltec themselves are a german company, but have sellers in both US and UK.
www.theaquariumsolution.com/ (official UK dealer for Deltec equipment)
www.swelluk.com/ (where I bought my Filter from, with discount)
www.charterhouse-aquatics.co.uk/ (Another Filter supplier and Grotech TEC1 NG-1 pere pump)
saltaquarium.about.com/od/nitratecontrol/a/Reducing-Nitrates-In-Your-Marine-Aquarium-With-The-Vodka-Method.htm (Marine biologist using the alcohol technique without a filter)
saltaquarium.about.com/od/nitratecontrol/a/Probiotics-In-Your-Marine-Aquarium.htm
(further explanation of the “vodka method”)
www.atlas-scientific.com/product_pages/components/raspberry-pi-shield.html
raspberry pi ORP sensor shield.
www.thereefuge.com.au/threads/raspberry-pi-tank-monitor-project.3475/
Thread on someone building a raspberry pi tank computer; using the ORP sensor.
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OFL replied the topic: Nitrate filter Deltec NFP 509

Nice article, how about I put it in the members articles on the website? Obviously you will be credited for writing the article

I have absolutely zero experience with nitrate filters and you're the first person I've come across who has written an article in detail on experience in using one.

I may not always be right, but I am always the BOSS :-)
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Sosban Fach replied the topic: Nitrate filter Deltec NFP 509

Thanks,

Yeah sure do what you want with it.

I haven't seen anyone else useing one of these filters either and I think its because you need to be a bit desperate to buy something like this when there seems to be so little infromation about it.

I just hope people find it to be useful.
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Gaarakilla19 replied the topic: Nitrate filter Deltec NFP 509

what ones ideal for a 55 gal? and do u think any are better then what others use with an 110 aquaclear hob ?
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Rocksor replied the topic: Nitrate filter Deltec NFP 509

Gaara,

You save more money doing the water changes than maintaining and buying this filter.
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Sosban Fach replied the topic: Nitrate filter Deltec NFP 509

The deltec NFP 509 is designed to be used for tanks between 200-1000 liters or 50 - 250 US Gals.

I beleive aquapuri offer the same type of filter for smaller tanks at a lower prive. Note that this is not a sulphur based filter.

A HOB filter has no comparison here as it stimply does not function in the same manner.

If you are referring to a modified HOB useing plants I don't exactly know. What I do know is that this filter removes nitrates at a rate of 50% of a 150 us gal tank every week.

I highly doubt a handful of plants can match this rate.
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Gaarakilla19 replied the topic: Nitrate filter Deltec NFP 509

ah sorry didnt read the whole article , but i get it now sorry stupid questions lol
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Sosban Fach replied the topic: Nitrate filter Deltec NFP 509

Rocksor wrote: Gaara,

You save more money doing the water changes than maintaining and buying this filter.


I would agree for most people this is the case. It depends on your water change regime.

I think the simple way to guage whether you need this product is by simply checking your monthy water bill against the cost of the nitrate fluid or vodka doses.

High nitrates out of your tap would also warrent considering this product.
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Sosban Fach replied the topic: Nitrate filter Deltec NFP 509

Rocksor wrote: Gaara,

You save more money doing the water changes than maintaining and buying this filter.


I would agree for most people this is the case. It depends on your water change regime.

I think the simple way to guage whether you need this product is by simply checking your monthy water bill against the cost of the nitrate fluid or vodka doses.

High nitrates out of your tap would also warrent considering this product.
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Sosban Fach replied the topic: Nitrate filter Deltec NFP 509

DRACO wrote:
the uestion is, "what would be the structure of the tank water after long period of time without
topping it or doing water change... is there enough minerals for the fish?


Draco I agree; please read the section where my reasoning states this.

Sosban Fach wrote: I have had my filter running for a few weeks. You have to slowly increase the flow I am currently at the min flow (tank turnover once every 28 days) and I am seeing positive results.

Before I get going I would like to point out that the use of a nitrate filter is by no means a substitute for water changes.


It is for most people a means to getting closer to achieving that ultimate goal of ZERO NITRATES.

I personally have opted for a nitrate filter because of a single event where heavy agricultural runoff caused nitrate level to go beyond the legal limit for human consumption (100ppm +). This meant my RO unit could not remove all nitrates from the tap water. Each water change I was throwing away 800-900 litres of waste water from the RO unit and 450-500 litres waste water from the tank itself. Even at this rate I could only get the tank nitrates down to 20-40ppm. I couldn’t do water changes any more often because my RO unit isn’t fast enough.


Maybe I did not make myself clear.

My water changes were in the region of 90% changes every week. If you ignore nitrates thats an excessive water change.

If you take nitrates into account. Then my RO unit currently manages to remove most of the nitrates from my tap water down to about 20-30ppm.

I was doing 90% water changes and struggiling to keep my nitrates below 40ppm

I will still be doing water changes in the region of 20-30 % to replace other minerals and to reduce the TDS etc. The water going into the tank is still at 20-30ppm, but this filter takes care of this.

If you have zero nitrates out of your tap this product is not really worth the expense.

Try to bear in mind I bought my 150 us gal tank for £80 the stand didn't cost me anything to make. The canopy I made as well failry cheaply.

This unit is the most expensive part of my set up. I'd much rather use this money to save for another tank; but I will not fail my oscar.
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