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Thread: experience with bakki showers

  1. #21
    Paultergeist is offline
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    Peter,

    I think you are a tad too generous in your grading criteria! I would have awarded a "9," but not the perfect "10."

    Quote Originally Posted by whodatkoi View Post
    Give bacteria the credit of removing the ammonia. There is no such thing as off gassing ammonia in a shower setup or any setup for that matter.
    Whodat,

    I would say that you are "basically correct," -- with respect to Koi ponds. The bacteria -- performing nitrification -- do deserve the credit for converting ammonia into less toxic forms. From everything I can determine, there is not appreciable off-gassing of ammonia at the pH conditions habitable to Koi.

    For the sake of scientific accuracy, however, your above statement about ammonia off-gassing is not entirely true. A major issue is pH: In water, ammonia exists in a state of equilibrium between two forms: actual ammonia [NH3] and ammonium [NH4+]. In a nutshell, one can off-gas the ammonia form, but not the ammonium form. The relationship is pH dependent: at higher pH, there is more "ammonia" form, at lower pH, there is more of the "ammonium" form. At the pH appropriate for fish ponds, however, most the ammonia/ammonium present is in the non-off-gassing "ammonium" form. This is why showers -- when used in Koi ponds -- really do not appreciably off-gas ammonia.

    A different situation, however, may be observed within the waste-water treatment industry, where "ammonia stripping" is practiced. Bearing in mind the issue regarding pH, in ammonia stripping, the pH of the effluent water is raised significantly. This high pH (like 11-12) drives the ammonia/ammonium to the "ammonia" [NH3] side of the equilibrium. The NH3 then can be significantly off-gassed. Tall towers are often implemented to keep the ammonia gas above the breathing zone of adjacent buildings (lest the area reek of ammonia odors). I have a technical paper in PDF form at work -- if your are really interested, send me a PM and I'll email you the document.

    Cheers!

  2. #22
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    great responses from everyone, and i really appreciate your expertise and feedback. at the end of the day, the original bakki shower articles and the recent one in Koi USA all profess the ability of this system to add additional support for nitrogen cycle removal through off gassing. it is clear that the chemical science does not support off gassing of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate through this technique. some marginal removal of ammonia and nitrite is possible but it should be insignificant when compared to bacterial removal. nitrate removal through this drop and shock technique is simply impossible under any condition that supports koi life, and that article has no merit.

    i'm still planning an installation with the above information in mind intending to benefit from a larger biofilter and enhanced aeration. the only item in the original article that has not been addressed in this thread is the concept of running a water volume of 150 percent of the pond's total volume through the bakki. it would seem that this technique would impede bacterial growth by washing out the colonies. is there any possible reason that this volume concept would help in nitrogen cycle removal that we might have overlooked?

    thanks again for all the help.

  3. #23
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    Paul,

    I was enjoying a 5 minutes of glory and you ruined it. Seriously, it's not difficult to dismiss the off-gassing claim from the solubility/concentration standpoint. Again, no setup in the world can off gassing ammonia in water from 3ppm to 1ppm at room temperature, neither a Bakki shower nor your tall ammonia stripping tower. From 3% (30,000ppm) to 1%, yes, but not from 3ppm to 1ppm.

    But hey, I take a 9 any day. I have not gotten that kind of rating from my bosses in at least the last ten years.

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    Jeff,
    Biofilters work based on contact with the bio-film. Nitrification requires very little contact time. Bakki showers and trickle filters tend to get separated in this forum based on the idea that bakki filters have a lot more flow and somehow that is better. Bakki showers and trickle filters both do nitrification. I think we have yet to hear that someone has done any harm by pumping a lot of water or a little water over a Bakki/trickle filter. Hence the frequency you turn the pond above 1 time per hour has little to do with the nitrogen cycle.

    If you are going above typical koi pond, fish to gallons ratios, then there may be benefit to more turns per hour. Some ponders turn their pond over 4 times per hour because it makes the waterfalls and fountains look better.

    Bear in mind that the more water you move the more the electric meter spins. So If you can afford it, and you like it, go for it. We will cheer you on.

    It doesn't really matter how the ammonia is removed, ultimately you just want your ammonia and nitrite tests to read Zero PPM. Nitrates may be consumed by carpet algae, or reduced by foam separation, or water changes. The best medicine for your pond is a water change.

    Matt

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    Whodat,

    90% is still an "A" in my book!

  6. #26
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    this is why i also trickle water in and out as well as use my shower
    5500 uk gallon pond
    filtered by a double sieve bead combo
    all running over a shower

    waters not wet untill you touch it : steve fowler

    your not paranoid
    they are watching you steve fowler

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    As a great fan of showers I have been watching this thread with interest. I can't begin to explain everything scientifically that is happening, nor do I really care. The bottom line for me is they work better than any other form of bio filters I have ever used. Plus in the right configuration, can also provide foam fractionation, enriched oxygen levels, and strong currents for Koi exercise.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff reiter View Post
    great responses from everyone, and i really appreciate your expertise and feedback. at the end of the day, the original bakki shower articles and the recent one in Koi USA all profess the ability of this system to add additional support for nitrogen cycle removal through off gassing. it is clear that the chemical science does not support off gassing of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate through this technique. some marginal removal of ammonia and nitrite is possible but it should be insignificant when compared to bacterial removal. nitrate removal through this drop and shock technique is simply impossible under any condition that supports koi life, and that article has no merit.

    i'm still planning an installation with the above information in mind intending to benefit from a larger biofilter and enhanced aeration. the only item in the original article that has not been addressed in this thread is the concept of running a water volume of 150 percent of the pond's total volume through the bakki. it would seem that this technique would impede bacterial growth by washing out the colonies. is there any possible reason that this volume concept would help in nitrogen cycle removal that we might have overlooked?

    thanks again for all the help.
    Thanks Paultergeist, your comments are noted.

    I will try to explain further for Jeff.

    IF the spray bar was a 'long and narrow slot' instead of randomly-drilled holes and IF falling water could be coerced to fall downwards EVENLY from this slot along the entire slot at exactly the same flow rate then, and only then, would the top 50% of the media be given a good, but not quite perfect coverage.

    Of course this cannot happen as the start of the slot would produce a much greater dispersal of water than the end of the slot which would be very little.

    Leaving drilled holes along the bar is a cop-out.

    It's merely gravity that takes place when water is introduced from left or right along a long-ish distance in this case.

    Once again, it is almost impossible to control falling water without incredible expense.

    There are many who opine that open falling water 'attracts air' and draws it into the media whilst passing through thus giving water with a far greater D.O content for the bacteria colonising the static media.

    The term of 'de-gassing' is then bandied around and many take this term in when, in fact, it is pure conjecture!

    Falling water onto random surfaces below does not 'de-gas' water - even mildly.

    Submerged aeration prior to media surfaces DOES add greater turbulence and thus gives more D.O. to the bacteria that form the biomass on these surfaces.

    In a Bakki Shower it is the Bacteria House media that takes it to another level of efficiency and not the principle itself. However many choose to cut corners and expense by using other forms of media that are not nearly so efficient but far cheaper.

    In the end it all goes to prove the financial savings are far more expensive than first thought.

    Yet again, shower systems are 30 - 35% efficient whilst upward-flow boxes are around 20% efficient.


    Waddy.
    Last edited by Luck; 08-29-2010 at 02:07 AM.

  9. #29
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    I would have to agree with the idea that there is no appreciable off gassing of ammonia in shower filters. I was once a proponent of this concept largely because that was what I'd read and had been told by others mentoring me along in my earlier days.
    After building many shower filters and aerated bio-filters of my own design I've noticed that initially the pond still goes through the traditional ammonia and nitrite spikes and then goes into a high nitrate reading situation just as all other filtration types do. If off gassing were really present then the ammonia and nitrite spikes would be minimal and the production of nitrates would be lower immediately. This does not happen!!!!
    What I have noticed is that in my clients ponds with shower filters and aerated bio-filters, the nitrate reading goes down over time and in many instances gets close to zero just as the ammonia and nitrites do. I don't seem to find this in standard plug flow or non aerated bio-filter systems though. What I believe is happening is that the environment (media type and high oxygen content) is allowing other complicated layers of bacteria to colonize that consume or convert nitrate. This takes a while but does seem to happen. I don't know the process as I am not a biologist or a chemist but I do see these types of results.

  10. #30
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    Kent Wallace, thanks for that excellent experiential information. it fits nicely into some other information i've collected. maybe we could talk sometime about the measurement numbers you have seen over time.

  11. #31
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    Kent,

    I really appreciate you sharing of your knowledge and considerable experience -- thanks!

    Paul

  12. #32
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    Actually part of me feels guilty for carrying the water for the "gassing off" theory earlier on.

  13. #33
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    Here's what my experience has been. Norm (Scrmnkg) installed a shower filter on my 5000 gallon pond in December 2008. Initially, we used the Stak-Pak containers from US Plastics, and (for water and sound containment) we used a half-tray upside down on top as a lid. For additional air, Norm drilled a total of four holes in the upper part of the long sides and glued on ells facing down. Media is Bacteria House (I think I scored the last batch of it in the U.S.) The spray bar has three rows of holes drilled. Flow at the outset was roughly 6000 gallons/hour from my two no-niche skimmers, going first through two barrels of Bacti-Twist. I had consistent nitrate readings of about 10 ppm with this setup. (The other circuit of my filtration is two aerated Koitoilets to two Cetuses, which then combine to go through one Sac 10, then UV, then TPRs.)

    In mid-April of this year, Norm switched out the Stak-pak trays for Birdman's open-top fiberglass ones, using the same media; the flow rate was cut to 3000 gallons/hour because my second skimmer was diverted to the sand/gravel filter he set up in the barrels at the same time. The bottom tray is stuffed with the Bacti-Twist media that we had left over from the original barrel setup (this was done for sound absorption). Three weeks later, my nitrate was 0. In the three months since the change, the media has developed a thick patina of biofilm, where it was a really light coating before. I can't say whether it was the extra air or the slower flow that made the difference; I know the s/g filters also have bio properties, but three weeks seems kinda fast for that particular conversion.

    I'm no chemist, and I'm not sure I'm a believer in the Far Infrared Radiation properties of the Bacteria House media. What I do like is my -0- readings, and the fact that I have extra oxygen going to my pond. The Bacti-Twist in the bottom tray has actually made the open trays quieter than the Stak-Paks were, and it's perfectly pleasant to sit out on the deck right in front of the shower filter.
    Mary

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    Quote Originally Posted by graybird View Post
    Here's what my experience has been. Norm (Scrmnkg) installed a shower filter on my 5000 gallon pond in December 2008. Initially, we used the Stak-Pak containers from US Plastics, and (for water and sound containment) we used a half-tray upside down on top as a lid. For additional air, Norm drilled a total of four holes in the upper part of the long sides and glued on ells facing down. Media is Bacteria House (I think I scored the last batch of it in the U.S.) The spray bar has three rows of holes drilled. Flow at the outset was roughly 6000 gallons/hour from my two no-niche skimmers, going first through two barrels of Bacti-Twist. I had consistent nitrate readings of about 10 ppm with this setup. (The other circuit of my filtration is two aerated Koitoilets to two Cetuses, which then combine to go through one Sac 10, then UV, then TPRs.)

    In mid-April of this year, Norm switched out the Stak-pak trays for Birdman's open-top fiberglass ones, using the same media; the flow rate was cut to 3000 gallons/hour because my second skimmer was diverted to the sand/gravel filter he set up in the barrels at the same time. The bottom tray is stuffed with the Bacti-Twist media that we had left over from the original barrel setup (this was done for sound absorption). Three weeks later, my nitrate was 0. In the three months since the change, the media has developed a thick patina of biofilm, where it was a really light coating before. I can't say whether it was the extra air or the slower flow that made the difference; I know the s/g filters also have bio properties, but three weeks seems kinda fast for that particular conversion.

    I'm no chemist, and I'm not sure I'm a believer in the Far Infrared Radiation properties of the Bacteria House media. What I do like is my -0- readings, and the fact that I have extra oxygen going to my pond. The Bacti-Twist in the bottom tray has actually made the open trays quieter than the Stak-Paks were, and it's perfectly pleasant to sit out on the deck right in front of the shower filter.
    Graybird,

    I suspect that the new thick bio film you mention is actually algae. The open trays will expose your media to light and thus algae will grow. The algae will consume nitrates and phosphates and it will grow. This is a good way to get the nitrates and phosphates out of the water. You will eventually need to get the excess algae out of the filter. Consider posting a photo for us?

    Matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff reiter View Post
    Kent Wallace, thanks for that excellent experiential information. it fits nicely into some other information i've collected. maybe we could talk sometime about the measurement numbers you have seen over time.
    There are a couple shower filters with MP2C ceramic that have been running for 2 years now at the Niagara Aquarium. The media is clean and has no algae growth on it. Nitrates do bounce around a little from 10ppm on the low end to 50ppm on the high end. (Nitrates testing results can vary. Try calling the Hach technical support line and ask some questions if you want to verify.)

    Water test Date 7/16/2010
    Shark tank
    pH 8.13

    Ammonia 0.0

    Nitrate 23.0

    Nitrite 0.002



    Octopus tank

    pH 8.06

    Ammonia 0.0

    Nitrate 2.8

    Nitrite 0.002

    Regards,
    Matt Sklar

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtsklar View Post
    Graybird,

    I suspect that the new thick bio film you mention is actually algae. The open trays will expose your media to light and thus algae will grow. The algae will consume nitrates and phosphates and it will grow. This is a good way to get the nitrates and phosphates out of the water. You will eventually need to get the excess algae out of the filter. Consider posting a photo for us?

    Matt
    Matt, I'm sure you didn't mean for your post to sound as condescending as it does. I will freely admit to and embrace the fact that I'm on the learning road with everybody else, but before we built my shower filter, I sat for days and read Every. Last. Post. on Koiphen and the other parishes about shower filters, trickle filters, and every permutation thereof.

    I am aware that algae may grow with the increased exposure to light, but have seen very little so far (and I do know the difference).

    Now come on, people, I know lots of you out there have shower filters! Let's see some deets!
    Mary

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    Graybird,

    I mean no disrespect.
    This is a very interesting area of aquatics that can sometime give us some surprises. What color is the biofilm ?

    Nitrosomonas are photophobic, light avoiding.
    There are more than 30,000 algae types known.

    If you exposed your media to air with the open trays did you completely block out the light?

    Regards,
    Matt

  18. #38
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    Matt, Mary, thank you. its the kind of information that a web search or the opinions on other sites can't produce.

    Matt, where did you get that data? i'm particularly impressed by the tank data with no ammonia and residual nitrites.

    thanks again all.

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    test results on ceramic filter

    Hello Jeff,

    The Exhibit Supervisor from the Niagara Aquarium sends the data to Cermedia each week.
    Since changing to the ceramic media water changes have been reduced by 50%, they were on plastic media.
    The sharks are feed 2 to 3 pounds of herring, squid and caplen every other day.

    The octopus tank did test very low on nitrates this week. Nitrate test numbers do vary, but are respectfully low.

    Thank you,
    Matt

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    MP2C Biofilter

    Jeff,
    Here is a follow up photo to my last post. The MP2C media is random packed in a single container installed in a filter room.

    Regards,
    Matt
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