Biological filtermaterial for the removal of nitrates
- Removes the main nutrient of algae, nitrate, off the water.
- Operates exclusively through nitrate-eliminating bacteria, without the use of chemical additives or exchange products.
- Bacteria need no extra feeding, as substrate includes feed.
- Also suitable for use in saltwater in combination with the active carbon JBL Carbomec ultra as after-filter.
Controlling algae growth and improving the conditions of aquarium life by nitrate breakdown – made easy.
How does nitrate get into the aquarium?
The breakdown or mineralising process of all organic matter in the aquarium (feed and plant residues, fish excrements) happens through the stages protein > ammonium > nitrite > nitrate. Certain bacteria, which prefer to settle in the filter and on the aquarium floor, are responsible for this process. Nitrate in relatively high concentrations is not harmful to fish. The bacterial conversion of the waste matter in the aquarium into nitrate is, as it were, the life insurance for the fish because toxic intermediate products cannot enrich in well tuned filters.
But since a high content of nitrate promotes the growth of unwanted algae, the nitrate content in the aquarium water should not be allowed to exceed about 50 mg per litre. Regular partial changes of the aquarium water used to be the most common method for reducing the nitrate content. Ion exchanger resins and biological nitrate filters are also widely used.
What is biological denitrification?
Biological denitrification is the reduction of nitrate into gaseous nitrogen through bacteria. This is a phenomenon which has been well-known in agriculture for a long time and which results in an undesirable nitrogen depletion in the soil. Certain bacteria are capable of using the oxygen bound in the nitrate molecules for breathing, and in the process reducing the nitrate into gaseous nitrogen which eventually escapes into the air. This process is known as denitrification. It can also be used to remove nitrate from the aquarium.
But since these bacteria will move into action only under very special conditions, successful denitrification used to require an array of more or less complicated filter equipment. Among these conditions are an environment very low in oxygen approaching 0 mg, and the supply of organic food in the form of sugar, alcohol, organic acids and similar substances. These conditions can be created by extremely slow-running filters used as bypass to the main filter and the controlled supply of nutrients. Supplying the food requires reliable controls to prevent the food from being flushed into the aquarium, with undesirable consequences.
What is JBL BioNitrat EX?
JBL BioNitrat EX is the simplest method for reliable biological denitrification:
JBL BioNitrat EX consists of small beads containing nutrients for bacteria and so encourages the settlement of denitrifying bacteria which are present in large numbers in any aquarium. The net bag around the material restricts the water flow and so ensures the correct flow velocity inside the bag. The outcome is the desired environment low in oxygen. The net bag must therefore never be opened.
The bacteria colonies now use the oxygen bound in the nitrate molecules for breathing and, in the process, convert the nitrate into gaseous nitrogen which ultimately escapes into the atmosphere. Their source of energy are the nutrients embedded in the beads. This method ensures that nitrate is eliminated from the aquarium without trace! Chloride enrichment, which is often found in conventional ion exchangers and which can have a detrimental effect on plant growth, can be safely ruled out!
Use in freshwater:
Simply place the net bag as the last filter stage into the aquarium filter. If several bags are required, use a single bag first, followed by the next bag a week later, etc.
In aquariums with normal fish stock (max. 1 cm fish per litre of water), one bag for 50 litres of water is normally sufficient; in aquariums with higher stock density, one bag for 30 litres is adequate. One package is therefore sufficient for 120 to 200 litres of water. After an activation phase of about 2 to 3 weeks, the material has reached its ultimate bacterial colonisation and begins to develop its full effect (Fig.).
Some gas may occasionally collect inside the net bag. In this case allow the gas to escape by slightly squeezing the bag. Foul smell which might develop is perfectly harmless and does not endanger aquarium life. Do not rinse the bag.
In rare cases, water clouding may be occur during the activation phase. This can be removed by briefly filtering with JBL Carbomec activ. Excessive nitrate levels (50 mg/l and more) should be reduced by changing the water or by using an ion exchanger (JBL NitratEx 36000).
Use in saltwater
JBL BioNitratEx is also suitable for use in saltwater. Use as described above for freshwater, but add one layer of activated carbon (JBL Carmomec ultra) to the BioNitratEx in the filter to avoid nutrients being washed out and clouding the water during the activation phase. Excessive nitrate levels (50 mg/l and more) should be reduced by suitable means (water change).
Duration of effect: Up to 12 months in aquariums with normal stock density (1 cm fish per litre of water).
Control: Use JBL Nitrate Test Set NO3
- Note: Removing nitrate from the aquarium water can never fully substitute the regular partial change of the water. It can only prolong the interval between water changes. When using JBL BioNitrat EX we therefore recommend changing about 20 percent of the aquarium water every month. This is required to prevent the enrichment of inhibitors and other agents.
Contents: 4 net bags for 30-50 litres of water depending on stock density.
Measures against excessive nitrate levels in tap water:
- Prepare tap water with JBL Osmose 120. This reverse osmosis removes about 90% of nitrates from tap water (at 25°C water temperature and a minimum pressure of 3 bar!).
- Alternatively, tap water which has stood for a while can be pumped through a container with JBL NitratEX. By means of ion exchange, JBL NitratEX removes the unwanted nitrate.
Measures against excessive nitrate levels in the freshwater aquarium:
- Regular partial changes of water (approx. 1/3 every 2 weeks).
- Prepare water with JBL Biotopol.
- Measure nitrate content of tap water (max. 50 mg/l).
- Either eliminate nitrate from the water using JBL NitratEX or eliminate it in the long-term by applying JBL BioNitratEX. The difference lies in the mode of action, not in the outcome, as nitrate is eliminated by both products. JBL NitratEX operates as an ion exchanger, replacing the unwanted nitrate with another harmless ion. After a certain time the exchange process is exhausted and the JBL NitratEX must be regenerated. This simply entails using a salt solution. JBL BioNitratEX works on a biological basis. The BioNitratEX bag reduces the oxygen level and the bacteria break down the nitrate in order to access the oxygen contained within. All the nutrients required for this process are contained in BioNitratEX. BioNitratEX continues to be effective in the biological break down of nitrates for months without harmful side effects and should be replaced after between 6 months and one year.
Measures against excessive nitrate levels in the garden pond:
- Regular partial changes of water (1/5 of water monthly).
- Prepare new water with JBL Aqualon.
- Place JBL PondPurKoi in filter. This nitrate-reducing filter material can remain in the filter for months.
- Avoid nitrates from garden fertilisers seeping into the pond.
- Stock the pond with the correct number of fish for the pond size, give a quantity of feed which meets the fishes´ requirements.
Measures against excessive nitrate levels in the saltwater aquarium:
- Regular partial changes of water (1/4 monthly)
- Always prepare new water with JBL BioMarol.
- If the mains water contains nitrates, use an osmosis unit or NitratEX (see above).
- Reduce the pollutant load in the water.
- Add macroalgae to eliminate nitrate from the water.
- Place JBL BioNitratEX in the filter. When used in saltwater, JBL Carbomec Ultra (active carbon) must be placed after the BioNitratEX in order to filter out any bacteria nutrients released by BioNitratEX.
- Add more living stones.
- Do not remove too much algae at one time, as the cells of algae are ripped open when the algae is removed and the substances absorbed, such as nitrates, seep back into the water!
Where comes Nitrite in aquariums from?
Nitrite (NO2) is a strong poison which blocks the transport of oxygen by the blood and leads to internal suffocation. It is formed by bacterial decomposition from ammonium and is further broken down into the non-toxic nitrate NO3. If nitrite levels exceeding 0.1 mg/l are measured, the bacterial break down of nitrogen is seriously damaged, without any doubt. This may be the result of treatment with antibacterial medications.
Measures against excessive nitrite levels in a freshwater aquarium:
- Major water change of 1/3 to ½ the content of the aquarium.
- Preparation of the water with JBL Biotopol.
- Activate filter with JBL Filterstart.
- Add JBL ClearMec plus to the filter. This filter material removes nitrite and nitrate from the water.
- Identify cause: quantity of feed, fish stocking level, use of medications etc.
Measures against excessive nitrite levels in a saltwater aquarium:
- Change 1/3 water.
- Preparation of the water with JBL BioMarol.
- Identify cause of nitrite: remove dead fish, clean areas of pollution, check filter etc.
- Prime filter biologically with JBL Filterstart.
JBL BioNitrate is even more effective than expected!
At first the specialists were sceptical, then full of enthusiasm ("sensational": Profi Zoo Pika). With JBL BioNitratEX, JBL was the first to succeed in using biological methods suitable for any conventional filter to break down the nitrates which encourage algae. Thousands of satisfied fish keepers found that JBL had been over-cautious with the recommended number of litres. One packing unit was sold for up to 100 litres of aquarium water. In the course of modifying the design of the entire JBL Filtax filter material range, JBL BioNitratEX was also given a new appearance: it is now sufficient for 200 litres, the packing size exactly corresponds to the other 25 products in JBLs filter material range, and all the key data of this filter material are clearly displayed in graph and symbol form on the sturdy packing. In addition, the packing shows the correct way to position the material in the filter and the appearance of the material is clearly depicted.
The contents have also been made more user-friendly. The previous two bags have been replaced by four bags, which will easily fit into even the smallest filter and are each sufficient for 50 litres of water.
And if anyone is still having problems with nitrates - then they have only got themselves to blame!