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Old 05-14-2011, 10:09 PM   #1 
Kiere
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Lightbulb NitraStrate Substrate

I was searching around and came across the company Maglife. Their main product is these tank rocks they call NitraStrate Substrate which in a nutshell is supposed to break down the nitrates and release it as gas so even a small tank can be cycled!

http://www.maglifeusa.com/ This is their website with all their products their betta tanks are on the small side but if their substrate works could help even people with small tanks cut down on water changes.. seems too good to be true, but if it is true how great would that be?!

Has anyone heard/tried anything these magic rocks?

Seriously considering getting some, what is there to lose they say they get better with age and never need to be replaced AND come in fun colors!
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:36 PM   #2 
bettafish15
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I doubt it would work.
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Old 05-15-2011, 05:11 AM   #3 
Thunderloon
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EEeehhh... it does work but I wouldn't use it, its made of a material that is used in much smaller granule size in nitrate reactors.

The problem with ANY material is that it will get coated with bacteria and cease to function effectively.


Fluidized bed reactors are the best way to deal with nitrate in the long term and you generally need to use them in conjunction with protein skimmers.
They are partially filled with either natural or synthetic media that will grow nitrate eating bacteria inside the granules which produce protein that exudes to the surface of the granule. Water being forced up through these granules just fast enough to make them float bouncing into each other abrades the protein off the surface of the granules and then it floats free in the water. Tiny fry or protozoans/krill etc can eat this protein or you can skim it out with a protein skimmer.

The down-side to all this is simple. Most protein skimmers AND fluidized bed reactors have to operate in the hundreds of gallons per hour range and the skimmers actually work best in the two to five hundred gallon per hour range. They both require lots of maintenance, are expensive and large and are completely unnecessary when you can get rid of the problem with daily siphon-sweeping of 80% of the water in the bowl.

ALL bio-processing schemes require flow, plants even produce substrate flow. The product you mention does work, but just isn't worth using as a substitute to water changes. Generally these products are intended for closed cycle precise chemistry aquaria where changing the water is expensive.

Further problems with what they advertise are that they don't mention toxic gas creation, solid wastes that have to be filtered out mechanically and the consumption of the pellets OR that porous pellets will keep bad bacteria safe from anti-biotics.

A definite DO NOT BUY.

Last edited by Thunderloon; 05-15-2011 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 05-15-2011, 12:54 PM   #4 
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Thank you for your thorough and thoughtful answer!

If I did get them I wasn't planning stopping water changes or anything drastic. Figured it could make tank bed safer for the fish. The substrate isn't able to grow bacteria since the rocks are neutrally buoyant and allow water to flow through.

Things I found through further reading that touch on the problems you mentioned. The toxic gasses that are created throughout the bed are filtered through the rocks oxidized and released as harmless nitrogen gas. Siphoning of the sold waste is still necessary but the rocks keep it from raising Ammonia/Nitrate levels. The rocks keeping bad bacteria safe from anti-biotics would be my main concern...

I wish some things were too good to be true...
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:44 PM   #5 
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Ordered a pack of this last week:

I'm checking to see if it works as it says on the nitrate front.

As an in-tank substrate I'm exceptionally loathe to use a material who's original inventor says to "ensure that all material has constant water flow and high oxygenation to avoid creating hydrogen cyanide" in a stagnant bowl situation.

I AM however willing to use it as a trial in a canister media setting.
While this isn't exactly in line with the interests our forum here have I feel its important to include it as such.

I'm going to let the material run on the top layer in my C-220 for a month then dig this thread back out.

I've included a little Rio HOB protein skimmer to deal with the waste from the media, the Rio do work - I used a synthetic protein medication to check it and it filled the pint cup in under four hours.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:32 PM   #6 
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This product is absolute twaddle, twit manufactured, dumb, inane, junk, joke, false, and garbage.

Had the material in my canister for three weeks and NOTHING has grown on them. I've got a smearable coat of nitrosomona bacteria on the basket they were in and stuffs not supposed to grow on that basket. I've got a gooey caking of nitrosomona on Seachem De-Nitrate that's only been in for two weeks and have started to see a reduction in nitrates on the tests.

I took out one of the NitraStrate beads and smeared it on a tissue and NOTHING came off, nothing is in it or on it. Its as clear as the day I put it in the canister.

However it is a very pretty bottom rock material and since nothing sticks to it it should be very very easy to clean! If you want to spend $6.00 per 250, which comes out to just about one cup of rock.

Verdict: don't use it, if it can't grow nitrosomona in three weeks, your fish is already dead.
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Old 06-25-2011, 06:13 PM   #7 
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I was asked to provide proof of my claims.
These were shot with my Lumix ZS5 at 15mm distance on 3x macro at 12.1Mp using a 120lumin single point wide angle LED for lighting. They've officially been in the canister for three weeks. The de*nitrate I added two weeks ago is covered in bacteria and starting to work. The basket in the canister I placed these in was sterilized to keep migration of bacteria to a minimum... its coated again.



I don't see any internal OR external bacteria, these are still wet from the canister. No smear, no smell on them, they weren't sticky either.

I've moved them into a 3 gallon "glow-fish" tank made by Tetrineland as substrate beside some Petco white bottom rock. This is a fresh tank setup with an art deco nano using one cubic inch of bio-foam with bypass flow.

These beads are very very hard.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:23 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderloon View Post
I've moved them into a 3 gallon "glow-fish" tank made by Tetrineland as substrate beside some Petco white bottom rock. This is a fresh tank setup with an art deco nano using one cubic inch of bio-foam with bypass flow.

These beads are very very hard.
This week they grew green-brown algae, it rubbed off when I stirred them with a bottle brush I use in the tanks.

so so so so very fail product...
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