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Home » Algae Control, DIY Projects

Amazing DIY Denitrator with Right Now Bacteria

Submitted by on January 20, 2010 – 8:45 am3 Comments

Edit Feb 23 2010: Since I wrote this page, I received quite a few emails from people looking for a place to buy the equipment needed for this DIY project. For that reason, and for a limited time, I decided to make them available here on Visit our new store for more info about each product.

I’ve always been curious about new techniques and idea. I can’t resist, I have to try them all. Three years ago, I heard about a simple filtration system that removes nitrates and phosphates from any aquarium (fresh and saltwater) at low cost. Once again, I couldn’t resist and decided to give it a try.
This system is more like a DIY filter than anything. Fortunately, it is quite easy to setup.

Before to show you how to build your own, let’s hava a quick look at what I like about it:
1. It’s cheap! Actually, I find it cheap for any tank bellow 100 gallon.
2. It makes aquarium maintenance easier than ever.
3. No more Phosphate and Nitrate.
4. It can cycle a tank in no time.

Unfortunately, this system is not good for planted freshwater tanks. However, it work really well for non-planted freshwater tanks, saltwater fish only, FOWLR and reef tank.


Canister filter (It also worked well with a phosban reactor)
Tri Base Pelletized Carbon
Right Now Bacteria!
Some fish in the aquarium


Step 1. Tank Volume
measuring tapeCalculate the TOTAL AMOUNT of gallons your tank can hold without anything in it. Here is the math (all measurements in inches):

(Length x Width x Height) / 231 = Volume in gallon

Step 2. Tri Base Pelletized Carbon
tri base pelletized carbonNow calculate how much Tri Base Pelletized Carbon you need. Here is the math:
-Fish only (Fresh/Salt/Pond): 0.1667 lbs x Gallons.
-Reef with some fish: 0.1667 lbs x Gallon and divide the result by 2.
-Reef with Coral and invert (no fish): 0.1667 lbs X Gallon and divide the result by 3.

Rinse Tri Base Pelletized Carbon and let it soak in a water bucket with an air pump for 24 hours (THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT). After 24 hours, add it to your filter. Do not add it all at once: the best to do this is to add 1/4, turn the filter on and add 1/4 the carbon every day until all the carbon is in the canister.

The carbon will be used as a bacteria bed, not for chemical filtration. You’ll only need to replace it after 4 years.

Step 3. The Filter
DIY denitratorFor best results, Tri Base Pelletized Carbon should be used in a canister. This way, all the water will be in contact with the carbon. I got good results with any of the following canister: Red Torpedo, Fluval Canister Filter, Phosban Reactor. One pound of Tri Base Pelletized Carbon fills a 1L volume so make sure to get a canister large enough to fit it all.

Step 4. Water Flow
water flowWater flow is the water returning to your tank after it has passed through your filter. There is just one easy thing to remember here: IT MUST BE TEN (10) TIMES AN HOUR.

Step 5. The Return Pipe:
tri base pelletized carbonThis is very important! The return pipe MUST be about two inches ABOVE the water surface. It MUST shoot from the rear to the front, and be cross corner. If you DON’T do this, you will have a very hard time with your pH and the Dissolved Oxygen levels in your tank. Water should be taken from the bottom of the tank.

Step 6. Water temperature
aquarium temperatureIdeally, the water temperature should be around 76-80F (24-26C).

Step 7 The Bacteria:
right now bacteriaRight Now Bacteria is the master-piece of the system. Right Now Bacteria will establish on your Tri Base Pelletized Carbon and will grow at a phenomenal rate. Within only a few hours it will have enough bacteria to cycle your tank AEROBICALY. It will consume waste like nothing you’ve ever seen. You only need to use the bacteria once.


Now that your filtrations system is ready and your tank setup properly, it is time to give it a try. Simply follow the following information…

1. Set your system as listed above.

2. Turn on the filter and add 1/4 the carbon everyday until full.

3. Add Right Now Bacteria.

This is it! Simply remember that all those steps are important.

1. Set your system as listed above.

2. Turn on the filter and add 1/4 the carbon everyday until full.

3. Add fish to the tank (Acclimatise them first)

3. Five minutes before you put the fish in the tank, add Right Now Bacteria in the tank. DO NOT ADD THE BACTERIA BEFORE THAT!

4. Add the fish to the tank.

This is it! Simply remember that all those steps are important. The first 24 hours the tank will cloud up. By the next day you will have the entire TOTALLY AEROBIC NITROGEN and PHOSPHORUS CYCLE!


Water Changes
tri base pelletized carbonThis system will keep your water clean and will reduce No3 and Po4. This is not an excuse for you to stop changing the water. You can change a smaller volume and save on water and/or salt but dont skip that very important maintenance routine.

Filter Cleaning
Your filter should be cleaned (actually it is the carbon inside that need to be cleaned) once a month. All you have to do is to back flush. Back flush for 10 to 15 seconds ONLY. Otherwise your bacteria bed will be carried away in the waste water. Back flushing does not mean to back flush water back into the tank!
If you don’t clean your filter monthly, water quality will go down and you carbon won’t last 4 years like it should.


This system has been around for many years now. Unfortunately, it did not get the attention it deserve and only a few of us seem to use it. According to what I found on the internet, those who use it are happy about it (including me). Actually, the only bad reviews I found have been written by people who did not tried it. If you are the kind of person who like to experiment, I truly this is worth the try. It takes less than a pound of Tri Base Pelletized Carbon to setup a 5 gallon tank.
For those who would like to read more about this system and where it comes from, I invite you to have a look to US Patent 6025152 – Denitrifying bacterial preparation and method (look at the exemples at the end).

Popularity: 16% [?]

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  • Jeff says:

    Hi. I got some bacteria and carbon last week. My No3 went from 10 to 1 in two days. You said it could bring my No3 to close to 0. Any idea how I could remove more? Thx

  • Hello Jeff. I’m glad it worked well for you. Reducing Nitrate from 10 to 1 isn’t too bad you know ;)
    Many things could be in cause here: your feeding routine, your tank setup (have you followed all the instructions?), amount of fish, etc.

    In most case, when everything is setup the right way and we avoid overstocking & overfeeding, the water flow and/or amount of carbon is in cause. Make sure the flow is 10X per hour.

    Your tank is a reef you told me. Sometime there is simply not enough live rock in the tank so if you used the formula to calculated the amount of carbon needed for a reef, the system might now be at it’s full potential. Adding some more carbon could fix this.

    You may send me pics of your tank at so I can have a look.

  • Hi everyone. As said above, those product are now available here at
    Please visit for more information.

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