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If you want to have denitrification occurring in your tank, all you have to
do is prepare a shallow container with a layer of oatmeal flakes covered
over with about 1/2 to 1 inch of gravel and submerge this container in your
tank. Intense anaerobic conditions will develop rapidly in the gravel.
Copious amounts of bubbles will start rising from the container in about a
day, and will continue rising for over a week. The layer of gravel
prevents rapid exchange of soluble organics preventing a large amount of
bacterial growth in the water column. However, you should see a layer of
bacteria right at or near the surface of the gravel. You have lots of
flexibility with this system in that you can vary the size of the container
from a small jar to a large pan; you can vary the amount of oatmeal and you
can also vary the depth of gravel covering it. An interesting variation on
this set-up is to bury, not oatmeal flakes, but pieces of dried liver in
the gravel. You will still get denitrification, but there will be an
increase in ammonia. Again, you have flexibility with the size of the
container, the amount of dried liver, etc.
If you are interested in experimentation, it is an interesting system to
play with. If you want to reduce nitrate, this system should be a lot
simpler to install, control and remove than the rather complex ones
developed for seawater systems.
Paul Krombholz, in central Mississippi, not getting as much rain as