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[APD] anaerobic denitrification

Would it be at all reasonable to set up a low gph filter for my 40g tank
consisting of: a powerhead sending water through 1/2 tubing to a three
gallon container containing gravel (doubling as a co2 reactor) and then from
that to another 3 gallon container containing coarse sand.  The idea is to
create anaerobic conditions in which denitrifying bacteria could convert
nitrate to oxygen and nitrogen.  I've heard of special media for this
purpose; is this necessary to support the necessary bacteria?

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