NOAA engineers have recently developed an innovative biological filtration system that is inexpensive, simple to set up, scalable, and best of all, is self-cleaning.
The biological treatment of wastewater produced in closed aquatic systems, such as home ornamental fish tanks, aquaculture facilities, and similar, is typically accomplished through a combination of mechanical filtration, which removes solid waste, and biological filtration, which uses bacteria to break down harmful ammonia. Separate aeration devices are also needed to introduce atmospheric oxygen into the system. Filtration and aeration systems currently on the market work well, but require frequent cleaning and maintenance to perform well.
The NOAA Biological Filter uses the principles of hydrodynamics and biochemistry to create a single system to improve the water quality of any existing aqueous environment. The NOAA filter simultaneously removes ammonia and nitrogenous waste from liquids while introducing atmospheric oxygen. This dual function eliminates the need for an additional aerator to complete the biochemical process. This system can either be jump started with an inoculation of beneficial nitrifying bacteria, or allowed to condition naturally over time. A light source can also be added to aid in the growth of nitrate removing plants, or hydroponic garden.
The system is also self-cleaning. When used in conjunction with commonly available particulate media such as charcoal, ceramic beads, lava rock, etc., the unique tidal wave action keeps the system clean, saving time and money. The tidal action offers itself to other uses such as tidal simulation (coral spawning/growing, macro algae propagation, intertidal habitat), and can be scaled to produce any tidal duration or height.
This all-in-one system alleviates the need for multiple pieces of equipment, while providing the perfect environment for denitrification and waste removal. Multiple units of this invention can be used in tandem for various effects (smoother tide, redundancy, larger tidal cycle, increased water contact time. The fluid dynamics of the system can be converted to apply to most any system, from a 5 gallon aquarium to a municipal wastewater facility.
The TPO is seeking qualified manufacturers to build and distribute a commercial version of this filter. Licenses and Cooperative R&D Agreements are available. Contact TPO staff for more information.