Review: All Pond Solutions Boyu XQ-300 nitrate processor

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Nathan Hill is cautious about this latest offering from Boyu - and less than impressed with the instructions, some of which have been lost in translation.

Boyu, for the sake of my sanity, please employ a translator.

Boyu’s 'Chinglish' efforts have long been the subject of office mockery, but with something as sensitive as a nitrate filter, accuracy is needed and instructions like "the outing water should be strictly prohibited to drop into the tank, or plenty of life forms may die," is not particularly reassuring grammar for an item of this nature.

The filter itself works on the 'old school' anaerobic principle, though oddly, as far as I can tell, in total absence of any carbon source. I’m twitchy. Reference is made to 'white balls' inside, which I cannot see. Black bio media, yes — but white balls, no.

The unit is rigged to a tank or a sump via either the attaching suckers or fixed bracket. The unit does not completely submerge, going only as far as the top of the main cylinder. The nozzle on top of that should be exposed.

Turn the device on, let it fill to the top with the nozzle open and then close the nozzle. Keep it running just like that for the next three or four weeks.

At this point, having had water recycling inside for that length of time, it becomes anaerobic and bacteria get to work on any available nitrates.

After this inaugural period, the nozzle on the top is opened and water returned to the aquarium at one drop per second. Water is then tested and, if nitrate free, can eventually be turned up to two drops per second. That’s it.

I’m nervous about the lack of an obvious carbon source, which can easily lead to bacteria creating hydrogen sulfide. This will kill everything if it starts getting into your tank.

The obvious benefit of this device is the cost. Some nitrate removers can be expensive, especially if taking the replaceable resin path. This model is rated for tanks of up to 200 l/54 gal, but even if it works you’ll still need to do those all-important water changes.

Verdict

It’s cost effective and if it works then nitrate removal is nothing to be sniffed at. If it goes astray and starts growing the wrong bacteria, you’ll have corpses before you even notice the rotten egg smell. I want to trust it, but I’m too cautious.

Price: XG-300 £49.99, from All Pond Solutions.

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