Integrating AFS with other systems…
Can I integrate my existing filter with the Anoxic Filtration System?
With this question, I almost have-to answer with a question of my own: Why would you want to? The filtration system that most people use can be cantankerous and creates more work and byproducts than the Anoxic Filtration System does. Once hobbyists start using an AFS they now realize the faults of their existing filtration system and may discontinue the old filtration systems use altogether. The burden from your existing filter may be too much for the Anoxic Filtration System plus the fish load for it to handle. The filtration system that you are using is the nidus of bacteria and will unquestionably create tons (figuratively speaking) of nitrogen waste. The addition of nutrients dumped into the bulk water from this type of filtration equipment would affect the overall systems stability and overall water chemistry.
On the other hand, the Anoxic Filtration System by facultative anaerobic heterotrophs1 utilizes in a reduction process the incoming nitrogen and in turn, turns it into a gas element, Dinitrogen, N2, which is the most common form of the element nitrogen in normal conditions, which is then released into the atmosphere (Dissimulative Denitrification). Consequently, as defined in the Encyclopedia of Scientific Definitions, if a filtration system is not working properly, then it will not produce Dinitrogen. Nitrogen is a nonmetallic chemical element. It occurs in nature as a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. This gas makes up about 78% of the earth's atmosphere by volume. I’m trying hard not to be condescending, but I’ve heard the same tired, old argument parroted over and over so often that my patience wears thin. Nevertheless, I will try again to undergird my point once again.
First, the filtration system that you are using now will unquestionably begin to clog and when that happens, oxygen concentrations become depleted where there is no water flow through the substrate and/or filter medium. Nitrogen is then reduced back into ammonium (Assimilatory Denitrification) in a two-step process by obligate anaerobic heterotrophic bacteria, which becomes problematic to the pond ecosystem. These extremophiles under anaerobic conditions that have developed from a clogged filter will not convert ammonium back into a gas element that is released into the atmosphere. I do not know where hobbyist got the notion, that anaerobic conditions will convert nitrogen into a gas element, but I hope we can clear up this matter right now and here, it does not! It just makes more ammonia / ammonium that your system now has to deal with. This is extremely important because ammonium can be recycled in the filter back to nitrate and either or both nitrate and ammonium can diffuse throughout the filters media, creating an extremely nutrient-rich filter environment and leach into bulk water. The additional ammonium and/or nitrates that leach into the ecosystem become a new food source for cyanobacteria and algae alike.
Therefore, it should now be extremely clear just what classes of bacteria exist, where and why, and what they can accomplish. However, in most cases, our ponds contain more bio-load than what existing microbes can adequately process into an overall balanced environment within the pond biotope and available space on the filters medium. It can technically be said that no matter what type or size of filtration that most hobbyists use, the microbial population in the filter will be in equilibrium and/or balance state with its supply of foodstuffs. But clogging will hider this equilibrium and swings its chemistry in the negative direction if reductions of those foodstuffs aren’t reduced very quickly. Because once nutrient load exceeds the balanced state of the filtration system, (and that degree of balance depends upon what class and the number of microbes exist in the filter itself) further nutrient results in both the filter and the bulk water. Of course, this relates to the bacterium that inhabits the filtration system. An AFS should not subsidize an inadequate filtration system but the two should work together but this is hardly the case because why would you need a AFS in the first place if you existing filter was doing its job?
This is a true photo taken from a pond of 1600-gals here in the US of A with almost 50 Koi in it using an AFS ranging in size from 14-30".
Second, under the same conditions mentioned above, if your existing filtration system is one of those that clog easily, two colorless, flammable, poisonous gasses, methane (CH4), and hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) are then created. These two gas elements have been proven to degrade water quality significantly. In addition, forming a weak acid called hydrosulfuric acid and blackening of the substrate can occur due to the lack of free-oxygen in the substrate.
Furthermore, methane with ammonia will produce hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Hydrogen cyanide, also called hydrocyanic acid and prussic acid is extremely poisonous to humans and aquatic animals alike. Numerous plant and aquatic animal diseases can be related to such gasses along with premature death, with the hobbyists not knowing or understanding why!
If integrating the two systems is what you really want, just remember that the results you may get from doing so may not be the results that you really were looking for. You also must keep in mind the extra work your existing filter places on you. Invoking Occam’s razor, you must ask yourself this question: Do I really need to spend more time doing maintenance on a complex filtration system just to keep my aquatic animals alive and healthy? A good example is Brian Woodcock in my blog only took twenty minutes to clean his AFS. If the answer to this question is yes, then integrating the two-filtration system is for you. However, if your answer is a definite no, then the Anoxic Filtration System will be your forte.
I have assiduously designed this system as a stand-alone filtration system. It is more than capable of handling almost any bio-load that a hobbyist may place upon it with the capabilities of expanding it by adding more Biocenosis baskets if needed. Integrating this system with another system is redundant but not useless. However, again that choice will only be up to you, as each individual will have to make that decision on a priority basis. My thought on this whole thing is to invest in a better prefilter and save your money for superior Koi.
Anoxic filters are a much-abused filter! Why? Because once hobbyists find out how they can push them with bigger animal loads, then they do! Please do not do this, just because you can doesn’t mean you have to. I see this all the time when people use AFS and before you know it they abuse what they have to the point of being ridiculously overstocked ponds. I did not design this filter so hobbyists could abuses their animals, it was design to save their animals’ from the very thing that gets hobbyists into trouble in the first place…overstocking!!!!
1: Ana ["e]robic bacteria. They are called facultative ana ["e] robia when able to live either in the presence or absence of free oxygen; obligate, or obligatory, ana ["e] robia when they thrive only in its absence.
[Ed: Please Note: Yes you can integrate the Anoxic Filter with other filtration systems and the effectiveness of the Anoxic Filter or that which it is integrated with will be unaffected of their performance. If anything; the Anoxic Filter will enhance the overall stability of the entire system and cleaner water along with Nitrate reduction abilities will be its outcome.]