Tuesday, September 9, 2014

During my free time, I’ve still been trying to better my understanding about ORP. Yogas

During my free time, I’ve still been trying to better my understanding about ORP. So far I have come to understand that a substance with a negative ORP value is a reducing agent by which has the potential to donate electrons while a positive ORP value is an oxidizing agent by which has the potential to receive electrons. From here I have several questions related to ORP and the AFS:

1.       Laterite, Zeolite and cat litter are all anions, can we say they are reducing agents? Hence ammonium as cations is oxidizing agents?
2.       Through the AFS, ammonium is taken out of the water body and broken down to nitrogen gas. Leaving the water body free from ammonium. Will this process still happen if the water body is acidic (pH<7)?
3.       Will it be correct to say that the AFS is a water purification system thus enabling the water to have a positive ORP?
4.       Better aeration-better dissolved oxygen-higher pH-more ammonia converted to ammonium-captured and degraded by AFS-purer water-better positive ORP. Correct?
I’m still trying to put the pieces together, and to be honest, for me it’s quite a mind numbing process.  I’ve started feeding heavily again, and usually by the afternoon the ORP value will have dropped by 20-30. Water changes helps but not enough so clay is added daily also. This clay seems to help by oxidizing (binding) nitrite, nitrate and phosphates, also by coagulation of floating koi feces enabling the filters to filter it out faster. So by evening the ORP has returned to initial value in the morning. So this is my current understanding between the relationships between ammonia-pH-aeration-AFS-ORP-Koi Clay. Have I got anything wrong/backwards?

Best regards,


Hi Yogas,

Your redox (ORP) should have a higher value in the morning and as the day continues go down slowly during the day until at night it should be at its lowest reading in mV. During the night and when metabolism is low and photosynthesis has stopped, the water is cleaned up by biological and chemical reactions by your filtration system and the resultant redox potential then becomes higher in value by these processes.

 During the day, as metabolism increases with pollutants insults, the ORP will go down slowly, especially after a/every feeding session. The only way to counter-act this tendency of ORP lowering is with a protein skimmer that removes nitrogenous organic compounds with the use of ozone. Then with a good redox measuring device the redox potential will stay more stable throughout the day and night as the measuring device controls the redox potential and the use of ozone.

It can also be said, that a Biocenosis Clarification Baskets made up the way I explain in my blog is the only way that plants will continue to take in at night ammonia/ammonium and process Nitrates as N2 as a foodsource when other methods of planting aquatic plants will not, giving the ponds mass a higher ORP in the morning than other methods of filtration.

NO3 ammonia or ammonium nitrate NH4+ is not complicated for plants to use when photosynthesis is shut down so plants still use it as a foodsource at night but not Nitrates because Nitrates must be reduced to ammonium once again in a two-step reduction process and that’s chemical work for the plants. Because the BCB’s chemical makeup, the intake of anions and some cations amounts in an ion displacement in the pond are equal through diffusion and magnetic pull. This also holds true for plants because if a plant did not take cations and anions in equal amounts it would have a fatal pH swing inside the cells. Most plants keep a constant pH of 7.0, no matter what their surrounding pH is in the waters mass.

Because the BCB’s are taking in theses positively charged (cation) and negatively charges (anions) ions these them become a foodsource for the bacteria as well as plants. The more a filtration system removes these ions from the waters mass the higher the redox (ORP) and the lower the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) will become. Ions can become a never-ending insult because chemical and physical processes create them.

The BCB’s themselves are not pH dependent and the ammonium ion, which is mildly acidic is what is formed from ammonia when the ammonia is dissolved in water, it is then converted into the ammonium ion. Though lots of hobbyists would like to believe that a lower pH (acidic) would lessen the toxic nature of this ion that is not really 100% true. Though the degree of the ion is depended on the pH of the solution it’s in, the lower pH makes the ammonium ion and a higher pH makes the ammonia ion both are toxic and long term exposure is not recommended. 

In fact plants will readily take in ammonia (NH3) over the ammonium (NH4+) because, though it is more toxic, it has no electrical charge and is easily taken in by the plants, most aquatic plants follow this rule and there are only a few exceptions to this rule were some plants favor Nitrates over ammonia. In other methods of planting the plants root hairs will not be exposed to the ammonia/ammonium ion like in the BCB’s and the plants at night will just shut down until next day. So plants and the BCB’s will also raise redox potential at night as well as day because of the ammonia/ammonium ion is still being attracted inside each one 24/7.

Because of what has been said above this is the reason why the name of the baskets are called Biocenosis Clarification Baskets and not just Biocenosis Baskets like most people call them. The AFS is a clarifier filter that is built with a diffusion of mechanical buffers for continuously removal of macro and micro solids being deposited by sedimentation and ion removal.

Most if not all filtration systems are hydrophobic in nature because of the media and/or substrate they use but an AFS is hydrophilic in character and has a tendency to mix with its surrounding water. In other words, it has a tendency to be wetted inside and out by water and dissolve in it and become one. Plus it is an ion-exchange molecular attachment filter along with polar molecule attachment filter also. These characteristics of the BCB’s make it the world’s most unique filter for the hobbyist available. Each thing that I have mentioned hear is another reason the AFS clarifies water and polishes it to the point of unbelievable clarity at times.

Since the AFS is acting like a molecular processing filter of that of chemical filtration, various molecules attach to the interface substrate by absorption, adsorption, and ion-exchange. As far as I know there is no other way cheaply to do all this for the hobbyist except through an AFS using the BCB’s as explained. 

As we know molecules must brush extremely close to a surface as they move through the media but this is also what clogs other filters, too. The interface between the media, water and the pollutants that are in the water are always in jeopardy if the media clogs. Redox will suffer and TDS will rise and Nitrate accumulations are its end results along with maybe even becoming an ammonia producer.  I would not call a filter that clogs a water purification system if it jeopardizes ORP in the process.  AFS do not clog so they fall under the umbrella of purification systems or clarifying systems because of their versatility with water management.

Your statement that Laterite, Zeolite and cat litter are all anions, so we say they are reducing agents is true to a point that they will attract ions for the reduction of that ion. Hence ammonium is a cations or oxidizing agent because electrons are lost to another species.

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