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  1. #1

    Gravity filter, the final solution

    Hi all, so I'm pretty much decided I'm not buying a nexus or a drum, a shower or any other "must have". I can't afford it and I'm sure I can keep a pond clean and healthy with my ideas. That being said I'm driving myself crazy with questions. I must emphasise I've got till spring to decide and most if not all will be diy so im cross referencing diy filters and i magpie the best bits. So I'm going for gravity fed barrel/vortex system. That will be fed into a foot deep wetland filter, using only smaller grade gravel and filled with detritus loving plants. Perfect biofilter which then trickles into pond. Meanwhile I'll be running a skimmer into a biofalls filter, which is a preformed water fall which holds bioballs. I'd love to run a vortex that gets valve flushed and gets rid of most solid waste, and i imagine a eutopian world where once a week i simply open a valve for a minute and thats the cleaning done...but I'm not wholly convinced it'll work, so then I start thinking of adding secondary mechanical filtration to it and before I know it I'm back at the orthodox 3 drum system. I want low maintainance as do we all, I won't be overstocked but will have fish. So I guess my questions for now are....

    1. Will a vortex work on its own to settle most of the solids and does it have to be cone shaped? If I start putting extra mechanical filtration in will that destroy the vortex cyclone through friction and lead me down the road of orthodox 3 barrel system?

    2. Which system works best? I want as few drums as possible given I'm feeding into biological wetland.

    3. My pump (submersible at the moment) will feed from last barrel into wetland. Does this still need to be a moving bed or will just the water and pump keep my bacteria alive ( I'm worried too much biological filtration will starve my wetland or that lots of bacteria if under aerated will die on my gravel and give me bacterial issues) so is an airline or moving bed necessary?

    4. Is there a bare minimum height and diameter for the barrels?

    5. My pipe run will be tiny, will this, coupled with my skimmer, allow for anything less than 4"?

    6. Does a vortex work better fed from bottom or top?

    7. Anything else to consider. Including the best diy system you've ever seen and why.

    Pond will be about 10 000-11 000 litres (3000gallons) once extended. Im a keen amateur currently obsessing over the physics
    of the vortex. Please advise on anything you are able to, but nexus and drums are not happening. Full stop. Ffw a year when I've got a nexus 🤣



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  3. #2
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Supreme Champion john1's Avatar
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    Not an expert but I have run a vortex on a grow on tank and it did work.

    I used a blue barrel with a large lid think it was a 20 gal one but if for a pond i would go for a larger one.
    I like the vortex and they are a good way to settle out the poo,they need to be wide to let the circular flow go slowly so as to let waste settle to the bottom.

    Inlet near the bottom but not on the bottom,I used a 4ins tank connecter with a 45 on the inside push fit so it can be swivelled up and down to get the best performance.
    Outlet near the top,I experimented with this and used a 90 bend push fit into a tank connecter pointing upwards to create a skimmer effect.

    Media,i allways use alfagrog and find it very good and cheap enough,a lot will disagree with me as they say it's a load of crap.

    Brushes can be used,even Exclusively Koi use them.
    John

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  5. #3
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Supreme Champion john1's Avatar
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    20201122_102602.jpg

    System I used ignore the small pipe as that was a heater.

    A vortex ideally needs to be as wide as possible, I remember reading in the Koi Mag when it was going a guy had a very large vortex made from concrete blocks and it worked well for him.
    John

  6. #4
    Great John thanks! So nice and wide, I'll see what I can get hold of.

  7. #5
    I also was playing around in my head with the idea of creating a cyclone effect by running the water through an upside down traffic cone that then spills out of the cone end and into the container tub it's housed within. Water exits through the top of the cone ( which is at the bottom of container) and fills the container and then goes to next chamber. I'm wondering though whether this would be the exact opposite of what I'm trying to achieve separation wise

  8. #6
    Senior Member Rank = Gosai KevT's Avatar
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    Hi

    I think the idea of settlement is to slow the water so that the muck just drops so you could go for a long run with baffles - I've seen them made from fibre glassed block work - the best one I saw was a chamber with pipes pushed into tank connectors these worked as a overflow and to clean just remove the pipes and use a hose pipe to wash clean

    KevT

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XJP4guEZr0

  9. #7
    Thanks Kev, yeah that does look pretty nifty like and remarkably simple. I don't know if it's a good thing or bad thing that everything I see shapes my thinking and moves me in a slightly different direction. I'm just realising that when talking about mechanical and biological filtration the terms refer to what you are removing not how you are removing. My idea today is to diy a sieve > diy settlement > pump barrel > wetland > pond. Meanwhile skimmer > biofalls > pond. I really need to answer the diameter question though. With having a skimmer and a short drain run, could I go 2 or 3"?

  10. #8
    Senior Member Rank = Adult Champion Twhitenosugar's Avatar
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    Having a look at your intended set up, you'll need to have a pump directly after your sieve... Otherwise the sieve will be permanently immersed to the same depth as the water in the following tank.

    Also having made a DIY sieve to go in the top of a shower filter, I'd recommend getting 200 or 300 micron mesh.

    The mesh I bought for mine was much smaller (about 120 microns I think) and it would clog up with bio film so quickly that it would overflow too often and not really work as intended.

    Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
    13,000L fibreglassed raised pond with window

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  12. #9
    Great advice twhite thanks!

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  14. #10
    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Supreme Champion john1's Avatar
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    Agree with Twns, though I would go settlement first to get the solids be it a vortex or whatever.

    Then a seive which arnt hard to make although there are many ways of doing this.
    Then pump to bio.
    John

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  16. #11
    Thereís no saying that a diy system canít be as effective as a mass manufactured one but Iíd do your homework and costings before deciding to go ahead,building materials are at an all time high-some of the fittings you will use are extortionate-yet 2nd hand equipment prices are at an all time low-wrong time of year for one and secondly there are so many people either changing out nexus etc for drums or shutting down ponds completely due to running costs

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  18. #12
    Senior Member Rank = Gosai KevT's Avatar
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    Hi

    Agree with dan87 building a sieve filter without the proper mesh will continually block up the proper mesh costs a fortune - best off using second hand kit in your build like a Easypod or the like

    KevT

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  20. #13
    Thanks all. I appreciate that, I'm a bit of a magpie and if I can get something free I'll still check to see if I can get it cheaper. I know lots of people like nexus and drums but at this point in time, I'm pretty determined not to get either. My garden has been evolving as ideas have come to me, I'm not the sort of person to go to b&q or the range and buy a garden. You know, rattan sofa, firepit, bit of decking and some AstroTurf. I would rather put some blood sweat and tears into it as well as thought and love, then at least I know it's mine and not an off the shelf garden. I take the same approach with my pond. Don't get me wrong, I now appreciate my first efforts are a country mile from what most people would describe as a respectable koi pond. I guess, it's not. But then another idea comes to me, like it has, to expand and improve, and I sit and think and consider and watch and ask and cross reference, till in the end I settle on something I'm happy with, and I'll finish it, stand back and get the satisfaction of my ideas working, building it myself and not having a shop bought filter in sight. I'll be price checking trust me.

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