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Lance_Krueger
06-13-2006, 06:13 PM
Was wanting to do the preliminary research into setting up some inexpensive central filtration systems/ bio towers. Building wet/dry's aren't a problem, but I was wondering about the best way (i.e. most bang for the buck) to go for media, since these central systems will probably be very large (i.e. I'll be using 55 gallon barrels as the bio/trickle towers).
I have several wet/drys (some commercial and some home made by me) on individual tanks with 5-10 gallons of plastic bio-balls. But the bio balls are so expensive for large applications such as what I want to do. I was wondering about other possible options for media.
1). If bioballs are the best type of media, what makes them so perfect (which, understanding these properties will hopefully help me know what to look for in other media options)? Is it the rigidness, and keeping each individual "pin" away from each other? I understand it must be surface area, and it's ability to clean itself, but does anyone understand what attributes bioballs have that are so desirable?
2). Is Sintered Glass the best "bang for the buck" option out there for surface area to cost ratio? I've heard that you have to keep this media very clean to work properly, so I'm not sure this would be the way to go for me. But making smaller central systems would be advantageous for several reasons, if the huge surface area would outweigh the gunking up problems.
3). I've seen the white "Bio-Fill" media, the white PVC shaved ribbon, which looks like a white haybale, and it's rather inexpensive compared to bio balls, but does the surface area to price work out the cheapest?
4). What about media that is not designed for aquariums. I have read about using shotgun wads, plastic pot scrubbers, rolled up bug netting, the foam plugs from the centers of hydrosponges, etc. Any thoughts on these, or any others? What attributes would these have that would make them good media, or bad?
5). Should I have some parts of the media submerged, is there some certain types of media that are better for submerged application, compared to trickle/drip type application?
Any education, tips or advice you can give me of the best way to go for large filtration media would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Lance Krueger

lhforbes12
06-13-2006, 07:13 PM
Lance,
I've never used them but I have read many reports of people using the plastic scrubbies bought at the Dollar Store. They are supposed to work very well and are extremely cheap too. And yes surface area and keeping the media apart for good water flow are both important, but I'm sure you already know that.

Larry

crazie.eddie
06-13-2006, 07:22 PM
Benificial bacteria grow on any types of media. Make sure the media is porous enough to allow water to pass through and that it does not allow any type of toxic chemicals or metals to leak through.

diablocanine
06-13-2006, 07:53 PM
Do not know if this will help but I have seen this one and it works very well....DC

http://www.fellowshipofthefish.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=39


Was wanting to do the preliminary research into setting up some inexpensive central filtration systems/ bio towers. Building wet/dry's aren't a problem, but I was wondering about the best way (i.e. most bang for the buck) to go for media, since these central systems will probably be very large (i.e. I'll be using 55 gallon barrels as the bio/trickle towers).
I have several wet/drys (some commercial and some home made by me) on individual tanks with 5-10 gallons of plastic bio-balls. But the bio balls are so expensive for large applications such as what I want to do. I was wondering about other possible options for media.
1). If bioballs are the best type of media, what makes them so perfect (which, understanding these properties will hopefully help me know what to look for in other media options)? Is it the rigidness, and keeping each individual "pin" away from each other? I understand it must be surface area, and it's ability to clean itself, but does anyone understand what attributes bioballs have that are so desirable?
2). Is Sintered Glass the best "bang for the buck" option out there for surface area to cost ratio? I've heard that you have to keep this media very clean to work properly, so I'm not sure this would be the way to go for me. But making smaller central systems would be advantageous for several reasons, if the huge surface area would outweigh the gunking up problems.
3). I've seen the white "Bio-Fill" media, the white PVC shaved ribbon, which looks like a white haybale, and it's rather inexpensive compared to bio balls, but does the surface area to price work out the cheapest?
4). What about media that is not designed for aquariums. I have read about using shotgun wads, plastic pot scrubbers, rolled up bug netting, the foam plugs from the centers of hydrosponges, etc. Any thoughts on these, or any others? What attributes would these have that would make them good media, or bad?
5). Should I have some parts of the media submerged, is there some certain types of media that are better for submerged application, compared to trickle/drip type application?
Any education, tips or advice you can give me of the best way to go for large filtration media would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Lance Krueger

mickeyG
06-13-2006, 08:39 PM
There are lots of materials - some people use plastic toy army men - but bio balls, sintered glass, and others have kinda established themselves. I think using any of the current preferred materials will accomplish the task at a level high enough for a successful tank (assuming that is your goal here). It's your choice.

Now if for personal reasons you wish to discover what material works absolutely better than any other - sounds like the making of some cool experimenting,

Michael

CliffsDiscus
06-13-2006, 11:55 PM
Try using some Lava Rock

Lance_Krueger
06-15-2006, 05:10 PM
Cliff,
Do you have any personal experience with Lava Rock? I've heard of people using it, but the thing I've heard about it is that due to low water (i.e. oxygen) flow through the center of the lava rock, it tends to go anaerobic. Which supposedly eats up some of the nitrate (i.e. acts like a de-nitrator), but wastes a lot of aerobic area for breaking down ammonia and nitrite. Any thoughts? Maybe buy it more crushed up more than the egg-sized chunks? Maybe would have better flow? Any personal experience would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Diablocanine,
Yeah, I actually saw that one a week or so ago. From what I understand, he's using the 55 gallon barrel as his sump, and cut a hole just smaller than the top of a 5-gallon bucket whose lip is sitting on the top edge of the lid of the 55 gallon drum. So, the 5 gallon bucket hangs in the center of the drum from the lid, and is filled with bio balls with holes drilled in the bottom of the bucket, with filter floss on the top where the pipe feeds the water from the tanks.
I know how to build the filters, I'm just looking for cheap ways of filling a whole 55 gallon drum with media that is good for use as a trickle filter. But man, filling one with bio balls would get really expensive!

Thanks for everyone's advice. I had actually heard about the plastic army men before. :-) Any other thoughts?
Lance Krueger

Dissident
06-15-2006, 05:19 PM
What ever is on sale. :thumbsup:

Lance_Krueger
06-15-2006, 06:30 PM
Dissident,
I agree!!! But the cheapest I can find bio balls for is $5.25 per gallon. So, for a 55 gallon drum, that would be nearly $300 for media per drum. And I'm needing several of these. So it adds up quick!
Lance

Dissident
06-15-2006, 06:37 PM
Lava rock (the bigger stuff 1-2" size) has a large surface area, and thats all you really need is the suface area for bacteria colonies to grow.

100% Polyester pillow stuffing would work well but will clog since it is really used for trapping particles in the water.

Graham
06-15-2006, 07:59 PM
Hi The ponding aspect of the hobby use very large TT's for bio-conversion. Any inert material is fine as media, but the more surface area the better. Lava rock isn't the best material as the inner pores clog very quickly with sloughed of bacteria and then they become anaerobic as you suspected. Sintered glass type products also clog easily.

Bio-balls, Japanese Matting, Matala Matting, Kaldness are probably the best medias but are more expensive. These material are non-compactible and have the proper void spaces for O2 and water flow. Silt and dead bacteria are also easily shaken off.

Scrubbies (which I use), Strapping tape (which I also use to keep the scrubbies loose), bio-bale, open pore foam, Army men, hair curlers, garden netting, synthetic floor polishing pads, plastic forks and knives :) and any other inert item that you can think of will work but they won't give the bio surface of the other material and may compact.

I empty my 2 TT's out twice a year and rinse off any excess bio-film from the scrubbies. It takes a lot of media to look after 21- 24'' NH3 producing koi in 5000 gallons of water. I use Matala matting in a small TT on my 175

HTH Regards Graham

http://www.fototime.com/B6E5E458F7D34EB/standard.jpg
http://www.fototime.com/4E2EA0C5FE38936/standard.jpg

diablocanine
06-16-2006, 01:34 AM
Actually, he is using 110 gallons for the sump, over 300 gallons total. I would think you could use it as a model for additional applications, i.e., 600 gallons = twice the bio balls, etc....DC



Diablocanine,
Yeah, I actually saw that one a week or so ago. From what I understand, he's using the 55 gallon barrel as his sump, and cut a hole just smaller than the top of a 5-gallon bucket whose lip is sitting on the top edge of the lid of the 55 gallon drum. So, the 5 gallon bucket hangs in the center of the drum from the lid, and is filled with bio balls with holes drilled in the bottom of the bucket, with filter floss on the top where the pipe feeds the water from the tanks.
I know how to build the filters, I'm just looking for cheap ways of filling a whole 55 gallon drum with media that is good for use as a trickle filter. But man, filling one with bio balls would get really expensive!
Lance Krueger

CliffsDiscus
06-16-2006, 12:28 PM
[QUOTE=Lance_Krueger]Cliff,
Do you have any personal experience with Lava Rock? I've heard of people using it, but the thing I've heard about it is that due to low water (i.e. oxygen) flow through the center of the lava rock, it tends to go anaerobic. Which supposedly eats up some of the nitrate (i.e. acts like a de-nitrator), but wastes a lot of aerobic area for breaking down ammonia and nitrite. Any thoughts? Maybe buy it more crushed up more than the egg-sized chunks? Maybe would have better flow? Any personal experience would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Lance,
I have use the lava rock in a 75 gallon wet/dry filter, the size of the lava
rock were about not larger than a quarter. You can purchase these at
orchid farms. The drawback of using the lava rock is the brake down of the
actual rock, as small chips and fragments would ended up at the bottom of
the filter and making its way back up to the aquarium, this was eleminate by
an addition prefilter just before the return pump. This is more bang for the buck but the maintenance is much higher.

Cliff

Lance_Krueger
06-16-2006, 12:32 PM
Cliff,
Thanks for that additional info. Very helpful and informative! That's the kind of info I need in making this decision. Pluses and minuses are always helpful!
Lance Krueger

Lance_Krueger
06-16-2006, 12:37 PM
Diablocanine,
Yes, you're right. He did have two 55 gallon barrels side by side, with a large PVC siphon between the two.
Hey, I also really appreciated your info about the sliding glass tops. That's actually how I found the other guy's central sump info, on Fellowship of the Fish. I happened to be at Home Depot last night, and looked around some to see if they had the same channel material (for sliding screen doors, right?), but I couldn't find it, or they didn't carry it. I'll make a trip to Lowe's some time with all the helpful info you provided, and see if I can find that channel material.
Thanks,
Lance Krueger

Lance_Krueger
06-20-2006, 01:59 PM
Graham,
Thanks so much for your helpful response. I've been doing some searching on the ponding/Koi forums and websites, and there is tons of info there about large filtration systems. I've done some research on my own, and here's a little of what I found out.
Lava Rock has a surface area of 16 sq. ft. per cubic foot. It's approximate cost is $5 per cu.ft. and it's cost per sq.ft. of surface area per cubic ft. is $0.31.
Bio Balls that are one and a half inch have a surface area of 98 square ft. per cubic foot. It's approximate cost is $41 per cu.ft. and it's cost per sq.ft. of surface area per cu.ft. is $0.42.
Bio Balls that are one inch have a surface area of 160 square ft. per cubic foot. It's approximate cost is $38 per cu. ft, and it's cost per sq. ft. of surface area per cu.ft. is $0.24.
Bio Bale has a surface area of 250 square ft. per cubic ft. It's approximate cost is $32 per cubic ft., and it's cost per sq.ft. of surface area per cubic ft. is $0.13.
Nylon pot scrubbers have a surface area of 370 sq.ft. per cubic ft. It's approximate cost is $25 per cubic ft., and it's cost per sq.ft. of surface area per cu.ft. is $0.07.
So to fill up my 55 gallon drum trickle filter which has 7.3535 cubic feet in it, it would cost me only $36.77 with Lava Rock, but would have a surface area of 117.66 square feet. To fill the same drum up with one and a half inch bio balls, it would cost me $301.50 and have a surface area of 720.64 square ft. To fill the same drum up with one inch bioballs, it would cost $279.43 and have a surface area of 1176.56 square feet. The Bio Bale would cost $235.31 to fill up my drum and have a surface area of 1838.38 square feet. The Nylon Pot Scrubbers would cost me $183.84 to fill up a 55 gallon drum and would have a surface area of 2720.80. So the cost to fill up the drum is the cheapest with the scrubbies, and the most surface area for biological filtration would be with the scrubbies too.
For commercial biologicial media, the Bio Bale seems to be the least expensive media, and seems to be a better alternative to Bio Balls.
But the clear winner for most surface area to cost per cubic feet is the Nylon Pot Scrubbers. Cheaper than the very inexpensive Lava Rock, and you don't have to worry about the anarobic clogging inside of the Lava Rock.
Here's some info I found out about the pot scrubbers. A cubic foot is equal to 7.5 gallons of media. Nylon pot scrubbers are 3"x3"x1" in size. It takes 192 plastic pot scrubbers to fill up a cubic foot. I looked several places for plastic pot scrubbers and found the best prices at the local Dollar Store and at Big Lots. Of the Dollar Store versions, they seemed thinner and more loose. The one's I got at Big Lots were denser and seemed like there was more netting material making up each scrubber. They are made by the Eagle Home Products Company. The Dollar store scrubbies come 8 per pack for a dollar which comes out to 12.5 cents per scrubber, while the Big Lots have six per pack for 79 cents, which comes out to 13 cents per scrubber. But since the Big Lots scrubbers are thicker and have more material, they seem to be the better buy.
I had heard it recommended that you can clip the little tie on the scrubbie that holds it together, and then unravel it into a sock shaped piece of mesh. This seems like the mesh wouldn't be as tight, thus wouldn't catch as much gunk coming through your filter as the rolled up scrubbies would. This may decrease your surface area, but if you put the same amount of scrubbies in the same cubic foot, it would have to have the same surface area. I think unrolling them would this might take out some of the voids between the rolled up sponges. I don't know if there is a best way, but unrolling them seems like they'd be better at self cleaning, and for manual cleaning by rinsing and squeezing them out, should you decide to take your filter apart. Any thoughts on this, or is it six of one, half dozen of another?
Anyway, thought this info would be helpful to others. Whether your wet/dry is a huge 55 gallon drum like what I'm thinking of making, or a small one holding only a gallon or two of media, the nylon pot scrubbers seem to be the best way to go as far as surface area and cost. HTH. :-)
Lance Krueger

Graham
06-20-2006, 02:36 PM
I guess you have been doing some searching...I use scrubbies as my bio0media and have had great sucess with them over the last seven years of thier use. The one thing that I have found though is as the bacteria build upon themselves they will get sloughed off once the bio-film hits a certain thickness.

This will lead to some clogging and channeling of the water............This is simple to overcome by just taking them all out at least once per year and giving then a light rinse in some de-chlorinated water. This will not affect the main body of the bio-film.

The other thing that I've found is that as the bio-film builds they'll compact somewhat....again this is easy to overcome by placing sheets of eggcrating every 12'' or so. This will maintain sufficient void spaces.

Other than that pour as much water over them as possible, turning the system over every hour or more if possible. With sufficient water volume/flow in a large TT you'll find that nitrates will not build at all, staying down in the under 5ppm range if that high,

My 2 TT's handle 1 1/2 pounds of 40% protien food being fed to 21-24'' koi daily without even a spike ever....

Regards Graham

diablocanine
06-20-2006, 04:25 PM
Take the SKU with you to Lowes, there were two different types in the Lowes I went to, one of them had too small of a channel......DC


Diablocanine,
Yes, you're right. He did have two 55 gallon barrels side by side, with a large PVC siphon between the two.
Hey, I also really appreciated your info about the sliding glass tops. That's actually how I found the other guy's central sump info, on Fellowship of the Fish. I happened to be at Home Depot last night, and looked around some to see if they had the same channel material (for sliding screen doors, right?), but I couldn't find it, or they didn't carry it. I'll make a trip to Lowe's some time with all the helpful info you provided, and see if I can find that channel material.
Thanks,
Lance Krueger

hl0107
06-21-2006, 12:53 AM
Hello guys here is a link I found some time ago and is very informative.
http://www.wernersponds.com/biofiltermedia.htm
Hope that help.

Saludos, Hector.

raglanroad
06-22-2006, 03:24 AM
long-strand peat.
any media is better if not submerged, due to higher oxygen.and it's not taking oxygen away from your fish !

this sounds good too.

http://www.hdltd.com/products/p_tribase.html

Apistomaster
06-23-2006, 06:52 PM
Hi Lance,
I build my own wet/dry filter systems for my discus and swear by them. I chose Bio Fill pvc shavings. Check out www.aquaticeco.com. They are aquaculture suppliers and have a catalog full of useful tidbits. There is no one perfect media of filter system as I'm sure you know. They supply you with enough info to make a reasoned decision on what's best for you. And nothing will ever beat large scheduled w/c's regardless of the filter system. Hope this is useful info for you.
Larry Waybright