Kenny's Discus     Golden State Discus

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 48

Thread: Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

  1. #1
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,445
    iTrader
    1 (100%)

    Default Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    Here we are folks, my new filter system. It's made of a 20gallon (Long) with a few sheets of glass, a pump, and a bunch of schedule 21 "lightwall" PVC. Each main artery of pipe has at least one ball valve to close off that section for maintenance, change flow rates, or in case of an emergency.

    Everything is hard piped and glued together with the exception of a couple threaded connections for eventual dismantling. I got tired of using flexible tubing and wanted the clean looking and more compact hard pipe. Teflon gas tape was used to seal all threaded connections, with the exception of the sump bulkheads which were siliconed.

    I've got the overflow box draining into the sump using 1" pipe and it connects to the sump with a 90* elbow and a 1 1/4" bulkhead. The bulkhead was drilled in the bottom right corner of the back wall to keep surface agitation to a minimum. To accomplish this I used two 18" high pieces of 1/4" glass, one siliconed to the bottom with a 2" gap at the top; and the other siliconed at the top with a 2" gap at the bottom. Not only does this configuration create a great filteration section it also makes a handy reservoir to keep the heater in without having to worry about the water level dropping and overheating the heater.

    In between the two glass baffles is about 20lbs of landscaping pumice to provide the filtration. The pumice is sitting on a square of plastic eggcrate used to diffuse flourescent lighting on top of three PVC supports. A couple inches outside of the filter box is a 3" high glass baffle used to keep the water level higher than the bottom layer of pumice, again to reduce agitation and out gassing. The water then passes through the main reservoir and is pulled through the pump.

    The whole thing was then covered with a solid glass lid with duct tape along the seams to seal it and voila...it's done.




  2. #2
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,445
    iTrader
    1 (100%)

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    The main pump is a Pondmaster 700, which turns out to be massive overkill. I wanted to get a pump which would provide sufficient flow when all the extra head pressure from the plumbing taken into account.

    LOL@me...I've had to use a valve to crank the output down on that thing by at least half in order to keep from having excessive current in the aquarium. I guess it could be a lot worse...I could have insufficient flow.

    With the exception of the CO2 reactor all the outflow plumbing was done with 1/2" PVC.

    Although you can't see it in this picture there is a 1/2" ball valve in-line between the sump and pump. From there the water flows through the pump and into the main line toward the tank. The 3 way connects the main line to the input for the CO2 reactor. The ball valve seen at the top is used to restrict flow and redirect some of it through the CO2 reactor. This way I have absolute control over flow inside the reactor and can adjust to whatever amount of CO2 needs to be added rather than having to work around a fixed rate powerhead.

    The reactor was made of 1 1/2" PVC filled with bio-balls from an old filter to churn the CO2 up. The main water line and CO2 gas line connect at the top with a 3 way riser. The water flow from top to bottom, constantly pushing the CO2 bubbles (which want to rise) against the bio-balls creating an optimum environment for gas dissolution.

    The CO2 canister connects to a bubble counter on the side of the sump and through that to the a 1/4" brass airline fitting in the reactor itself. The inside of the airline fitting was sprayed with rustoleum to keep the water from corroding the metal and poisioning the system.

    The main line and CO2 enriched line connect again at another 3 way on the far side of the ball valve for output into the tank.

    I chose to plumb the main pump externally this time for a couple reasons:
    1. It looks darn cool.
    2. It's creates a less cluttered sump and reduces unwanted water heating
    3. It's a lot easier to plumb the CO2 reactor this way
    4. I wanted to.

  3. #3
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,445
    iTrader
    1 (100%)

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    Last, but not least, the output.

    After seeing a picture of one of Amano's filtration systems I decided I wanted to give something like that a try. I made this out of two 3 way connectors and a couple 90* elbows. One output was left pushing water straight out to keep good flow in the upper levels while the second (outer) was put at an angle to circulate water through the lower sections. It was all painted black with rustoleum and has worked like a charm so far.


  4. #4
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,445
    iTrader
    1 (100%)

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    Here's the final result after a week. I have to move a couple things back into place after accidentally knocking them around during a cleaning as well as finding a better place for some of those anubias. The tank's been patterned after the mossy old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest where I grew up and is intended to house a sextet of wilds, most likely Tefe Greens.

    Plant selection:
    Anubias "coffeefolia"
    Cryptocoryne crispulata v. balansae
    Cryptocoryne wendtii "red"
    Echinodorus tenellus
    Vesicularia dubyana
    Ludwidia arculata (supposedly; it looks more like repens at this point)
    3 pots of Lobelia cardinalis that I'm trying to find a good place for
    numerous types of algae which I have yet to smack down

    Current inhabitants/algae crew:

    5 SAE
    15 Ottocinclus affinis
    19 Amano Shrimp
    3 Farlowella spp suckermouth cats

  5. #5
    Registered Member henryD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Boston, Mass
    Posts
    1,089
    iTrader
    1 (100%)

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    I was going to make a central filter system out of a 55 gallon that is similar in design.

    Is there benefits to using pumice instead of bioballs?

    Also where did you pick up your pumice?


  6. #6
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,445
    iTrader
    1 (100%)

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    HenryD,

    The major benefit of using pumice instead of bioballs is price. They both have incredible surface area, but I was able to get four times the amount of pumice per dollar. I got mine in a 50lb bag at Lowe's. Just about any store with a garden center should have it though.

  7. #7
    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Northford,CT,USA
    Posts
    21,702
    Blog Entries
    5
    iTrader
    218 (100%)

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    Hi Bio!
    question for you too!

    Like henry I am thinking of making my own ...actually a couple of different size ones.
    I'm thinking of making one for 55 gallon tank I have in my bedroom.It would be a 20 gal filter tank. The tank has wilds in it ...no plants at this point..but may have planted Driftwood. My concern is pH. Do you know how if at all the pumice affects your pH?
    Thanks,
    -al

  8. #8
    Registered Member ronrca's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Near Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    2,999
    iTrader
    0

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    Pumice

    http://www.fi.edu/fellows/fellow1/oc...ert/pumice.htm

    So because pumice is a mixture of glass instead of minerals, it should not change the ph. Dunno!

  9. #9
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,445
    iTrader
    1 (100%)

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    Pumice won't affect your pH at all, it's great stuff.

  10. #10
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    2
    iTrader
    0

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    Try breaking the pumice into as small pieces as possible. This increases surface area many time over. Just make sure it won't clog. Try terracotta and save some more money. Cracked pots, pulverized bathroom tiles and WCs (ceramic, ooooo momma), break up your kids' old plastic toys. Keep your acceptance speech ready.

  11. #11
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    165
    iTrader
    0

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    Biotypical,
    Just wondering about trickle filters and CO2. I see that you are running CO2 with your filter. I read somewhere that the trickle filters have so much air contact that the CO2 is dissapated awfully fast. Do you have any problem with this; what is your CO2 consumption?
    -Stygian

    P.S. Great looking tank.

  12. #12
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,808
    iTrader
    1 (100%)

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    Stygian, I saw your question for Biotypical about CO2 so while you are waiting for his reply, I thought I would offer feedback on my system. I also have a trickle (wet/dry) filter on my 180g planted tank and inject CO2. My CO2 reactor hangs on the side of the sump and the CO2 enriched water tube sits at the mouth of the bulkhead. The CO2 water, along with the rest of the now cleaned filter water then goes straight back to the tank and comes out a spray bar located at the back bottom of the tank. By the time the water reaches the surface of the tank the CO2 is pretty well diffused. I use a 20 lb. CO2 tank. My water out of the tap is 8.0 and is adjusted with CO2 to 6.8. I refill the tank 3 x a year.
    Best regards,
    Harriett

  13. #13
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,445
    iTrader
    1 (100%)

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    Stygian,

    If well covered/sealed and care is taken to minimize agitation inside the filter surprisingly little CO2 is offgassed. The most gas loss occurs in the Overflow and that too can be minimized by adding a PVC elbow that sucks water from below the waters surface. You will need to drill a small hole in the top of the elbow to allow air to be sucked into it or you'll end up with cavitations and a very noisy overflow.

    If you take a look at my filter you can see a separate CO2 reactor which saturates the water with gas, leaving no free bubbles. That's the first step to maintaining a CO2 efficient system.

    The second is the glass plate that covers my entire filter. I know I'm losing gas somewhere, but by covering the entire filter it acts as a crude reactor itself. With the additional air being sucked down your downdraft pipe you don't need to worry about your filter going anaerobic.

    The third, mechanism I used was to create a sort of offgassing pipe that allows the air sucked into my downdraft to be released above the water level in my sump, reducing agitation as much as possible. I'm not sure if it's as effective as I had hoped and am going to be doing some experiments with it.

  14. #14
    Registered Member ronrca's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Near Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    2,999
    iTrader
    0

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    Another thought! Isnt C02 also dependant on the area of surface agitation?

    Im just relating it to my 90G when I had a biowheel running with C02. There was just a small surface agitation but my C02 was running at 5+ bps! A 10lb bottle lasted around 1-2months! I turned off the biowheel and I had to adjust the bubble count to around 1-2 bps to achieve the same ph!


  15. #15
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,445
    iTrader
    1 (100%)

    Default Re:Filtration system for a Planted Aquarium

    It's more dependant on the location of agitation rather than the area. For example, in my tanks I get agitation in my overflow and since all the water has to pass through that bottleneck there is a higher percentage of offgassing than if I were agitating a 25% area of my surface. That's why high agitation spraybars, such as those used for a Biowheel, can be such a detriment.

    Even so, there have been quite a few (well done) hobbyist experiments done that have shown that W/D filters cause much less CO2 loss than most people think.

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Cafepress             AquaticSuppliers.com