DIY biofilter


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When it comes to mechanical versus biological. I have to think Bio is more important as stuff breaks down it creates ammonia which kills fish.

Well Bio IS more important that mechanical. But, bio happens naturally and mechanical does not. If you go with a bottom up design with the mechanical filtration, alot of the large debris can be flushed out via a bottom drain before it completely decomposes and produces ammonia.

Mechanical just collects large particels but they still break down and create ammonia no matter where they are in the pond or collected nicely in the filter.

This is not true. Almost all the media used in these skippy designs not only perform mechanical filtration but do double duty and provide and excellent breeding ground for good bacteria. For instance Koiguys design using scrubbie pads.......
 
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my point of an emergency overflow is not one that will affect the daily use of the barrel in any way. It is exactly as I state: an emergency. Should either of the water levels get too high on the barrels, it would flow out safely as a bypass. This should theoretically, never have to happen. BUT, it's in place for that rainy day just in case. It would not affect any normal flow or function of a barrel. Just an extra higher hole for a just-in-case.
 
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newday3000 said:
I'm also doing a 2 x 55 drum filter and I plan on exiting the bottom of each barrel for the reason above. I have a simple PVC pipe that splits the output of my pump to feed each barrel (also has check valve inline to ensure both drums don't gravity feed back into the pond if the power goes out, (3rd outlet is to feed my water fall)
QUOTE]

I have not yet started to build my 2 barrel system. I finally got my old system out yesterday, and today I test fitted my two barrels just to make sure they in fact to fit, and thank my lucky stars, they fit. Could you please give me a drawing of how you plan to connect your 2 barrel system? I am not sure I understand your photo and how it installs to your system. I am also planning on having a bottom drain in each of my barrels. I also thought about having two 2" outlets going back to my pond to make sure there isn't any overflow.

I agree, mechanical filtration can also do a lot of biological filtration. I have 4 levels of mechanical filtration in my skimmer before the water even gets to my pump which helps a lot. It also helps keeping my barrel system clean.

So if you could please write up some instructions of your system, I would really appreciate it. I am going to build my system in my heated garage this winter, and then will lift the entire system in place with some help from a few of my friends. Not too heavy, but bulky.

Thank you!!
 
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my point of an emergency overflow is not one that will affect the daily use of the barrel in any way. It is exactly as I state: an emergency.

I know this, however, considering Shroeder's design, I suspect he may be in constant state of overflow. I do realise however this was not your intent in suggesting the EO ;)
 
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good old powerpoint... threw this together of what I'm working on over the winter. This thread shows what I've done so far and couple tests I ran to see how the flow went. https://www.gardenpondforum.com/my-attempt-55g-filter-t4481.html

I was not happy with the flow rate which is why I want a top fed solution to use gravity and head to get more flow out the 2" return.
 

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have you tested this design out or is it still in the planning/construction stages?

You say your barrels are 20 feet from your pond, may I ask how much above the pump are they elevated? it looks like alot of work for one 2500 GPH pump but alot will have to do with head height. It would be interesting to be able to gauge your return flow rate but quite a pain.

I see your using three ball valves to control the flow rate to each resovoir. In your diagram you are aiming to have the barrel slated for mechanical filtration as the slowest flow rate. Are you pre-filtering this water so no debris cloggs the partially closed ball valve?

With the bio barrel slated for the highest flow rate, won't it in turn also recieve the highest amount of free floating debris? Will there be enough flow rate in the mechanical barrel to push the larger debris through the pipe?
 
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Here is a drawing I made using Publisher. I think I have just about everything on this drawing. Let me know if you have any questions.
 

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Actually the question was directed at newday, but your design looks good now that you have the lid on. I would still top feed the second barrel, it would eliminate the need for an airstone (which would be optional anyways), But thats just me. if you like you could leave 1/3 of the bio media submerged and still top feed. Your lid will eliminate overflows and effectively make the first barrel a pressure filter.
 
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Definitely plan on a pre-filter. Have not started on that yet. My other pond has simple PVC capped with holes drilled in it and it work very well all summer. Will do something different on the new pond.

I've calculated 4' of effective head barrel plus hose length. I checked my spreadsheet measurements and hose is more like 12'. My pump can produce 1400 GPH at 4' head. a 2" hose and drain with head pressure can flow at 700 GPH (in theory). I tested the barrels using 1.5" hose (which can gravity drain at 350 GPH) and it overflowed so I went to 2" for the exit.

I was draining at the top of the barrel which has no head pressure assistance from gravity but a bottom exit should give me 3' of head pressure to get the flow rate up. I never got a chance to test the 2" exit from the bottom. My goal is to maximize my pump flow and get a maximum pond turn over I can.

I may decide to dedicate a pump for the water fall in the end if splitting the pump 3 ways reduces flow too much. I may also get a bigger pump to simplify the plumbing and just blast away to get the GPH I want to both drums and water fall.
 
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I am in the process of purchasing all my plumbing supplies for this job. What is the best type of PVC cement to use? I am not a plumber, so I just need to know the best method of joining all my PVC together.
 
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brand doesn't matter. it's sold where ever you buy PVC pipe in a small container with a brush attached to the lid of the container. Applying it is easy just remove the lid and use the brush to smear some on the inside of the pipes you are joining. You don't want to apply too much since the goal is not to have it squeeze out and overflow when you attach the pipes. The cement basically reacts chemically with PVC to melt it with heat.
 
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You need to buy two cans. First is the primer, this softens the pipe to prepare them for the cement. Then you apply the glue. Oatey is the most common brand seen.

Any home improvement store sells it. The primer is purple usually and the cement is typically clear. I like the heavy duty cement that is in the green can, but pretty much any of them work.

You need to work quickly with the cement and fit the pieces together fast so they don't dry. Also, keep in mind that you don't need to glue any elbows or pipes in your barrels. It is best to leave those unglued so that you can remove them just in case. You can use PL roofing and flashing caulk for the main pipes screwing into your barrel such as the bulkheads. Not sure what you're using for pipe exiting or entering the barrel.
 
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You can use the cement by itself if you so choose, I guess. But most folks use the primer first as it gives some grip to the cement on the pipe and softens the pipe a tad. Oatey recommends using primer.

It's sort of like painting a wall, you don't need to use primer before you paint, but it sure is recommended you do so.

There is a reason that the primer is bright purple, by the way. It's so cities/town inspectors can prove that a plumber/builder is using the primer--which most jurisdictions require you do. Builders were trying to skip using the primer to save the time/expense, so the purple color is a signal to inspectors that the proper primer has been used.

To each his/her own, of course. But I see no reason to skip this step and it makes for a better seal.
 
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Just got back from the hardware store during lunch. Got a cleaner and the cement, will the cleaner be like a primer? Also, 3 sections of 2" pipe and all the fittings, including two ball valves each costing $21.99 came to a total of $156.00. Holly Cow, I thought this DIY stuff was suposed to save money! ;) I am looking forward to getting started in my garage. I am going to use two compression connectors to connect the system to my pond. One coming in, and the other going out, so I can remove the entire system for cleaning or repair if needed. Those were about $9.00 each.
 
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Okay, here I go with more questions. Has anyone here ever built a waterfall manifold? That is where you divide the flow back to your pond so that it flows out of several diffent hoses. Currently, I have a 2" pip that is split by a T into two 1½ flexible hoses to my falls. Does anyone have any advice on this subject?

Thanks!
Mike
 
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I don't know what brand you've purchased. If it's Oatey, it should very clearly say primer on the can. It's a purple can and you can't mistake it. Unless your brand says cleaner and primer, it is not the same.

Ball valves can be expensive in the hardware store versus the big box chains, but they are much better quality. They will be more expensive for sure. I have a bunch of compression connectors on my pond as well, and they are very useful as you can remove them when necessary.

I'm not clear on what you're asking about regarding the manifold. I have several that i've created with a Y pvc pipe (wye), they don't have as hard as an angle as a tee so you get less friction. The big box stores also sell y's as compression fittings too, but I think the largest size might be 1 1/2 inches (can't remember if they make a 2" wye). You simply put a ball valve on one of your divided pipes and you can control the waterflow. You don't need two ball valves, just one is enough to force more water through one side rather than the other.
 
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Well, I finally got the project finished with some help from my friends, and a local plumber. I had some leaking problems at first, but I was told to take it all apart and use both teflon tape and plumber's putty. That did the trick, but was a pain in the you know what. So after a leak test, I had some help putting the entire system in place, and I plumbed it into my existing plumbing. Hope you like the pictures... This is my first barrel where the water enters the filter system.
 

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More pictures... Finished first barrel, and shots of the second barrel where the water will leave for my falls.
 

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