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Thread: Vortex settling tank useless?

  1. #1
    Tosai
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    Sep 2009
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    Vortex settling tank useless?

    Hello All.
    I moved into a house that has an existing pond that was never finished. Not taking into account all the plumbing that comes with proper filtration, the builder concreted a larger square pit next to the house then never completed the project. Iím guessing it to be approx 1500 gallons. Because the concrete is already poured, I canít retro in a bottom drain. Definitely canít dig up the concrete since it would break the driveway and part of the patio. Because of the location in the yard, I canít dig a filter pit for a gravity fed/external pump filtration system. I am reluctantly realizing the only way to turn this into a koi pond may be to use a submersible pump with the output going to an above ground filter system of some sort. Iím wondering if I use a submersible pump, would a diy vortex settling chamber made with a 55 gal drum be useless in conjunction with any reasonable flow rate as the pump would churn all the waste solids smaller and into suspension? The area where the filtration system will be only has enough footprint room for about two 55 gal drums. Iím trying to make the most of existing situation and area that I have to work within. Any ideas for filtration in conjunction with a submersible pump would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Daihonmei
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    5,198
    First give us some dimensions, not just your guesstimate of the gallonage. then the exact measurements and location of where you think you want to put a settlement tank...
    two other different things to consider...
    if it was poorly planned then it is more than likely poorly constructed...is the concrete reinforced?
    I'd Rent a core drill and cut a bottom drain and some returns in the concrete. ( You don't have to center a bottom drain for it to be a bottom drain...and any bottom drain works much better than none.)

    I'd also consider if the concrete hole in the ground is something you want to use as a koi pond....it could be a helluva water feature ot an extremely poor koi pond.
    Toss some native fish in there, add native water plants...supply a little filtration and you have an Awesome "green feature."....bring a dead tree back from the woods and lay it over into it and all the little creatures of the world will proclaim you their god.

    if you want to build a "good' koi pond (not even a very good one) you need to start with something better than a "1500 gallon concrete shell without a bottom drain and no place for adequate filtration.
    Do not try koi in there....if you want to go "exotic" go with goldfish.

  3. #3
    Jumbo RobF's Avatar
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    Without a photo or dimensions it is hard to give advice. But if the 1500 gallon figure is correct (gallons = L x W X H X 7.5) then assuming you donít want to cut the concrete I would do something like the following. Put in an ďover the linerĒ type of bottom drain, use a small external pump (maybe ľ hp dragon) to a bead filter (maybe Ultima II 2000) to a UV (maybe an AquaUV 40 watt) then splash the return into the pond, some aeration wouldnít hurt. 1500 gallons would keep you to 3 or 4 or 5 koi or 20 goldfish.

  4. #4
    Tosai
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Thank you for the well thought out ideas guys!

    I weighed all the means and options in light of your suggestions. Cutting the concrete through the driveway or the front patio is not an option so I will have to pipe the drain up and over the side of the concrete pond walls. The 1500 gallon measurement is accurate. I like the external pump with bead filter idea but the Ultima II 2000 and Aqua UV 40 is not within my overall budget for this pond.

    What is the most efficient filtration I could get with diy 55 gal drums? Vortex settlement with the first drum to a Skippy type filter with the second drum to splash return? Or something along those lines? I dont have any first-hand experience with the efficiency of vortex filters which is why I ask about them as a prefilter before the biological stage.

    I need to stay within my modest budget. Thank you again.

  5. #5
    Daihonmei
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    Dec 2003
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    you know some stuff..you'll just have to diy and Trial and error it till it is right

  6. #6
    Tosai
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    Sep 2009
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    Thanks Luke, makes sense.

    I’m hoping whatever filter I end up building will only have to clean part of the waste water. I live in a rainy area in the sub-tropics and my town averages about 10.75 inches of rain per month. I have a 1200 square foot water catchment system which gathers just over 8000 gallons per month. I’ll be sending as much water as needed (constant trickle) from the catchment system to supplement and flush freshwater though the pond. I’ve used the catchment system about 2 years ago to raise about 150 koi from tosai to nisai in a 3000 gallons holding tank with no other filtration. It wasn’t gin clear water but it was good for what I was using the holding tank to do. I’m hoping the combination of constant freshwater flow and the diy filter will complement each other and maintain healthy pond water for a small handful of larger koi. If you think of anything else please let me know.

    Is there such a thing as sending too much new water via constant flow through an open circuit pond system?

  7. #7
    Daihonmei
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    5,198
    no and yes..
    with your situtation there isn't going to be a problem with a constant flow
    but if you allow the overf;ow to go into the pond then you could have a chemistry issue.
    I have a 51,00o gallon pond that I pump 1200-1700gph of well water into...
    i have a porous media shower that has about 8000gph through it....the Porous media shower is needed to add oxygen more than anything.

    "Flow through sytems are the elite systems for keeping koi when done right

  8. #8
    Tosai
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    Sounds like a cool setup and a beautiful pond. Thanks for the info on constant flow.

  9. #9
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    I think you are headed on the right track here already, but as to your original question it comes down to what type of vortex you use. If you went with an "empty chamber" chances are you wouldn't get much good out of it due to the wastes being pulverized into suspension. Loading the vortex with a large cell moving bed media of some sort would improve your performance tremendously as the physical contact with the media would cause the fines to coalesce and sink far better. Something along the lines of shotgun shell wadding might work well for that as they wouldnt' clog easily.
    Following that with a series of biomedia filled drums for further mechanical/bio conversion should provide you with good filtration.
    Larry Iles
    Oklahoma

  10. #10
    Tosai
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    Thank you for the reply Larry, that was exactly the type of advice I was seeking. I appologize for the late reply as I have been on the road (actually, still am). Would that shotgun wadding be similar in function to a static bed filter, something akin to Kaldness K1 type static filter? Not easy to pick up shotgun wadding out here. Do you think the styrofoam peanuts they use for packing boxes would work the same? I wonder if they would be too bouyant? Does moving bed filters do a better job of coalescing the fines than static in the first stage 50 gallon drum? Thanks again!

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