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Thread: 55 gal barrel vortex

  1. #1
    Jumbo bighatbulls's Avatar
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    55 gal barrel vortex

    I got ahold of 2, 55 gallon barrels. 1 is going to be the bio filter, and I thought the other should be a vortex/settling chamber. This is for my wood pond that holds about 1000 gallons. I found this DIY plan on the boo and hiss forum.

    VortexFilter

    Ok so my question has to do with the bottom cone. Out of what should it be made and how? This guy used some calculator from sombody and gave a link that didn't work. Its supposed to calculate that angle and the dimensions for the right size cone to go at the bottom of the vortex. He started out using vinal flooring (?) but then swapped to aluminum.

    Anyone have any ideas on how to rig up the bottom cone for the settling/vortex? Also what are your opinions on this design? Think it might work?
    Amanda Bulls-Stephens
    Creator of "The Tail End"
    Central California Koi Society

  2. #2
    eds
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    Sansai
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    If you've got two barrels then rather than have one as an inefficient vortex (all that pipework will mess with the flows and make it less efficient IMO) why not just build a static K1 filter in the first barrel and put fluidised K1 in the second. By doing that you're got great mechanical and biological filtration and the flow pattern isn't as critical. You also won't need to mess with the cone as the aeration during cleaning will disturb the dirt before you flush it away.

    Forgot to say, I used to have a DIY vortex made from a barrel and used plastic sheets to make the flow diverter rather than a bend and made the coned section out of concrete. It worked well but when I built a new filter my larger concrete one knocked it out of the water for performance.

  3. #3
    Honmei
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    Bighat,
    A few points about your project. A 55 gallon barrel cone can be found by ruinning a search for "deer feeder cone." Here is one link from running that search:

    Metal Cone for 55 Gallon Barrel : Accessories : Spin-Cast Wildlife Feeders of Texas

    This one does not state the type of metal so be cautious. I know that they also make plastic cones for this purpose.

    55 gallon barrels are often used for deer feeders to funnel the corn down to the center of the barrel to the mdevice that throws the corn. Keep in mind that for a vortex, the cone would have to be sealed to the edges and to the bottom and supported (or filled in underneath) to support the water weight.

    Also keep in mind that a voertex effectiveness is dependent on a few dynamics, boundry layers alongh the outside (dependent on current velocity) slowing rotational currents which moves solids towards the center, flow rates which determine the current velocities in the chamber, dwell time which in conjunction with the above helps to determine settlement rate. The diameter of the vortex, vertical distance between inlet and outlet, the inlet positioning and outlet positioning (side verses center discharge as an example) , and the flow through rate (determined by pump size) all come into play when it comes to the effectiveness of the vortex.

    Ten or so years ago I coined the phrase, "It's a System," the meaningg of which is tto match up components to the best outcome for the limiting factors of the individual component parts. That being said, 55 gallon barrels are not what I would call an effective substitute in a typical pond installation. Their reduced diameter and height equate to exponentially less settlement at normal flow rates as compared to the larger commercially available vortexes since they do not have near the reduction in current velocities nor the dwell time (at the same flow rates).

    Now, is that to say that it would not work well in a smaller system as you describe (1000 gallon)? It could actually work well in this application.....with a smaller pump, say around 1000 gallons per hour.

    As for center discharge vortexes? I prefer side discharge since the idea for a vortex is to utilize centripital force from the slowing rotational currents to move the majority of the solids towards the center where the current velocities is much less. With less current velocitiy, there is less force being applied to the solids to keep them in suspension and thus, with enough dwell time, they fall from suspension.

    One other thing about DIY projects. I have learned through experience to take a hard look at them before starting out. I apply these principles:

    My first rule is that the DIY version must perform at, or better than the commercially available units. Next, the cost, including my time in making it must be better than a commercially available unit and finally, it must last as long or longer and require less maintenance than a commercially available unit.

    I hope this helps!

    Steve
    The views presented are my personal views and not that of any organization that I may belong to unless otherwise specified. schildkoi@aol.com
    CKHPA

  4. #4
    Jumbo bighatbulls's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for your suggestions. I found a cheap plastic deer feeder cone that should work for the aplication. What do you think of using sand or gravel to support the cone from underneath?

    When I read the guys plans I was a little confused as what his picture ment. This is how I think the water flows in and out of it. The out to the bio filter, I think I would change, maybe not have it in the middle but closer to the barrel wall and above the inlet from the pond.

    Ed we have thought about using K1 in the past, however and I know this seems silly we haven't been able to find a supplier for it. What we have found are people that carry knock offs of it. It looks like K1 but is it the same stuff? I don't know.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 55 gal barrel vortex-55galvortex.jpg  

  5. #5
    eds
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighatbulls View Post
    Ed we have thought about using K1 in the past, however and I know this seems silly we haven't been able to find a supplier for it. What we have found are people that carry knock offs of it. It looks like K1 but is it the same stuff? I don't know.
    As long as it's slightly bouyant so that it floats with no air and mixes around when you stir it it will be fine. Ask the supplier for a small sample and test it in a pint glass or similar.

    Having built a few static K1 filters in barrels of 100l (about 25 gallons), I know that it'd work great in your 55g ones.

  6. #6
    Oyagoi ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighatbulls View Post
    I got ahold of 2, 55 gallon barrels. 1 is going to be the bio filter, and I thought the other should be a vortex/settling chamber. This is for my wood pond that holds about 1000 gallons. I found this DIY plan on the boo and hiss forum.

    VortexFilter

    Ok so my question has to do with the bottom cone. Out of what should it be made and how? This guy used some calculator from sombody and gave a link that didn't work. Its supposed to calculate that angle and the dimensions for the right size cone to go at the bottom of the vortex. He started out using vinal flooring (?) but then swapped to aluminum.

    Anyone have any ideas on how to rig up the bottom cone for the settling/vortex? Also what are your opinions on this design? Think it might work?
    Have you seen this web site?
    Making Cone Bottom Containers.

  7. #7
    Jumbo bighatbulls's Avatar
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    You found it, and got it to work! I swear I went to the link provided and was put on a goose chase. Thanks Ric for helping me out.

    Now the question is buy this deer feeder cone
    http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...ge%2FLFBFl.jpg

    Or make a cone using the instructions from the link Ric dug up. There is a bit of a difference between the two. One cone has a shallower slope than the other. Does this matter?

  8. #8
    Oyagoi ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighatbulls View Post
    One cone has a shallower slope than the other. Does this matter?
    Of course it does.

    The steeper the slope, the better.

    If the slope is too shallow, the solids you are trying to collect at the bottom will cling to the slope.

    Of course the flow and speed of the circulating water in a vortex settling chamber makes a difference. It can be too slow or too fast.

    I personally think a 55 gallon barrel is too small for a vortex. By the time you construct the cone bottom, etc. the barrel will only hold approx. 35 gallons of water, which is too small in my opinion for a 1000 gallon pond.

    I also think one 55 gallon barrel bio filter is not enough for a 1000 gallon pond.

  9. #9
    Jumbo bighatbulls's Avatar
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    Well I have a source of free 55 gal barrels...

  10. #10
    Oyagoi ricshaw's Avatar
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    Excel spreadsheet for calculating cone-bottomed tank dimensions.

    Excel spreadsheet for calculating cone-bottomed tank dimensions. Just enter the diameter of the tank base, the desired depth (height) of the cone, and the O.D. of the bottom hole if required, and you're given all the measurements you need to construct the cone.

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