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Thread: The 5 gal bucket vortex experiment

  1. #1
    Jumbo bighatbulls's Avatar
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    The 5 gal bucket vortex experiment

    My gold fish pond is mostly completed, the gravity fed system is working so much better than my vacuum system in the big pond. BD drain is a cheap shower drain from the hardware store. We used a piece of plywood and some arts and crafts foam sheeting (it comes in different colors) this protected the EPDM liner and gave both the drain and the liner support so they could be hooked to geather with no leaks. I still have yet to cure the concrete antivortex dome I built, but this thread is not about all this stuff. Its about what come after it. THE FIVE GAL. BUCKET EXPERIMENT!!!!

    I made the cone with 2 inch riged craft foam, much like the stuff used for floral design but in white. We figgured out the angle we wanted for the vortex and cut rings to sit inside the bucket. There was some shaping to get every thing just so and a squirt of expanding foam here and there to glue and fill in cracks. Next we tried out hand at fiberglassing. If repeated, the cone will be fiberglassed, but the plumbing will be installed with my new best friend UniSeal.

    The bucket still needs some tweaking. In the picture the pass through from the vortex to the bioconverter has its elbow facing down and not up like in the design, this was due to the piece of junk pump not being able to keep up with the gravity fed system. It either pumped dry or overflowed. Still we have purged the bucket several times since installing the system.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The 5 gal bucket vortex experiment-goldfish-pond-.jpg   The 5 gal bucket vortex experiment-sdc11708.jpg   The 5 gal bucket vortex experiment-bucket-vortex.jpg  
    Amanda Bulls-Stephens
    Creator of "The Tail End"
    Central California Koi Society

  2. #2
    Nisai DrCreosote's Avatar
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    It's great to have a use for those grape stakes.
    The vortex needs a bit of tweaking, but it does work. I'm not sure how much better we can make it work, maybe just a few changes will improve it greatly. I'll be happy to be using the pump we designed it for rather than that immersed in water lugger, but we were at the end of our budget and it was cheap. We thought we could make it an external pump because all it mentioned was cooling issues. It never occurred to me that the thing needed to be immersed because it leaked horribly. Anyway, you get what you pay for and at least we have a backup pump if we need one.
    Sean Stephens


  3. #3
    Jumbo bighatbulls's Avatar
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    The dimensions of the pond and filter box are 8lx3wx2d the pond is 6x3x2+. We sloped the bottom to the drain that I think sits at 2 and a half feet.

    We made the box with 10, 4x4x4 pressure treated posts. Half the post is put in the ground and post cemented in. The corner posts are notched in a "L" shape and teh sides are notched in a "T" shape. We mitered the grape stakes that fit in the corners of the pond. This makes a nice clean and solid wall. On the sides the grape stakes butt into the tee.

    Grape stakes are creosote treated so they don't rot out in the vineyard They are or can be very splintery as well. So to get around this we covered the inside and any part that the liner would come incontact with the grapes stakes with 1/2 thick foam bead board insulation. We used this before in our big QT build last year and found that besides being a good undelayment for the EPDM liner it also seemed to keep the pond about 80 degrees all summer and above 40 all winter. Another plus is that if the fish spook and hit the sides it has some give to it.

    The top casing is made of cedar.

    This sure beats a 60 gallon aquarium for any small koi I bring home and need to QT. However its main purpose is for my goldfish and water plants from my old pond that we took down

  4. #4
    Oyagoi
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    question

    the vortex part i can see where water is coming in and angled to "spin" around the sides but looks like the outlet (towards bio part) goes to bottom where the crud would sit

    overall looks nice to serve a great issue better then an clear fish tank would be

  5. #5
    Jumbo bighatbulls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pskorf View Post
    question

    the vortex part i can see where water is coming in and angled to "spin" around the sides but looks like the outlet (towards bio part) goes to bottom where the crud would sit

    overall looks nice to serve a great issue better then an clear fish tank would be
    The picture is "pre-tweak". We where having problems with the pump either not keeping up with the water or pumping the biofilter dry. We did some adjustments today including turning the elbow up like it should have been in the picture. So far heavy stuff is finding its way to the bottom.

  6. #6
    Oyagoi ricshaw's Avatar
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    Vortex filter design

    I found some Vortex filter design principles from our Sturgeon Web friends.

    Scroll down to "Vortex:"

    Sturgeon Web Filtration Basics.
    Last edited by ricshaw; 05-30-2011 at 05:41 PM. Reason: one serious spelling error

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