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Thread: Mechanical Filtration Options

  1. #1
    Jumbo dcny's Avatar
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    Mechanical Filtration Options

    Mechanical filtration options

    Generally speaking there are two types of mechanical filtration - separating and trapping. Separating is considered better than trapping because the entire water column doesn't have to continuously go thru the debris. Maintenance is especially important because this trapped debris can start decaying. Also a large accumulation of trapped debris can impede flow.


    Trapping options

    Matala Mats

    They come in either 48x39 rectangular sheets or rounds in a variety of different diameters. They also come in variety of densities. Each density is a different color - black, green, blue, gray, with black being the least dense and gray being the most dense. Matala has changed the color of the super high density from white to grey a little while back so you may see white as well. They're semi-rigid so you can stand them up on their sides. You can also cut them to fit any chamber you want with a circular saw.

    Since they come in different densities, you can put the less dense pieces toward the beginning of your chamber where the most debris is and the more dense pieces toward the end of your chamber. They're light so that it easy to lift them out. You clean them by hosing them off just like the brushes.

    I've never used matala so I don't have any personal knowledge of these mats. From what I've heard, the newer matala mats are better than the old ones. I heard that the old ones tend to get brittle over time. I also head that the black ones are not very useful because they're not dense enough and let too much stuff go thru.

    Summary
    • DIY factor: easy/med
    • Approximate cost: $59 for black, green, blue sheets, $62 for grey.





    Brushes

    They come in a variety of lenghts (for 1' to 4') and widths (4" to 8"), so you can pretty much get them to fill up any container you have. They are a breeze to set up, you just slip them over 3/4" pvc and you're ready to go. They work very well and you can see them trap debris immediately. I was amazed at how much it trapped in 24 hours but I had a pretty dirty pond at the time.

    You can put in as many rows of brushes as your chamber can take so you can increase the mechanical filtration very easily. You can spray them off with a garden hose pretty quickly. Now comes the bad part, you're probably gonna get dirty when you clean them off. The first couple of row will trap the most debris. They be pretty dirty and could get heavy. If you're not careful when you take them out, they'll splatter and spray you. The longer you go without cleaning them, the worse it gets.

    A good way to clean them is drain half or more of your chamber and separate the row of brushes you're cleaning from the rest of them. Spray off the top half of the brushes before you try to take them out. This way, if it sprays, you won't be completely covered.

    Allied (Kevin) supplies Black Knight filter brushes. PM him and you can often get a good price. I prefer Kevin's brushes to many of the other ones. The reason is that the head on his brushes have a thicker, stiffer plastic ring and they fit snugly over the 3/4" pvc pipe. The thinner ones often leave room between the pvc rod and the ring and give the brushes alot of play. It sounds like a little thing but the extra wiggle room makes the row of brushes more difficult to get in and out of the contain without making a mess.

    Summary
    • Pros: very easy to set up, flexible
    • Cons: they can be messy
    • DIY factor: easy
    • Approximate cost: 4" brushes - 12" long $4.50, 24" long $7.50





    Static media / Static k1 / DIY Eazy / EZR

    The basic concept is that you force water thru a bunch of media and then out a slotted pipe or something similar. As water goes thru the media, debris gets caught. Almost any media will work. How effective it is depends on how much media you have and how large the void space is. The more media you have the more will get caught. The tighter packed the media is the more will get caught.

    The advantage of static k1 over other media is that it packs pretty well and a quick blast of air will clean the media. Beads work better because they pack better but they're more difficult to clean with a normal air pump. You probably need something with more umpf and even then some clumping may occur. Too much umpf and your filter are will be covered with beads. Strapping won't work as well because it doesn't pack as well. Also even if you bag it, it's sorta difficult to get really clean.

    The advantage of a DIY Eazy above a static k1 filter is that there is an outer area that can act as sort of a settlement area for the water before the water enters the static k1 area. Also when cleaning static media, you can see how dirty/clean the water is because it debris goes out to the outer area.

    In the EZR filter the static media is small rocks, smaller pebbles, and sand. On the bottom of the filter you build base and an air manifold that goes all the way to the top of the filter. Then you start with small rocks, and as you move up the barrel you use smaller and smaller rocks/pebbles until you get to the top where it's sand. Concept is the same, as the water travels thru the layers more and more debris gets trapped. To clean you just put a blower on the air manifold pipe and let her rip.

    Summary
    • Pros: easy to maintain
    • Cons: takes some work to put together
    • DIY factor: medium
    • Approximate cost: depends on the media chosen. plastic 55 gallons barrels should be pretty cheap or free. They can be found from car washes, soda plants, etc. The inner barrel can be a 5 gallon bucket or small trash can or something similar. The largest cost is the media. k1 or k1 like media ranges from $20-$50 per cubic foot.





    Bead filter

    A bead filters is basically a pressurized version of a static media filter using beads. The pressurized filter adds a couple of advantages. If you add a blower, you can clean the bead really well. You wouldn't be able to do that on an open static media filter using beads. The bead filter comes with a multiport value so that you can easily set it to filter, backwash, rinse, flow to waster, etc.

    Summary
    • Pros: just plumb an input and an output and your done.
    • Cons: because the beads pack so well, it will clog quickly; they're expensive.
    • Approximate cost: they start at around $1200; the bigger they are, the more expensive it gets.
    • DIY factor: medium/hard. If you're looking for one of the bigger bead filters, you can save quite a bit of money if you DIY. You would start with an empty sand filter body for about $200-$300, buy your own beads and make your own internal laterals.

    Separating options

    VMS / Answer

    A VMS is a floating microscreen drum sitting in a larger container like a settling tank. As water flows into the drum, debris is caught in the microscreen. From the inside of the VMS, a spray bar continuously cleans the debris off the microscreen at an angle and rotates it at the same time.

    The Answer works on the same principal except is it a small, well manufactured piece of equipment that requires power to run the spraybar.

    The main drawback is that if the screen doesn't get cleaned off well enough and it gets plugged up, the screen could collapse. You would also have a problem if you try to draw out more water than the screen will allow thru.

    Microscreens are actually more of a semi-separating form of mechanical filtration. The debris gets clumps up and then can fall to the bottom of the settling area to be dumped. It doesn't truely take the debris out of the water column. But it's still better because the water isn't forced thru thrapped debris.

    Summary
    • Pros: self cleaning, you can use any size screen you want.
    • Cons: possible screen collapse
    • Approximate cost: The Answer cost $1100 for the small unit, $1500 for the large. The VMS from AES is $750. You can probably build a DIY VMS for under $40.
    • DIY factor: medium




    Parabolic screen filter / PondSieve / EstroSieve

    Water comes in thru a floating wier device and falls down thru a parabolic wedgewire screen. The screen traps all the debris and the clean water falls thru. As the water washes down and over the screen it moves the debris toward the waste drain. The more water you flow, the faster the debris gets washed down. Really neat concept.

    I've never seen a DIY version of a sieve. I'm not sure why. Wedgewire is expensive and not the easiest thing to work with. The benefit of wedgewire is that it doesn't clog easily. If you used a stainless screen of something similar it would probably clog quickly.

    Summary
    • Pros: supports high flow rates, minimal head loss, very small footprint
    • Cons: expensive
    • Approximate cost: starts at $1200
    • DIY factor: ???
    Rotary Drum Filter

    Steve Castel (koiboy) could explain much better than I but basically, water gravity flows to a drum filter and then through a screen, which traps solids. A spraybar removes the solids from the screen and directs them to the sludge drain. The screen can come in a variety of sizes. I really don't know it well enough to explain any more than this. Both links below are good reading material and provide lots of info.
    Summary
    • Pros: supports very high flow rates, minimal head loss,
    • Cons: very expensive
    • Approximate cost: starts at over $3000
    • DIY factor: very very high. Steve built his own, but really, who else could?


  2. #2
    Jumbo dcny's Avatar
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    Caveat

    Much of these pros , cons and notes are my opinions. I'm sure different people have different views on what works best for their particular system. This is only meant as an overview. Also this was written over 2 years ago so some newer products are not recognized.

    Most of the pictures (especially the DIY ones) are taken from forum threads. You may see your filter in here. Hopefully, you don't mind me using it as an example of what can be done. If you do not want it shown, please let me know and I will remove the picture.

    -Dan

  3. #3
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    Steve's RDF is still kicking!!!


    don't forget sieves....cetus, ultrasive, estrosieve...bubbasieve
    they have be alround for several years.

  4. #4
    Jumbo dcny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCA View Post
    Steve's RDF is still kicking!!!


    don't forget sieves....cetus, ultrasive, estrosieve...bubbasieve
    they have be alround for several years.
    It's in there, right above Steve's RDF. I just don't have a picture of a DIY one. Although if Stan ever builds a prototype, I'll be sure to add it.

    -Dan

  5. #5
    MCA
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    you're right.....Im blind.

  6. #6
    Jumbo
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    You didn't mention the sand/gravel filter. Mine like Kent's have an air manifold in the bottom so you can easily flush them out. They work excellent.

  7. #7
    Jumbo dcny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
    You didn't mention the sand/gravel filter. Mine like Kent's have an air manifold in the bottom so you can easily flush them out. They work excellent.
    Yeah, a sand /gravel filter is very similar to an EZR filter, which was lumped in with the static media section. It uses sand throughout instead of layering it from small rocks to sand. Personally, I prefer the EZR because of the layering which would probably channel less and hopefully makes backwashing a little bit easier?

    Thoughts?

    -Dan

  8. #8
    Tosai
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    So what would you guys say is the most effective mechanical filtration mechanism that you can build yourself without too much trouble?

  9. #9
    Jumbo
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    The sand/gravel filters I make have an air manifold in the bottom. You can attach a 1 hp spa blower or small shop vac to this and flush out all the trapped waste. Just pull the plug from the waste line, put it in the pond line and turn the blower on. All the trapped dirt will boil up and out the waste line. I really like these filters for finial fines filtration. I am using several on my ponds and highly recommend them.

  10. #10
    Oyagoi CarolinaGirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shigure&HiUtsuri View Post
    So what would you guys say is the most effective mechanical filtration mechanism that you can build yourself without too much trouble?
    Well, I like the Static and Fluidized Kaldnes filters a lot. I am using them on every pond I have except one, and that's only because I haven't built it yet. They are easy to build and inexpensive. Here's a link....

    New Static And Fluid Kaldnes Filter (diy) - KoiShack

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