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  • Results 1 to 19 of 19

    Thread: Retrofit Bottom Drain - Over top or side?

    1. #1
      daniel95 is offline Junior Member
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      Retrofit Bottom Drain - Over top or side?

      Hey guys!

      I'm looking at improving my existing setup if possible - currently a turtle pond with one large goldfish. It's a 17-18,000 litre circle polypond, half above and half below (1.6metres) with a thin 0.5cm layer of Calgrit on the bottom (Calcium for turtles and prevents pressure wounds from bare tank).

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      My water parameters are stable and no ammonia detected with normal feeding of 20 turtles. The issue I'm having is the turtles are fed large amounts of plant matter (Hornwort)which is a floating plant but once munched into pieces falls to the bottom. My outlets of the filter create a vortex which means the plant matter settles in the middle as shown below. While a quick vacuum gets rid of this, ideally I'd like something a bit more automatic.

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      Unfortunately while planning my filters I completely forgot to incorporate an inline pump so I've been using a submersible one which of course is just churning up poop and plant matter before sending it to my S&G filter. Hasn't been a big issue, as I have a drain at the bottom of the S&G filter but obviously better if it didn't happen.
      My poor excuse of a submersible pump in a shopping basket
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      I believe a retrofitted bottom drain to a settlement chamber may be my solution - but which diagram is better, over the top or through the side? Ideally I'd love it to go over the top but not sure if this still works if there's a blackout - how does it fill up (check valve, gravity, miracle?). The curve and thick poly makes drilling a hole difficult but can be done. Or have I misunderstood the whole point
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      Here's a photo showing the current setup, it goes Pump() >2 S&G in parallel>tote with strapping>UV> pond. Eventually I want to change the tote to a K1 moving bed but for now it's working.
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      My new plan hopefully is BD>SC>2 S&G in parallel>bio tote>UV>pond. Or if anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear! I'd also have to work out a way for the bottom drain not to pickup the calgrit. Or is the whole process of installing a drain not worth it in this sort of setup? I know this differs from a traditional koi pond. This pond is not the prettiest so don't mind PVC showing because it's more for being practical rather than a garden pond I've love a RDF but in Australia they are hard to come by - quoted 10k for a RDF to be shipped.
      Thanks in advance for any input!
      Last edited by daniel95; 10-08-2019 at 04:55 AM.

    2. #2
      daniel95 is offline Junior Member
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      And here's a photo of one of the rescues! I'm apart of a turtle charity to take in turtles too big for their tanks, giving them their forever homes. So happy with the clarity since installing the S&G filters.
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    3. #3
      pickerel's Avatar
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      Thank you for caring about these turtles and taking the time and expense to give them a better life.

    4. #4
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      Going thru the tank wall would be the best plan.

      If you can't get those fittings, you can go over the top if you provide a check valve to keep the siphon line full. A tee pipe fitting and valve is needed to completely fill the siphon.

      To start the siphon you will need the pipe completely full of water, the check valve restricting backflow to the bottom drain, and the discharge into the settlement chamber temporarily plugged with a unglued plug or rag. Once you have the siphon pipe completely full of water, close the new valve and remove the temporary plug inside the settlement chamber.

      Turn on the pump and you should see the bottom drain in action. You can test the siphon setup by placing the existing submersible pump in the settlement chamber if you want.
      The valve will also let you remove any collected air out of the line when needed (after operating awhile and when flow slows down).
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      daniel95 is offline Junior Member
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      Great thanks for the replies guys! Think I will go with the second option, straight through the side.

      Now a couple more questions - how do you work out what pipe to use? Would a 2" work or 3" be better? I've read through a few threads and have seen both sizes being used so was unsure.

      And last question! My pump draws 20,000litres an hour - would this be too much flow for a 55g SC?

      Thanks so much

    6. #6
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      Your pump will handle 20,000 liters per hour, that is about 88 gpm or 5,200 gallons per hour, seems OK for a 17-18k liter pond, but that is alot of flow for a settlement chamber that is only 55 gallons, retention time are in seconds and no significant settlement will happen. The general rule is 10% of the pond volume for a SC, or about 1700 liters, or 450 gallons. I think you need to only take a portion of the 20k liters per hour flow from the bottom drain, and take remainder from a midpoint or skimmer. Either way it would be good to add a ball valve downstream of the pump so you can slow down the discharge if you need to remove more solids in your settlement chamber.

    7. #7
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      Are you sure of your tank size? It looks much smaller than 17k liters. Also a check, measure the discharge from your existing submersible pump using the bucket method, that will give you a better understanding of how much you are pumping now.

    8. #8
      daniel95 is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy View Post
      Your pump will handle 20,000 liters per hour, that is about 88 gpm or 5,200 gallons per hour, seems OK for a 17-18k liter pond, but that is alot of flow for a settlement chamber that is only 55 gallons, retention time are in seconds and no significant settlement will happen. The general rule is 10% of the pond volume for a SC, or about 1700 liters, or 450 gallons. I think you need to only take a portion of the 20k liters per hour flow from the bottom drain, and take remainder from a midpoint or skimmer. Either way it would be good to add a ball valve downstream of the pump so you can slow down the discharge if you need to remove more solids in your settlement chamber.
      Just to clarify - the midpoint also goes to the settlement chamber? I could probably achieve this. Is this mid take from a separate pipe or attached to the bottom drain pipe? I do have the option of using another IBC for settlement which is around 1000litres, the 55 barrel just fitted nicer .

      The pond diameter is 3.7m and water depth 1.6m. I think it might be the compressed image making it smaller.

      Appreciate your help, I'm new to this filter building business and you've been very helpful.

    9. #9
      daniel95 is offline Junior Member
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      Third option. Swapping my bio tote into a settlement chamber with the strapping still inside? This was recommended to me previously but I wasn't sure. So it'd be bottom drain & midpoint > settlement tote w strapping> pump > Sand & gravel > UV > Pond. It'd just mean I'd have to adjust the plumbing to turn the tote into a settlement chamber. Or will this create havoc with my bio?

      The more old threads I read the more confused I get

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      Last edited by daniel95; 10-11-2019 at 06:58 AM.

    10. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by daniel95 View Post
      Just to clarify - the midpoint also goes to the settlement chamber? I could probably achieve this. Is this mid take from a separate pipe or attached to the bottom drain pipe? I do have the option of using another IBC for settlement which is around 1000litres, the 55 barrel just fitted nicer .

      The pond diameter is 3.7m and water depth 1.6m. I think it might be the compressed image making it smaller.

      Appreciate your help, I'm new to this filter building business and you've been very helpful.
      The mid water/skimmer should by pass the SC and be tee'd into the line just before the pump. Less water going through
      the SC will allow better settling. Besides that, mid waters and skimmers by their nature are picking up debris that doesn't
      settle well as it's either floating on top of the water or suspended at middle depth.

      I wouldn't have the strapping if you convert that chamber to a SC. You could put some in the center prefilter feeding the
      pump, but you'll have a mess if you feed the bottom drain directly into the strapping.

      Here's what mine looked like after a little battle with string algae... imagine the whole container looking like my
      prefilters.

      --Steve
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      daniel95 is offline Junior Member
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      Oh yep, gotcha! Think I understand the whole process now. Yeah I had a feeling a tote filled with strapping could be a disaster when it comes to settlement cleaning but thought Id throw it out there.

      Final question, how does one determine pipe size to use for these? Im assuming 3 for bottom drain and 2 for mistake.

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      Thanks!
      Last edited by daniel95; 10-11-2019 at 06:13 PM.

    12. #12
      icu2's Avatar
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      In order to prevent the mid water pickup from feeding the SC it needs it's own penetration through the tank:

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      --Steve
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    13. #13
      daniel95 is offline Junior Member
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      Opps yep sorry I got that, I forgot to edit the original diagram to show that.

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      daniel95 is offline Junior Member
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      So I think I have the final plan! I'm going to change my bio tote full of strapping to a settlement chamber. Then the strapping from the tote will go into another 55g barrel. Assuming moving the strapping from a tote to a barrel wont affect much? Hopefully I haven't forgot anything. This has been a great learning experience.

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      daniel95 is offline Junior Member
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      I've come into an issue. I believe I have used two, 2" pipes for my bottom drains instead of 3". Have only just realised after reviewing the plans that my midwater intake is the same size pipe as my two bottom drains, a complete oversight on my behalf. How much of an issue is this going to be?

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      I would make the BD 3" for sure and I would also add a 3" ball Valve for a drain so you can give it a good flush when ya clean the SC.. You'll probably also want a 2" valve to adjust flow for the S&Gs as well.

    17. #17
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      Agree with Trapper... I think not using anything larger than 2" is major. You won't be able to gravity flow much without a
      substantial amount of draw down in the SC.

      Quote Originally Posted by daniel95 View Post
      So I think I have the final plan! I'm going to change my bio tote full of strapping to a settlement chamber. Then the strapping from the tote will go into another 55g barrel. Assuming moving the strapping from a tote to a barrel wont affect much? Hopefully I haven't forgot anything. This has been a great learning experience.

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      This won't work. The s/g filters need to gravity flow directly back to the pond as the extra head of plumbing them to another filter
      after the pump at the same water level will cause them to overflow.
      --Steve
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      daniel95 is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by trapper View Post
      I would make the BD 3" for sure and I would also add a 3" ball Valve for a drain so you can give it a good flush when ya clean the SC.. You'll probably also want a 2" valve to adjust flow for the S&Gs as well.
      Thanks Trapper, where about on the 3" pipe does the ball valve go? Or does this not matter?

      Sorry Icu2, that's my bad diagram fault, my S&G filters gravity flow like this.
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      So I was able to close off and remove the 2" bottom drain - no worries there. Is this the final diagram? (valves have not been added in diagram)
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      Place the 3" valve on the SC itself and the 2" can go between the pump and the S&Gs..

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