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    Thread: [How To] DIY VMS (microstrainer)

    1. #1
      Ryan S.'s Avatar
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      [How To] DIY VMS (microstrainer)

      Maybe this will be of some help to a few of you.

      DIY Microstrainer:

      Nothing too revolutionary from other DIY designs, I think this is a little easier to build than others b/c of the flange used to rotate on, and a simple to build spray bar system.

      Simple construction method using ~$40 in parts for VMS drum and parts, ~$31 water pump (692gph, 25watts max) + barrel container and parts.

      Drum is from 180micro SS mesh from AES. Attached via 50yr clear silicone to the top rims of 2 5gal buckets (need clamps until silicon sets, also run bead over top when done). Bottom is a 5gal bucket top with a 3" toilet/shower flange. This flange, available from Lowes, is a key part, since it loosely fits over a 2" PVC pipe (made to fit inside 3" PVC)... also because it has and area built in for washers (which can be made from the bottoms of buckets, will fit up to 4 of these, although I am using 3). Attached with SS bolts/washers. The lip on bucket is enough to hold the great stuff expanding foam on. Easily slides on and off 2" PVC pipe for replacement or maintenance. This 2" pvc has small holes drilled in.

      Spray Bar system:

      In this case, uses a 2100 Rio pump rated for a max of 692gph and 25watts. Spray system creates a fair amount of backpressure. 3/4" PVC leaving pump, tees off to 2 3/4" PVC, 90s are 3/4"to1/2". Arms are 1/2" PVC with slot cut with dremel tool. These slots are very thin for pressure, so will have to keep and eye on them clogging, although water from inside the VMS should be well filtered. Measured in 1" sections on each arm to cut... cut slighly larger for coverage. The arms are only a slight angle toward the screen, to help it turn. In this case from only a small angle untill I could get speed of drum up to 7rpms, not bad for a drum this large.

      Drum is large enough to handle quite a flow, 12" by ~40". Way large for only the 3600gph sequence it is supplying. I plan to make another 6-8" tall one for testing also. Have two of the 12" tall ones already, its good to have backups just in case.

      Have 2 barrels in place with all plumbing, but only one installed, going since last weekend, today is day 10 of operation. Waiting for another pump to arrive to power the second one, although I may go ahead and make a smaller assembly for the other barrel to test with.
      Last edited by Ryan S.; 02-02-2008 at 10:27 PM.

    2. #2
      Ryan S.'s Avatar
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      Will see if I can get some pics in operation tonight to show, as well as the actual picture of the drum.

      Also built a base for these to accept a slip over 4" PVC, when I was planing on going gravity flow from VMS to another tank. This one is out of cast iron, primed and painted 3 coats, with bead of foam on base to counteract the weight.

      Alternative spray bar systems, Fixed drum and rotating spray bar:

      Also did a little testing with a rotating spraybar system but scraped the idea, could work with a little more work. I ordered some 290gph pumps for ~$9 that came with 360degree rotating removable outlet (used to make waves in aquarium). Did some "bathtub" testing and this way would work also... testing was with just a 290gph pump, so a larger pump could easily push a larger spray bar (I think).

      Also, instead of the slits in 1/2 PVC I could have used the little aquarium flanges, although these may be expensive alone, they come with all those little 290gph pumps, and the rio 2100s I use elsewhere, so I have 5 or 6 now, enough to make a bar with. Also, the 1/2" to 12 3/16 aquarium fittings that come with some large air pumps, have 2 of those that could be used (similar to AES's VMS type spray bar). So enough parts for some more testing.

      Will post cone bottom and DIY moving bed tomorrow.

    3. #3
      BickalDIYPond Guest - Time to Register
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      I bought some of those aqurium snap log spray nozzles. They have too big of openening. If you want to make your own spray nozzles that will work much better. Heres a picture of a kind that I can make. Heat it up over the oven and streech it out. I use a special pair of ultra thin pliers. 3/4 CPVC pipe. If I could get larger CPVC pipe, I could make even larger nozzles. Regular PVC pipe wont streech as good.

      If someone wants to try these spray nozzles, let me know and I will send you some.
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    4. #4
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      c5hardtop, let's see those pics of this design when you get a chance to post them.

      Greg, do you have your own DIY version of this VMS?

    5. #5
      Clay is offline Senior Member
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      Looking forward to see the photos too.

      I am looking forward to the shots as well. It would be wonderfull to have a step by step series of photos. I have a friend who is in need of some good filtration for an indoor pond set up. Was thinking one barrel with VMS and second barrel with upflow through some type of matting - Matala/J-matt.

    6. #6
      Ryan S.'s Avatar
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      Greg,

      I don't see the need or point of the nossles. In my testing, simiply taking a 1/2" PVC arm and cuting a thin slit in it with a dremel accomplishes the same thing, much less time and hassle involved.

      But on the aquarium nossles I have, which came with smaller pumps, they are 1" wide and appear to require 100-120 gph each to opperate effectively.

      Also have some of the 1/2 to 12x 3/16 that come with air pumps, this appears to be similar to what AES is using, 2 of these offset would probably do OK, although I did no testing on them.

    7. #7
      Ryan S.'s Avatar
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      Took pictures last night, but forgot to bring camera with me today. These microstrainers are in 55gal drums, that have vortex bottoms (will make another post on that later). Some would consider these to small. Water does flow through a ~250gal vortex first however. All of this limited by amount of space, since it is under a deck next to pond.

      Did not take step by step, but easy to take most of it apart.

      Set by step procedure:

      Tools: hacksaw blade (for trimming foam), dremel, pin, 2 spring clamps, hacksaw (to cut PVC), drill

      Parts: 2 buckets, 1 bucket top, can of great stuff expanding foam, premium 50yr clear silcone, ss mesh 180-500 micron, 2-4 SS bolts/nuts, PVC parts for drum (2" PVC pipe, test cap, 2" 90 sweep). Drum/container and nessary parts to pump in (in this case a 55gal drum, 2 2" bulkheads, 4" uniseal or toilet flange)

      Drum Steps:

      1 - cut top rim off buckets (about 3/4" of it)
      2 - measure and cut SS mesh to wrap around these two pieces
      3 - Using clamps to hold tight, attach SS mesh with Clear silicone, going ~6" at the time. Takes ~20 minutes to set in good enough to do another section. When finished run a bead over the ouside connecting mesh to rims on outside. Work does not take long, but a lot of waiting, so move on to other parts of project
      4 - Cut hole in bucket top so 2" PVC will just slide through and turn easy
      5 - Cut out washers from bucket bottom that will just slide over 2"PVC and just inside the opening in the 3" toilet flange. Need 2-4 of these.
      6 - Attach flange to bucket top, with washers inside, with SS bolts/nuts.
      7- Attach drum to bucket top (after drum is dry)
      8 - spray the foam bead around top of bucket
      9 - trim next day with hacksaw blade

      The plumbing and spray arms will vary depending on application.

    8. #8
      Ryan S.'s Avatar
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      Drum and stand pipe, great stuff foam and the 3/4 insulation (blue) foam worked equally well from what I've seen.



      Drop in pump/spray bar assembly
      Last edited by Ryan S.; 02-02-2008 at 10:27 PM.

    9. #9
      Ryan S.'s Avatar
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      Note that this drum has been in operation for 12 days now... took it out to take pics, you can see one specific strip where I need to make a spray bar adjustment.

    10. #10
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      Close up of stray bar... seems to work well so far
      Last edited by Ryan S.; 02-02-2008 at 10:27 PM.

    11. #11
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      In operation. This pond was completely drained and refilled, all bio media has been replaced with new. TTs where in operation for 5 days last week, but shut down over weekend for 2 days for more work. Have been running for 4 days again now, ammonia droped from 2.0 Tuesday evening to .25 last night. On this pond, I put fish back and started feeding them right away, I've had good luck with TTs either cycling in time or gassing off in short periods? Ammonia was being bound with ChlorAmX.
      Last edited by Ryan S.; 02-02-2008 at 10:27 PM.

    12. #12
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      I should have took more step by steps. Still need to build a 3rd one for backup, so I may do it then. Not much to show though, very simple to build, probably less than 1 hour in labor, waiting for the silcone I used to dry. This is the same drum, directly out of pond, in pond water that is totally green.
      Last edited by Ryan S.; 02-02-2008 at 10:27 PM.

    13. #13
      Clay is offline Senior Member
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      Pictures are great

      Thanks for the photos. Sometimes when you describe things it seems so simple to describe to the person that is doing the description, but some of us have a heck of a time figuring it out. The pictures really hit the spot. How did you mount the drum to the tank? 2" pipe in tank with 90 elbow to bulkhead?
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    14. #14
      Ryan S.'s Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Clay
      Thanks for the photos. Sometimes when you describe things it seems so simple to describe to the person that is doing the description, but some of us have a heck of a time figuring it out. The pictures really hit the spot. How did you mount the drum to the tank? 2" pipe in tank with 90 elbow to bulkhead?
      Clay... exactly, 90 "sweep" elbow to a bulkhead. Pipe goes down a ways to the elbow, so drum can drop for lower water levels. At more than ~1 inches of a drop, spray bars will not clean the very bottom of screen, since they are at fixed height.

      Note that I put a test cap on the 2" PVC (has holes drill in it as well). Since I'm not running a strainer basket this is needed, can't use cap b/c barrel has be easy to install/removed. Of course you could use a regular cap and not glue it if you wish.

      My intake is entering the barrel under the drum. Not enough room for a 5gal bucket based drum, and 55gal drum, to make a 45degree turn in 4" pipe from that level. Mine is angled up slightly.

      This size drum is overkill for this size pump, you could do one much shorter and maybe even have 1 spray bar instead of 2, and smaller cleaning pump.

    15. #15
      BickalDIYPond Guest - Time to Register
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      I like your spray bars. I need to get me a dremmel :D

      Hot glue works great also for projects like this.

    16. #16
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      I thought I was the only one without a dremmel, but you Greg I'm shocked.

    17. #17
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      By looking at this VMS, I think that it would work on the Nexus too. This will save me from getting a very expensive Anwer that uses 300 watts.

      Don't you think?

    18. #18
      Ryan S.'s Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by BickalDIYPond
      I like your spray bars. I need to get me a dremmel :D

      Hot glue works great also for projects like this.
      That is what I was trying to say on page 1... seem to be working good, couldn't be easer to do, why I don't see the need to buy or build the little aquarium type "flares". Those little rotating wavemakers for aquariums worked ok during a brief test if you want to revist the rotating arm.

    19. #19
      Ryan S.'s Avatar
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      FYI - On the 3rd drum I'm building I'm changing to epoxy instead of silcone for the mesh to bucket rim connection. Will helps also if the bucket is roughed up some with sandpaper.

    20. #20
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      Microstrainer in square settlement...???

      Could this be done more effectively using the rotating arms or...??? I will have to go search for the wavemakers..

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