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    Thread: Low head 55 gallon drum DIY bead filter

    1. #1
      luke-gr's Avatar
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      Low head 55 gallon drum DIY bead filter

      OK, here goes again. Lost this thread with our recent glitch so will do my best to restore here. I knew nothing about bead filters until I started researching for this project. Thanks to Garrett (harveythekoi) who helped me with much of this and his idea got me started. Here is Garrett's original post of his idea for a lower head bead filter. The second post shows the schematics of mine. End result the venting changed just a little as will be seen in the final pics.

      EDIT: After a couple PMs from others about building one of these...following is a 95% parts list....best I can do from memory and looking at picture:

      I'll start with the stuff I had to order.

      -1 stick(5') 3" .040 well screen from AES
      -2 bags of beads from AES (garrett is using the doll beads)
      -(3) 3" Uniseals
      -(4) 1" Uniseals

      The rest came from Lowes/plumbing supply:

      -(5) 2" ball valves
      -(4) 1" Tees
      -1" cross
      -2" spring check valve
      -2" flapper check valve for water inlet line
      -(3) 2" Tees
      -(3) 3"X2" reducers
      -3" rubber cap
      -2" MIPT thread adapter
      -some kind of screen to keep beads in on vent (I used bottom of a plant basket)
      -3" end cap
      -(2) 3" couplings
      -3" 90 fitting
      -3"X2" bushing
      -2" 90 fitting
      -(2) 2" 45 fittings
      -(2) 2"x1" bushings
      -

      Of course, 1",2", and 3" pipe and Blower.

      EDIT: With higher flows 4" well screen and waste outlet and associated fittings/pipe should be used. Anywhere a 3" item is listed above it should be substituted with a 4" item. It is important to carry the waste outlet out and down to ground level in the same size as the well screen that is used.
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      Last edited by luke-gr; 01-30-2007 at 12:40 PM.

    2. #2
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      Pools around here are non-existent so no luck finding an old sand filter. I researched drums. Drums that are rated for liquids will have a pressure rating, usually the third number in the barrel ID. This number is in kPa. 100 and 150 are common ratings. 100 being roughly equal to 14 psi and 150 being 21 psi. Fortunately, the barrels I had were the higher rating.
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    3. #3
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      Assembly begins

      As per the diagram in post #1, I drilled 4" holes for Uniseals for inlet, outlet, and waste. I also drilled four smaller holes at the bottom for the air inlet manifold. First picture is shownof the four pipes converging into a cross fitting in the middle. These 1" pipes were drilled with approximately 80 small holes using information from the chart that came with my blower to determine the number of holes for the submerged depth. Picture is taken through the inlet hole looking at the bottom of the barrel.

      I never came up with a comfortable way to make a drain on the bottom without any concern of losing beads. There are holes on the bottom of the air manifold also and I can use the air manifold as a sludge drain but it is limited by the size of the holes. I feel the blower does a good job agitating that I dont see sludge accumulation being a problem. There is a good prefilter before this filter anyway. This is being used on my skimmer circuit.

      EDIT: Holes were drilled either 9/64 or 5/32 (cant remember).
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      Last edited by luke-gr; 01-09-2007 at 12:08 PM.

    4. #4
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      Well screen assembly

      First picture shows the well screens in place and labled how they will go in the filter. I drilled many extra holes in the outlet/waste screen just for good measure of relieving any pressure and giving water an extra outlet. I figured the beads would pack pretty tightly against those slots. There is a lot of wasted space on the well screens.

      I measured fairly well, but ended up having to cut a little off the coupling on the inlet well screen. To put them in, I had to remove one Uniseal, put the pipe inside then put Uniseal in and put other pipe in from the outside. I had my wife help with the holding/lining up.

      Second pic shows the barrel roughly assembled with excess pipe. I used a torch to bend 1" pipe around the outside to connect the air manifold.
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    5. #5
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      Top vent

      The vent is important in a lower head filter, because it allows the water pump and the blower to be run at the same time and not build up pressure and compete with each other. Neither pump nor blower likes to work against a lot of pressure.

      This venting is where Garrett and I spent a lot of time discussing back and forth. I ended up using the fitting on top of the drum for the vent which worked quite well versus cutting a hole and using a plate on the top. I was worried about flexing and keeping a seal in that case. The top of the drum can really "pooch" out if all outlet valves are shut off and pump is pushing.

      There are two openings on the top of most drums. One is 2"NPT, the other is called a bung thread and is just used on barrels as far as I know. The finer thread is NPT which fits with common PVC pipe. I used a 2"MIPT coupler and cut a screen out of the bottom of a plant basket to keep the beads inside with vent open. When I glued the pipe into that fitting, I pushed it in very well which holds the screen in place.
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    6. #6
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      Trial run

      Without any media, I hooked up filter in position to see how it would do. I capped vent and waste outlet and air manifold. Water pumped through fine and returned to pond as expected. Then, I capped off the outlet and just let the pump build pressure into the barrel for about 10 minutes. You can see the top of the barrel bow out. It held fine so on to media......

      This is running on a Sequence 750 3600.
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    7. #7
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      Media

      I bought floating media from AES. I did a good bit of searching hoping to find something cheaper and possibly a little larger, but gave up.

      I used a makeshift funnel and added the media through the top vent (The screen was not permanently in place yet).
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    8. #8
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      Up and running...

      One pic filter together and experimenting with the vent pipe. Other of pipe water flow with media in place.
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    9. #9
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      Fine tuning.

      I switched the vent so that it teed off of the waste outlet. That way and air trapped in the waste water stream could vent up. That worked well, but made for a wide filter so I used a 3" cross fitting on the other side and ran the vent, outlet to pond, and waste out that side. There is a 2" valve behind the rhododendron which shuts off flow to pond when cleaning so that ALL water goes out to waste. Last picture shows that valve from the top. Last two pics just taken tonight.

      EDIT: Note first picture shows filter before switching vent and waste piping to the other side making it a more compact filter.
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      Last edited by luke-gr; 01-11-2007 at 12:00 PM.

    10. #10
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      Problems

      After a couple weeks running, the filter made a tremendous difference in my water clarity! However, I began to notice a substantial reduction in my water flow. I removed the top outlet well screen which was fairly easy to do since the one side was just capped off. There were a bunch of "reject" beads that had clogged much of the well screen. They were much thinner than spec. I took pipe inside and used a pick to clean them out.....took about 15 minutes. I did check again a month later by just removing the cap and looking inside. There were a few more that have gotten stuck again, but I didnt remove it and have not noticed a reduction in flow. If I do have to clean it again Im sure one more time will do it.
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    11. #11
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      That's about it.

      Ive been really pleased with the filter. Being pressurized it allowed me to locate it back out of the way (I do intend to paint it). Within a week, I could see the bottom of the pond. This filter catches all my pesky little fine material that I have. I have a flow through from creek which lets in a lot of very fine silt particles which my other filters dont catch.

      The shining achievement in this filter is that I am running it with a 1/8(?)HP Sequence 750 3600 pump. This pump is a very low head pump and it still performs remarkably well. Almost like no restriction at all. Most bead filters have lots of 90 degree turns both inside and in the multiport. That creates a lot of head. For me, this filter is just what the doctor ordered.

      To clean, I:

      1)Close inlet valve
      2)Close outlet to pond valve
      3)Open valve to waste
      4)Turn on blower (I leave top vent open all the time, but a more powerful pump might pump water out it so it would need to be turned off) and let it agitate for a minute
      5)Turn inlet water back on and let it run to wast for a couple minutes.
      6)Turn off blower, close waste valve, and open valve to pond.

      A few steps involved, but easy after a couple times.


      Thanks again, Garret, for advice along the way and for being a sounding board for my ideas.
      Last edited by luke-gr; 07-23-2007 at 08:45 PM.

    12. #12
      Harveythekoi is offline Senior Member
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      Good job Luke,

      You and Steve are going to force me to repost mine. I just got the last valve the other day so when I find time I'll start testing.

      Glad to here it's all running good. Did it help any diverting the feed water to that circuit? I imagine it would filter it out before it hit the pond, alwways a plus.

      Garrett

    13. #13
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      Good job Luke .

      And thanks to you, Garrett, Steve, for taking the time to put back up some of the great information we lost.
      I think these filter designs can help lots of people.
      My favorite Quotes:

      The person who makes no mistakes usually does not make anything.
      Everything starts as somebody's daydream
      Experience is a dear teacher, but fools will learn from no other


      Proud Annual Charter Member # 3

    14. #14
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      You think that a slightly larger Pump could operate 2 of these in series?
      Have the outlet of one as the inlet of another and A large settelment chamber before them. maybe even using a 2 HP blower to clean both of them at the same time?

      Also I was thinking of the Air inlet. do you think that having the holes facing down to stir up the bottom would help or do you think it is ok wear it is, or maybe having a shower type drain or something on the bottom to drain sludge? I guess that would only work if you used floating beads and such.
      Last edited by Miah; 01-07-2007 at 07:24 PM.

    15. #15
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      Miah.

      Why would you want two in series? Not much if anything will get past the first. The limitation on Lukes would be the pressure the barrel can take. The piping should be able to handle a larger pump on it's own. The only wild card would be blower/pump at the same time. That could probably be overcome with the right sized vent and drain piping.

      These are floating bead filters. A sludge drain probably would be a good thing, not sure if the blower could get the heavier silty stuff into suspension for backwashing.

      Garrett

    16. #16
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      well I was thinking of using the first to catch most the stuff, maybe even use floating and sinking media, I guess kinda a traping filter and then to a 2nd that had a all floating media set up.

    17. #17
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      Miah, would be hard to design a filter using two different kinds of media I think. I would put two in parallel, sure. Better for filtration that way.

      That manifold still raises questions in my mind. I was going to do a shower drain in the bottom at first but was afraid of losing beads out the bottom if I drained water too low. I do have holes on the bottom of the air inlet and can drain water through them. So far, doesnt seem to be much dirt coming out just by opening a valve. Someday I will drain the water out of the barrel so the beads all sit on the bottom and turn the blower on then turn pump back on at the same time. That would create some extra "scrubbing" on the bottom.

    18. #18
      Harveythekoi is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Miah View Post
      well I was thinking of using the first to catch most the stuff, maybe even use floating and sinking media, I guess kinda a traping filter and then to a 2nd that had a all floating media set up.
      Keep in mind that no bead filter should be used as a primary filter. Nothing good can come of it. The laterals are very small slots to hold the beads and anything that gets in from the 24/7 pushing of water wont easily come out in a short cleaning.

      These should be designed in as fines filters. At the end of the mechanical filtration run would be best to specifically trap the fines. Most people run beads on their skimmer circuits because the larger floating debris is easily taken out with baskets and such. Of course algae is always the wild card and will play he!! on any filter system.

      Garrett

    19. #19
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      Yeah I can see that, I like the Idea of a slightly Cheaper DIY bead filter that is Low head for sure, I guess maybe sc to Static k1 then to a bead like this may be better. humm still very interesting. I did not get to much of a look at this thread before the great crash, Good thing it is back.

    20. #20
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      I built one using your design. Works great with a Sequence 3600. Clean it once a week after initial set up. Great design, THANKS

      Gene

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