View Full Version : Gravity feed media filters


jusney
02-28-2011, 9:42 AM
I love this hobby but I am not rich and don't have an unlimited budget, so here goes. In an effort to be as efficient as possible, I have been thinking of running the smallest, most efficient return pump possible. To do this I would like to gravity feed a media reactor (GFO and/or Carbon), that way the return pump would only need to serve as the return to the DT. I wanted to know if anyone else did this and if there were any issues that you ran into as well as anything that I should take into consideration to implement this.

Thank you.

LilRobb
02-28-2011, 9:51 AM
Great idea,

but if the filters clog you're up for a nightmare...

EnderG60
02-28-2011, 9:58 AM
Feed your fuge and skimmer by gravity but reactors like that need pressure and most of the time need to be up-fed which would not work well with gravity feeds. Plus the air bubbles would cause problems.

jusney
02-28-2011, 9:59 AM
Yeah thought about that, would cause a less water to the sump with higher return = overflow. So what are some of the possible safeguards of fixes to that challenge?

Amici
02-28-2011, 12:51 PM
From what I can tell there isn't a way when you a placing a restriction on a system which is designed to be open. Your pump supplies your overflow which is really supposed to flow unrestricted. I would buy some cheap maxi jets and try to pinch pennies other places such as lighting and temp control.

JeF4y
02-28-2011, 1:32 PM
T it off of your return pump. As Robb said, restricting your overflow in ANY manner is a very dangerous game.

Rbredding
02-28-2011, 1:36 PM
yes..

put a manifold on your return pump and feed them.. then there's no guessing..

jusney
02-28-2011, 2:09 PM
Couple ?s. what is it about media filters why most of them need to be up-fed or is this just a norm? if these filters were top-fed and incorporate some kind of medium to greatly reduce blockage then add some king of fail safe, then that should work - technically.

cr500_af
02-28-2011, 2:28 PM
Media reactors are upfed to keep the media slightly moving (usually called tumbling). If it stays in one place all the time it will trap waste and also lose effectiveness.

jusney
02-28-2011, 3:27 PM
Thanks, now I shall continue my quest with the bit of info.

Rbredding
02-28-2011, 3:39 PM
they're a SNAP to plumb in... typically just a PVC fitting that reduces to John Guest 1/2", 3/8", 1/4"

ichthyoid
02-28-2011, 7:22 PM
+1, good advice above, IMO.

FWIW- If you need to save $$, then consider DIY from PVC, plastic trash containers, plastic eggcrate, clean soda bottles, zip ties, etc. I have built some pretty effective filter systems over the years for just a few $$. I built an entire large wet-dry trickle filter from plastic storage containers, etc. It even looked pretty nice when finished too. Worked like a champ and cost less than $30. Comparable commercial units were over $300. It can be a lot of fun, if you are a DIY kind of person. Good luck.

MorganAtlanta
02-28-2011, 8:46 PM
I've seen DIY plans for a reactor using a spagetti jar, the kind with the snap close lid. However, a BRS media reactor is only $40, so you aren't going to save too much over that.

I agree with the above about not putting on the main drain. You are asking for a flood and for constantly having to clean out the crud. It would become your filter sock. I actually do have an algae scrubber on my drain line, but that has a very low likelyhood off clogging, and all the particles either pass through or feed the algae.

For a reactor, I think a T off the return would be much better. You could even put the output of the reactor into the display tank, so you would really only be losing the head loss from the reactor itself in terms of overall flow.

jusney
02-28-2011, 8:47 PM
It is not the initial cost of the filter unit that I am concerned with, but rather the ongoing cost. Most times I am able to buy decent equipment but its the operating cost that bites. I am not one to just accept the status quo but strive to be creative and innovative. After all, isn't that how all inventions came about?

Edit: My overall goal is to use as small a return pump as possible by not needing to supply any other equipment.

Rbredding
02-28-2011, 9:16 PM
your idea is commendable.. I see it being possible ONLY if you don't put a cost on your time. That is what you sacrifice with the type of setup you're talking about. You will constantly be maintaining the setup (to make sure it's not malfunctioning, and cleaning it to ensure it's efficiency)

most people want to spend as "reasonably little" time on their system as possible as we have lives outside of Aquaria (I'm sure you do too).

we spend the money on efficient systems that run clean and are low maintenance so that we can enjoy the fruit of the labor instead of always working in the field..

ichthyoid
02-28-2011, 10:00 PM
your idea is commendable.. I see it being possible ONLY if you don't put a cost on your time. That is what you sacrifice with the type of setup you're talking about. You will constantly be maintaining the setup (to make sure it's not malfunctioning, and cleaning it to ensure it's efficiency)

most people want to spend as "reasonably little" time on their system as possible as we have lives outside of Aquaria (I'm sure you do too).

we spend the money on efficient systems that run clean and are low maintenance so that we can enjoy the fruit of the labor instead of always working in the field..

Those are pearls of wisdom right there ^^

A lot of people get burned out for this reason, IMO (too much work, not enough relaxation/enjoyment)

jusney
03-01-2011, 7:31 AM
Rbredding, well said. I, like the rest of us, don't have all the time in the world to work on tanks. With that in mind, and all the other info, I will design and evaluate wether this is feasible or not. Thanks for all the insight.

MorganAtlanta
03-01-2011, 9:43 AM
If you do have to step up your pump to account for the loss due to running a reactor, it won't cost you much. The power difference between an Ehiem 1260 (600 GPH) and 1262 (900 GPH) is only 15 watts. That's only about $13 a year in electricity costs.

Rbredding
03-01-2011, 9:49 AM
I wouldn't even factor it into the equasion... just get the 600gph pump...

jusney
03-01-2011, 10:26 AM
Actually I was planning on getting the 1262 in the first place, but was thinking that with the approx. 6ft. rise to the top of the tank, I would lose some flow and did not want to lose more to a reactor.

Rbredding
03-01-2011, 11:46 AM
what size system are we talking about?


those numbers are a "rule of thumb"...
3X volume / hr
whatever...
it's not like 2.87 X volume / hr will kill the fish/corals.

jusney
03-01-2011, 1:58 PM
I think I may be ok if I use the 1262 to run the return and one media reactor. This is with intank flow supplimented by power heads.

Rbredding
03-01-2011, 2:44 PM
I think I may be ok if I use the 1262 to run the return and one media reactor. This is with intank flow supplimented by power heads.
What size system are we talking about?