DIY Fluidized canister filter finally sealed and churning... thoughts?

brandontw

Feeder Fish
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May 6, 2024
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I saw a 4g glass carboy at a homebrew shop and caught a bug to make it into a fluidized media filter or "reactor". In general it has been much more expensive and difficult than planned, but I finally got it going.

Hurdles:
  1. The lid that came with it did not seal... like at all. It had a gasket and looked good, but was nowhere near waterproof, and the threads weren't even strong enough to tighten it down. I ended up finding a flexible 6" PVC pipe cap that is PERFECT for the job, but it added another 15$ to the project. Overnight pressure test with about 8 ft of head was leak free.
  2. Flow patterns/nozzles... Tried a lot, but it turns out the best was just a jet shooting straight down at the outlet which has a 3/4 strainer centered in the container.. this causes a nice slow churn of the media, and also constantly knocks off the media that gets sucked onto the outlet.
  3. Aeration... this remains to be determined, but I cannot aerate the media directly, or the pump starts sucking air and everything goes south. Instead, my plan is to make sure the aquarium water itself is very aerated so that the intake water has a high oxygen saturation. I am experimenting with venturis on the return, and I think I will go this way. It adds a ton of small bubbles right as the water enters the tank. Some do not like the look of a lot of bubbles in the tank, but doesn't bother me.
In general, I have high hopes. I am cycling it on an extra tank in the garage right now.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Glaring problems that I haven't thought of yet?

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Cal Amari

Piranha
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Mar 9, 2023
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I don't have any advice but thank you for sharing. I've saved this link so the next time I tell my wife it's time for a bigger tank and she thinks I'm getting a little too carried away with this hobby I can show her the bucket suspended from your garage ceiling running your fluidized reactor and perhaps by comparison my request won't seem too absurd.
 

brandontw

Feeder Fish
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May 6, 2024
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I don't have any advice but thank you for sharing. I've saved this link so the next time I tell my wife it's time for a bigger tank and she thinks I'm getting a little too carried away with this hobby I can show her the bucket suspended from your garage ceiling running your fluidized reactor and perhaps by comparison my request won't seem too absurd.
Haha! that's fair. That contraption is already taken down, was just a quick and easy way to pressure test it with relatively small amounts of pressure similar to what it would be under the aquarium if the power went out. Leaks are better in the garage than the living room!
 

Cal Amari

Piranha
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Haha, for sure, way better in the garage, I assumed it was a temporary setup but couldn't resist the comment. It's a cool project and great way to use stuff you already had, I'll be follwoing along to see how it goes.
 

brandontw

Feeder Fish
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May 6, 2024
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Haha, for sure, way better in the garage, I assumed it was a temporary setup but couldn't resist the comment. It's a cool project and great way to use stuff you already had, I'll be follwoing along to see how it goes.
It would be a cool way to use what I had... if I had any of the stuff. Lol. Pretty much everything involved was purchased just for this project... except for maybe some PVC glue and fittings. I am already into it probably 150$ or more. The wide mouth carboy was ~40$, rubber lid was 15$, uniseals, tubing, etc adds up.

Also had to buy a pump. Could argue that I needed it anyway, because my tank is under filtered and I need to upgrade, but if I end up needing to buy a bigger commercial canister anyway, then this will all just be a big waste of time and money.

But heck, I'm having fun!
 

jjohnwm

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Mar 29, 2019
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Well, I for one love this project! This is a perfect example of the spirit of misplaced thrift and "I-can-do-that!" chutzpah that is at the very heart of DIY! :)

When you can take a simple idea and complicate it to the point where you have created something that is bigger, bulkier, noisier, trickier to operate, more expensive, rife with problems, less effective and less elegant than an easily-purchased commercial solution...you, sir, have arrived! And when it's all geared towards achieving benefits that are academic at best...not to say imaginary...well, that's the icing on the DIY cake. :)

If it sounds like I am taking a shot at you, please understand that I am not; I live for this stuff!

Brother, I salute you! :clap
 

brandontw

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
May 6, 2024
14
17
3
38
Well, I for one love this project! This is a perfect example of the spirit of misplaced thrift and "I-can-do-that!" chutzpah that is at the very heart of DIY! :)

When you can take a simple idea and complicate it to the point where you have created something that is bigger, bulkier, noisier, trickier to operate, more expensive, rife with problems, less effective and less elegant than an easily-purchased commercial solution...you, sir, have arrived! And when it's all geared towards achieving benefits that are academic at best...not to say imaginary...well, that's the icing on the DIY cake. :)

If it sounds like I am taking a shot at you, please understand that I am not; I live for this stuff!

Brother, I salute you! :clap
Haha! Laughed out loud for this one. You are absolutely right on all your points.

I was just thinking about it last night... There are tons of companies that put years of design and iteration into making their products perform well and cost less, and here I come along with borderline 0 knowledge and dive in head first acting like I can make something better than what I can buy.

This was born from need somewhat... i need more filtration and have a limited amount of space under my tank, but I absolutely could have just purchased a bigger canister filter

With that said, there are not many commercially available sealed fluidized media filters around, and those that do exist (Bashsea reactor) are prohibitively expensive.

So, if this is effective, and I work out the bugs to make it cheap and viable, it could be useful to others... But more likely, it will just be an expensive time consuming form of entertainment for me.
 
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duanes

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Back in the late 80s or early 09s there were plans in FAMA magazine for making a couple of these fluidized beds in different sizes.
I used them to make a large one, from normal, and clear PVC.
It was large enough to handle the bioload of four 100+ gallon tanks, but used fine aragonite as media, because beyond bio filtration, I want it to be a calcium reactor to add extra buffering capacity.
It was about 8" in diameter, and about 4 ft tall, very heavy when full.
At the time the barrel next to it, was my "equipment" sump (pump, filter socks, heater etc)
Whenever there was a power outage, media would back siphon into the influent tube , and because it was sealed, and under pressure it was not user friendly,, hard to deal with if clogged.
In the end, I configured it open top, and drilled a new lower hole for the effluent line, making it easy to unclog, just by liftling out the influent line, and knocking it around.
It also made it easy to add new aragonite, by just pouring in thru the open top.
New media was occasionally needed, as the media would dissolved over time.
 

brandontw

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
May 6, 2024
14
17
3
38
Back in the late 80s or early 09s there were plans in FAMA magazine for making a couple of these fluidized beds in different sizes.
I used them to make a large one, from normal, and clear PVC.
It was large enough to handl\ the bioload of 4 100+ gallon tanks, but used fine aragonite as media, because beyond bio filtration, I want it to be a calcium reactor to add extra buffering capacity.
It was about 8" in diameter, and about 4 ft tall, very heavy when full.
Whenever there was a power outage, media would back siphon into the influent tube , and because it was sealed, and under pressure it was not user friendly,, hard to deal with if clogged.
In the end, I configured it open top, and drilled a new lower hole for the effluent line, making it easy to unclog, just by liftling out the influent line, and knocking it around.
It also made it easy to add new aragonite, by just pouring in thru the open top.
New media was occasionally needed, as the media would dissolved over time.
very cool. I was interested in clear PVC like that, but very expensive and not readily available.
 
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