Monster Diatomaceous Earth (DE) filter!

Oughtsix

Dovii
MFK Member
Apr 9, 2011
1,405
394
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Redmond, OR
I am in the process of designing my sump in a 29gallon high aquarium. I purchased a used Ocean Clear canister with micron filter to put on the return line to the tank. After a new gasket and new lid the stupid thing still leaks like a sieve!!! I am going to toss the ocean clear and I am seriously considering trying this filter instead!!!!

http://www.amazon.com/Hayward-EC40AC-Perflex-Extended-Cycle-Filter/dp/B000EVSUK2/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1314210489&sr=1-1



The dimensions are 16" wide and 26.5" high. It should fit in the stand I am building without a problem. Considering the effectiveness of my 43 square inch Diatom filter I think the 2880 square inches of this filter should be plenty and run for quite a while before clogging. The handle is for dislodging the DE without having to open the canister. In reading through the literature they say you can reuse the DE powder multiple times by turning off the pump, dislodging the DE then allowing the DE (and dirt) to re-accumulate on the screens. This filter is only $219 including shipping. It seems almost too good to be true as an aquarium filter!
 

KaiserSousay

Feeder Fish
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Feb 20, 2009
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PartlyCloudyFlorida
Select a pump with an output rating of between 30 and 65
GPM (114-246 LPM). Since 40 GPM
^ from the Hayward manual^

What size tank is this going on?
 

Oughtsix

Dovii
MFK Member
Apr 9, 2011
1,405
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Redmond, OR
It is going on my 110 gallon tank.

If you have never used a Diatom filter the first thing you have to do is charge the filter. This is the process of coating the filter screens with the DE powder. For my Diatom filter I accomplish this by:
1) Priming the Diatom filter and rocking it back and forth while running to remove the air.
2) While the filter is running I submerse a (double Big Gulp) cup in my tank.
3) While submersed I put both the intake and return lines of the filter into the cup.
4) While the filter is still running I bring the cup to the surface and add the DE powder slowly to the cup full of water letting the filter screens coat with the DE powder.
5) I then just run the filter.

I am aware of the pump rating they recommend for the filter when used in a swimming pool. My biggest concern is getting a proper coat of the DE on the filter screens. From using my Diatom filter I know that once the screens are properly coated it doesn't take much flow to keep the DE on the screens. I can pinch down the intake tube on my Diatom filter to almost no flow without the DE falling off the screen even when the filter is freshly charged. I also know that the more dirt the DE is holding the less likely the DE is to fall off the screens. I have never had a problem with turning off my Diatom filter for a minute or so then turning it back on. It will usually spit a bit of DE powder out of the return line and cause a little cloud in the aquarium but it then sucks this cloud in rather quickly and the cloud then becomes part of the filter screen coat.


If I find my regular (Quiet One 1200gph... I think) sump pump isn't up for the initial coating process I have a .25hp high volume pressure pump that I was going to try... (it is the pump the ocean clear wasn't able to handle). I am thinking that if I have problems coating the screens I can use the higher volume pump for coating then switch to my lower volume sump pump and just run as usual. Such a setup would take a bit of creative plumbing but should be doable.

From my research, if I do not get a sufficient coat of DE on the filter screens the screens themselves will plug with dirt and have to be removed and cleaned before they are useful for holding the DE again. But this will not permanently damage the screens. I am fortunate enough to have a 10 gallon ultrasonic cleaner which does a great job on the screens of my Diatom filter.

P.S. The Diatom filter has more of a bag than a screen and the Hayward filter has tubes that look more like fingers. But I am calling both of these screen for clarity.
 

KaiserSousay

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Feb 20, 2009
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I’ve sure been wrong before, but I really thing this isn’t going to end well.
If you do this, I think all the headaches involved will overwhelm in short order.
I know you are a DE guy.
But there is a reason they are not used as primary filtering, even in rather large municipal aquariums. In the larger systems much pre filtering is done before the water gets to the DE chamber. The thinking is, to get the water as clean as possible before hitting the DE.
The main reason is the DE itself.
The material is a bit of a PIA to deal with, even on the small scale normally used for home aquaria.
Look, objectively at all the steps you wrote to get this filter in operation.
Compare that to any other filter system.
For the money you can spend on your idea, you could build 3 systems that can filter to the 5 micron range with allot less hassle.
Not sure why the Ocean Clear gave you such grief.
They are pretty decent systems and I won’t even guess at what the problem is with yours.
After a bunch of filter types, I`ve come to really like using pleated cartridge based filters.
All that out of the way.
I`ll be watching so, post up if you do this.
Good Luck
 

pacu mom

Goliath Tigerfish
MFK Member
Jun 8, 2006
3,104
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northern CA
After a bunch of filter types, I`ve come to really like using pleated cartridge based filters.
I absolutely love my spa filters that we use for mechanical filtration and plan on using even larger ones on the big system we will be setting up.


To the OP: have you considered just going with filter socks in your sump?
 
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Oughtsix

Dovii
MFK Member
Apr 9, 2011
1,405
394
107
Redmond, OR
I’ve sure been wrong before, but I really thing this isn’t going to end well.
If you do this, I think all the headaches involved will overwhelm in short order.
I know you are a DE guy.
But there is a reason they are not used as primary filtering, even in rather large municipal aquariums. In the larger systems much pre filtering is done before the water gets to the DE chamber. The thinking is, to get the water as clean as possible before hitting the DE.
The main reason is the DE itself.
The material is a bit of a PIA to deal with, even on the small scale normally used for home aquaria.
Look, objectively at all the steps you wrote to get this filter in operation.
Compare that to any other filter system.
For the money you can spend on your idea, you could build 3 systems that can filter to the 5 micron range with allot less hassle.
Not sure why the Ocean Clear gave you such grief.
They are pretty decent systems and I won’t even guess at what the problem is with yours.
After a bunch of filter types, I`ve come to really like using pleated cartridge based filters.
All that out of the way.
I`ll be watching so, post up if you do this.
Good Luck
I do appreciate your feedback!!!!! I was looking for someone with a differing opinion to balance my enthusiasm.

I pulled the trigger and the filter is on its way from Amazon. I have a built in above ground pool with a cracked sand filter that I can re-purpose this filter for if this doesn't work out. (My rationalization for gambling $220)

While researching I have come across a couple of references (but no details) to large municipal aquariums using swimming pool DE filters... BUT I assume they are using large pool size pumps.

A friend gave me the Diatom filter I currently use as a thank you for welding his boat trailer back together. I had never heard of Diatom filters before and didn't even really want the filter. The initial royal pain in the rear of the first time I charged the Diatom filter disappeared in about 15 minutes as my tank water started clearing up like nothing I have seen before. When I received the Diatom the hoses were much too short and pretty stiff from age. I have replaced the hosed with black non-kink pond tubing. Now charging the Diatom is second nature and not a problem. Using the Double Big Gulp cup as a charge tank works very well and is quite easy. I plan to use my sump as the charge tank for this big DE filter. I will add a valve to "short circuit" the return flow from the DE filter directly to the sump (vs back to my aquarium). This will allow me to charge the filter without having to circulate the water through my aquarium.

In researching using the Hayward filter I have come across many references to other types of filtering powder that people have used. Cellulose fiber is a popular and well proven alternative to DE. The cellulose fiber is reported to filter to a finer particulate size (1 micron). Cellulose fiber is also biodegradable and it requires less powder to charge the filter. The most interesting DE substitute I have found is Zeolite, a powder made from volcanic material. Zeobrite is the name brand product made from zeolite, for filtration. The most interesting part of Zeolite is its ability to not only capture 1 micron size particles but also trap free ammonia ions on a molecular level. I am tempted to experiment with zeobrite but my ultimate plan is to have a terrestrial plant filter for removing nitrogen compounds... I don't believe the Zeobrite would leave any Nitrogen compounds for the plants to absorb.

I don't believe pre-filtering is necessary with DE filters. When I use my Diatom filter the large chunks just stay on the surface of the powder and don't embed themselves into the filter media like they do with cartridge filters. I can have a lot of big chunks of dirt in my Diatom with no noticeable loss of flow. Loss of flow comes gradually as the micron size pores fill up. The beauty of DE is it keeps the debris from coming in contact with the filter screens. Hence cleaning the screens is a process of removing the DE which has trapped the debris from the screens as apposed to removing the embedded debris from the screens themselves.


Pacu: Yes I do plan on using filter socks as the initial stage in my sump. I have already received about 10 assorted socks from McMastar Carr to experiment with while I am building my sump. I see the filter socks as a great pre-filter for the DE filter and will experiment with the different micron rated socks. I am a little concerned about how difficult it will be to clean the socks so I have some felt ones and some poly ones as discussed in the filter sock thread. My thinking is to make the socks as easy to access as possible so I can quickly (i.e. often) pull them and rinse out the debris before it starts to break down into Nitrogen compounds. My theory of filtration is to remove the big chunks before they break down to harmful chemicals. This leads me to the conclusion... small quick and easy to clean is much better than huge cumbersome systems that take a lot of effort to clean and store a lot of debris producing a lot of Nitrogen compounds. (This large DE experiment seems to contradict this idea!)


The Ocean Clear just could not take the pressure of my larger pump... after researching I am not the only one to have this problem. I could probably use my smaller pump successfully with the Ocean Clear or put the pump after the Ocean clear (to pull the water through instead of push it) but I am pretty frustrated with Ocean Clear's engineering. It looks like NuClear makes a much better filter with a much better seal than the Ocean Clears. If this DE experiment doesn't work out I will probably look at 20" blue cartridge filters and they can easily handle much higher pressures then the Ocean Clears. Ease of cleaning the cartridges is my biggest fear with the 20" blues.
 

Oughtsix

Dovii
MFK Member
Apr 9, 2011
1,405
394
107
Redmond, OR
I was able to grab couple hours for myself this evening and I took the opertunity to setup the Hayward DE filter with a 1/4 hp pump. So far i am impressed. The 1/4 hp pump provides tons of circulation and the huge DE surface area is causing pretty much no back pressure. Loading the DE screens was even easier than the old diatom filter. I have been pushing gunk up from my sand bottom with the return stream of water and this is working even better than conventional vaccuming. I wil try to post a couple pictures this coming week.
 

KaiserSousay

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Feb 20, 2009
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PartlyCloudyFlorida
Thanks for the update.
Always cool when something works, better still, when it works better than you hoped it would.
 

inkslinger

Gambusia
MFK Member
Mar 21, 2011
161
5
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East Freetown , MA
I have a Nu-Clear 533 with x2 25 micron filter for $125. plus shipping
It never leak it has a 1 inch in/out , You can add any Media in the center for extra filtering .
I've use this for 7 months an bleach the filters 1 time each , These filter are made to push
the water thru with a good pressure pump that can handle the back pressure when they get dirty.
email : bote110@yahoo.com if interested.


nuclear533LG.jpg

nuclear533LG.jpg
 

Oughtsix

Dovii
MFK Member
Apr 9, 2011
1,405
394
107
Redmond, OR
Cool prefilter from Home Depots pond section for $19.
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It separates from the base very easily for cleaning. And the base screwed onto a standard 3/4" npt fitting very easily even though it really wasn't made with a NPT thread.
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Yes! The algae in the foreground is embarrassing. It "Bloomed" during a recent 1 week vacation. I thought it came from overfeeding from an automatic feeder but I think it was more due to having the old Diatom filter being shut off for the week. My tank is temporarily in front of a window. The algae ceases to spread when a DE filter is being used... hmmm????
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Here is my temporary setup with the Big DE.
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Here is a size comparison.
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