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I'm building a small DWC system, and am trying to decide what kind of filter to use for solids removal.

Is a swirl filter better, or should I use one of those filters with a sheet running through the middle the the water has to go under.

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If you are going to take the time an do a filter in my opinion and that of many others the radial filter is more efficient and much, much easier to build for your system than a swirl filter. Check out this video and you will see what I mean. Then Google it and you will see how others have had both and hands down prefer the radial filter.

As usual that filter design does not address the floaters in any way (like any good septic tank does btw). Also his SLO does not address the floaters in any way (no skimmer to allow oils and floaters off the surface) and if you are seriously raising fish as we do that SLO will clog up so fast you will be VERY disappointed. Been there, done that,  it sucks when things get all clogged up in just a few days. There are plenty of great looking ideas out there that unfortunately do not work well down the road in actual real world situations and Youtube is chock full of them and no one ever posts retractions. I have a small pile of the things we misjudged and had to replace.

I hate to see people make these basic mistakes and regret it later on. My design is every bit as easy to make and addresses all the above. That inverse planter pot would trap all my floaters that actually are able to get out of my SLO (very important to fish health) and upon opening it up or even not opening it up they would all flush right out thru the exit pipe and end up in the GBs like mine used to do. YUK. I raise Trout btw and they require sanitation and my FTs stay very clean week after week after week. Very little maintenance involved due to my SLO design. Blog soon I promise on this and lots more. Ours might be a "hobby system" but it will feed 1 to 3 families year round a healthy portion of their food, when fully completed this Fall.

One big advantage I have is having 5 full IBC FTs so I have been able to compare different methods all at once side by side for 2 years and when I see something work well like my swirl / biofilter or my unique SLO I mod the other FTs or GBs to match and that is how our system has evolved over the 2 years. My goal is to reduce labor as much as possible while sticking to my most important goal: KISS (as in no fancy computer controls even tho I am a computer geek at heart). When something doesn't work out I'll be the first to say so and I try to design systems that anyone can duplicate.

Siphon designs however are my greatest pet peeve. There is more crap out there on what should be so simple that it just blows me away. I can't even look at the YT vids anymore having sold over 300 siphons now all over the world that all stick to the KISS principal (and are pleasant to look at) and therefore always work. I guess it comes with a lifetime (I'm 67) of building lots of things so I go into things like AP with a big head start. I tell my kids, everything you do in life relates to everything you will do in life. Sorry for the preaching

At least WE are on topic. hint hint, well sort of. Jeremiah must be off having that baby

wes said:

If you are going to take the time an do a filter in my opinion and that of many others the radial filter is more efficient and much, much easier to build for your system than a swirl filter. Check out this video and you will see what I mean. Then Google it and you will see how others have had both and hands down prefer the radial filter.

No baby yet.  I'm still here :)

I'm enjoying the discussion, and glad that somebody weighted in about something other than swirl and media bed filters.  They can't be the only working game in town.

The problem with leaving electronic controls and automation out of your system is that if problems happen at 4 am (or while you're on vacation) you don't know till your fish are dead. Electronics can be just as reliable as plumbing. A basic programmable controller is no more complex than that fancy filter :)

while going through the boxes and boxes of pet store inventory today looking for the test kits (see if I had the one jeremiah was looking for) I came across a marineland tidepool SOS (silent overflow skimmer) that is rated for freshwater use. pretty much a surface skimmer/overflow box. 600gal per hr. im going to try it and see if its any use. if nothing else it should help with floaters and oils.

also found a brand new Hanna PH tester ;)

just now getting into the pond/koi inventory so who knows what I will find now.

Yeah, but I like things kept simple for others to follow. I do monitor the temp in there from the house 250 feet away. I do protect the heart of the system, the pond pump in the underground sump, with a float switch which is not done very often as far as I can see and so forth. I have a battery backup system that will automatically kick in in a power failure but that is simple. Actually indexing valves really won't work on a trout system very well as they need constant flow (the trout that is).  So it all depends on what you mean by automation. No Arduino for this system unless I decide on net monitoring at some point. This system just runs on it's own pretty much and that is why I like siphons. No power involved. Oh, and I do feed the fish automatically.

Hey, finished all the underground drain system for the raft bed and buried it all and the walls, insulation, and the liner goes on this wknd. Very excited because I had to put it off so long due to our having to make the barn, woops I mean house, liveable. I am about one year behind as a result but we have had so many meals out of the AP already that this will up production to the point I will be checking local restaurants for their needs. We used to sell shiitake mushrooms, rhubarb and romaine to locals for years up on Cape Cod. Need to cut some oaks for the shiitakes, the same old timey rhubarb we have taken with us on 2 moves is doing great (found it on an old 1800's farm we bought surviving in the woods for many moons) and now we can grow the romaine. Feels like home again

Hey, welcome back you thread lurker.

Damn Larry, it must be like Christmas at your place. I thought we had some toys when we bought out an entire pot growing business from our friends (and neighbors) who purchased the trailer home next door to them. They had no idea till they noticed the outside dimensions did not match the inside dimensions and they found false walls and 2 secret rooms of hydroponics and grow lights. 200.00 for everything from net pots to HPS grow lights, pumps and so on. Also a bunch of deck planks and about 25 iron fence posts that we buy all the time for our critters. Score!

You have out done us

lol jim......I accualy bought this pet store out lock stock and barrel.. like 2yrs ago?? something  like that anyway. and it filled an entire trailer house (they had lost there lease on the store and moved the inventory into that). best we could do when we were hauling it home, we had 2 days to get it all out once we bought it, was to kinda sorta try and make each pickup load from the general "store section" ie bird stuff togather, freshwater stuff togather (pond and aquarium) saltwater stuff togather, dog and cat stuff togather, ect ect.

I used to go grab a cpl boxes and separate it all out and sell it on ebay or craigslist......but that got old and by the time it did we had already made 4 times what we paid for all of it. so long story short there are still 4 12x12 horse stalls PACKED I haven't went through yet. mostly fish or bird as I dug into the dog,cat stuff first (bigger market)

today I found 2 UV clarifiers/sterilizers for large ponds (a 5w and a 9w) and 2 of those big tetra bio filters for large koi ponds (one rated at 500gal the other 1800gallon) smaller one is submersible the other is for inline use. Im pretty sure I saw some pond liners way back then in the mess but I haven't came across those again yet.

sounds like you scored big too though. I know I used the saltwater lighting from my score, and some of the tanks, as mini greenhouses for the dirt garden the last cpl yrs.

lol sounds like the original owners of the trailer was pretty slick.....amazing how stuff like that can happen right under your nose and never realize it...we had a local guy finaly get busted a few years ago for growing in a semi 5000 plants or something like that...turns out he had been doing it for decades and nobody noticed.

I finally watched the video Wes posted.  To me, that filter looks like it would be at least as effective as a swirl filter.

I'm not clear why it would "clog" any faster or slower than any other kind of solids filter.  It looks like all the solids go to the bottom of the bucket where you can drain them.  That's the same as a swirl filter, isn't it.

That said, I'm not sure what Jim is referring to as an SLO.  Is that the pipe from the bottom of the grow bed with the slits in it?

Hmmm, where to start. Ok first off this:That is the FT end of his exit pipe. Looks just like the ones I started with and quickly realized were absolutely NG. That will clog solid in under a week. I changed it to this (cap on end not shown):This runs down from the outlet Tee and across the bottom middle of the FT AND has the 2' of air stone on top of it which due to the current created by the rising bubbles, draws the waste to the exit pipe slots right below it. The slots are BIG but the fish will not fit. It only needs clearing about once a month and is made of 1 1/4" S&D pipe which has a much bigger inner dia than S 40 pipe has. Clearing the slots (which are about 40 times more volume than the vid PU tube shown above) takes about 20 seconds. I use an appliance cleaning brush which looks like a very big test tube cleaning brush and I shove it down the T (that is the only thing he got almost right) and run it up and down a couple of times effectively pumping any collected solids loose and sucking them up the tube and out.

Now I say almost because he left out the skimmer slot that allows the floating solids to escape as well:You really must run your system to determine the best spot for this slot. Like he said if everything else fails (clogs up) then the water will flow over the top of the T and it breaks any siphon action. )Of course so does the slot) This is where I plunge the aforementioned brush.

I'm not clear why it would "clog" any faster or slower than any other kind of solids filter.  It looks like all the solids go to the bottom of the bucket where you can drain them.  That's the same as a swirl filter, isn't it.

The "clogging" referred to the PU pipe in the first pic above and NOT the filter itself.

What I am saying is it does not address the FLOATERS. Only the sinkers. We get BOTH. Apparently I cannot stress this enough. Here are the floaters again in my swirl filter. Note, neither type of solid gets past the filter. That is the EXIT on the left and the fish food shows the surface level. All is "1 1/2 pipe:Instead of just a plain exit pipe there is a system involving a T, an extension above the T and a BACKWARDS facing (in terms of the swirl flow) 45 that not only keeps the floaters inside the filter but also tends to let solids in LIMBO, meaning not sinkers and not floaters but in transition from one to the other, bypass the reverse flow into the 45 and the T. Am I not making this clear enough? It is a bit hard to explain but this design does 3 times what the vid filter does for the same effort. Keep in mind that his problem starts at the FT. He has no way to address the floaters in there. They can't get out and THAT is the only reason he does not have a mess of them in the filter. BUT you must allow the floaters, from uneaten fish food to oils, etc. that build up on the surface of the FT, get out or they will decay in the FT and poison the fish.

I guess this stuff comes after years of observing how these things occur and figuring out a better way to do it. On the other hand many of us just need to find out the hard way. Been guilty myself. Nonetheless, take the YT vids with a grain of salt. Again I will state, study up on how a septic system works. The septic tank is there to keep the SINKERS and FLOATERS out of the field lines which in our case are the GBs. It really is that simple and I designed my filter around my knowledge of septic systems. That's the advantage of being old. You know things from experience. TC was always telling me "Be patient Jim. Not everyone has had all that experience" Easier said than done. I hope you got something out of this.

Hey, about to insulate the new raft bed and cut the liner and this is putting me behind.

Thanks Jim,

I see what you're saying.  It's not that you're promoting swirl vs. plate filter.  It's that whichever filter you use, you have a well-designed input pipe and a way to trap floating particles.

The filter he shows in the video seems like it would trap more sinkers than a swirl filter, just based on the water turbulence.  I could be wrong though.

Have fun with your new beds :)

There is less turbulence in my swirl than there is in his plate. That and the gentle centrifugal force is what allows the solids to settle. It works perfectly. It does what it is supposed to do; keep any and all solids from leaving the filter. Swirl filters are used in industry all the time for separating out solids.

Ready for the liner. Tomorrow. Hey, you guys know if an above ground pool liner is ok? A freebie from my son that will save a bundle but this IS new territory for me. I'll have to look it up. I do see lots of FTs made from above gr pools so I have assumed it is ok. Thoughts?

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