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Thread: Several questions about PUMPS for a new filter!

  1. #1
    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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    Several questions about PUMPS for a new filter!

    I want to build something akin to a canister filter. So I started looking at pumps for one. I want something 1000+ GPH. Before realizing the main difference between and external and
    submersible, and before focusing on the efficiency ratings, I found these in particular (among many, and there are many that are similar but had to just limit it to a few):

    1. https://www.amazon.com/Superior-Pum...TF8&qid=1547915850&sr=8-38&keywords=pond+pump

    $47.99 and 1800 gallons per hour. This looks like probably the most "industrial" pump of the three. Can push water up 25 feet of tubing!

    2. https://www.amazon.com/Adjustable-9...id=1547915763&sr=8-22&keywords=pond+pump&th=1

    2,100 GPH for $51.99. That is a serious pump. But it says it can only push water up 18 feet of tubing, I don't know whether that means its not really as strong as the other one or what. The flow rate is at least semi-adjustable, which is kind of nice.

    3. https://www.amazon.com/Minerva-Subm...TF8&qid=1547915222&sr=8-19&keywords=pond+pump

    While "only" rates at 1,050 GPH, this pump is obviously much smaller/weaker. However, look at that ridiculously cheap price! Only $16.99! For that price I could buy 2 and still have money left over compared to the others. If I used two that would also give me some redundancy in case one failed.

    Anyhow, any thoughts/ideas welcome. And I realize there are bigger pumps out there that can pump more GPH, but I'm trying to keep it something not ABSOLUTELY nutty because it is being used in an upstairs carpeted area in an aquarium, not in come outside concrete pond. Theoretically I think all I would need is a 550 GPH pump (they recommend 10x your aquarium size I believe, which for me is 55 gallons). But I want to make it epicly strong without creating a complete monster that could grenade and flood the house lol.

    So I was focusing on those, and then I ran across an article that talks about the whole "efficiency" issue. The watt usage.

    I believe the first one like 135 watts or somewhere thereabouts. The second one, with a higher flow rate, is only 70 watts. The last one, which is so cheap and only pushes out about half as much water, is 105 watts!

    Can the second one really be that low wattage? How accurate are those watt ratings generally, are they thought to be relatively close on the one hand, or notoriously inaccurate on the other hand?

    Then I read up on the whole external versus submersible. External are said to be more efficient, but searching amazon I am having a REAL hard time finding ones that are really more efficient especially compared to that 2100 GPH one that only uses 70 watts. Plus they cost a good bit more, not just a little bit, a lot.

    I understand a huge drawback of the internal ones can be that they dump all that wattage into the water. Question - what if I had the pump in some Tupperware piece next to the aquarium filled with water - wouldn't that allow me to use a submersible pump without worrying about heating up my aquarium that much? I understand some of the head would transfer through the internals of the pump into the water, but wouldn't that same thing be the case for an external pump?

    Any other thoughts/suggestions as to pumps generally, or brands or particular pumps in particular?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    DIYFK member Nil13's Avatar


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    Why do you need that much flow? 2000 gph is about the max flow for a DIY 55 gal drum sand and gravel filter for a koi pond. What are you planning on making the canister filter from?

    I wouldn't trust the advertised numbers on those cheap Chinese pumps. The flow will also be with zero head. Once you load the pump with back pressure, the flow will decrease and the wattage will increase.

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  3. #3
    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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    Heyas Nil13! I just want a pump with a bigger flow as I think I have like a 1000 GPH pump or more, and it is good, but nothing epic. Want something epic. Was thinking of making the canister filter from 4" PVC pipe from local Home Depot - let me know further thoughts lol! Thanks so much!!!

  4. #4
    DIYFK member HillbillyHomer's Avatar


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    LOL You want something epic?
    Try >this< we used one like it on one of our ponds.

  5. #5
    DIYFK member Nil13's Avatar


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    1500GPM hahaha

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    DIYFK member Nil13's Avatar


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    Ok so you want epic flow in the tank. Why would you want to run all that through the filter instead of just going with a circulation propeller pump like a Hydor or Tunze? There's a reason why stream flow tank use powerheads. Zero head is a lot more efficient than 5' of head.

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  7. #7
    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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    Lol, wanted epic but not destroy everything in its path epic. Click here to enlarge

  8. #8
    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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    Nil13, I'm looking but a lot of flow, but into a filter to filter water. I was under the impression powerheads would lose flow a lot faster than lifter pumps with substantial back pressure. thanks!

  9. #9
    DIYFK member Nil13's Avatar


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    Why do you think you need that kind of flow through the filter? What's your fish load? I seriously can't imagine you could even fit enough fish in that tank to necessitate that level of filtration. Yes, powerheads don't handle back pressure. But they can give you flow when trying to recreate a stream with epic flow or a surging reef. 'Epic flow' sounds like an aesthetic choice. It's a lot cheaper and easier to dial in that flow and appearance just right with those propeller circulation pumps than if it is all centralized with the filter. That amount of moving water is noisy. If you run it all through the filter, you can't turn it off if it's too loud and you want to watch a movie or sleep. That high level of flow can make feeding a total PITA too. If you want epic flow, that's cool but what you are proposing isn't the best way to go about that. You're basically thinking about building a big bead filter that you would normally put on a pond and then sticking it on a little aquarium. It makes no sense.

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  10. #10
    DIYFK member Nil13's Avatar


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    I'm not trying to rain on your parade, I just don't want you to have a hard time with it and then possibly not really get the results you are after. As it stands, it sounds like you are making things a lot more difficult than they need to be.
    How about we step back and talk about what you are trying to achieve and then figure out how best to go about that. You said, 'epic flow'. What does that mean exactly? Are you thinking a stream flow design? Wrt the filter, you said a 4 pipe. What sort of media are you thinking about? How are you going to clean it? Is it both mechanical and bio?

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  11. #11
    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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    Haha never any worries Nil13, very much appreciated! So I just want to build a DIY filter. I already build a huge trickle-filter, and it uses a ~1,000 GPH internal lifter pump, along with a pretty strong powerhead, and apparently given the head even those two pumps can struggle on the flow. So I just wanted a much stronger pump for a new DIY filter - something other than a trickle-filter. And you can't talk me out of it Nil13, I got the 2,100 GPH one it came yesterday haha! I'm all ideas on the type of filter - was thinking either internal or external canister filter or something close to it, but all ears! Thanks!

  12. #12
    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


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    2100 gallon per hour pump for a 55? It's going to be swirling rapids in that tank... What size return pipe are you planning to use? Also what kind of outtake and size of fish?

    Just out of curiosity did you look at the recommended max flow rate of the canister filters at the bottom of the pump page? Just to get an idea of a recommended flow rate through a canister?

  13. #13
    DIYFK member HillbillyHomer's Avatar


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    LOL like to see pics of this build.

  14. #14
    DIYFK member Nil13's Avatar


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    It sounds like your current filter has too much dynamic head built into it and you are trying to overcome that with brute Force.

    ETA:My phone must be a Star Wars fan for autocapitalizing "force". Lol.

  15. #15
    DIYFK member Nil13's Avatar


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    Well since you have the pump already...

    Here is what I would try first. The 4" PVC cannisters filters I have seen look like they are a PITA to take apart. So I would go with a design that you could backwash clean. The media would be something like K1 except made out of a material that sinks like polyethylene, ABS, or PVC. You want the specific gravity to be greater than 1. The first stage would be mechanical as all the media would pack down against the screen. The second upflow stage should fluidize with as much flow as you are talking about. When it's time to backwash, close the valves at the top of the filter and open the air and pump a ton of air (20L/min) to fluidize everything and then drain the muck out the bottom. Use electrical conduit sweeps on the intake and outflow to go over the edge of the tank to maintain as much flow as possible. Click here to enlarge

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    DIYFK member Nil13's Avatar


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    I noticed that I forgot the air purge valves to restart the siphon after backwashing with air.Click here to enlarge

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    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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    Haha thanks guys! Nil13, I had a few ideas, including something like what you posted, which is very sweet by the way. Click here to enlarge What does reseting the siphon after the backwashing of air mean exactly? Is the "backwashing of air" technically necessary? Gonna run, but will follow up tomorrow with more!

  18. #18
    DIYFK member Nil13's Avatar


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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Homeslice Click here to enlarge
    What does reseting the siphon after the backwashing of air mean exactly?
    When you backwash the filter, you'll drain all that dirty water out of the filter. You won't have a siphon any more at that point. You'll have to refill the filter with tank water and it needs to fill up high enough so that any air left can be cleared out by the pump.

    Is the "backwashing of air" technically necessary? Gonna run, but will follow up tomorrow with more!
    You have to keep you're filter clean and backwashing it is going to be the easiest way to do that. If you have two 4 cannisters that are 4' high, that will be about 5 gallons of water. If you backwash it weekly, that is about a 10% water change. You want to change at least that much water weekly, though I recommend much larger weekly water changes. 10% will stabilize at a higher nitrate level than I am comfortable with.

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  19. #19
    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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    Thanks so much guys! I guess I was thinking something much simpler.

    First picture below. Just have a vertical PVC pipe. Drill 4 holes a bit up from the bottom, put some thin wooden skewers in there (open to alternatives lol) to put the pump on. 4 holes right above the pump, 2 more skewers in those, bio media bags above. Drill lots and lots of holes beneath the pump. Inside goes a sponge, or as I like to do a bunch of filter floss wrapped in a cloth hair net. Pump sucks water in, pulling it in through the bottom holes, where it is mechanically filtered, and pushes it up through the biological media. The PVC pipe is a bit shorter than the water level in the aquarium so water flows out the top and joins the tank water. The best part is how easy maintenance would be - other than one or 2 cleanings of the bio media a year, all you need to do weekly or bi-weekly or whatever is reach in, tip the PVC pipe over a bit, pull out the old filter floss/hair net, put in new filter floss/hair net, set it back down. Done is 2 minutes.

    The other one is if you need more bio media for more filtration and/or to slow down the flow if its too high for the tank. The solution is to not just have a single verticle PVC pipe, but a horizontal piece as well. You could snake it around as needed. But the one in the picture the maintenace is probably EVEN EASIER than the one above - no need to even tip anything over - just reach in the side, pull out the old filter floss/hair net, put in the new one.

    Thoughts?

    By the way, I'm on my way to Petco to hopefully get a 75 gallon tank (biggest they have on sale I believe). This pump might be too big even for that one, but if its too big I have several smaller ones haha.

    Thanks so much guys!

  20. #20
    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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  21. #21
    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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    bump!

  22. #22
    DIYFK member Nil13's Avatar


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    The first one looks like you'll have intake problems on the pump because the intake is on the side of the pump no the bottom. The biomedia in bags will clog and channel water around the bags decreasing effectiveness. You'll need to clean it a lot more than you think you will. Twice a year cleaning a filter is just nuts. The bamboo should be replaced with acrylic rod. The bamboo will rot away. Filter floss on a bottom intake like that is going to get dirty pretty quickly.

    You won't be able to use that huge pump for either of those designs.

    How often do you vac the gravel and perform water changes, and how much water.

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  23. #23
    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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    All that makes sense Nil13! I've ordered some different size acrylic rods to use! Water changes are at least weekly, 50% or slightly less - I have a pump I use and hose that goes directly to bathtub so they are super easy. I don't have substrate in one tank, in the other I have a ton of sand (deep sand bed), so I don't vacuum per say but just use my fish net and scoop up poop and what not out of the sand when I see it.

    Understood I will have to clean more than twice a year, that is not a problem.

    Good point on the intake - I have another idea in mind, will try and post a revised picture tonight!

    Thanks!

  24. #24
    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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    Oh, and I fully realize that monster pump I ordered can't be used in this regard. Might have to make it the designated pump to do water changes haha.

  25. #25
    DIYFK member Nil13's Avatar


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    If you want to do something inside the tank, how about something like this? The bio like K1 is pretty self cleaning if it's fluidized. The dead microbial mat that sloughs off will just get blown into the tank to be vacuumed up. The sponge mechanical will be easy to clean. The pump strainer in the 4" pipe is to keep the media clear of the pump output.

    Click here to enlarge

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  26. #26
    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


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    Note with the above, it would be beneficial to inject air into that K1 filter chamber or you run the risk of stripping too much oxygen out of the water column...

  27. #27
    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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    Thanks Nil13 and Meep! I've considered basically the exact thing you drew there Nil13! The thing is though I am trying to make something as self contained as possible as the better looking my aquariums the better the chance my girl will let me get more haha. So trying to make it look as "neat" as possible, but still want a DIY project, not some store bought solution. Check out these idea. I especially like the second one - 99% of water comes in from rights, and you get nitrification on right side and above the pump, then on the left side you could set a SLOW flow to possibly get some denitrification.

    Thanks so much, and as always I'm all ears!!!

    https://i.imgur.com/nhrGisI.jpg


    https://i.imgur.com/eFFeVpS.jpg

  28. #28
    DIYFK member Nil13's Avatar


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    The first one would be easier if you just put the pump on the outside.

    The second one looks like a maintenance nightmare when something inevitably goes wrong with the pump.

    The GF is just going to see an ugly piece of PVC regardless. I doubt that a visible pump will make that much of a difference.

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