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A Filter is Needed!

Category: Aquaponics | Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:12 pm

The water in the fish tank was getting polluted with more and more suspended solids and the fish were getting depressed. The suspended solids were mostly from the fish pooh and loose earth that came with the pebbles. I did not wash the pebbles because they seemed to be OK when I started moreover I guess it is impossible to wash them. From what I observed, the outer layer of the pebbles seemed to have melted with the constant contact with water and is causing the water to be murky. The discharged nozzles got clogged after a week with these suspended solids in a slimy clump and cleaning is done on a weekly basis. The sliminess is an indication that there are organism breaking down the waste into nutrients and I am pleased but not with the clogging.
The murky water, sad fish and clogged discharge nozzles is not a good sign. I decided to do something because I want to have tasty fish and like Jerry said "Happy fish are tasty fish", also not having to clean the nozzles that often. At first I thought of just a simple suspended solid trap like a sieve of some sorts and after some considerations I guess it would be a waste of good resources.

Bio Filter Schematic ( photo / image / picture from KK Ng's Garden )
Maybe I can just build a bio-filter base on the same principle as what I did for my little water fountain. It had been running for almost 3 years with no maintenance at all and it is still functioning perfectly. OK I'll do that.

Checked the water pressure at the regulating valve purging side and the discharge water looks strong enough so no need for additional pump. Take stock of what is available to be recycled and reused. I had to spend $4.80 only for a short length of piping and some fittings.

I have quite a few of these pigment drums which I got them free quite a few years ago and I just had no real for them for the time being. It is just the right size and is perfect for the bio-filter vessel body. Made a hole to fit a return tube for filtered water into the fish tank.

Filter material ( photo / image / picture from KK Ng's Garden )
The filter material is some sorts of synthetic wool which I extracted from an old couch waiting to be dismantled. The actual material used were scrubbies but I guess the synthetic wool will work just as well.

Foam ( photo / image / picture from KK Ng's Garden )
In case of scrubbies you can weight them down with some pebbles but with this synthetic wool I'll have to make use of a foam to keep them down so that any loose fibres would into flow into the tank.

Shape for tight fit ( photo / image / picture from KK Ng's Garden )
I have some old foam seat cushion and it was just perfect for this purpose. I have to cut it slight larger than the circumference of the tub for a tight fit so that it can hold the wool down.

Installed ( photo / image / picture from KK Ng's Garden )
The bio-filter took me slightly more than an hour to make and it was being installed in the evening.

Happiness ( photo / image / picture from KK Ng's Garden )
When I take a look early the next morning, the water was already crystal clear and guess who were smiling and going to be tasty again?

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eileen wrote on Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:28 pm:

Great job KK. I'm so glad the water cleared and your fish are happy again.


Miss Liberty wrote on Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:05 pm:

Great ingenuity. Got to love those happy fish :)


cherylad wrote on Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:51 pm:

So glad to see that you were able to fix the problem... and so quickly and with practically no costs.


Jewell wrote on Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:39 am:

Now that water was crystal clear. Great job of problem solving that one. How long till the fish are ready for harvesting? Will they spawn so you have a continuing supply?


KK Ng wrote on Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:31 pm:

Thanks all, Jewell according to the baby fish supplier, it takes 7 months but I have no intention of doing that at 7 months, maybe a year so that they are larger and juicer .... I think. Yes they will spawn but I have no intention of doing that either because a fry cost only 13cents a piece and I only need 20 of them max.


Jerry Sullivan wrote on Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:01 pm:

The old couch gets a new life as a bio-filter. Good recovery from the problem KK.

Questions: Is the filter filtering the fish tank or the return water. If the tank only, are enough nutrients getting to the plants? Are you planning for when the filter needs changing? Do you have access to more material or perhaps a washable material?



KK Ng wrote on Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:23 pm:

Thanks Jerry.

The filter is filtering the fish tank water and I did thought of the nutrient matter. Base on the fact that plants absorb dissolved nutrients and I am filtering suspended solids, I guess I am OK here unless I am wrong.

Nope, I have no plans for when the filter need changing and I hope I don't have to at all. Anyway I have more than enough material should I need to change them and moreover they are washable.They pack quite a lot of that stuff in the couch.

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