A filter without electricity? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-12-2015, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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A filter without electricity?

Well...anyone come up with any ideas for this (other than a heavily planted tank, obviously )? Just today I was considering how one might create a completely electricity-less tank, not unlike the kind of circumstances that the pioneers of the fish keeping hobby had to work with, and came up with a system a bit like this (forgive the exceptionally crude drawing accompanying it...I'm a better pixel artist than that, I just threw it together while I was creating this post):

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The idea is that I would have a 'reservoir' elevated above the tank/indoor pond that would be filled with water from the tank. I would suck on an air line that would lead from the tank to a 'filter', elevated above the tank but bellow the reservoir and filled with some sort of filter material (if they're anything like my traditional filters it would be gravel and polyfiber). The filter - also located above the tank and constantly filled with its own water - would overflow as a result and let a slow trickle of water into the main tank, oxygenating both the filter (and hopefully its colony of ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria) and the tank. Obviously this has a few problems...you would have to re-fill (and likely re-start) the filter regularly, the flow would be quite slow (I wouldn't try this with riverine fish), the need for a large reservoir rules this method out with tanks much smaller than a 29 gallon (even with that, you would probably need a gang valve to slow the water flow still further so as to keep the reservoir from emptying aggravatingly quickly, as it would with a small reservoir), and finally the nature of this system effectively rules out most lids (and many of the slackwater fish, like bettas and killifish, that would do best in this setup) . I am not sure whether I will actually try to do something like this, but I would still like your thoughts on it and of any other 'unpower' filter concepts.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-12-2015, 11:07 PM
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Filling the reservoir "by hand" would wear real thin real quick and eventually you would have a pump on it.
This also uses no electric pump other than an air pump. Bio-only filter has no screens/
pads to hinder daphnia(you may like that one)or fish/shrimp fry from going through the filter. Current in tank is mild(built/w Elassomas in mind) and through the filter also and
the RCS often go in there and back out against the current in the in take.
#1...Original week set up.
#2 Side view..water in @ bottom left.
#3 Top view a couple of months after set up. Water out @ bubbles. Shape perspective.
#4 A year later/w excess light/Clado on bottom/pearlweed at top right.
#5 Last month after light correction.
#6 Today.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pi...ictureid=43385
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pi...ictureid=43401
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pi...ictureid=43393
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I really like taking pictures of the tank after dark. You can see reflections of the room
in that last picture which was in daylight hrs. Light has been reduced to reasonable
level so I can grow plants as well as algae. Except for the heater which just happens to fit in the water intake well, no other equipment is visible when you view the tank.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-12-2015, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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I already use air pumps to power all my filters Thankx for giving your thoughts, though...I do appreciate it. This was more of a hypothetical thing than anything else.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-13-2015, 04:50 AM
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A continuous water change setup could take the place of needing a filter as the water would constantly be changed.... the other option is from reef keeping and is a deep sand bed, usually works with very low flow, lastly putting the tank near a window will create natural convection currents inside the tank... a baffle and some filter floss inside might make a passable filter


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-13-2015, 09:32 PM
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If I were trying for a tank with no electricity, I would look at solar powering it as much as possible. I know, still electrical but feels better? A 12 Volt system with batteries to charge during sun and last until the next recharge? Not really practical due to the upfront cost at this time but still improving. Maybe someday.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-13-2015, 09:56 PM
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Tap into a clean stream?
You can build a gravity fed pump.
https://blog.adafruit.com/2015/09/08...ld-a-own-pump/
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 01:49 AM
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If you want water to flow from one place to another you have to use a source of power, which can be pressurized air (electricity needed to compress the air), electric pump, pressurized tap water (someone else provides the power then), etc. The easiest to do is to use ordinary tap water pressure to drive the water flow, and, as theatermusic87 noted, a continuous water change system will do that very well. I had my tank setup that way for a few years, and it worked pretty well.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 02:02 AM
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You can design and re-design the un-powered filter, basically lifting the water up by hand as often as you can, but basically this is a very low flow system. Perhaps it would work in a plant only or very low stocked tank, livestock from slow moving water.
You can set up a safe overflow so that as the tank fills it will safely overflow into a bucket (whatever) below the tank. Then you pick up this bucket every time you go by and dump it into a bucket above the tank. Inside this upper bucket is the filter media, and a bulkhead and tube with ball valve allows the filtered water out of the bucket and into the tank. It can be set up with a traditional tank cover, because the water is never out of the bucket and tube systems.

Before I tried anything like this (committing to be home to move the water so often) I would get a solar panel that operates an air pump or power head or other device.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 03:29 PM
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Kind of one of those entertaining things we think about but not something most want to commit to doing after we think about it for a while.
Maybe tie the pump to our treadmill? That way we could have two interesting ideas that never work out too well!
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