Friday, January 17, 2014

Thank you for devoting so many years of passion, time and effort in bringing light to Anoxic filtration.


Hi Kevin,


Thank you for devoting so many years of passion, time and effort in bringing light to Anoxic filtration.

I've been reading your blog and eBook, and have some questions I hope can be answered to bring more clarity to AFS.

     The baskets act like magnets. I assume that the Laterite center is the core of the magnet. Thus we want water flow to be all around the basket at equidistant. This explains the required gap at the bottom, top and all around the basket. If this the case, wouldn't it be optimum to have a circular basket, resulting in an equidistant of water all around the basket?


Ed: Actually the Laterite can be mixed in the cat litter or placed in the center of the BCB’ and has no bearing or reinforcement of the cores magnetism or for that matter the clays crystalline structural electrical charge of diffusion whatsoever. Its primary purpose is to aid in the bacteria’s reproduction and add vital trace elements like iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn) to the plants, too.


My testing has shown that it doesn’t make any difference if the BCB’ are squire, rectangular, pentagon or circular. We (Beta testing pond) tested both/all types and neither one of them outperformed the other in biological processes. At present I’m using a basket that is elongated and no negative affects whatsoever for the past 25-years now has shown up. So what can be called ‘optimum’ would only be a matter of opinion but not scientific researched confirmed by any means.


Also, the flexibility in the size of the basket also draws attention to the 'magnetic reach' of the basket. I understand that there must be gaps between baskets and the floor to allow water flow. What is the optimum distance? How far can each basket be without overlapping their effective range?


Ed: The diffusion of ions is the same if you use a basket that is 6"X6"X6" or 24"X10" round basket like I show in my book and at the center of the page here on my post. What we did find out is that like magnets, the more BCB’ the better uptake of ions out of solution faster! So the gap between BCB’ can be as little as 1/4"( this also applies to the bottom of the baskets) or as far apart as room will allow. Also the BCB’ act like baffles, which I will explain latter on how that works. The farther the BCB’ are from each other the effectiveness will be lessen to a greater degree because you will only be using less BCB’ to do the job but will not play a role in their ability to carry on biological processes as a single entity but it would make cleaning the AFS easier. It’s really the laws of physics here; the more BCB’ the faster ion uptake because of a larger biological mass and dwell time of water laden with ions to BCB’ is increased.


How does the size of the basket alter the above factors? Other than the difficulty in moving the basket, what is the largest recommended basket size? I assume size is somewhat linked to the distance between the Laterite and the edge of the basket? So instead of having a certain cup size, would the volume of the Laterite actually be worked out from the amount of Laterite require to ensure that the Laterite is at the core of the basket from all edges?


Ed: The size of the BCB’ are only restricted to their weight and what one can lift easily without getting a hernia. It’s not only the cat litter you have to worry about but water weighs 8.5 lbs. per gallon and that has to be added into the overall baskets weight when lifting it out of the pond.


Laterite is not restricted to only the core of the baskets but can be mixed up in the center of the baskets or homogeneous placed in the BCB. Using physics this means the BCB’ although having different constituents throughout will still have the same electromagnetic interaction with ions and will be uniform without irregularities no matter where the Laterite is placed. You don’t have to make the adding of Laterite into Rocket Science. If you add too much Laterite to a BCB then so what, if you add less then that’s okay too. You do have some margin of error to play with because either way it will still work. That’s the good thing about the AFS, it give you some flexibility.


You recommend an "as fast as possible" flow rate across the baskets. Are the baskets so efficient that they work even better at high flow rates like 10,000GPH? Is there no dwell time recommendation like conventional filtration?


Ed: The AFS can take a faster flow rate because water is not being forced through the substrate and therefore have no restrictions like conventional filters do. The point is that you want the ponds mass to become one with the filters mass. The BCB’ are taking in ions out of solution and the quicker you can represent those bad ions to the BCB’ the faster they can do their job at taking them out of the waters mass. The trillions and trillions of cells that are in each BCB will become greater or lesser in numbers according to the available foodstuff that is represented to them.

If your AFS is big enough to take 25,000-gph+ then why not do so. But this does not however mean that you have to! If all you can push through your AFS is 500-gph then it will still work but it gives you flexibility that other filters don’t or cannot give to the hobbyists. The slower water moves through any filter means that what is in A will not get processed until B becomes emptied of its contents first. However, all filters except the AFS have restrictions because biological and chemical processes will be disrupted if you do not follow the guidelines set by the manufacture. Not so an AFS! The bacteria do not have to worry about water-shear like other filter do and lag time is not an issue because that is automatically being controlled by the porewater and permeability of the medium being used in each BCB. The none clogging medium is what makes an AFS stand out from other filtration systems. So if each BCB can carry some Septillion cells today, it will also carry that same amount 25 years from now! This then allows the Koi to grow but not outgrow the filter too.


2) Water tracking and flow


Most AFS build I saw online are horizontal flow. In my opinion, an optimum setup due to water's preferred flow.

However, it's said that AFS can be stacked as long as there's sufficient gap between the baskets. I read somewhere that there's a certain recommended depth of the basket? Is it to the pond level, ground level, or the water level in the AFS? That being said, would an upward or downward flow system reduce the AFS's effectiveness? Why and why not?


How high can we stack the baskets?


From my understanding, we want as much water flow around the baskets. Thus the flow pattern would matter in the AFS system?


Ed: The recommended depth of an AFS has been set because at 24" which gives you the greatest stability of water parameters along with ease of maintenance. Tests have shown that because of our filters are outside and exposed to the elements the stability is compromised at lesser depths. Twenty-four inches give you about 15-gals of water per cubic foot of space. If you would like to add the BCB’ to a shallow stream that feeds your pond that will work too, as long as you understand that the water will lose heat faster at shallower depths and may compromise temperature stability and cool down or even heat up the mass too quickly.

The flow of water going through the AFS is governed by gravity and it doesn’t matter in what direction the water flows as long as it’s not disruptive to the cat litter or mulm inside the filter. That’s why diffusing the inlet water is so important. Speed of inlet water is not as important as (CFPH) cubic feet per hour of water through the filter. Remember, all the BCB’ are doing is attracting ions and in what direction the water is flowing doesn’t matter as long as it not disruptive to the system.

The site you give above is about the Eric filter and has no scientific research done to his hypotheses of water flow. Let me explain: Water is like electricity; it will take the path of least resistance at all cost. If you have a chamber that is constantly agitating the incoming water (He uses aeration to accomplish this.) the macro and micro particles will have no time for settlement. The reason the BCB’ are spaced in the filter is not just to let water flow in-between the BCB’ but also now they become baffles and will then allow micro settlement to collect in the AFS. This micro detritus is not being compact are bushed together like conventional filters do, but allowed to freely settle in the AFS. Like natural systems do, the bacteria will colonize on this detritus and turn it into mulm.

The large BCB is 24" X 10" deep and has holes drilled all around it with 3M fabric covering the holes so that the cat litter will not come out. In the 25 years of its existence it has only been transplanted twice. When the BCB was ten years old a hobbyist came over to help me move it and he was amaze that the cat litter was in pristine condition still.

The Eric filter allows this micro and macro detritus to now accumulate on the filtration medium and not in a settlement camber like it is supposed to. That agitated water now is moving the water so fast that the bacteria on the outer layers of his media (facing and the back of the media) now will begin to clog from polymeric adhesives from the bacteria trying to hold on to prevent water-shear! The bacteria are now responding to the dynamics that he is creating and stresses the bacteria’s responses thereto the fluids forces. This sticky polymeric adhesive, made from living and dying cells, will first turn brown in color, and then get darker as time goes on. Like that of a water pipe that has that slime in it from living and dying cells that can reduce water flow by 30%; that too will reduce water flow through his filter media. Now the incoming water will take the path of least resistance once again. His accomplishments are now defeated, no matter what way the water flows due to clogging…end of story!

The Eric filter can only have water passed through it at the ponds volume in 2.5 hours. That means if your pond pollutants are @ 1-ppm every 24 hrs., the filter would have a surplus of 18-ppm of insulting ions in just one month. In one year that would be a whopping 216-ppm of pollution left in the pond mass if water changes were not carried out every month to lessen these insults. However, even with a 50% water change every month that 18-ppm would still be at 9-ppm plus the following month insults of 18-ppm on top of that, that would now bring it to 27-ppm before another 50% water change was to be executed and so on.

Do the math and you will come up with the same numbers as I have. No filter will eradicate 100% of the biological and chemical insult in one pass. Getting the insults in our pond from point A to B as fast as possible and then making sure that those insults will be 100% eradicated is not as easy as it sounds. Since water is positively charged why not take advantage of those positive ions first by taking them out of the water column, then let the bacteria do their thing under ideal conditions where they will not be disturbed, like that of a BCB.

I read that aeration is discouraged due to the possibility of the bubbles dislodging clay from the basket. Would a fabric container like the Smartpot then serve a better purpose in an AFS system with aeration to disturb water tracking and encourage more water contact with the baskets?

Ed: Aeration is not needed in and AFS because the oxygen in the filter is the same as that of the pond main body of water. Once again an aerator would only cause a disruption of the mulm in the AFS and would then compromise the turbidity of the pond. Why add more equipment to something that doesn’t need it in the first place? Also, plants do better in water that is moving but not disruptive to them or agitating the surface of the water.

Smartpots can be used for BCB’ but they cost more than the plastic ones and will not be as rigid as plastic ones. The 3M fiber baskets would also make it harder to stack the BCB’ on top of one another. Other whys, if you feel comfortable in using the Smartpots then use them, but I would not say they would be better, just different. My plastic black baskets have lasted me over 25-years now, so what advantage would a more expensive Smartpot make if all were equal in doing biological processes? I have used the 3M fabric before and still using it to this day in homemade 24" large BCB’ and it works very well without clogging. You can also use the big floating baskets that they sell today and make them into BCB’ but they are very expensive and then they wouldn’t become very cost effective in the long run.


3) Fabric containers-


Plastic aquatic planting baskets are the recommended containers. Would fabric containers like Smartpots actually serve the purpose even better? They are extremely permeable. Water just gushes out if filled on land. Yet they don't allow any fired-clay to exit. My only concern would be if they would clog more easily.


4) Floating planting basket


Following from the above question, would a floating planting basket actually work well as a biocenosis basket? Cyanobacteria may form at the bottom, but can also be fed on by the koi.



5)Microbe aquatic planting media


I found this kiln fired clay media on Amazon. It's more expensive than the right kitty litter, but i'm guessing can work the same.


Ed: Right now the three preferred mediums are cat litter clay, oil-dri or Zeolite cat litter with no additives. They are very inexpensive and cost effective in the long run. Why spend more if you don’t have to. If all you can get is the more expensive kiln fired clay then that will have to do.


That's all for now. Have a great 2014.


If this is to be posted anywhere, I hope to remain anonymous.





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