Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to diatom filter (in fact, most ppl in my country never heard of it, amazing, isn't it?), I got this XL canister, basically, its an XL without the motorhead.

Here is what I did to start it for the first time. Filled the bucket with water, put the powerhead which connect to the filter inlet and the outlet tube into the bucket, start the powerhead, and dumped the whole bag of powder that came with the filter into the bucket. I waited until water runs crystal clear.

I was a bit paraniod, so I stop the powerhead, waited for a min or so, and restarted the powerhead. To my surprise, a lot of powder managed to escape from the filter, and cloud the water, and then it runs clear again in just a few mins. I tried a couple of restarts, all resulted very cloudy water at the beginning. So I worry that if I start using it in my tank, a lot of powder will end up inside the tank upon each restart.

Is this normal? Have I done anything wrong? Is there any tricks I don't know about?

Thanks
Kenneth
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,966 Posts
Kenneth,

Welcome to APC!



I don't have any experience with the Vortex. Hopefully, someone who does will chime in. Could there be some way that the powder is escaping into the outlet tubing when you turn it off and the powder comes to rest?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the warm welcome! This is a great site, and ppl here are even greater!

Actually, I don't think there is any leak, after each time I stopped the powerhead, I could see very small particles coming off from the surface of the filter bag. I think somehow, when the pressure of the powerhead's gone, some powder would get through, though I don't know why nor it makes sense to me...

Thanks
Kenneth
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
542 Posts
Kenneth,

Usually to prepare the vortex XL:
1) You put the two hose siphons into the tank.

2) take a rectangular plastic pitcher made for serving drinks about one or two gallons in size, put it into the tank and bring it up till it totally isolates the two hoses. My pitcher has a flange that rests on the tank rim and keeps it from falling back into the tank.

3) turn on the pump. The XL will be circulating only the water in the pitcher, not any of the water in the aquarium.

4) Add the charge, (about 4 cups of swimming pool filter diatomaceous earth, the cheap stuff), to the pitcher. Keep stirring the stuff until the water is clear in the pitcher.

5) When the circulating water is clear. Slowly lower and remove the pitcher. The XL will start to filter the tank water.

If the pump stops, some of the powder will be released into the tank, but should clear up in an hour. This is normal. However, if you intentionally stop the pump, reuse the pitcher so the powder does not get back into the tank.

Regards,
Steve Pituch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Steve. That peaced my mind. I was worrying that I am using an oversized powerhead (1000 gal/h, 6 ft head vs XL's original 200 gal/h 1 ft head) is the cause of the problem. Now I need to find a pitcher that would fit my powerhead... :lol:

Thanks
Kenneth Ho
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
542 Posts
Ken,

If you can throttle back the pump a bit it might be better. The filter bag acts on suction. The bag is very porous and there is a mesh inside the bag to keep it from collapsing from the suction. I don't now if your pump may collapse the bag. If you take care of the bag it will last over 20 years, like the one I have.

Steve Pituch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Steve, after reading lines of your last reply, I figured out one thing... and please please don't laugh, I had the flow reversed! There is no instruction on the manual (in fact, there is no manual), nothing about XL canister on the website and no marks at all on the jar, I guess they just assume anyone purchase an XL canister has experience on another self-propelled Vortex... So I naturally (Is it?) guessed that water goes into the bag, powder get trapped inside... and so on.

I took everything apart, cleaned up the bag thoroughly, and put everything back, but this time the flow in correct direction. I gave it several trail restarts, and this time I didn't get even nearly as much dust coming out from the filter upon each restart as I got when the flow was in wrong direction. I guess the filter now is in good working order.

Thank you very much for your reply. If not for your such detailed answer, it would probably take much longer for me to figure out what I did wrong!

Cheers
Kenneth Ho

P.S. Hey you! STOP laughing! :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
542 Posts
Hi Ken,

I'm glad you were able to straighten things out. Two more things to check. You may have ruptured the bag. It is pretty strong but check all the seams. I once had a little separation by the nozzle and I fixed it with a little epoxy.

Also, check and try to rinse most of the dust out of the bag. You must have had it packed. I get some dust in the bag once in a while but mange to rinse most of it out.

Regards,
Steve Pituch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,116 Posts
Macbrush,

What you experience is completely normal.

Even if you run the Vortex with the motor that stands on top of the glass canister you will have the same problem - at restart some powder will enter the tank.

It takes some time for the powder to compact on the bag and to not fall off and cause problems. I'd say running the filter for 30 min should compact the powder enough. As you see - it's much faster to do what Steve suggested.

Two more things you may want to know:

- If the tank water has a lot of floating debries or mulm the diatom filter will stop working in a matter of minutes. It just gets plugged up because it's too fine.

- Not all diatom powder will work with your filter. Pool supply stores have 50 lbs bags of it for about $20 that will work.

--Nikolay
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
542 Posts
Nikolay is right about clogging up the filter. If I am clearing green water, I need to do a 90% water change just before using the filter. Even though the XL is a big filter, I have had green water clog the filter, and prevent the filter from clearing the water.

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the advise. I was planning to use the filter to quickly clean up the initial dust storm of Flourite. After your advise, I think I should fill and drain the tank a couple of times, let the dust settle a bit, then use the filter to finish it up. Looks like I need another plan to keep my fish and plants during the installation (right word?) of substrate since I thought that using the diatom filter will make the matter relatively quick; seem it may be not so quick now.

Thanks
Kenneth Ho
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
542 Posts
You don't have to do all this right away. Put the fish in, wait a week, and then do an 80% water change. Then use the diatom filter. You can stand the water to be a little cloudy for a week. It won't hurt the plants or fish, and the dust that settles during the week will be good for the plants. Take your time and enjoy it.

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I will certainly take your advice as I just backflush my vortex for the first time, and it just had ran on my already super clean tank for merely 2.5 days, which enough to completely clogged it up. I would imagine it would get 100% plugged in a matter of just minitues if apply to a very cloudy tank!

Thanks for all the help from you guys though. The restart problem is virtually gone, now even I restart the filter with a bit of the coating already fallen off the bag, the dust problem is really down to minimal and get clear up in just a few minitues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
I just picked one up a week ago and used it on two tanks. I got the recharge vavle with it so I can skip the pitcher scooping method. Like you, I found the instructions daunting and confusing. I'm normally really good with instructions and scientific equipment. It took me about 3 hours to get it going at first and decifer the instructions and 3 addendums included. Numerous contraditions on them.

now that I have it going it seems really sillly I read them more than 5 min reading . The recharge valve lets you turn flow off but keep the motor going so the powder all is adhereing to the bag. WHen I open it, no powder enters tank. I even turned off motor with valve closed, moved XL then turned back on and let recirc about 1 min then opened valve, no powder.

For $12 at Petsmart is a good addition.

Hope my bag lasts 10 yrs, the part where the nozzle is glued to the bag looks very weak, and it's not easy to connect nozzle to pump head. I got a bad unit in ebay previously that came with a broken one.

How do you backflush to clean and then store? That took a long time also. Do you store it fully assembled?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
542 Posts
Skids,
I flush the bag with water, tie a string around it to compress the Z folds just a little and hang it up by the string. When it is dry I put it in the glass jar.

Steve Pituch
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top