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Filter Units & Accessories : Why use a Vortex?

There are several reasons why a vortex system should be used and here a just a few reasons to support that statement.

• Ponds can be self-cleaning if designed correctly from the outset. Installing a vortex is the first move in achieving an efficient pond design.

• A correctly designed vortex should prevent clogging of the biological stages of the filter and therefore maintain a healthy and fully active colonisation of bacteria within the media.

• Greater efficiency of the filter means it can be smaller than traditional “jack of all trades” type of filters, which have to deal with solids and chemical pollutants – they need to support millions of extra microbes to do the job!

• A vortex concentrates and collects solid waste for efficient disposal, thus disposing of minimum water from your pond and system, an essential aspect for those houses which are supplied mains water via a water meter.

• By flushing out the collected waste materials, rather than filtering and re-cycling these solids - means that less oxygen is taken out of the water in decomposition, so there is more oxygen available for both the fish and the bacteria in the filter.

• GM Pro vortexes can be custom-made with both pipework, fittings and layout according to specific customer requirements. For instance- twin inlets for a twin drain system, this saves connecting bottom drains with a t-piece or Y-connector.

• Last but not least – a Vortex will keep your water quality in pristine condition with your Koi responding with vitality in health, growth and colour enhancement, all of which will be clearly visible at all times.

So how does the Vortex system work?

Settling solid debris is deposited from suspension under conditions of slowing water speed. The vortex does this efficiently and concentrates such debris for easy disposal. Careful design and high quality workmanship ensure optimum solid settlement using vortex tanks. Pond water is collected at the points, which collect most debris, most effectively bottom drains. It is then fed into the vortex, ideally by gravity to avoid breaking up the fragile droppings. Vortexes should never be pump fed, which only creates turbulence thus destroying the physical working principles of the vortex.

The water enters at the critically determined angle, known as a “tangent” and induces a circular flow pattern in the tank. Solid waste, which is denser than water, tends to move towards the wall of the vortex tank by centrifugal force. At this interface between the water and wall of the tank, friction or drag causes a thin layer of water to move much slower than the main body of water. This is called “the boundary layer” and can be several millimetres thick, depending on the speed of water flow and temperature.

The solids are forced centrifugally into this layer of slower moving water and appear to fall into pressure drop zones, creating a spiral action down to the bottom of the tank, sometimes known as the “cone”.

Once concentrated in the “cone”, accumulated debris can be flushed to waste via a valve at the bottom of the tank.

Remember, that with conventional filters, this noxious sludge is again filtered and broken down, not flushed away! This water, containing mainly chemical pollutants, then transfer onto the next stage of treatment, passing poorer water quality around the system a second time. After a number of “passes” around the system, eventually poor water quality starts to take on a new meaning.

Any turbulence, current or restriction created in any rotational flow immediately lowers the efficiency of the “boundary layer” and the “frictional activity” at the vortex wall. This restriction also applies to some very poor vortex designs which take a horizontal pipe across the centre of the vortex tank for central water exits. Leave those designs for the fools that do not understand or appreciate the true physics of the working vortex!

How is a Vortex used?

Vortexes are usually installed in the ground, near the pond, by following the simple instructions provided. It should be positioned before the biological filter in the circuit to intercept and collect solid waste and debris.

The basics and physics of the vortexes are quite simple. The sole function is that they are supplied with water continuously by gravity, from the bottom of the pond where most settling debris accumulates. Bottom drains are therefore the most popular and effective collection points for this purpose.

Where customers request that Vortexes are pump fed, a great deal of settling efficiency is lost. The pump impellor and excessive turbulence will fragment waste and solids making them far more difficult to settle for final removal.

The lower the flow rates through any vortex, the more efficient settlement is achieved. When correctly installed and sized accordingly to pond gallonage, satisfactory settlement can be expected with only a 75% maximum flow rate.


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