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Bubble Bead FAQ and Troubleshooting

1. Regular backwashing of your Bubble Bead® Filter can eliminate most problems before they occur.

You simply cannot backwash a Bubble Bead® Filter too often.

2. The faster the water drains or is pulled from a Bubble Bead® Filter the more vigorous the washing action within the filter; the better the filter performs.

Ways to improve washing by decreasing the time it takes to drain a BBF filter include:

A. Increasing the distance between the air inlet and the sludge outlet by raising the filter off the ground and dropping the sludge line to the ground. A 1′ increase in filter elevation can decrease the drain time on a BBF-2 by 40%.

B. Never reduce the diameter of the sludge line when plumbing the filter. Minimize the number of elbows used when plumbing the sludge line.

C. Install a Pump Assisted Backwash Kit (PAB Kit) whereby you use the circulation pump to draw the dirty water from the filter. A plumbing schematic is available in Configuration/Operation.

D. Periodic removal and cleaning of the inlet and outlet screens can also reduce the time it takes for a BBF filter to drain. If your bottom screen clogs with any regularity due to string or filamentous algae we recommend you install a PAB Kit.

3. Keep a record of how long it takes to drain the sludge from your BBF filter during backwash.

If you see an increase in the drain duration, you should perform a double or triple backwash, or install a pressure gauge on the filter inlet and watch to be sure the pressure drops to the same level after each backwash. If the pressure slowly creeps upwards, backwash the filter 2-3 times in a row.

4. If your bead bed gel due to an extended backwash interval, or you ever hear a “thunk” as your beads bed drop as a clump during backwash the following tricks can be used to loosen your beads and return your bed to normal:

A. Wash your filter two or three times in a row.

B. With your pump turned off, and your filter full of water, inject air into the air inlet valve for 30 to 60 minutes. The air will accumulate under the bead bed eventually working its way upward and breaking up the beads. Then backwash the filter normally 2-3 times in a row.

C. Perform a Pump Assisted Backwash as described above.

5. If your air inlet check valve drips water, you can install a 6″ vertical pipe into the check valve.

This will stop the drip.

6. After backwashing any bead filter, you will notice a slug of dirty water exiting the effluent when restarting the filter.

This is an inherent attribute of all expandable granular bed filters. Generally, this slug of dirty water does not cause any problems or effect your system, however if you wish to eliminate this you can simply install a TEE and valve or a 3-way valve on your effluent line and direct this slug of dirty water to waste.

7. To prevent the air inlet check valve from freezing on the BBF-4 and larger filters, it is possible to install the check valve inside the filter.

8. We strongly recommend the use of UV Sterilizers to eliminate “green water”.

Feeding a pond full of fish is akin to adding fertilizer to the pond; eventually algae will colonize your pond resulting in green water. By passing the pond water through a UV Sterilizer@ 30,000 micro watts/cm2 after it has been filtered at least every 2 to 4 hours green water can be eliminated. At this rate you will be killing the algae faster than it can reproduce (once every 6 hours).

9. If you experience cloudy water, you may have a small air leak on the suction side of your pump or an air stone may have migrated to the vicinity of your pump intake.

Bubbles accumulate under the bead bed eventually channeling upwards releasing solids. If you suspect this may be causing a problem in your system you can tighten all threaded fitting on the intake side of your pump, wipe silicon sealant on all pipe joints and/or move the
air stone(s) away from the pump intake.

10. Never open the unscreened bottom drain unless your pump is turned off and your filter is full of water.

This valve is not intended use during normal backwashing of the filter, it is only to be used periodically to check and see if sludge is accumulating in the bottom of the filter. If this valve is in advertently left open, you can and will drain all the beads from your filter.