To Good Use
Certainly, it was extremely satisfying to see that our efforts to develop top-quality swimming products were being realized in such an unexpected and emotionally rewarding way.
The filters we’d installed are our Two-Head Smoothie (THS) horizontal sand filters – relatively new units that had been developed to meet the need for cost-effectiveness and high performance in the mid-size range between our popular Triton line and the larger stark filters made by Pentair’s Paragon Aquatics division.
In this case, the space-saving design was ideal for the aquarium’s small equipment rooms, offering greater flow with fewer filters. The 360,000-gallon pool originally used 11 Triton filters that covered 50 square feet of floor space. These were replaced by just two THS filters, which feature longer sand beds that allow for far more filter area (up to 27 square feet) in a compact package.
So far, says Meier, the filters are working out well. In fact, the new filters have a footprint of just 15 square feet, opening up the equipment room for much easier maintenance and control.
More important than the space saving, however, is the improvement he’s noticed in water clarity – an improvement that has led to a reduction in maintenance costs, which is a key consideration in bodies of water containing marine mammals. The equipment room is now so tidy, efficient and modern, he says, that he’s planning on including it as part of some facility tours.
Pentair became involved in the project through the Clearwater branch of South Central Pool Supply, a nationwide distributor of pool and spa products. They contacted us because they thought the THS line would be a good fit for the project. When we learned a bit more about the dolphin pool and the overall nature of the renovation program, we were eager to get involved and demonstrate how our products could be applied to meet the aquarium’s special needs. We also saw it as an opportunity to support a facility that is both an asset to the environment and its local community.
Our participation was spearheaded by Jim Hunter, the company’s Commercial Pool Application Engineer. He lives in Clearwater and was therefore particularly motivated to become directly involved in bringing this phase of the renovation project to life.
One of the unique challenges offered by the facility was a low ceiling in the equipment room. As Hunter soon learned, installing the THS tanks with their optional automatic backwash face piping and diaphragm valve kits would mean raising the ceiling, lowering the floor or modifying the piping.
For cost reasons, the options quickly boiled down to one: piping modification. In collaboration, Meier and Hunter, with some help from Paragon Aquatics, patiently designed a low-profile, parallel plumbing system that now allows four pumps to circulate water through the two THS filters independently, two pumps per filter. Backwashing of each filter is also controlled individually using the programming available with the automatic backwashing option.