The felt filter sock is the current king of mechanical filtration in the reef hobby. Almost everybody who has a system with a sump uses one; it’s a simple, easy to use method of trapping uneaten food particles and other visible debris flowing in a saltwater fish tank. It has its downsides: it needs to be maintained frequently, and it needs to be machine washed to be effectively cleaned, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming the #1 choice for mechanical filters.
MACNA 2017 in New Orleans brought us a potential challenger to the filter sock’s reign- it’s called KLIR and it’s one cool cat of an aquarium device.
KLIR is a modular mechanical filter. It consists of a duo of rollers with a filtering material wrapped around them like a conveyor belt that automatically unrolls clean filtering material from the roll as it gets clogged by detritus. It is quite compact and can be adapted to various spaces given its scalable nature. It can be extended vertically and horizontally, making it suitable for aquariums of all sizes. KLIR is expandable, with additional elements, trays, and arms designed to expand its filtering abilities available.
At first glance, KLIR looks like a sophisticated machine, but I was able ask the inventor of this curious tool himself to explain its inner workings. The scientist’s name is Jack Behar, and below is the transcript of our chat at MACNA 2017:
Me: Hi, how are you Jack? Your unorthodox filter gained my attention since they opened the door to MACNA. Please tell me, what is it and how does it work?
Jack: Hey Marcin. Sure thing, I’d love to talk about my invention- this (pointing at the showroom working model) is a KLIR filter. It’s the stock version of the filter. I made it fully modular so people could adapt it to as many systems as possible. It has a bracketing system (pointing at the bottom part of the unit, which has a pair of sliders that allows you to extend and contract the base) that allows it to expand and retract based on your needs. Fully expanded you can work 1500 gph [around 5700 lph] through it. Of course as you reduce the size of the base, it’s directly related to the amount of material exposed to the flow. KLIR has dual optical sensors connected to a controller. It is designed to go into a sump in various ways. You can hang it from the sump’s longer sides or take off the hanging brackets and hang it from one sump’s panel only.
Me: What are the sensor in the base for?
Jack: It works like this. As the filter fleece begins to get clogged with material, the water starts to rise in the tray. When water touches the first optical sensor, it activates the motor, which in turns starts to roll the fleece. The new clean fleece forces the water level to naturally drop and turns of the motor. The reason it has two sensors is because KLIR is in the sump. If you turn your return pump or protein skimmer off, it will make the water level in the sump rise. You don’t want this thing (pointing at roller with fleece) spinning, wasting material. Therefore, KLIR only operates between this narrow ¼” space in between the sensors.
Me: I see. As you mentioned, it looks like there’s more to KLIR than just this one stock unit…
Jack: Yeah, this is what’s really cool about it. This [walking to another table with an expanded KLIR filter] is the “transformer” with all the accessories mounted on it. If you have a large tank, we have extension that will make KLIR wider and wider. If you want to make the filter lower in the sump, there are brackets that allow you to do so.
Me: Your pamphlet says it can be mounted externally…
Jack: Yes, indeed. We have this very cool external box [see picture below]. You can set up your KLIR filter above the sump or on the side of it using the output fittings on the box to drain water to the sump. So as you see, with so many accessories and configuration options, we hope it will fit all systems with minimal changes required to them.
Me: Tell me about the fleece.
Jack: The fleece on KLIR is 50 microns and we are considering offering three kinds of fleece, 50, 80, and 120 microns. The length of the fleece is 50 yards [45 meters] and in a 330 gallon [1200 liters] tank, it lasts almost 3 months. Obviously, on smaller tanks it will last much longer, depending on different factors.
Me: That’s impressive. Can you tell me how much the unit will cost?
Jack: The base unit will cost $249 and a roll of fleece will be less than $20. Accessories are still awaiting pricing but will not be expensive to buy.
Me: What I was really excited about seeing at your booth was that cool looking sump you have on display.
Jack: Great. We are designing a series of KLIR sumps with KLIR filters on them. The KLIR filter sits on top of the sump, allowing for the area below it to be used for other filtration media like live rock or chemical media. The water then goes to the second chamber which offers dual media reactors. Each media reactor has its own dial regulating the flow through it. The next chamber has what we call GROW Algae Raceway LED Panel Refugium. It has a chamber in the middle with an array of LEDs specifically to grow algae. The water is flushed around the panel to extend contact with the algae. Light bounces of the white walls creating optimal conditions to grow macroalgae. The last chamber has adjustable baffles and area large enough to put a return pump and skimmer in.
Me: How many different models will there be?
Jack: The one I’m showing is 36. There’s also going to be a 30 which will be like this model just smaller and a 48 that will have one additional chamber like the last one with 15 gallon [56 liters] volume. You will be able to have it in line with the rest of the sump, so it becomes, for example, a frag tank. If you decide to run it offline, you can cap it and use it as an ATO container or a quarantine tank.
Me: What’s the pricing on these sumps?
Jack: We didn’t release pricing as of yet, because we are still working on it, but we will do so in the nearest future.
Me: Awesome. Thanks for talking to me, your product is really interesting and great looking.
Jack: Thank you, it’s been my pleasure.
KLIR was one of the most exciting new products at the show; when I first saw it, I was sure that it was a complicated device made only for specialized systems, but after talking to Jack and seeing KLIR in action, I want to have one immediately! In fact, our team at reefs.com were all impressed by this clever device, and we decided to award KLIR the “Best of Show” award for the most innovative product at the show.
KLIR filter will be distributed by CoralVue and is scheduled to hit the shelves this fall.
Learn more about KLIR by visiting: http://www.klirfilter.com/