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PostPosted: Jan 17th, '14, 02:46 
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Hello all, new to this site.

I've been doing lots of reading and thinking - this place is a wonderful source. My initial plan is to start with a 275 or 330 gal IBC for the FT and will split 30 gal plastic drums lengthwise to make pairs of GBs. I will be using lava rock as the medium and will make up an ebb and flow system. My initial GB will be 8 half barrels with 15 gallons of media and suspect that it will take about 6 to 8 gallons of water to fill to 1" below the surface. That will work out to be about 10 to 12 gallons of wet media or 80 to 96 gallons of FB. I've read where you want the water about 1" below the surface of the medium to prevent algae growth as well as not spraying the water on the surface.

1) - the 2" plugs on my barrels have a 3/4" threaded knockout. Could I use that to fill the GB from below? That would make for a neater install and prevent the need to spray from the surface. Any cons to that?

2) - in actual use/reliability, is a bell siphon better or worse than a loop siphon? I've read about sizing the bell but have not seen much on the loop. Does the loop need to be a flexible hose looped or can it be made up of PVC elements with 90 degree corners? I suppose I could heat the PVC pipe and make my own round loops, too.

More question will be sure to follow...

Thanks!

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PostPosted: Jan 17th, '14, 02:58 
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Welcome LJohnSaw!

I used loop siphons before made from garden hose, one problem with hose loops is that biofilm builds up and slows them down, I think because the rubber allows this more than say PVC would. The good news though is that hoses can be straightened and cleaned easily. I actually have not used siphons since then, made a pipe-based one after that but not part of a system. Been using timed flood and drain or constant flood.

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PostPosted: Jan 17th, '14, 11:55 
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"1) - the 2" plugs on my barrels have a 3/4" threaded knockout. Could I use that to fill the GB from below? That would make for a neater install and prevent the need to spray from the surface. Any cons to that?"

This sounds like you want to pump water in from the low point of your growbed??
If that's what you mean, you will be pushing water from the bottom of your grow bed against the developing head pressure created by doing so which is not very logical

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PostPosted: Jan 17th, '14, 15:30 
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More on my planned build -

My yard is sloped so I'm thinking of this layout: My FT will be the high point because it is on an existing slab I poured for a dog kennel beneath my deck. That will give them much needed shade as my summers are 100 degrees plus in the summer. I could use the crawl spare air under my house to add some heat to the water in the winter as well. Also, I can add a little bit of cyclone fencing on top and make it raccoon/opossum proof. From there, I will fill a flush tank that I'm working up the mechanics for a flout with a distribution setup. From the base of the tank to the top of my GBs will be 6' of drop. The flush tank could be mounted a foot or two higher if I think I need more head. The GB will then go into a sump that will need to pump up hill about 12' (to the top of the FT).

So, filling the GB from the bottom is not an issue. Since each will only hold about 6 to 8 gallons, I think I will flood them in pairs to reduce the number of pipes down the hill. I have a boatload of 1" PVC and I'm thinking that should be enough volume/flow to move ~15 gallons of water with 6-8' of head (~3-4 psi) pretty quickly. :dontknow:

With connecting to the existing bung plug, I can use a T and actually use it for the slow drain as well (with a ball valve to regulate the flow), though this will leave about an inch or so of water in the bottom of the GB. :think:

Please keep the comments coming - this is all thinking out loud at the moment. I have no experience in -ponics. I used to have a 120 gallon goldfish tank so I know how to check and maintain water and keep some pretty big goldfish alive :)

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PostPosted: Jan 17th, '14, 21:43 
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Sounds like a nice setup. Draw it out so we can see it. Sometimes there are little things that you don't think of.

F.I. you're worried about the temp and placement of the growbed, but it sounds like the sump will be out in the sun at the bottom of a hill.

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PostPosted: Jan 18th, '14, 02:53 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Bazzwaldo wrote:
"1) - the 2" plugs on my barrels have a 3/4" threaded knockout. Could I use that to fill the GB from below? That would make for a neater install and prevent the need to spray from the surface. Any cons to that?"

This sounds like you want to pump water in from the low point of your growbed??
If that's what you mean, you will be pushing water from the bottom of your grow bed against the developing head pressure created by doing so which is not very logical

Cheers
Bazzwaldo


Pumping from the bottom would most likely reduce the head of water the pump needed to work against for at least some of the filling cycle. This arrangement is used in upflow gravel filters.

Has some applications for AP but would need a different configuration to what you normally see around here.

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PostPosted: Jan 18th, '14, 05:17 
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OK, here is a drawing of my idea. Simplified, I only show one circuit/GB for clarity. I'm working on my idea for a sequential Flout box. I'll "float" that idea later.

Attachment:
File comment: Overall layout with some details on the plumbing.
Aquaponics-1_1_1.png
Aquaponics-1_1_1.png [ 73.93 KiB | Viewed 5117 times ]


Attachment:
Aquaponics-1_1_2.png
Aquaponics-1_1_2.png [ 85.34 KiB | Viewed 5117 times ]


Attachment:
Aquaponics-1_1_3.png
Aquaponics-1_1_3.png [ 106.96 KiB | Viewed 5117 times ]

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PostPosted: Jan 18th, '14, 11:12 
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Stuart Chignell wrote:
Bazzwaldo wrote:
"1) - the 2" plugs on my barrels have a 3/4" threaded knockout. Could I use that to fill the GB from below? That would make for a neater install and prevent the need to spray from the surface. Any cons to that?"

This sounds like you want to pump water in from the low point of your growbed??
If that's what you mean, you will be pushing water from the bottom of your grow bed against the developing head pressure created by doing so which is not very logical

Cheers
Bazzwaldo


Pumping from the bottom would most likely reduce the head of water the pump needed to work against for at least some of the filling cycle. This arrangement is used in upflow gravel filters.

Has some applications for AP but would need a different configuration to what you normally see around here.


Sorry, I'm suggesting that pumping water IN from the bottom of the grow bed is pumping against gravity and against a developing head.
You are right about it having certain uses
I have used this style of flow in upweller situations for oyster spat setting, its aim then was to keep the veliger staged larvae from falling out of suspension during a stage of their development

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PostPosted: Jan 18th, '14, 12:24 
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So, does my plumbing make sense? I'll have plenty of head to fill the GB and then it will slowly drain out through the drain valve into the drain pipe that also services the overflow. My sump will actually be a little farther away from the GB. Where I am installing the GB is on a terraced lawn area that drops off about 3' right next to my fence so I would not have to dig to put it "below grade". It will be almost in complete shade most of the day and I will probably put a shade cloth over it. Or should I have a pond and raise some duck weed or something for fish food?

I will use two 12vdc pumps run from a solar panel during the day and a transformer at night. That way, if I have power interruption, I'm at least good for the daylight hours. Also, two pumps for redundancy and to move the required amount of water. The largest 12vdc pump I've found is an RV pump that moves 3.5gpm at 30psi so I don't expect too much loss from my head of about 12'. I picked up a 55gal drum already fitted with a high and low magnetic reed switch that I will use to shut the pumps off if the water level drops too low.

My only second thought is that the solids from the FT will either settle out in the Flout distribution box or will go in and then out of the GB via the common in/out pipe. Is that a concern/problem?

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PostPosted: Jan 18th, '14, 14:26 
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Hi John
A couple of questions
1) is your FT and flout tanks situated above or below the GB array?
It kinda looks like they are above the GB in the pictures

So I figure you are pumping from the sump, up to the FT which is then gravity fed via Flout to GB, if this is the case, flowing from base up is fine in your GB as it is gravity fed instead of being pumped (which is what I first thought)

2) I see you wanted an ebb flow system, I don't know much about this but it seems impossible in my mind that you can discharge using siphon at the top of your barrel (you will have to check with others on this one)

3) 3.5 gal/ min equals around 800lph, you will have to look at the flow rate specs to see what they are at your sump/FT difference because if there was no flow drop the most exchanges you could expect in your 275 gal (lets say 800l with the lid cut off is 1 turnover per hour and roughly .8 times for the 330.
Some others might like to comment on that rate, I would suspect it would be absolute minimum but purely my opinion

Looks like a great project,

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PostPosted: Jan 18th, '14, 16:25 
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Bazzwaldo wrote:
Hi John
A couple of questions
1) is your FT and flout tanks situated above or below the GB array?
It kinda looks like they are above the GB in the pictures

Yes, above. I attempted to show that in the drawing (which is to scale) that the base of the FT is 8' above the base of the GB rack and roughly 5.5' above the top of the GB.
Bazzwaldo wrote:
So I figure you are pumping from the sump, up to the FT which is then gravity fed via Flout to GB, if this is the case, flowing from base up is fine in your GB as it is gravity fed instead of being pumped (which is what I first thought)

2) I see you wanted an ebb flow system, I don't know much about this but it seems impossible in my mind that you can discharge using siphon at the top of your barrel (you will have to check with others on this one)

Discharge from which barrel? I will have NO siphons in my system. The line coming out of the FT will be the normal air break/overflow T, sucking up the solids from the bottom of the FT. The line coming out of the sump will actually be at the bottom feeding the pumps. The lines on the GB will be a simple fill/drain but may be split to fill from the top to disperse the solids? if I don't put a swirl solids separator in the plumbing. I'm still pondering the merits of putting the solids into the GB for worms to take care of or having to manually remove them (flush the swirl) every couple of weeks. My fruit trees might like the boost :wink:
Bazzwaldo wrote:
3) 3.5 gal/ min equals around 800lph, you will have to look at the flow rate specs to see what they are at your sump/FT difference because if there was no flow drop the most exchanges you could expect in your 275 gal (lets say 800l with the lid cut off is 1 turnover per hour and roughly .8 times for the 330.
Some others might like to comment on that rate, I would suspect it would be absolute minimum but purely my opinion

Looks like a great project,

Cheers
Bazzwaldo

Yes, ONE 3.5 would be the minimum flow for turnover. That is why I'm proposing two pumps with independent lines back to the FT. I will probably have a water level switch that will kick on the second pump if the sump gets above a certain level (1/2 full?) letting the other take it to empty (with another level switch to shut it off when low). All theory at this point :dontknow:

I have spent zero (other than gas to pick up items) for materials to date:

24 Concrete pier blocks
8 4x4 PT posts from 8' to 14'
20+ 2x6 redwood 8' to 14' plus assorted shorts 2'-4'
7 30 gallon drums to split into grow beds
5 55 gallon drums for other GB or ?
1 55 gallon drum with fluid level switches and separate lid for sump tank
1.5 yards of lava rock (Scoria) (always on CraigsList for free)
550' of 1" PVC pipe
100' of 2" PVC pipe (actually bought it about 30 years ago!)
Lots of 5 gallon buckets to make a swirl filter to separate the solids

Now, if I could score an IBC and some pumps for free... :roll:
and a small solar setup and AC power to run the pumps. I'll have to check a spare Malibu 12v light transformer to see what it can put out. It already has a timer built in to the unit.

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PostPosted: Jan 19th, '14, 09:46 
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Hi John

Sounds like I'm confusing your logic, I don't quite understand how you intend to flood/drain (ebb/flow) your system (siphon bell is one way) so I'm going to pass on this and ask someone with more aquaponics experience make future suggestions

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PostPosted: Jan 19th, '14, 12:16 
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Actually quite simple. I will use a Flout to fast-flood one GB at a time. Then, they will slowly drain, assuming the drain doesn't clog :shock:

I appreciate your questions - there's probably dozens of people that have the same questions you bring up. Sometimes I don't quite make myself clear. The concept is absolutely clear in my mind, though possibly flawed! :shifty:

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PostPosted: Jan 31st, '14, 02:49 
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OK, modified the design. The water will be fed from smaller tanks that will be filled via flouts on an indexing scheme. Though complicated looking, my plan is to be able to do some experimenting. I can plant identical items and vary the water supply from fast fill/slow drain to slow fill/fast drain.

Thought?


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File comment: Detail on the GBs
Aquaponics_3.png
Aquaponics_3.png [ 165.47 KiB | Viewed 4950 times ]

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PostPosted: Feb 14th, '14, 15:49 
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OK, here we go - first, cutting the 30 gal (113 L). Instead of splitting them in half, which would only give me about 8-1/2" (22 cm) of media depth, I cut them at 13" (33 cm). That resulted in 2/3 of the volume (20 gal/76 L). I had a sheet rock square that worked out really well for measuring and marking.
Attachment:
20140128 GB mark ends 8x6.jpg
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20140128 GB mark side 8x6.jpg
20140128 GB mark side 8x6.jpg [ 240.44 KiB | Viewed 4837 times ]


Attachment:
20140128 GB Cut 6x8.jpg
20140128 GB Cut 6x8.jpg [ 67.27 KiB | Viewed 4837 times ]



to be continued...

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