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 Post subject: Water levels
PostPosted: Apr 30th, '18, 03:52 
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I am trying to get my system up and running and am having some issues with the water levels in my gravel bed. At present I am having trouble keeping the water level above 3 inches below the surface of the gravel. If I keep adding more water it drains out through the bell pump and the lower grow bed overflows. Any thoughts on what I can look at to fix this? I am wondering about the height of the grow bed. I am using gravity to run the water from the fish tank (about 250 gallons) to the gravel bed to the grown bed and a pump to run it from the grow bed back to the fish tank.

Picture of the system concept is attached.


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 Post subject: Re: Water levels
PostPosted: Apr 30th, '18, 15:01 
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You can raise the stand pipe to get a higher water level in the first grow bed but then you'll still overflow the second. A larger drain in the second bed might help. If you're testing this without media in the first bed then putting media in will reduce the volume of water going to the second bed. Is the second bed larger, smaller or the same size as the first?

Switching to a Constant Flood setup would take care of the problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Water levels
PostPosted: Apr 30th, '18, 18:47 
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No instructions with it to help?

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 Post subject: Re: Water levels
PostPosted: May 1st, '18, 00:29 
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I have been told that the drain (a bell pump?) in the gravel bed is supposed to cycle every fifteen minutes or so but at present it is running constantly. An install issue?

The two guesses I have had are either to raise the grow bed a bit (which might end up affecting the water level there :dontknow: ) also to adjust the flow pipe from the gravel bed to the lower bed. At present it is at a slight downward slope. I'm just not familiar enough with handling water and piping to either figure it out.

Both beds are the same size (the gravel bed is a bit deeper).


I am trying to get instructions - hopefully that will help.

In the meantime, can you explain a constant flood to me (or will I find a good description already in these forums?)?

I'm having someone come out and take a look at it this week and walk me through fixes but was hoping it might be a relatively easy fix on my own.

Thanks,

John


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 Post subject: Re: Water levels
PostPosted: May 1st, '18, 01:28 
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Jbuscher wrote:
I have been told that the drain (a bell pump?) in the gravel bed is supposed to cycle every fifteen minutes or so but at present it is running constantly. An install issue?


This is about the incoming flow rate but can't remember which way you need to adjust it - just play with the flow if you want the siphon to shut off and restart correctly (they can be a bit fiddly until you get them right). Your cycle time will also vary with the flow rate. FYI - It's not likely that your siphon cycle time will exactly match the specs for the unit and be 15 minutes (but it's also not that important).

-----

Constant Flood - basically the grow bed is always flooded to an inch or two below the media surface (which should remain dry) and the water is being pumped constantly (the constant pumping provides aeration). The bell siphon is removed and the water just flows over the top of the standpipe. If the standpipe has a small weep hole near the base you might need to replace it or flip it so the weep hole is up. The sump level doesn't fluctuate like it does with the siphons. What this means is that you can fill the sump all the way up as long as you don't let the water in the grow bed drain through the weep hole if there is a power outage.

It may be possible to switch back and forth between Constant Flood and Siphons depending on how your system is designed.


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 Post subject: Re: Water levels
PostPosted: May 1st, '18, 09:05 
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scotty435 wrote:
This is about the incoming flow rate but can't remember which way you need to adjust it - just play with the flow if you want the siphon to shut off and restart correctly (they can be a bit fiddly until you get them right). Your cycle time will also vary with the flow rate. FYI - It's not likely that your siphon cycle time will exactly match the specs for the unit and be 15 minutes (but it's also not that important).



At present the flow coming into the gravel bed is about as high as it can get. Is it possible then that by reducing the flow the cycle time will reduce allowing more water into the gravel bed? That seems counterintuitive to me but Am happy to try tomorrow and experiment.


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 Post subject: Re: Water levels
PostPosted: May 1st, '18, 22:25 
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Well I reduced the flow and after a bit of experimentation the pump is cycling. I’m going to monitor during the day to make sure everything stays peachy but otherwise seem ready to start the ammonia cycle. @Scotty435 - thank you so much for your advise and insight! May all of your pizzas be deep dish!


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 Post subject: Re: Water levels
PostPosted: May 2nd, '18, 08:27 
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What are the big tubs under the growbed?

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 Post subject: Re: Water levels
PostPosted: May 2nd, '18, 08:40 
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My version only has one. There is a pump to push water back to the fish tank.


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 Post subject: Re: Water levels
PostPosted: May 2nd, '18, 11:37 
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Ahhh, the sump... :thumbright:

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 Post subject: Re: Water levels
PostPosted: May 12th, '18, 07:55 
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As a follow up I wanted to give a quick update. I planted a few seeds in the grow bed and after four days the first to sprout was bok choy, follow by a single (so far) arugula. I am very excited and grateful for your help with the water levels.

John


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