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 Post subject: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 12th, '16, 12:35 
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Long time lurker, but I have finally put together my first trial system

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The internal of the bell syphon is a bit different to the clear glass jar. I just did that so I could watch it working.
I was surprised to have the syphon working on the first test. It was after though that I realised I had issues.




I am finding I need the flow rate up quite high to get the syphon to start. If the flow rate is low, it just spills over rather than creating the syphon. Up high, it syphons easily, but the grow bed is filling up too fast.
Does anyone have any tips?




Also looking at my setup, does anyone have any comments or criticisms of my setup?
Eventually, I want to replace the tubs with more permanent solutions.
I need to flush the water. I am leaving it running like that for a while to try and clean the volcanic rock before I put any fish or plants in.


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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 12th, '16, 16:01 
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Welcome to the forum :wave: .

I'm not sure how your siphon is setup, you may want to show a few pics of the internals on the actual siphon in the second video. Usually it's not a big deal if the grow bed siphon kicks over often as long as it's kicking over and not just flooding (I had one that kicked over 10 times per hour). A few of the people here have dialed in siphons enough that they can help you better than I can - I've been using Constant Flood for years and am a bit rusty.


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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 12th, '16, 16:25 
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Hi John-c,

It looks like the piping under your siphon just drops straight down? If you cut it off a couple of inches below the bottom of the bed, and put in two 90 degree elbows so that you've got a horizontal length of pipe before the second elbow redirects the water flow downwards again, that'll create some back pressure and make the siphon start easier.

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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 13th, '16, 16:56 
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Thanks for the ideas. I will give them a try on the weekend.
It's a bit dark when I get home from work to take photos of the internals, so I will also do that on the weekend.

Just out of interest I timed the fill and empty.
From the end of the last empty cycle
50 seconds - spill over starts
1:20 - Syphon starts
1:40 - Syphon finishes

So rounded approx 30 cycles an hour.


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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 13th, '16, 18:08 
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Yeah, that's really fast! :shock:

One other thing is that your growbed looks very shallow. How deep is it? A deeper bed will give more room for plant roots to grow without clogging things up, and much better filtration for your system. If you're going to stick with that growbed for a while, I'd just make it constant flood and not worry about siphons just yet.

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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 13th, '16, 19:08 
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Hey John I'm in the process of starting to mess with AP as well and during my research it was drummed into me 300 mm deep GBs.
I later found out it's not just because there's more room for the roots to acquire their required mass without restricting water flow too much - it's so water retention adjustments can be made for reasons such as cooling in summer without drowning the roots, helping with seedling starting, bug purging, sump tank volume matching etc. To me there are too many reasons not to have a 300 mm deep GB.

Pete. :)

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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 13th, '16, 20:33 
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Looks like I need deeper grow beds! I think mine are around 10cm.
Any recommendations for sources? I am in Adelaide.

I need to replace the trial one at some stage anyway, as it is not UV stabilised plastic. I just picked it up from The Reject Shop.
I checked my local Bunnings but didn't see anything suitable. I will give Paramount Browns a try.


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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 13th, '16, 22:35 
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I used builders tubs from Bunnings in my teeny test system - their website is useless and I can't find them on there, but you can get a look at them in my intro thread: viewtopic.php?f=45&t=26859

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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 14th, '16, 05:22 
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Used bath tubs are the cheapest option as its difficult to find a non-purpose built container that has the structural and volumetric capacity to support stones and water.
They look ugly and definitely out of place out there in the garden but they can be almost hidden as some members have done.

Pete.

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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 14th, '16, 07:24 
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You may as well tip some seeds in there for some lettuce/spinach/rocket

I'd be shocked if you weren't eating salads in 2 weeks time! Aldi have seeds out for 99c a packet at the moment.

Menzel Plastics opposite Castle Plaza have a pretty big range of tubs. If being food grade is important to you they have them in food grade but they're not terribly cheap, although they are high quality.

For second hand/cheaper options you can go for the ubiquitous blue barrel, try Pat the Drum Man he often advertises on Gumtree and has a yard out north somewhere, or otherwise Paramount Browns.


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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 14th, '16, 08:09 
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Mel Redcap wrote:
I used builders tubs from Bunnings in my teeny test system - their website is useless and I can't find them on there, but you can get a look at them in my intro thread: viewtopic.php?f=45&t=26859


They seem to be what I am after. I will head to Parafield Bunnings to see what they have. My local one is small.

Petesake wrote:
They look ugly and definitely out of place out there in the garden but they can be almost hidden as some members have done.


My wife has already said "can't you do something about this, it looks ugly" :P


SeanD wrote:
You may as well tip some seeds in there for some lettuce/spinach/rocket.


Already done :D
I thought I had to grow them in planters first though. Can you just stick them in the growbed?


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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 14th, '16, 11:27 
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Yeah mate, that's how all these lettuce leaves got into mine!

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Just tip them in and watch them grow


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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 15th, '16, 08:57 
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diyaquaponics wrote:
Does the size of the bell siphon affect the drain rate? ex. height of the siphon

Up to a point, yeah. Just like pumps, siphons have a 'head height' - the distance from the current water level to the top of the standpipe, basically - and as the water level in the bed drops and that increases, you're also losing a lot of the force provided by gravity (there's less water trying to flow down, so less pressure forcing it up that head height). Narrow piping will slow down flow a lot; so will a bell that's not enough wider than the standpipe or a little too short. That's why siphons that are pushing the edge of their performance envelope can sometimes drain most of the way, then hit equilibrium and just sit there dribbling out water at the same rate it's coming in.

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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 15th, '16, 09:14 
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john-c wrote:
Petesake wrote:
They look ugly and definitely out of place out there in the garden but they can be almost hidden as some members have done.


My wife has already said "can't you do something about this, it looks ugly" :P


SeanD wrote:
You may as well tip some seeds in there for some lettuce/spinach/rocket.


Already done :D
I thought I had to grow them in planters first though. Can you just stick them in the growbed?


There's a bunch of really awesome examples in different members' threads of how systems can be camouflaged or made pretty - Sean's is a great one where something really easy and simple (the bamboo shelter fence stuff) has made it look a lot better than a bare IBC. :thumbright:

With the seeds, there are a bunch of different ways to do it. Big chunky seeds that will stick in place just above the high waterline and not fall through the media are really easy to sow straight into the growbed; so are things that hate being transplanted, or plants where you toss in a zillion little seeds and if even one in ten comes up you'll have plenty, like the lettuce. If you've only got a few seeds and you really care about them (like my Jewels of Opar... c'mon, little seeds, germinate!) or spacing is crucial, starting them in seedling trays and transplanting them in is probably the way to go.

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 Post subject: Re: My Trial System
PostPosted: Sep 15th, '16, 09:23 
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(a) seeds

yes they grow direct but depends on how much moisture is in the upper part of the media.
You may have to use a watering can for a short while.

Things like lettuce and Asian veg, sping onions etc do fine.
Tomatoes etc I would raise in punnets first or just buy in punnets from Bunnings - you get a feed much quicker that way. Reject shop in WA always has seeds for $1.50.
In a production system it is more efficient to raise seeds in punnets during the time you are growing out your first feed and transplant to replace. I just re-use the plastic seed trays and small pots Bunnings etc seedlings come in.
Just need daily (twice daily) watering - I have a seed raising stand with micro-jet watering..

(b) tubs

the larger Bunnings have a range. UV stable are more expensive. The builders tubs and 'tool tubs' will be around (they are usually not with the cheap tubs at my Bunnings).

+1 to the builders tubs but they are usually quite a bit more. Bunnings also have a 200-300L toolbox but again costs more.

UV is less of an issue if you have the tubs under shadecloth or a greenhouse etc where the UV is cut down.
I have got away with the black ones with yellow lids (Montgomery 100L) and there is another type as well - all about $20.


Stock troughs are pretty good and large - but you end up paying $200 or so. I had to go that route along my side because I cannot get a IBC width in and they are excellent.

alternatives are drums in half (see Daptsi setup viewtopic.php?f=18&t=26586&start=45 page 4 uses blue drums )

or else go to something like dutch buckets, particularly if you are looking at tomatoes, cucumbers etc.
(use search - covered quite a bit in forum) You can use planters etc then.

[edit] as Mel says few examples - best would be the systems Iceman Dude and Iceman Dudes parents built.
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=13291 and viewtopic.php?f=18&t=23141

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