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 Post subject: PVC Pipe Grow Bed?
PostPosted: Mar 28th, '12, 11:48 
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Hey there,

I am putting together a small aquarium size Aquaponics system for a biology learning center and I've been looking for materials to use for a grow bed and I have been at a loss for what to use that is attractive and functional.

I was thinking of taking one 6in. (perhaps wider) PVC pipe, cutting it in half lengthwise and filling it with grow media. My idea is to pump water into one capped end and then I would cap the opposite end while leaving a screened overflow slot 1/2 in below the top of the bed. The drainage cap would also have slow draining holes to nearly empty the beds when the pump turns off.

Has anyone worked with this idea before, do you have some advice or thoughts on the idea?

Sincerely,
Evan Post


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 Post subject: Re: PVC Pipe Grow Bed?
PostPosted: Mar 28th, '12, 16:11 
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A "second generation" trial used a kitty litter tray as the GB (they come in all sorts of colours!) Fill with gravel (resist the urge to use perlite) and plant out with herbs and lettuce (they're not too deep rooted). You can easily configure for either continuous flood, or flood and drain; miniature siphons are too fiddly and don't work particularly well in this circumstance IMHO.


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 Post subject: Re: PVC Pipe Grow Bed?
PostPosted: Mar 29th, '12, 02:46 
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Instead of cutting it in half I would probably cut it at the 3/4 mark or even higher. I know it would suck since you wouldn't get 2 GBs per pipe (especially since 6" PVC is around $40-50/pipe here) but you'd have a lot more media volume.

Edit: If you do cut a channel in the top if you leave some 2-3" strips connected along the top it will retain it structural integrity better, depending on if you want to support the sides or not.

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 Post subject: Re: PVC Pipe Grow Bed?
PostPosted: Mar 29th, '12, 05:03 
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Great, thank you. I'll look into the kitty litter box.
Wow I did not realize they were so pricey, I guess I can only hope to salvage some, the 3/4 idea is perfect, that will maximize depth, thank you.

Evan


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 Post subject: Re: PVC Pipe Grow Bed?
PostPosted: Mar 29th, '12, 05:30 
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I have drilled holes for media filled netpots in pipe like that but kept most of it intact to prevent algae growth. High flow rates of nutrient made it more of a DWC system then NFT then using a 90 elbow at the end turned upwards regulated the water level in the pipe. works great and some others have made adjustable dams using gasketed soil pipe fittings in the UK out of a style of pipe I could not find here that worked really well for them. They where able to turn the dam fitting to increase or decrease water levels and make giant systems with dams every so often regulating water level throughout the systems. With the 90 degree elbows I just had to let them dump into a trough.

There was another thread I saw using some large pipe cut in half where the guy plastic welded endcaps but it was 18-24 inch pipe IIRC along the line of half a barrel size. I just don't see how a media filled 6 inch half pipe would be good for more the tiny herbs.

I tried some leftover gutter filled with some small gravel on my aquarium before and found it to get root bound super fast so I imagine small pipe would do the same. I ended up switch to a rubbermaid bid re-enforced with a wood frame after that. It was a 75 gallon 3 piranha system with a raft of herbs in a small pool of feeder fish. 18 gallon rubbermaid plus regular magnum filter kept it really clean.


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 Post subject: Re: PVC Pipe Grow Bed?
PostPosted: Mar 29th, '12, 06:05 
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@ pancakes "some others have made adjustable dams using gasketed soil pipe fittings in the UK out of a style of pipe I could not find here that worked really well for them. They where able to turn the dam fitting to increase or decrease water levels and make giant systems with dams every so often regulating water level throughout the systems."

Do you have any links or drawings of that adjustable dam thingy?

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 Post subject: Re: PVC Pipe Grow Bed?
PostPosted: Mar 29th, '12, 06:37 
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I will see if I can steal some of the pics as they are from forums others here might not find worksafe to look at. Just imagine a gasketed pipe coupling with a chunk of pvc glued in it in the shape of a semicircle so as you turn it it allows more or less water to build up behind it. several of them in series in a system operates like rock dams along a creek just done in a pipe for pipe style DWC. Its not work safe to google but "heath flooded tube vertical" for the thread on a NON WORK SAFE SITE. its where i got the idea to copy. I looked for even work safe pics to steal from there to post here with credit but even his water mark is non work safe so I would not even link the images to here.

heath robinson is a pioneer at indoor gardening, if only he applied himself to basil on an industrial scale he would be a multi-millionaire.

All the gasket type soil pipes I found here are to tight of a gasket and won't rotate easily but I do think ball valves installed the right direction should work just fine as dams.


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 Post subject: Re: PVC Pipe Grow Bed?
PostPosted: Mar 29th, '12, 07:12 
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Thanks pancakes.

I googled the terms and think I have a good understanding of the idea. I'll have to stop at Home Depot and Menards to see if I can cobble something together.

Thanks again

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 Post subject: Re: PVC Pipe Grow Bed?
PostPosted: Mar 29th, '12, 09:27 
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Hi Guys:
Every time I looked into using big pipes for growing I reconsidered because they were pricey. Instead of pipes I'm currently using troughs made from liner and lumber. They can be any size you want, so if you need something deeper than a 6" pipe you can make one yourself. You can use them as NFT or media filled or water filled with net pots. I don't plan to use any other method except maybe a gravel bed pre filter from now on.

See viewtopic.php?p=282976#p282976

Hey Evan for a small aquarium setup you might just prowl Walmart for storage or food container that are not too thin and flimsy. Another option is at Lowe's there are rectangular flower boxes that work well over an aquarium. I was using one that didn't have holes in the bottom over my aquarium this Winter (constant flood).

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 Post subject: Re: PVC Pipe Grow Bed?
PostPosted: Mar 29th, '12, 11:57 
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Thanks, I suppose PVC seemed to be the most sensible and available salvaged material. But I will begin looking for some solid containers elsewhere. Thank you for the advice, its much appreciated.

Evan Post


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