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PostPosted: Dec 14th, '17, 05:40 
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Hi all,

I am just getting started in this hobby with my 12 year old son and we have been researching for several weeks on how to build a small, starter AP system.

We have decided we want to start small but give ourselves the capacity to grow in the future. We have settled on a 55gal drum for our fish tank, and a 55gal drum cut in two for our grow beds. We plan to put our water pump in a sump tank and pump water to both the fish tank and the grow beds, throttling the flow to one or the other if needed, letting any extra flow to to the fish tank. We are doing a flood and drain system, with an external U siphon back into the sump tank. We are also working on building a radial flow filter out of a water cooler jug.

Since we are starting small, I purchased a small submersible water pump capable of 291gph flow rate. We will have to pump up to the top of the fish tank, and then split from there to go to the grow beds, so I'm expecting our flow rate to be somewhere in the 100gph range, with some of that going to the fish tank and some going the grow bed.

Do we need to use certain size drain lines to make it operate correctly? Obviously, if I had a huge pipe running to the siphon, I probably wouldn't have enough flow rate to trigger the siphon. However, what about the drain pipe out of the fish tank to the filter, and from the filter to sump tank?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Dec 14th, '17, 10:26 
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Rule of thumb, for starters, is that the drain should be at least 2x the inlet (e.g., 1/2-inch inlet, 1-inch drain). You could probably get away with 1.5x the inlet if you aren't pushing the inlet flow too much (e.g., you're splitting and throttling as you state) and you're sure it won't clog (e.g., keep a close eye on roots and debris). If you aren't sure, you certainly want to err on the side of having too large of a drain since too small of a drain will result in overflow and make a mess.

Based on your small pump size, you could probably get away with 3/4 pvc drains on your growbeds but I would suggest at least 1" and 1.5-2" on the fish tank (since you want extra flow to go there and may get a bigger pump in the future).

As a cost compromise for the growbeds, if you can find thin-wall 3/4" pvc, it has larger flow area than the regular stuff, is cheaper (because it can't hold pressure) and uses 3/4" fittings, which are cheaper than 1" fittings. Availability in the big box stores is hit-or-miss.


best of luck.

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PostPosted: Dec 14th, '17, 20:03 
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Thanks for the reply! So, do I keep the same pipe size from the fish tank through the RFF? Does the pipe size need to change anywhere to make the RFF work efficiently?


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PostPosted: Dec 15th, '17, 00:55 
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I don't have a rff but I think the important parameter is the residence time in the filter, no so much the pipe feeding it.

Consider initial build without a rff to keep it simple.

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