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PostPosted: Aug 13th, '10, 20:48 
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Oh boy here I go!

Firstly hello to everyone - after reading so much info on this forum its kinda cool to think that all the familiar members you get to know are going to read this post too!! Sorry - complete newbie in action!

Anyhoo... Have 6 x 500L tanks and 2 x 2000L tanks. were second hand which is why we have so many 500Ls - were being used for yabbies. Cool thing is we also got given the trays he made for them as well as a heat pump thrown in too!

We have a shadeclothed area at the end of a granny flat next to the house which is about 6 x 3.6m. We have levelled the floor off with crusher dust and played around with placement. Have decided to leave one of the 500L tanks out for now hence the 6500L's.

btw think I am going to have to spread this over a couple of posts as my computer is not playing nice - have had to type this 3 times so far as every now and then when I hit the backspace it wipes this and goes to the previous page. Piece of shyte.

Will tempt fate and continue a bit more...

Next to this area is a big space where our vegie patch was. Have 2 big corrugated tanks to remove before the greenhouse goes up but as they are filled with concrete weve had to ask a mate to bring in the earthmoving equipment.

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PostPosted: Aug 13th, '10, 20:53 
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PostPosted: Aug 13th, '10, 21:25 
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Once the greenhouse is up it will be 8 x 13 metres with a welded solarweave top, shadecloth sides with corrugated iron about 3/4s of a metre along ground for snakes and to tie in with FT house. This will also have solarweave over top of shadecloth for winter - was ordered this week so should have shadecloth/solarweave and vinipet greenhouse channel in the next few weeks. Have posts already here and have ordered RHS steel too! Been busy spending money this week!

We have 11 IBC's (10@ $100ea + 1 freebie) plus 24 blue drums so far for the grow beds. Trying to work out whether to sink 1 IBC for sump or if we will need 2. Think we have decided on timer/spider valve system so wont need the sump capacity required for syphons. Would appreciate thoughts on sump size for timer system - have found info on syphon system suggesting that you should have sump size equal to FTs. Im sure its in here but would like confirmation on sump ratio for timer system if possible?

Growbeds will be around 13,000L for 2:1. Have worked out greenhouse measurements to fit 3 half cut IBC's per section (x 4 sections) and looking at 18,000L pumps atm. Thoughts appreciated on this as to whether flow will be enough? Photos to follow.

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PostPosted: Aug 13th, '10, 21:32 
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depending on your set up - sump should handle capacity of Grow beds (water capacity) + spare as your pump needs to be submerged - that's in a CHOP system (FT gravity fed into GB's). For Blue Barrels - if cut in 1/2, I believe even though its a total of 100 litres, there would be a max of 30 litres of water (anyone confirm?)

Sequencing is a different kettle of fish though


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PostPosted: Aug 13th, '10, 21:40 
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Oh btw just realised that I havent entered where Im from properly. Dareton, 20 mins from Mildura.

Pics are still coming once I work out how!

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PostPosted: Aug 13th, '10, 21:43 
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Which spider valve or valves you will use and how many beds you will be flooding at once as well as how long between pump on cycles will dictate how big the sump needs to be.

How many beds will you have?

Of course you should probably discuss this with Rupert since he is your valve distributor.

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PostPosted: Aug 13th, '10, 23:04 
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Thanks for the quick replies, was trying to download photos I took today but they must be too big - one maxed out the size limit! Will work on that over the weekend.

Will focus on details for now.

Was thinking originally of having timers but was told by irrigation specialists in town that a digital timer would cost about 1k! Started looking seriously at bell siphons and got heaps of info on how to make them etc. Then I read that you need same capacity in sumps as in fish tanks which is 6500L - way too much to fit into the greenhouse. Even if going by GB capacity, I read that ratio of gravel to water in the GB's is around 50/50 depending on media used which is still the same as we are going to be exactly 2:1 with 13,000L GB's.

After reading more and finding out you dont need anywhere the capacity sump on timed systems, and finding out about the $169 digital timers on Murrays site and as well as Ruperts spider valve - we found something similar in 4 or 6 outlet valve yesterday in an irrigation supply store for $160 helps to budget the costings.

GB's will consist of 18 half cut IBC's plus remainder in blue half cut drums. We were looking at 4 timed shifts, 6 x IBC's per shift for 3 shifts, 1 shift of Blue 1/2 drums. Spose I need to know if GB gravel/water ratio is actually 50/50?

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PostPosted: Aug 13th, '10, 23:23 
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Other considerations are as follows and would really appreciate any thoughts on this...

As all tanks are bottom draining we couldnt look at CHIFT using overflow for gravity feed to beds, so have decided to run pipes from bottom of tanks with ball valves at each tank to be able to adjust outflow depending on tank size, fish density, fish size, feeding rate, as well as distance away from pump perhaps being a factor in draining speed. This will atm be connected to an 18,000lph pump - havnt made final decision on that yet.

Still in the fish shed... we are thinking of using float valves in each tank linked to the water return from sump to automatically level tank heights - when tank is full it switches off its flow from sump ensuring that each tank is independently controlling its own water height and not overflowing. Also want to put one float valve into one tank for opposite effect to stop pump if water level gets too low due to problems with sump etc.

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PostPosted: Aug 14th, '10, 00:06 
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Sorry Erich, just read your reply again.

Have forgotten what CHOP is!
When I mentioned CHIFT I was thinking that constant height in fish tank gravity feed into GB's, does CHOP mean the same thing?

Also to clarify my GB's - 18 IBC halves = 9 of the 11 I have leaving 2 IBC's for sumps, so 6 IBC halves = 3000L GB per shift. So by that calculation will have 30 blue drum halves for 4th shift (Bloody hell only just worked that out then!) Thats a lot of half drums for one shift when you consider plumbing...

Because the sumps ended up being the last factor in our system design, we were only thinking of one IBC (blame hubby for that one!) Today we were talking about two linked by a large diameter pipe to level water which only leaves 9 IBC's for GB's instead of the 10. So we are only looking at 12,000L of the GB IBC's, but should be able to add the other 1000L in blue drums (have 24 standing by) and should have space in greenhouse, timer shifts are the only consideration....looks like we will be better off with 6 instead of 4 outlet valve

We have thought of an idea which we will try out to see how it goes and am wondering if anyone does it... if sump pump cannot handle GB discharge for any reason - or if it stops from power failure or fault, having a float valve in the sump so that if the sump gets too full is attached to a gate valve to hold the water in the pipework and growbeds until water level drops then it opens again.

This is the other reason we were looking at a float in the tank to switch off FT to GB pump if water level drops too much which will stop pump overflowing GB's. Thoughts?

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PostPosted: Aug 14th, '10, 00:35 
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Would this make a difference to the sump tank size consideration?

"For Blue Barrels - if cut in 1/2, I believe even though its a total of 100 litres, there would be a max of 30 litres of water (anyone confirm?) "

Will be interested in the answer to this one if its correct :think: Would definitely change the ST capacity required!

One last question to leave you with at just after 2am - have been looking at gravel this week also, $85 for blue stone, $120 for 20mm river stones (much smoother and cleaner) another one tho that I dont have price on but have been wondering about is a quartz type stone, not very milky, texture smoother than blue stone but not as smooth as river stone. Have looked at queries on this and havn't found a lot on it. Is definitely a consistent rough clear quartz stone no other colour present. The salesgirl steered us away from it as apparently it reflects too much light to have it on pathways etc - too white! Thinking about it wouldnt that be a good thing? reflecting light would aid plant growth yes? Would algae be a problem if the media is partially see through?

Anyway, sorry to leave you with so many posts to sift through in one hit, once I started I had to get it all out of my system and onto the forum where it belongs! :cheers:

Hopefully it all makes sense although I know pics definitely help, I will try to work out how to lower the file or pic size somehow. Or take them again with a different camera!

Thanks everyone, looking forward to what you think so far - your advice is much anticipated and very welcome...... :notworthy:

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PostPosted: Aug 14th, '10, 07:20 
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:D Cut your barrel, fill with preferred media, fill with water then measure the water and times by beds :D
As far as media is concerned I would go with the lightest (as in weight ) and cheapest, but that's coz I'm a tight ass :shifty:

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PostPosted: Aug 14th, '10, 07:57 
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netab32

re SUMP. Yes - CHIFT AND CHOP are the same, so that means your FT is a constant height and cant drain away - therefor your "sump" volume is worked out by the water capacity of your GBs.

Just imagine power is off. FT level wont move, will stay full. "IF" all your grow beds siphon/drain at the same time, this will all go to the sump, hence its GB volume + extra to ensure the pump is submerged for the Sump


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PostPosted: Aug 14th, '10, 12:58 
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Thanks for that Erich,

once its spelled out it seems like common sense but at the moment we have so much info swirling around at once that we had just had a brain fart on that one! :oops:

Probably getting ahead of myself a bit too cause our next part of the project was cutting down an IBC and drum and grabbing some different types of gravel to test. Should be cutting this weekend hopefully :)

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PostPosted: Aug 14th, '10, 13:04 
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Thanks gnash06,

agree with the gravel. spoke to the garden supply place this morning about the quartz - want $120 per metre (same price as river stone) - ouch! Only saving grace is that it IS heaps lighter.

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PostPosted: Aug 14th, '10, 13:24 
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gnash06 wrote:
:D Cut your barrel, fill with preferred media, fill with water then measure the water and times by beds :D
As far as media is concerned I would go with the lightest (as in weight ) and cheapest, but that's coz I'm a tight ass :shifty:


agree 110% :)

Im gonna go scoria. Light and PH friendly :)


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