A few choices made

Posted in: Aquaponics by Adrian on February 22, 2014

After struggling to find some of the pipe sizes at Bunnings for my auto siphon, Yesterday I took a trip to my local aquaponics shop – Hydroponics Express.  They managed to convince me that a few of my choices in design of the system was wrong.

But firstly they warned me about using the IBC – they really have to be clean – oh yeah I said, I have scrubbed and scrubbed it.  It must be clean!!  The young guy suggested that I give it a quick blast with a high pressure washer to make sure it is really clean.  So, today I yanked out the Karcher and blasted it!   It would appear that it still had some product in there – not a lot but maybe enough.  Remeber the product it was basically like glue so it dried up clear on the container.  It was only noticeable as under high pressure, the spray deflected off it differently!  Certainly is clean now!

The next discussion with him was around the plumbing.  I was planning to initially use a Bell siphon – a bit of simple plumbing that when it fills with water, acts as a siphon to empty the tank.  This is a widely used method but with this method the pump is usually run for about 15 minutes every hour and the growbed drains afterwards.  The suggestion (and the method they use at the shop) is to leave the pump running continuously and run a slow feed into the grow bed.  The drain is set to a height to keep most of the growbed flooded – almost to the top of the media.  The media looks dry on top but is flooded not far below.  The pump is mostly pumping back into the fish tank to keep their water moving about and just a trickle run up to the growbed.  This is enough to keep the water in the growbed rotated and thus filtering the fish water.

They then said that they have a kit with everything I need to set this up.  Even an eductor to keep the fish aerated as there is less flow coming from the grow bed than with a flood and drain setup.  My problems solved – I got the kit!

IBC Plumbing Kit

IBC Plumbing Kit

I also discussed media with them.  I was leaning towards using pea gravel for the growbed media.  He advised me that this would not work – I don’t actually believe this as there are many success stories on the net where it is used.  However, after looking at expanded clay, I do believe that this is a better choice.  It is much lighter than gravel.  It would be much easier to work with and also much less weight on the framework supporting the growbed.  I didn’t buy this but will in the near future.

What’s next?  I have to lay half a dozen slabs to support it all and then start the assembly….Maybe in the cool of the morning…Stay tuned!



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