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This is my 1st system and its been fun getting here. Still a lot to learn.

I'm using a 140 gallon feed tub as a FT and 4- 2 x 3 ft mixing trays as GB's. The media is cinder(lava), there's a lot of that here in Hawaii.

I've ganged the 4 GB together with 2" PVC with drains at the bottom. The drains are 2" shower drains. The system completes with an external siphon dumping back into the FT. The system cycles every 15 minutes and hasn't missed a beat for 2 weeks now(knock on wood).

I'm about done with the fishless cycling, just waiting for the nitrites to drop before adding fish.

Criticism and advice are totally welcome.

I'm trying to post pictures as well. Hope they show up.

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I think my edit got lost. Anyway, the GB's are hooked in series and the siphon is the last item in that series. The beds drain evenly and completely.

Japan Aquaponics said:

Also, I would love to know how you out the external siphon together - it looks very neat.

 

 

...and I made a spelling error... I meant to ask, how did you put the siphon together?

 

The idea of angling the return pipe to the FT is a good one - and apart from the benefits mentioned most fish also like to have a current in the the water and so this will help to keep them healthy.  

 

Given that your growbeds are reasonably small you may also want to keep in the back of your mind the need for some solids filtration further down the line.  There is a lot of debate about this and whilst many think that the growbeds themselves will provide enough filtration so that clean water is returned to the FT, there is also the problem that the solid particulates in the water (getting smaller and smaller each time they go through the pump) compete for the oxygen in the water as they decompose.  This could affect your fish and plants if the build-up of solids particulate increases.

 

In this case it may be worthwhile just thinking about a possible simple filtration system to add into the system at a later date... maybe a swirl filter after the syphon if you are going to use worms to break solid matter down in the growbeds.

Larry said:

I think my edit got lost. Anyway, the GB's are hooked in series and the siphon is the last item in that series. The beds drain evenly and completely.

Japan Aquaponics said:

Also, I would love to know how you out the external siphon together - it looks very neat.

 

 

If the stocking density in the system is high, then additional filtration may be necessary but if the stocking is kept fairly low (like one fish (or less) growing out to plate size per cubic foot of gravel) then media beds are able to handle all the filtration needs.

The siphon is very simple, Here's a picture and a quick explanation.

I used a Dremel with a little drum sander to remove the stop on the bushing. Took out a bit more so the inner drain pipe would slide through the bushing but still not leak. The side inlet is from the GBs. Set the top of the inner drain pipe at your desired water level. Install the outer pipe and the cap. The cap should be about 3/8" above the top of the inner drain pipe (air space). The cap should be airtight. Turn on the pump.

I've only tested this close to the GB's where the air can easily get from the GB drain to the siphon, thus, breaking the siphon when empty. 

Inner drain pipe should be 1/2 the pipe size as the outer pipe. I've tested it on 2" with 1" and 1 1/2" with 3/4".

I hope this makes sense.

Oh yeah, the shape of the cap may make a bit of difference. I like the flat ones.


Japan Aquaponics said:

...and I made a spelling error... I meant to ask, how did you put the siphon together


 

love it.

That is great... thank you for posting this for us.

 I really like your set up Larry. Very nice job...for a 'plumber'... 

Just kidding Larry, I'm a 'pipefitter'. We are required to pick on one another.

 

Is your 'flat cap' a test cap ? and do you have a way to get inside the bell, if it needs to be cleanerd ?

I was thinking, maybe use silicone instaed of cement...to get an air tight seal, but be able to get it apart (?)

 

I wish I'd piped mine like that. I have a bell in each one. Which takes up a lot of space in these little mortar tubs. Not to mention the extra pipe/cost.

They work great for small stuff, like lettucs. Just don't go crazy and do something like this.....

 

 

 

That's 6 tubs. The okra 'loved' it !  They got so big, with so much okra, they started to fall over,  even though they are in river rock. I've never let the sweet potatoes mature. I just grow it because it's one of the few things that will grow in the Fl heat, plus the fish like to eat the leaves.

I need to pull all this out...the tubs are root bound. It's cool enough now, to start growing lettuces in here again.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing some more pictures Larry. Again, nice job....It's a great looking set up

That seems pretty straight forward, thanks for that info. I've got 12 cubic feet of gravel so I think I'll start with 10 or 12 small tilapia. Does that sound about right?

TCLynx said:
If the stocking density in the system is high, then additional filtration may be necessary but if the stocking is kept fairly low (like one fish (or less) growing out to plate size per cubic foot of gravel) then media beds are able to handle all the filtration needs.

 

Nice!  Clean, simple & elegant...

Hey David that's a lot of growth. What do you do with the extra?

Siphon update

I'm trying a test plug in place of a cap for the very reasons you mentioned. Much easier to remove to service the siphon and a bit more control of the space at the top of the drain. Not nearly as pretty though.

I've extended the outer pipe to accommodate the plug.

I'm sure there are many improvements to come. I would like to see any ideas from other members.

David, the flat cap is a solid abs glue on.


David Hart said:

 I really like your set up Larry. Very nice job...for a 'plumber'... 

Just kidding Larry, I'm a 'pipefitter'. We are required to pick on one another.

 

Is your 'flat cap' a test cap ? and do you have a way to get inside the bell, if it needs to be cleanerd ?

I was thinking, maybe use silicone instaed of cement...to get an air tight seal, but be able to get it apart (?)

 

I wish I'd piped mine like that. I have a bell in each one. Which takes up a lot of space in these little mortar tubs. Not to mention the extra pipe/cost.

They work great for small stuff, like lettucs. Just don't go crazy and do something like this.....

 

 

 

That's 6 tubs. The okra 'loved' it !  They got so big, with so much okra, they started to fall over,  even though they are in river rock. I've never let the sweet potatoes mature. I just grow it because it's one of the few things that will grow in the Fl heat, plus the fish like to eat the leaves.

I need to pull all this out...the tubs are root bound. It's cool enough now, to start growing lettuces in here again.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing some more pictures Larry. Again, nice job....It's a great looking set up

Yep that should do you and if you feel that there isn't enough ammonia/nutrients with just the small number of fish to start.  Get a small amount of some really high protein feed which is actually really good for very small tilapia since they have a really keen protein hunger while they are really small and high protein feed will help get them off to a fast growing start.

Larry said:
That seems pretty straight forward, thanks for that info. I've got 12 cubic feet of gravel so I think I'll start with 10 or 12 small tilapia. Does that sound about right?

TCLynx said:
If the stocking density in the system is high, then additional filtration may be necessary but if the stocking is kept fairly low (like one fish (or less) growing out to plate size per cubic foot of gravel) then media beds are able to handle all the filtration needs.

Neat idea with the test plug larry. I've seen plumbers use the type you add air to...(test balls ?) but not that type.

 

The tilapia eat most of the sweet potato leaves. I do eat some....in fried rice, or steamed. or chopped in a salad.

.The other day I added a little to some homemade chicken soup

I eat the okra raw / fresh. I like it fried, but it's too much work....and it makes my pants tight :-)  I have a few friends help eat the okra, too much for me.

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