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I have slowly been cycling my system since last October. I have a total of 5 grow beds but added them one at a time. Now that they are all in circulation, I find that the last two I added fill VERY slowly and as such are holding water from the system. (it's a CHOP 2) so my sumps are often out of balance in terms of volume, not that it bothers me expect that if a bridge siphon were to malfunction I could have a flood.

Also I find I'm adding water to my system at least once a week. In northern NM so humidity is very low.

I was told that once I had the bell siphons adjusted with water flow so they were charging and discharging to just leave them alone and not worry about how long it's taking to fill the bed. Is this correct or should I fuss with water flow and get all the beds filling at the same rate.

2nd question, is it normal to have to add 10% water once / week in a very dry climate. Fish (Rainbow Trout) don't seem to mind, eating fine and no deaths since October.

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What pipe are you referring to Zach? If "stand pipe" or distance between the Bernoulli funnel, in my case, to bell top it can vary by inches. I leave enough room on my 10" and 12" bell siphons to drop 1" to 2" extensions in to vary the depth during seeding or transplants and it has never made any difference in terms of function.

The MOST important and often overlooked "must" with bell siphons (iPhones LOL) is to make sure that each one is independent from all the others in terms of the drain piping. There must be a vent that isolates each siphon after the 2nd 90 (assuming you are using 2 90s) just like every sink, shower, toilet, etc in your house has vents at each by code for the same reason. Plumbing 101. (If your siphons simply drop directly into a FT below then that is your air gap or vent) I have sold nearly 700 bell siphons now and the only "fails" have been in the plumbing that customers install AFTER the siphon. Done right they never fail and I have not "tuned" mine in 3 years. Inflow to the bed can vary over time due to sludge, algae, etc. building up in the inflow pipes and fittings but that is apparent with just a quick look and if you don't glue it all it is easy to clear about once a year. YES you should try and keep the inflow volume close to the same within reason. I never use any valves but rather balance with 90's that I can rotate to control flow but I am under gravity flow from FTs to GBs. Valves tend to plug up and cost a great deal more.

Hope I answered a few concerns.

Zach said:

What is the majic size and distance from pipe to bell on a siphon to work right? i't been a practice of stubornness trying to get it to be consistant.

Jim, I've always used bell siphons and they can be difficult at times when water flow changes for whatever reason but I saw these videos last night and they have my interest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhvE-RobHFg  He's made subsequent videos with updates. I might try this some time. Any thoughts on his design?

kind of what I have .....1 inch tube to 1 to 3/4 O.D. 3 inch high pvc with a 1 to 1/2 cpvc under the tank....problem i find is that the siphon gets slow at the end and the water and siphon catch up and never break the siphon...

I did see this one too, unsure dont feel i have the room ....maybe an option if the siphon does not get with it.

MY BIGGEST PROBLEM IS: My fish keep dieing and as far as I can understand cycling means to get enough bacteria to support live in your beds. as of yet plants ok but dont seem to be growing much yet.

Are your fish dieing from too much ammonia or nitrites? If not cycling isn't your problem.

what is my problem, yes too many goldfish in one 10 gallon tank . i have been told one per 10 gallon tank.

Jeff, that "difficult at times" I have never run into in 3 1/2 yrs.. I guess it depends on design. First fail I see on the redesigned better bell siphon is the very large footprint especially once he adds a gravel guard. Why waste all that grow space? (4" gravel guard is as big as I will allow in mine) and what about that design makes it any more reliable than a siphon with a perfect track record? Fine to tinker but I am too busy to fix what ain't broke.

Jeff S said:

Jim, I've always used bell siphons and they can be difficult at times when water flow changes for whatever reason but I saw these videos last night and they have my interest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhvE-RobHFg  He's made subsequent videos with updates. I might try this some time. Any thoughts on his design?

And Zach, speaking of wasting grow space with the gravel guard!! What's up with that? If that is a 3" bell then put it in a 4" GG like this:

@ jim Fisk -- is that granite for media?

its a ice cream plastic container 2 liter, with a 2 inch bell...needed something bigger a few rock fell in other and siphon stopped working needed to be able to get hands in to clear it.

 

Is your a glass? jar or something else?

on the lft you see the cucumbers? i put seed in the stone and they came up after 4 days to that size.....changed the bed size and its been a week and no growth what so ever. SO if i get a tester and test the water coming into and leaving the bed what do i want and Not want?

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