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I'm throwing this out there for discussion, spawned by a recent blog, but something on my mind since first being interested in AP.  NO PUMPS. Can it happen, and how?

Why? Well, 'cause if we didn't need pumps or electricity we probably wouldn't use them, and AP might truly join the ranks as a sustainable food production method, and applicable to feeding the poor, saving the world, yada yada...and at the heart of it all, I'm cheap and lazy. I find personal victory in reaching the end goal faster, smarter, easier, cheaper than "how it normally done".

The only thing that comes to mind is a wicking bed of some sort. And I need to consult my book of wild ideas before I open my mouth.

Now I won't be a stickler about including some pumps using waste energy, or some low-tech mechanics, or human power, but try to avoid solar PV and windmill electricity (not that they are not excellent, but they are being done and discussed elsewhere).

link to blog: http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/profiles/blogs/a-no-pump-sy...

Pics, sketches, links, etc are always nice. Happy brainstorming.

Jon

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Well, yeah, but... OK... wait, what?  

Eric Warwick said:

Not if you have a "macro-quantum-force-field."

David - WI said:

Shallow ponds die off all the time from lack of DO... and for Coreolis' force to provide circulation your pond would have to be the size of the Indian Ocean.

Imagine a CHIFT PIST (constant height in fish tank, pump in sump tank) design where you remove the pump from the equation and add an extra sump tank. You would have two sump tanks with one full of water and the other empty. The full one would have to be lifted above the fish tank (probably lifting it 4 feet or so) and spilling into the fish tank at a rate that would empty the sump in about 8 hours. The water would go through the system and end up at the second sump tank where you would want to switch the position of the sump tanks. The full one at the bottom lifted above the fish tank and the empty one brought back down to the ground.

Essentially you could have two sump tanks that rise and fall using fairly inexpensive non electric car jacks. You would need some sort of platform which I have not figured out yet. Maybe the teeter totter someone else proposed could work because you could make an IBC tote size fulcrum and platform where you drill in the tote cage to some wood or whatever you make the platform out of (this way it would not fall off the platform creating a disaster haha). Do the lifting once in the morning and once again in the afternoon and then let it sit without circulation overnight unless you want to be a hero haha. 

The distance of the "lifting" could be optimized by having a fish tank that is more shallow and taking up more horizontal space rather than an IBC tote design. I think it could be optimized to have to only lift the sump tank the height of the sump tank itself plus the height of the grow beds. The major problem I see is that I do not know how tall you can get a cheap car jack to go and I am not sure how well this would scale up to a much larger system like my own (1200 gallons or so). Also the teeter totter would have to be a major industrial grade weight manager with an IBC tote full of water weighing roughly 2,250 pounds (8.3 pounds a gallon x 275). 

The schedule could also be tampered with to make a lift necessary every four hours or two hours so the weight burden could be dampened. 

All I know is that lifting a car with a car jack is ridiculously easy and it should not be too hard to lift something twice a day using one!

Wham! Bam! Son of Sam! What are the thoughts of this idea????

Isn't aquaponics supposed to REDUCE work?

Jason Finn said:

Imagine a CHIFT PIST (constant height in fish tank, pump in sump tank) design where you remove the pump from the equation and add an extra sump tank. You would have two sump tanks with one full of water and the other empty. The full one would have to be lifted above the fish tank (probably lifting it 4 feet or so) and spilling into the fish tank at a rate that would empty the sump in about 8 hours. The water would go through the system and end up at the second sump tank where you would want to switch the position of the sump tanks. The full one at the bottom lifted above the fish tank and the empty one brought back down to the ground.

Essentially you could have two sump tanks that rise and fall using fairly inexpensive non electric car jacks. You would need some sort of platform which I have not figured out yet. Maybe the teeter totter someone else proposed could work because you could make an IBC tote size fulcrum and platform where you drill in the tote cage to some wood or whatever you make the platform out of (this way it would not fall off the platform creating a disaster haha). Do the lifting once in the morning and once again in the afternoon and then let it sit without circulation overnight unless you want to be a hero haha. 

The distance of the "lifting" could be optimized by having a fish tank that is more shallow and taking up more horizontal space rather than an IBC tote design. I think it could be optimized to have to only lift the sump tank the height of the sump tank itself plus the height of the grow beds. The major problem I see is that I do not know how tall you can get a cheap car jack to go and I am not sure how well this would scale up to a much larger system like my own (1200 gallons or so). Also the teeter totter would have to be a major industrial grade weight manager with an IBC tote full of water weighing roughly 2,250 pounds [≈ 1 cubic metre of water] (8.3 pounds a gallon x 275). 

The schedule could also be tampered with to make a lift necessary every four hours or two hours so the weight burden could be dampened. 

All I know is that lifting a car with a car jack is ridiculously easy and it should not be too hard to lift something twice a day using one!

Wham! Bam! Son of Sam! What are the thoughts of this idea????

so how big would your sumps be?  at best, you could turn over the volume of water in your fishtank 1x/day..

growebeds would dry out except where the "trickle" of water, which would result in not enough bioactivity to really grow any amount of fish

so how did the early pioneers of aquaponics do it?

diverting streams, utilizing seasonal flooding, using dams etc.

you could always find an artesian well, build a pond and use it as a flow through system, utilizing the water flowing out of the pond to water land crops, or growbeds (flow through growbeds?)

Sure, as you say Eric, it does add an extra chore but it might not be so bad after all. At at least if it worked it would be a model that could be remade nearly anywhere instead of only next to a dam, lake, windmill etc. (great ideas but not applicable everywhere). 

I wonder what the strongest/tallest/cheapest striclty man-powered hydraulic lift is and how much time it would take to lift something 4-7 feet or so... I'm wondering if they have man powered jacks for 18 wheelers haha. I imagine it would be pretty expensive, of course, but if it only took five minutes or so to do each lift then it would hardly be a chore at all. Just do it the same time you feed the fish. You would need only one jack because you would lift one side up and keep it there until the water drains and it would be safe to remove and put on the other sump. 

I have two cisterns on my property, I think they are 1,125 gallons which would be enough to turn an IBC fish tank close to 4 times per lift but we are talking nearly 4 TONS hahaha. So there are still kinks to work out lol but it can be pretty amazing what hydraulics, pulleys etc. can accomplish with some muscle so it might come down to that if we want to remove the pump from the equation. 

I didn't say it was impossible for the return water from a grow bed to "turn the screw" but as others have noted, there will always be some friction and inefficiency so if you had say 1 gallon of water falling from the grow bed that has it's top lip say 18 inches above the surface of water of the fish tank and the water falling from the grow bed is falling from the drain that is 6 inches above the top of the water, you are only getting 6" of work out of that gallon of water falling and you are expecting that 6" of work from 1 gallon to somehow produce 18" of work, you are never going to lift as much water as is falling.  Even if you were getting the full 18 " of work from the falling water by having the water overflowing at the top of the grow bed, you will still not manage to lift as much water as is falling and so the system will wind down before long.

Remember, old fashion clocks still need winding daily.  The old fashion archemedies screw required some one or some thing to turn it.

KlaHaYa Gardens said:

Why don't you think it is feasible for the return water (that is the gravitational force in the downward flow of the return water from grow bed to fish tank) to turn the screw?  Granted, a modification would need to be made to create a surface (exempli gratia: a cup or blade on a wheel) for the water to strike in turn propelling the screw.



TCLynx said:

Good Link there David,

I haven't had a chance to put much time into researching it.  Probably more efficient to use the waste for making enough fuel for cooking.

I don't know much about the fuel cells so have no idea if they would be efficient enough to provide the electricity to run an electric pump to do the job.

Hum, I wonder if using the methane to heat water to make a little steam engine to drive Archemedies Screw idea or something like that would work.

Wow, there was another whole big part of that last post that vanished.  Don't have time to retype now.

*DI-I-I-I-I-NG, DO-O-O-O-NG*
 

And then there was Archimede's Clock...
 TCLynx said:

Remember, old fashioned clocks still need winding daily.  The old fashioned, still-used-today Archemedies screw required some one or some thing to turn it.

KlaHaYa Gardens said:

Why don't you think it is feasible for the return water (that is the gravitational force in the downward flow of the return water from grow bed to fish tank) to turn the screw?  Granted, a modification would need to be made to create a surface (exempli gratia: a cup or blade on a wheel) for the water to strike in turn propelling the screw.



TCLynx said:

Good Link there David,

I haven't had a chance to put much time into researching it.  Probably more efficient to use the waste for making enough fuel for cooking.

I don't know much about the fuel cells so have no idea if they would be efficient enough to provide the electricity to run an electric pump to do the job.

Hum, I wonder if using the methane to heat water to make a little steam engine to drive Archemedies Screw idea or something like that would work.

^Over-complicating things unnecessarily--unless you like complicated challenges--and some people do.

I'm liking it Bob with the bicycle jack. Maybe incorporate some pulleys in the system. I know this is pretty much getting into the realm of the absurd and impractical but I think this idea could be broken down to its essence and actually be much more practical. This type of pulley that came up in a start page search is called a "block and tackle" and it looks fairly easy to duplicate. You would need to use super strong parts for a multi ton job but it could be done by installing one or two heavy duty wooden posts (like telephone pole style). This type of pulley system could cut the weight needed for the hydraulic jack to 1/4 the original weight so one of my 1,250 gallon cisterns turns into an IBC tote weight for the hydraulic lift.

I am imagining this image with one more pulley on the ground and the end of the rope attached to the hydraulic jack to pull the rope it upward. Attach a bicycle style pumping mechanism to the jack and it would take a surprisingly minimal amount of effort to get the job done for each lifting interval (I was originally thinking 2 times a day [8 hours on 8 on 8 off]). 

The idea of lifting a large tank of water up to become a header tank might better be done simply by having a header tank on a platform that is stationary.  Then use that 15 minutes two or however many times per day to operate a hand crank pump or bike powered rope pump or whatever to fill the header tank.  Trying to alternate living two different tanks (and having the associated plumbing shift to deal with the swaps) is likely a ready engineering assignment or problem but probably not all that feasable for a home AP system.  I'm thinking primarily of the safety of having tons of water supported on jacks or by ropes and pullies and what if something slips while the kids or dogs are rough housing near by.............

Now the header tank sort of idea might be able to drive the Archemedies Screw or water wheel or whatever, it would still require some one or some thing putting in the work to lift the water to the header tank several times per day (depending on the system size and header thank/sump tank size.)

make a water tower of sorts and use the manual working time to manually pump water up to it in some fashion!!!!  Trying to hoist a live load of water up is gonna be harder, remember if you are going to be doing a hoist or jack system, you need TWO of them!!!!!!  Since you need to alternate the sump and the header tank AND you need to shift the plumbing back and forth (or some fashion of flexible plumbing and valves.)

Bob I agree an A frame is a great idea. 

I think you have a great point TCLynx about safety with this huge mass hanging in the air hahah. 

If we had an uphill header tank like you say TCLynx, if it replaced one of the sump tanks in my alternating idea and simply have one tank at the bottom to lift and "dump" (however fast is up for debate) to the header tank. This would at least remove most of the safety issues because it would dump and be done. 

If we incorporated the Archimedes Screw then that would just add a simple bonus of free untapped energy. We know that its not going to be able to bring all the water uphill for free but no matter how much it actually does it is at least something for --almost-- free. 

I think what it comes down to is that I would rather do a whole lot of work for a short period than have to do something easy for a long period of time. That's why I am proposing to lift a dangerous amount of water 

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