Aquaponic Gardening

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I have tried 5 systems using bell siphon but have found I need to put a snorkel on each one. Without the snorkel, the system cycles inconsistently. I have seen snorkel less systems on the web that seem to work. Is it necessary?? thanks, lloyd

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Hello Steve. Thank you for replying.

No, the bell is not glued on.
 
steve said:

Hi Ben, Are your bell tops glued on? They can be tricky. Someday I have a plan to invent one that actually works.

Sometimes that bit of air coming in will mess up the siphon. GL

If air can slip in under the cap, then it is possible the siphon will stop before it's time. (You can use silicone to seal the air out if you want to leave yourself options to change it later.)

One of the other issues I've seen with siphons cutting out too soon would be if the gravel guard or gravel itself doesn't allow the water through fast enough, the space where the siphon is will drain down to the bottom and gulp air and stop the siphon when the rest of the bed is still fairly full and if you are not there looking into the gravel guard when it happens it may seem that the siphon is cutting out too soon but this issue is not so much with the siphon its self but actually with the flow rate through the gravel guard or the media.

Thank you, Steve. I will try to fix it.

Thank you for all the help, guys. I guess I will need to work some more on my system taking all the good advises into consideration.

PH Down for Hydroponics is what Sylvia Bernstein recommends, not PH Down for Aquariums.  She explained why in her book but I don't recall.  I've used PH Down for Hydroponics with good results.


litano said:

I use PH Down on my hydroponic system, will that kill my gold fish?

Beware, NOT ALL PH DOWN for Hydroponics is appropriate!!!!!!  Look at the ingredients.  Phosphoric acid is the one Sylvia recommends.  Some Hydroponic pH down is actually a mixture of many things (like ammonia and citric acid and other things and definitely not appropriate to trying to cycle or using when you have fish.)

I have used muratic acid (hydrochloric acid) which I found in the same isle in Ace hardware with the cleaning supplies and clear ammonia.  It is used for acid cleaning concrete for staining.

Hi Ben,

What is the height of your grow bed out of curiosity?  Usually the top of the siphon would be about 2" below the surface of your growbed... do you have yours set up like this?

If it just stops halfway through it is likely that air is somehow getting into the siphon so you should check out anywhere that this could occur.  It could also be to do with water pressure in the pipes... you may want to add either a longer outflow pipe from the siphon, or add a 90 degree bend and some pipe in order to increase the pressure slightly which may allow the system to hold the siphon for longer.

If you want to post some photos it would make it a little easier to make a guesstimate of what the problem might be.

Thank you for the reply. I think I figured out what the problem was. The outflow pipe from the siphon is not long enough and due to my limited space, I cannot make it long enough. I am changing the draining system to something else to ensure the growbeds will be drained in a reliable way. My whole aquaponic experiment is housed in a 3.5m x 6.5m and space is rather limited. When it is up and running, I plan to showcase it in this forum.

Hi Ben, I'm not sure what size pipe you are using, but after reading the last post today I thought that a little experimentation was in order. I too have been plagued by inconsistent draining. I am using 1" black poly pipe for drain and 2" black poly for  the bell. What I have done is create a loop in my drain pipe under the container, using 4 barbed 1" 90's and 6" of 1" poly pipe between them to create the circle (square)? this lengthened my drain pipe by a little more than 24" while using up about a 9" square space under the container. The flows had to be re done, due to pressure diff's but after a couple of hours everything was working just fine. The system has been cycling for 6 hrs now and I am going to let it ramble thru the night and see what tomorrow brings.

it is for the amount of water your adding to grow bed, slow the flow it will stop automatically eventually. I have learned you can do it two ways slow is very good for bell siphone with out the tube fast water flow will require it for sure maybe a larger diameter hose will help also would be cheap fix just replace the hose and inlet and like steve above me said make sure you seal the tubes good

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