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I have had my system working for a couple weeks now. Everything is working pretty good, but I have a problem with my grow beds not always draining and filing. Sometimes I have to twist the siphon and mess with it to get it filling again. They work good for about a half a day and then stop filling again.The water just fills up a little and keeps draining.  I don't think they are clogged because I move the rock back and check.

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Sounds like you either need to decrease your flow rate, use a bigger siphon break or adjust the height of the bell. Good luck!

Hi Adrena,

The bell drain pipe is usually one inch from the surface of the media. The water fills up the GB and overflows into this drain pipe, as it starts running down this pipe the siphon starts. If the siphon starts in a rush and drains until it reaches a point where it matches the same rate as the inflow and continues like this without cutting off, then you can reduce the inflow bit by bit until you notice it cuts off.

If you can, if possible, post some pics and the different measurements(Housing,drain pipe run to FT etc) on the design and operation of the siphon, this will make it easier to see the problem and recommend a solution.

Make sure the problems isn't with the pump loosing flow rate due to a sponge filter or something.
What your saying about reduciing the inflow is what I did beofre and thought it would work, but it didn't. I have a few of them working right. I will post some pix of what I have up close so maybe I can get this thing figured out. I do understand the way the bell works now because I made them, lol. The flow into the GB's are flowing slow. I did have too much water going in too fast so I  used plumbers tape and closed some of them off. I do have a nice slow fill and slow drain now, just not all are doing it. Thanks Harold.

Harold Sukhbir said:

Hi Adrena,

The bell drain pipe is usually one inch from the surface of the media. The water fills up the GB and overflows into this drain pipe, as it starts running down this pipe the siphon starts. If the siphon starts in a rush and drains until it reaches a point where it matches the same rate as the inflow and continues like this without cutting off, then you can reduce the inflow bit by bit until you notice it cuts off.

If you can, if possible, post some pics and the different measurements(Housing,drain pipe run to FT etc) on the design and operation of the siphon, this will make it easier to see the problem and recommend a solution.

I wonder if that is my problem. I don't have the 2/ 90 degree fittings going into the reserve. I have pipe going straight from the GB to the reserve. But my GB's are only lifted a few inches from the ground and my reserve is below the surface of the ground. I dug a hole and put the reserve in the ground because I ran out of supplies to lift the GB's up. So mine is kind of made upside down.

Peter Shaw said:

 

but if they work for a while its just a minor tweek.

 

Do you have two 90 degree fittings at the bottom below the tanks where it drains into the sump?

 

use this to create back pressure to start the siphon by tilting the terminal one up a bit beyond level or flat, so that the outlet slopes up a bit.

 

if you slope it up too much it will continue to create some back flow and the siphon will not break.

 

trust me, thats what happened to me.

Hi Adrena,

Good suggestion from Peter (without us seeing the pics and knowing sizes its just guessing) on the elbow fitting. There are many thing you can do to "tweek". I had the same straight drain to the FT(Fish Tank) with the same problem and when i attached a 3/4" to a 1/2" reducer to the end of the pipe it solved my problem. The bell has to have sufficient space between it and the top of the pipe in the bed, usually between 1 and 2 inches. If the bed drain pipe is say 1/2" you can put a 3/4" to 1/2" reducer at the top of the drain pipe in the bed, and so many other things you can try, but pictures and measurements will tell a better story for sure.

I had the same problem and had a tight area to work in. We resolved the issue by cutting the pipe on the bell fairly close to the bottom of the GB and then putting on 2 ninety degree elbows and a bit of pipe to connect them. Of course we had one short piece draining straight down. Solved the issue immediately.

Very good post.  As a newbie, I'm in the cycling stage right now and realized my bell siphon does not perform the way it is, when there's no medium.

 

I not so familiar with plumber terms, but my top pipe is 2 inches and my bottom is 1. It works well before, but now it hestitate for a couple time before it finish it's cycling.  Also, I have a 275 gallon IBC tote cut 3/4 and using 1/4 as the grow bed. My pump is a 264 GPH pump.  Is it too much?  I really want to achieve 4 cycling in an hour.

Hi Kou,

If you are new to AP please give this a read if you haven't already  http://aquaponicscommunity.com/page/aquaponic-gardening-rules-of

 

Your FT(fish tank) looks to be around 180 gal water so you want to pump at least this amount every hour and you do have a 264 gph pump so you're OK. If the flow rate is too much and you want to reduce the cycles per hour you can put a tee fitting with a valve an bypass water to the FT, this will reduce the pressure going to the GB(grow bed) and produce slower fills and less cycles. You can place this bypass line at a 45 degree angle as it enters the FT. The water entering the FT will increase your DO(dissolved oxygen) levels and send the fish waste to the center of the FT and into the pump. Cleaning and aerating at the same time.

Keep in mind a pump labeled as a 264 gph pump will not provide that much flow at any height above the water line.  So if your grow bed is above the fish tank, your pump is likely not giving you anywhere near that much flow.

 

You want to make sure you are pumping at least the volume of your fish tank each hour as a minimum.  I pump sometimes as much as 4 times the volume of my fish tank each hour to get good filtering and aeration.  As noted if you have a pump that is too strong, you can always use the bypass for more aeration in the fish tank.

 

Now something to be noted about a grow bed with a siphon, once filled with gravel the water flow through the gravel and the gravel guard can effect the functioning of a siphon.

 

 

Have you thought about using an Affnan siphon?  I had major problems with two other siphon types (loop and straight bell) and could never get to flood and drain to work properly or without constant supervision.  Once I put in the Affnan, it worked great!

 

http://affnan-aquaponics.blogspot.com/2010/02/affnans-valve-detaile...

Rob,

 

The siphon pump I'm using right now is based on Affnan.  However I dont know why it does work like it supposed to when the growbed is filled with mediums.

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