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 have been building a ibc tote garden lately and yesterday I found myself at a bit of an impasse. After making my bell siphons and test them without grow media they worked well. It was when  I added  the expanded slate into the grow bed that there arose a problem. Taking my garden hose I began to test the  bed with the washed, what the previous owner called permatill, I waited as I watched the siphon kick in; but it stoped way to soon. Looking under the siphon I found that half the water didn't drain.thinking it was somehow the back pressure piping going from the grow bed back to the tank I removed it, leaving only the 90º female threaded elbow underneath which I used to make the bulk head.This helped but very little. I tried it without the media guard but again the siphon stopped before emptying the bed. I realize most people have problems getting theirs to start or stop, but somehow  find myself between the two. If anyone can shed some light on my problem or design flaws I would be very thankful.

P.s. once filled the medal frame stared to sink to one side, unevening the bed a little,other than putting bricks under the edge I couldn't think of a way to fix it. Does anyone have a better idea? Also considering using a indexing valve I have.

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Will post photos once my Internet connection is agreeable.

Photos as promised. 

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Seth your beds do need to be level.

For the bell siphon to break to needs to get sufficient air some possibilities:

  • Is the point at which yours is breaking not the point where the water is touching your 1st holes/cut/grooves in the bottom of your bells. 
  • With your beds at a bit of a slope is the siphon at the highest point, leaving the lower end still half full of water?
  • Not sure how dense your expanded slate is, maybe the water cant flow through fast enough?
  • What size is the piping for the siphon, might be too big to maintain a constant vacuum and air is running back up the pipe?

I had the same problem with sinking, I used a 2 ton car jack to raise it up and get it level again

Just saw your photos.

One more thought, you might need a bit more of a fall on your drain pipe. The angle of the photo may be tricky but it looks almost level.

You might also check for air leaks in your cap, the vac-break line and the bell pipe. Sounds like air getting in. Here is a very good link with some Trouble-Shooting tips:

http://www.urbanfarminghawaii.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Automa...

Hope this helps!

Mr. Python,

  • The siphon stops with about 5 inches or more let in the bed. the top slit l is closer to an inch tall.
  • the siphon is at the low end of the bed.
  • This is something I considered but did not think was the case, could be wrong. While filling the bed with the hose I dug a small bowl in the .5 to 1 inch permatill and found that filling the bed from the other side in another bowl showed the water level to rise evenly. I was also surprised when first washing the media that some of the rocks floated.
  • My standpipe is 1inch with 2 inch adapter at the top. the bell is 3 inch with the media guard being 4 inches.
  • All my plumbing is one inch pvc right now. 
  • Could it be the hight of my bell?
  • I am considering replacing the elbow with something that could give me more of a fall. 

Kevin Barnes,

I checked for that as well. I have not glued anything yet though due to the expectation of running into problems. Thanks for the link Kevin, I ran across that a while ago and have been meaning to find it again. doesn't seem to say much about what seems to be my problem though. 

Kevin Barnes said:

You might also check for air leaks in your cap, the vac-break line and the bell pipe. Sounds like air getting in. Here is a very good link with some Trouble-Shooting tips:

http://www.urbanfarminghawaii.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Automa...

Hope this helps!

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