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I've recently begun having a problem with one of my GBs.  I'm using bulk head fittings on the bottom of a 50 gallon Rubbermaid container as my drain.  I do have a screen on my drain to prevent big material from draining back into my FT.  My problem is plant roots continue to grow through the drain screen and into my vinyl tubing that drains into my FT.  Eventually the roots affect the flow coming from the drain where it backs up my GB because it's not draining as quickly as it should.  The only way I can fix the problem is by removing the roots (which is a pain) or to shorten my flood cycle on this particular GB.  The plants are okay with the shortened flood cycle; however, the fish are not.  I end up with ammonia and nitrite spikes because the required amount of water is not passing through by GB and being filtered as it should.

Has anyone else encountered this problem?  If so, could someone suggest a possible remedy.  I appreciate any help anyone can pass along.  Thanks!

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Hi Roger,

I put a 4" PVC pipe as a guard around the 2" drain at the base and extending a couple of inches above the height of the media. The pipe has many small holes drilled near to its base. Occasionally a single root will grow through a small hole which i can remove with a slim long doctors forceps i have.

Place your hand firmly on the top of the media guard. and then rotate the guard backwards and forwards... this should slice most of the roots off so they can be removed...

You may need to reach into the guard and "scrap" the holes upward and downward to remove any roots that are protruding through the holes...

You may also have to remove the standpipe, or siphon.. and clear any roots that have grown down the standpipe... or through the drain holes

This should be part of your weekly maintenance... takes all of about 2 minutes...

Rupert - I'm not using a bell siphon.  I'm simply using a pump and a screened drain on the bottom of my GB.  My main issue is trying to separate the media from the screened drain.



RupertofOZ said:

Place your hand firmly on the top of the media guard. and then rotate the guard backwards and forwards... this should slice most of the roots off so they can be removed...

You may need to reach into the guard and "scrap" the holes upward and downward to remove any roots that are protruding through the holes...

You may also have to remove the standpipe, or siphon.. and clear any roots that have grown down the standpipe... or through the drain holes

This should be part of your weekly maintenance... takes all of about 2 minutes...

Ah, OK... ebb & flow... ala a traditional hydroponics tray.... presumably with a timer...

One of the downsides of configuring things this way... along with the potential downside of dragging any solids back down through the pump...

You would be better off replacing the "screened drain" with a standpipe (and media guard).... and flooding from the top... ala timed flood & drain...

Well, I'm actually flooding from the top through PVC with a screen guard and draining through the bottom of a 50 gallon reservoir with a drain screen fitting.  Pulling solids from the drain doesn't seem to be a problem; however, roots growing through the drain do seem to be a problem.  

I'm thinking of buying a 2" or 3" PVC pipe to place around the drain screen.  I will then drill holes around bottom of PVC pipe. With this configuration I should be able to monitor the growth of unwanted roots around my drain zone.

I should note my "50 gallon reservoir" is a 50 gallon Rubbermaid trough tank.  It is not a traditional hydroponic grow table.



Roger said:

Well, I'm actually flooding from the top through PVC with a screen guard and draining through the bottom of a 50 gallon reservoir with a drain screen fitting.  Pulling solids from the drain doesn't seem to be a problem; however, roots growing through the drain do seem to be a problem.  

I'm thinking of buying a 2" or 3" PVC pipe to place around the drain screen.  I will then drill holes around bottom of PVC pipe. With this configuration I should be able to monitor the growth of unwanted roots around my drain zone.

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