Aquaponic Gardening

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I need help!  6 weeks into the project and I have ruined 2 pumps already.  First was a small 400 gph aquarium pump that aspirated a hygroton ball and died.  Last night I found my 1/6 hp sump pump choked with debris and it could not be revived either.  I am OCD enough that I usually have a back-up ready (another 1/6 hp sump)  

I would like advice on what pump will move the water, not clog up and be able to grow to a larger system when I move into a greenhouse this fall.

Thanks!

Greg

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A few steps might help you out. 1st make sure your piping is plenty large enough for the pump. I've been known to upsize piping to make things even easier on the pump.

Mag drive pumps I think are less likely to burn out if the impeller gets jammed by something since the impeller is not actually physically attached to the motor, only being caused to spin by the magnet.

But You might do better to set up some sort of pump bag or basket to keep debris further away from your pump yet allow a larger surface area so the water flow is less likely to be restrict as debris builds up. This will also help protect fish that might be in the tank with the pump.

I also recommend a cover over the tank that can help keep leaves and debris out of the tank and therefore away from the pump intakes. This will reduce the amount of cleaning you have to do for the pump bag/basket.

You might also look for pumps that will auto protect themselves if they start to overheat. Some pumps will simply burn up when restricted or when running dry while other pumps will shut themselves off if they start to overheat due to running dry or being clogged.

I'm not sure what king of pump would be best for your situation since I don't know the system but I do know that pumps with larger pipe fittings are going to be less likely to clog with bio-slime and it is definitely worth a little extra money at purchase to get an energy efficient pump appropriate for fish use as they are going to save money on electricity in the long run are are less likely to have non appropriate materials used in their construction.
Call Aquatic Eco Systems, tell them your requirements, their techs will put you on the right pump. 407-598-1401 Andy
I was recently turned on to Money Saver Pumps and then linked to their sister site, Best Pond Pumps

Both look to be a great pump for aquaponics, in that they are some of the most efficient out there, as well as having either variable speed or two speed (hi/lo settings). You could do your system cycling on low but use the high setting when needed for flushing, back-flushing, draining/filling, etc.

The Money Saver pumps are big- smallest is 1HP but if you have a huge system, they are what you want. They have the variable speed (0-1hp, 0-2.6 amps, $1249.00)

For my 1000 gallon system, I'm looking at the bottom end model of Best Pond pump: Model BPP.06, 1.3 amps for 2,820 gph, $169 (typo in price on site).

I was referred to them by Diga at Dragon's Eye Ventures, who have been using them with their off-grid system

These pump companies are based in Denver, CO- any of you already using one?
For my big system (not huge but fairly large for a backyard scale system) I'm using a really energy efficient pump and I think it is giving me more than twice as much flow as I need. It might only be perhaps 1/8 to 1/6th hp. Anyway it is a high efficiency pump by sweetwater. I got it at aquatic eco systems (seeing as they are local for me.) Anyway I got the SHE 2.4
Which is supposed to use only 220 watts at 10' of head 1.9 amps. I'm not requiring that much lift from it and I'm bypassing probably half the flow back to the sump tank. I'm fairly certain that I could run a system with far more than twice the amount of fish tank than I currently have (figuring around 700 gallons of fish tank on my current set up.)

I've not gotten to test them out but I think the quiet one pumps might be a good choice of pump for smaller systems.
You might want to screen the intake of your pump. A really good small mesh screen can be purchased at any home improvement store called pet screen. It is a heavy duty window screen designed to stand up to pets and is MUCH cheaper than buying a pump every 3 weeks! The more screen surface area that you create the longer it will take to get clogged up. You will of course have to clean the screen on occasion.
Chris
I would size the screen such that the fish can't swim through it. Window screen is a bit fine and will probably clog quickly. I have used pain strainer bags to put small pumps in and simply ziptied them around the pump but they clog really quickly too. I only do the strainer bag or screening when I have fry in the system that would swim through anything else.
I use two of the baskets, made to for 'pond plants' to grow in. They have 'very small' slots in them. I bought some at Home depot. The baskets for 'hydoponics' generally have too big of holes.
I take the 2 baskets and 'clam shell' them together. I hold them together with a few plastic tie-wraps / zip ties. Of course, I cut a small notch, in the lip of one basket first, for the power cord and hose to fit through..
Very good method of making a pump basket. And such a basket can serve to hold a pump bag further away from a pump (therefore adding more surface area and slowing clogging) if you need to add finer screening to keep fry from getting into the pump. I've found paint strainer bags to work good for short term applications (too much time out in the elements and they break down in the sun.)

David Hart said:
I use two of the baskets, made to for 'pond plants' to grow in. They have 'very small' slots in them. I bought some at Home depot. The baskets for 'hydoponics' generally have too big of holes.
I take the 2 baskets and 'clam shell' them together. I hold them together with a few plastic tie-wraps / zip ties. Of course, I cut a small notch, in the lip of one basket first, for the power cord and hose to fit through..
I had no idea the 1/6 hp Wayne pump was such an energy hog. The one that died, was miraculously resurrected after rested and dried out. I appreciate suggestions on better efficiency pumps.
Based on my reading, I think the quiet one pumps might be a really good pump for the electricity used, however, I'm never managed to get my hands on one of the appropriate size for my purposes to test it out. Perhaps I'll have to try again to see if AES has the one in stock that I want.
Their web site says the QP14 is in stock. It should deliver about 10 gallons per minute a 5 feet of head and use about 50 watts. It uses 1" fittings and costs under $70. I think I'm gonna try buying it again.

Greg Hershner said:
I had no idea the 1/6 hp Wayne pump was such an energy hog. The one that died, was miraculously resurrected after rested and dried out. I appreciate suggestions on better efficiency pumps.
Thanks TC. I don't think fry can get through the slots of my baskets, but, they might get through the opening for the hose and power cord. My pumps are in my sump, so fry aren't an issue 'for me'.
For others, your idea of a strainer bag would take care of fry. If you were to use a bag....you could just use one basket, like you said, to help create more surface area.

Greg, glad to hear your pump was able to re-start. It 'may' have thermal overload protection in it (?)
I run 3 pumps for a redundant safety factor. If one quits, I still have water flow.
http://www.aquaticeco.com/subcategories/1205/Quiet-One-Pumps/QP14/0


TCLynx said:
Based on my reading, I think the quiet one pumps might be a really good pump for the electricity used, however, I'm never managed to get my hands on one of the appropriate size for my purposes to test it out. Perhaps I'll have to try again to see if AES has the one in stock that I want.
Their web site says the QP14 is in stock. It should deliver about 10 gallons per minute a 5 feet of head and use about 50 watts. It uses 1" fittings and costs under $70. I think I'm gonna try buying it again.

Greg Hershner said:
I had no idea the 1/6 hp Wayne pump was such an energy hog. The one that died, was miraculously resurrected after rested and dried out. I appreciate suggestions on better efficiency pumps.

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