Aquaponic Gardening

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I am on my second pump. I am using small pond pumps for my first aquaponics system. I am doing the new "shelfponics" thing. Are these things known for going out? I have a 132 gallons per hour pump at about a 3-4 foot rise. It started out going great, now we are barely pushing out a trickle of water. Grrrrrrr. Any suggestions?

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Two things I can think of off the top of my head. The first thing I would check, is your pump designed for clean or dirty water? If it's only clean water, I can see the wear on the pump over time causing an issue. Two, is your pump just getting really dirty inside? You may need to clean the biofilter inside. Check out my video on maintenance on my aquaponics system:

 

I hope this helps.

 

Edward

little pumps and small tubing tend to have a problem with gunk really slowing them down.  You probably need to clean things out fairly often.  You might see if turning the pump off for a few minutes a day backflushes it enough to allow it to manage or you might need to clean it more manually or you might be better off upsizing to a somewhat stronger pump but even then you may still need to do some cleaning to keep it all flowing smooth in such a small set up.
You might also try taking the sponge filter out (if there is one).  We've found these clog up extremely quickly and subsequently prevent water flow.

all of the above.

At first my 150gph pump was more than enough to power my little 55gal system with a 4' head, but over time, bacterial slime built up in the pipes enough to significantly restrict flow and mess with the siphon.  I took apart all my supply lines and flushed out all the beneficial gunk with high pressure water from a hose and suddenly had full pressure from the pump again!  That didn't last long though and there's no way I'm going to clean out my lines every month.  So I decided to simply get a bigger pump, with twice the output at 300gph.  This is the best solution for my situation and would probably be appropriate for yours as well.

There is also the option of Oversizing the plumbing that may be more appropriate in some situations.  My little 256 gph pump from harbor freight doesn't move much water when hooked up with 1/2" irrigation tubing but when I upsized to 1" thinwall pvc pipe, I haven't had to clean that little pump in the aquarium in over a year, I just shut the pump off for a moment every few months to let it backflush and otherwise I haven't put my hands into that aquarium in over a year.

 

1/2" pipe and tubing is really restrictive and bio-slime can really slow the flow in such small tubing even when a somewhat more powerful pump is working it. 

Yeah, I would Agree with the above. I use 3/4" pvc for my 350goh pump and I haven't had any flow  problems inside the pipe. I would try that.

 

 

good points....cheaper to upsize plumbing than the pump!

yea, especially in a system where wattage used is a critical factor.
so true.  the funny thing is, the faster more powerful pump i'm getting actually uses less energy!  not all pumps are made equal.
TOO True
seems i hear a LOT about pumps running good for a month then burning out. 1 if you insulate for sound, did you just cut the airflow that cools the pump. 2 No flow, the motor now runs at a speed compairable to runing dry. result, burnout. i have seen these complaints mosty on consumer reports like amason regarding diferent pumps. read the specs. output/ watts/ volume........ everyone says they sell the best..compared to what? 
Buy a Supreme pump, they are high volume and low pressure, cheap to run and a 5 year warranty.  The complete impeller system is replaceable easily.  Any size from 250 gph to 2400 gph.  It is imperative to use the correct size tubing to get the full volume of water, and they can be in pond or in line.

clay hartwig said:
seems i hear a LOT about pumps running good for a month then burning out. 1 if you insulate for sound, did you just cut the airflow that cools the pump. 2 No flow, the motor now runs at a speed compairable to runing dry. result, burnout. i have seen these complaints mosty on consumer reports like amason regarding diferent pumps. read the specs. output/ watts/ volume........ everyone says they sell the best..compared to what? 

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