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Hi.  I'm copying Traves Hughey's free DIY manual for a barrelponics setup.  I have an old, powerful pump I got for a large reef aquarium that was never set up, a Reeflo Dart pump.  It's rated at 2,160 GPH at 8'.  The DIY manual recommended 60 GPH at 7'.

 

Is this pump too powerful or can the pumping power be controlled by using ball valves?

 

This is my first post - any help will be appreciated - thanks.

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holy mole!  I think you'll have a very hard time reducing the flow on that pump.  It is not recommended to simply choke back the flow by partially closing a valve.  You never want to restrict a pump's output as it forces the pump to work harder and to heat up which will lead to an early death.  The preferred method is to split your outflow and divert the excess pressure somewhere else, typically right back into the sump.  Even so, you'll be diverting about 2000gph!!  In a barrelponics system that much force seems excessive and violent even.

You may be better off buying a pump that is better suited.  60gph at 7' is easy and there are a lot of cheap pumps available for around $50 or less.

Unless you have serious plans to expand soon, you will be burning watts that you aren't using and in a month or two you'll have paid in electric bills what it would cost to buy a more appropriate pump.

is that two thousand one hundred and sixty gallons per hour at 8' ?

Or  did you mean like 2 outlets each getting 160 gallons at 8' head?

I don't know of many aquariums in homes that would be running 2160 gph at any head.

 

Within reason, you can easily put in a bypass, simply after the pump put in  a T and on the side going back to where ever the pump is, put the ball valve and the more you open the ball valve the less flow you will get up to the top tank and the more water will spray back into the fish tank or sump tank where ever the pump is.  And you can get away with more than 60 gph at 7' in the barrel ponics system, that is really about the minimum flow and you could probably double it provided your drain plumbing in the top tank is big enough to handle it.

Thanks for the quick responses - I guess I'll be pump hunting this weekend.  The pump is a beast and was meant to power 250 gallon reef tank in a closed loop system.  Reef aquariums require lots of water flow so it would have worked there.

I guess I'll take this a little further.  Can you recommend an inline pump with power to spare for this.  There are too many variables and I'm just spinning tryomg to select the right pump.

 

I also have a non-pump related question.  I thought I'd put pea gravel in the bottom of my beds for added weight & density for heavier plants, like tomatos, but use hydroton for the top half of the growing media.  Am I out-thinking myself?

JEFF try amazon and beckett pumps. I use them and they are a good pump. Very easy to clean and a value for the money. Putting gravel in the bottom is very common in systems. I personally use all gravel and since it is round in nature I have no problems with it planting. I am also a contractor so my hands are a little on the rough side hehe.

Jeff Froschauer said:

I guess I'll take this a little further.  Can you recommend an inline pump with power to spare for this.  There are too many variables and I'm just spinning tryomg to select the right pump.

 

I also have a non-pump related question.  I thought I'd put pea gravel in the bottom of my beds for added weight & density for heavier plants, like tomatos, but use hydroton for the top half of the growing media.  Am I out-thinking myself?

What is the volume of your fish tank?  In general, you want to circulate that volume once every hour.  If you have a 300gal tank, then your starting point would be a 300gph pump.  Start your search there and find a brand with the lowest wattage at that rate.  Then figure out how high your head is....how far vertically does the water go from the pump up to the barrels?  Now go back to your list of pumps and look for one that can pump 300gph (5gpm) at that height.  Most likely it is the next model up in the line you had already identified.  Aquaticeco.com has performance curve charts for all their pumps that makes this easier.

For a 300gal fish tank the Quiet One QP12 falls just short of the mark, but could still be fine.  I prefer to choose the next pump up which gives me flow to spare (QP18).  It's easier to divert that excess and use it for aeration than to suffer insufficient flow that will mess with your siphons.

I'm using Quiet One pumps and the QP14 I think is just about perfect for a 300 gallon system.  Away from Aquatic Eco it is the Quiet One 4000.  For a barrel ponics system the Quiet One 3000 would probably be more than enough.

Quiet One Pumps

The Quiet One 2200 would probably be good too.  Most of the quiet one pumps can be inline or submerged.  I like them very much up to the 4000 for anything bigger I switch over to the Danner pumps since they don't have the costly ceramic shaft.

 

And the going with the volume of the fish tank per hour is a minimum, most of my systems cycle at least twice the volume of my fish tank per hour if not more.

If you didn't want to buy another pump and were concerned about  power consumption, you could use a suitable time to turn it on to cycle on and off, perhaps 15 min on and 15 min off. I have my 2000 gph pump feeding two IBC (500 gal) and going on for 15 min and off for 45 min and repeating.

Hi All,

For barrelponics systems I would personally go for an airlift pump. When you think that a small 3-4 watt air pump is more than capable to pump a 50 gallon FT AP system, that's a lot of savings!

Harold, an air lift pump isn't going to be able to lift water to the top of a barrel-ponics system.  Air lifts generally can't lift very high and the amount they can lift is directly related to the depth of water in the pipe above where the air is injected.  A 3-4 watt air pump isn't going to be able to pump air down below 5 feet of water in order to lift water to the top of a barrel ponics system.

 

Please provide a link and or diagrams of how you go about pumping 50 gallons of water an hour with a 4 watt air pump.

Hi TC,

I think you're right about the head with and air lift pump. At one time I tried a design with a small air pump i saw on youtube using 1/2" PVC but later I got better results using CPVC(smaller diameter), I remember lifting to about 2 1/2 - 3 feet but, at the time I didn't take into account that I'd have to lift about 5 feet! I'll try it again and post some results.

Looks like Travis uses air lifts on his IBC's. @ about 00:56.

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