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Hi, I currently have four independent ibc totes. Each is set up similarly with EcoPlus 396 pumps that still have the filter in place, bell siphon, Lodi gravel. I would like to know if the pumps are the correct type as I suppose the filters need to remain in place to protect the pumps. It would seem that some or all of the solid waste should be pumped up into the beds to fertilize the plants properly. Anybody have any suggestions?

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I pump the raw water directly into my grow bed.  Some people will tell you not to do this since you will get a build up of "stuff" in the grow bed.  However, I personally subscribe to the earthworm belief in that I have about 30 or so worms living in my grow bed.  they eat the chunkies and leave their castings in the bed, further breaking down and providing nutrients.  as far as protecting the pumps goes, my system is relatively small (80 gallons total) and I use a medium sized fountain pump... which honestly does get clogged up from time to time but I just reach in, pull the little screen thing off and rinse that out and put it back into service.  

Thank you for the information Adam. I will try that. I do have some red worms in the grow beds(if they have survived). Do you still have to siphon out some solid waste from the tank or does it get it all get pumped up into the beds?
 
Adam McMillin said:

I pump the raw water directly into my grow bed.  Some people will tell you not to do this since you will get a build up of "stuff" in the grow bed.  However, I personally subscribe to the earthworm belief in that I have about 30 or so worms living in my grow bed.  they eat the chunkies and leave their castings in the bed, further breaking down and providing nutrients.  as far as protecting the pumps goes, my system is relatively small (80 gallons total) and I use a medium sized fountain pump... which honestly does get clogged up from time to time but I just reach in, pull the little screen thing off and rinse that out and put it back into service.  

You'll do less maintenance if you remove the foam from the pump.It will clog soon.  I have been running 4 systems that way with no pump problems. If you're concerned about solids in your beds use an external filter or just put polyfiber or some sort of filter mesh under the inlet water to the bed and change as needed. Adam is right about the worms but you'll need more than 30. They will will multiply fast so that shouldn't be a problem. They will actually keep the filter material clean for you.



Jeff S said:

You'll do less maintenance if you remove the foam from the pump.It will clog soon.  I have been running 4 systems that way with no pump problems. If you're concerned about solids in your beds use an external filter or just put polyfiber or some sort of filter mesh under the inlet water to the bed and change as needed. Adam is right about the worms but you'll need more than 30. They will will multiply fast so that shouldn't be a problem. They will actually keep the filter material clean for you.

Yeah, well, I started with 30.  Im not going to count them but Im pretty sure they multiply in there.  And, I dont have a larger system.  Like I said, my system is a 55 gallon and a 30 gallon aquarium tied together with a water bridge to keep feeders in the 30.  I put my over the side filter cartridges in 2 days ago and were full of junk, today, they are blue again... all from worms.  

Like I said, cleaned in 2 days. Just set them on top of the bed.


*edit. I just noticed this. If you look closely you can see worm egg sacs all over the cartridges. These were NOT there yesterday.
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You have four pumps? I have the one small pump with a two IBC system and the two filters, that I made. I took the filter of the pump soon after installing it. I use a split flow system. Its an open outdoor setup ATM. I run my pump on a timer so I use less power, my filters need cleaning once every two month or so, although recently after cleaning of my sump tank and fish tank walls, I had to clean the filter bag four times that week. I have cleaned my pump three times in the last year, that’s just the debris that grow on the side of the pump, algae mainly. If you have a picture of your setup it would be easier to offer advice,

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