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I'm setting up my DIY system and wondering what size pumps I'll need.

The IBC fish tank has a top capacity of 250 Gallon now that the top is cut off.  I won't fill it that high though... more like 200 gallons or so.  I have six 50 gallon, flood and drain growbeds each with 12 inches of expanded clay.  I won't be able to get the grow beds higher than the fish tank so I'll use a sump tank and pump it back in.

I'm wondering what size pump I would need for the fish tank and what size for the sump tank.

I am considering a 620 GPH pump but not sure if it would be too strong or too week.

Any input is appreciated?

Thanks,

Jim

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i use a 265 gph pump for my setups

You might want to look up CHIFT PIST or CHOP systems where you could use a single pump.

Here are a couple links with diagrams that you might find useful

Useful Diagrams

Plumbing Class

I always say the bare minimum pumping when you design a new system should be at least strong enough to move the volume of your fish tank each hour at the height you will be pumping.  So you have to find a pump where you can get the info about how many gallons per hour or minute it will pump at different heights.  If you will be pumping all the time then you would need a pump that can deliver at least 200 gallons per hour at the height you need.  If you will only be pumping for 15 minutes an hour then you need a pump that would deliver at least 800 gallons at that height.

Trying to do all this with two pumps might get a bit complex since you have to make sure the sump pump can keep up and you then probably also need to figure in float switches and all sorts of other things that could go wrong, so I recommend Looking up those One pump designs.

Thanks Dan and TC.  The links look like they'll be a big help.

I'll have a go at the CHOP Mark 2 design.  Thanks again.

TCLynx said:

You might want to look up CHIFT PIST or CHOP systems where you could use a single pump.

Here are a couple links with diagrams that you might find useful

Useful Diagrams

Plumbing Class

I always say the bare minimum pumping when you design a new system should be at least strong enough to move the volume of your fish tank each hour at the height you will be pumping.  So you have to find a pump where you can get the info about how many gallons per hour or minute it will pump at different heights.  If you will be pumping all the time then you would need a pump that can deliver at least 200 gallons per hour at the height you need.  If you will only be pumping for 15 minutes an hour then you need a pump that would deliver at least 800 gallons at that height.

Trying to do all this with two pumps might get a bit complex since you have to make sure the sump pump can keep up and you then probably also need to figure in float switches and all sorts of other things that could go wrong, so I recommend Looking up those One pump designs.

Ok, so in the CHOP Mark 2 design... what is that other thing in the sump tank next to the pump?  Also....

Lets say that Fish tank in the diagram is 225 gallon and the grow beds are 40 gallons each and the sump tank is only about 50 gallons and the pump is running constantly.  The water supply line needs to lift the water about 32" to the grow beds and 36" to the Fish tank.

Would a 225 GPH pump be adequate?

TCLynx said:

You might want to look up CHIFT PIST or CHOP systems where you could use a single pump.

Here are a couple links with diagrams that you might find useful

Useful Diagrams

Plumbing Class

I always say the bare minimum pumping when you design a new system should be at least strong enough to move the volume of your fish tank each hour at the height you will be pumping.  So you have to find a pump where you can get the info about how many gallons per hour or minute it will pump at different heights.  If you will be pumping all the time then you would need a pump that can deliver at least 200 gallons per hour at the height you need.  If you will only be pumping for 15 minutes an hour then you need a pump that would deliver at least 800 gallons at that height.

Trying to do all this with two pumps might get a bit complex since you have to make sure the sump pump can keep up and you then probably also need to figure in float switches and all sorts of other things that could go wrong, so I recommend Looking up those One pump designs.

NO,

In general, the gph designation on a pump is at 0 head so a 225 gph pump will only move 225 gph at the surface of the water in the tank that the pump is in.

So if you have 225 gallon fish tank,

You need a pump that will actually circulate 225 gallons per hour through that fish tank.  The CHOP Mark 2 you need a slightly stronger pump since you are splitting the flow, you still need to move adequate water through the fish tank as well as having flow left over to water the grow beds.

Now I'm also one to always up size the pump a bit since you almost never stop expanding once you get into aquaponics.  I would probably recommend a Quiet One 4000 pump or something similar for your application Though I suppose a Danner MD7 might manage it for you.  (The Quiet one uses 1" plumbing and delivers more water (a bit under 1000 gph) for only 50 watts the danner has 1/2" plumbing and is nominally a 700 gph pump but uses around 70 watts.

You can always have more water flow to the fish tank, even up to 4 times the volume of flow through won't hurt as long as you size your drain plumbing big enough to handle the flow.

If you go with a little pump that can barely manage the minimum and anything clogs it or slows it down, you could be seeing water quality issues very fast and the less water flow and movement you have, the more air pumping you will need to provide aeration.

Hmmm very good explanation.  Thank you very much. 

Also, I was planning on using 4" flexible drainage line and running it under the beds.  The Plumbing lesson advises against it and suggests PVC ... which is fine except I need the drain to flex around a circle as the grow beds are in a dome and run along the inside wall.  The Lesson mentions flexible joints for PVC.  I'll see what I can find but I'm not familiar with them.  Are they the rubber connectors with metal hose clamps?

Well, you can probably find 45 degree elbows so you might not get a perfect circle but you will find sealing or plumbing the drains together far easier if the fittings actually seal.  My experience with the corrugated flexible drainage pipe is that the fittings don't really seal and they will leak your water into the floor of your greenhouse.  Now Have used the flexi extension pipe to run a temporary drain from one grow bed over to a sump tank but then you need a separate drain for each bed.

They do make a flexible PVC pipe but I don't think any of it is potable water rated and when you up up to 3 or 4 inch it will cost a lot.

The flexible connectors are the rubber couplers with the metal hose clamps, they are a little flexible but you are not going to make huge bends with them and they cost quite a bit too.  You would probably be better off with 3 or 4 inch thinwall pipe and 45 degree elbows to get your shape and perhaps a flexible coupler in a couple places just to make things fit better. 

FYI, nothing says all your beds have to share the same drain line.

It would be a bit neater though if they shared the same drain line.  I'll try the 45's and see how it works.  The angle is more like 25 degrees but I'll see what I can do.

Now there may be ways to kinda "bend" the pipe too but you have to be careful not to melt it or cause it to collapse.  I think it usually involves filling the pipe with sand and heating it carefully.  I've never really tried such things.

Okay, I went with a 1000 gph pump with 1 inch out. One problem is my supply line is 1/2 inch. I took a tip from Meg Stout and opted for drinking water safe garden hose so I could use the garden hose diverters.... 7 valves total. To solve the 1 inch to 1/2 inch problem, I found a thread adapter that allows me to hook a garden hose Y diverter to the pump to split the 1 inch out to two 1/2 outs and then split off again to the rest of the supply lines.

I filled one bed with my garden hose today to test the bell siphon and it worked good. I didnt get to test the pump because the grow bed test showed me that the longer side walls of the bed are too flimsy so I swithed gears to build a support frame to go around it. Then, I ran out of time just after finishing installing the frame so I'll pick it up Sunday.

For my drain line I decided on the accordian type flex line at Lowes. The grow beds sit on cinder blocks and the flex line fits neatly in the cinder block holes. I cut out an opening in the drain line for the grow bed discharge pipe. So far so good.

I'm gonna build some more lateral support frames for the other grow beds tomorrow and then test the pump to the grow bed with continous flow. Hopfully the bell siphon makes, breaks, and makes like it should.

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