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 I have been trying to get this bell siphon to work for a week now. i have 2 2'x3'x9" drain tables and according to this pdf doc.: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/BIO-10.pdf I have the measurements right. It works fine without the media in it, but when I add the gravel the siphon will not break. Any ideas? I am at the end of my rope and have seriously considered taking the saws-all to the entire system.

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Maybe you can try bigger tubing for the air break. It worked for me when I had that problem.

you can also try slowing down the filling rate too.    Or increase the length of the pipe under the bed so it creates a stronger suction (drains faster).

Richard Wyman said:

Maybe you can try bigger tubing for the air break. It worked for me when I had that problem.

 Thanks I will try it, but according to articles that i have been reading the tubing for the snorkel is already bigger than norm.

Hi,

I have not tried making a bell siphon like the one you show on the document. But I have built one that Affnan explains on YouTube. If you search 'affnan bell siphon' on YouTube, he has a couple of videos explaining how to build them. You will basically keep the 'Standing Drain Tube' that you have build, and just build 2 other parts, made from 2-4 pieces..very simple.

http://www.youtu.be/results?search_query=affnan+bell+siphon&oq=...

I use 1/2" PVC electrical conduit for the stand pipes in my systems...never had a problem.  My beds are around 3x5' with a fill rate of about 2 gallons/minute.   (They are on a timer so there is no water going in when the siphon should break).  I ave the same setup on my indoor system too.  http://youtu.be/_NAiTEq9w5o



Christopher Brickey said:

 Thanks I will try it, but according to articles that i have been reading the tubing for the snorkel is already bigger than norm.

assuming you've constructed as shown in the pdf, have you tried a 45 degree adaptor coming off of the bottom at the bulkhead fitting instead of a 90 degree? might give a little more velocity under lower flow conditions. 

I worried about this also because I am a world class klutz. So I solved the problem by purchasing the ones from Aquaponic Source, which have worked perfectly and didn't cost much more than the materials would have. Just a thought. 

Your media is displacing a lot of the water, so the grow bed is filling faster than when it's empty. It is filling just fast enough that it won't break the siphon.

Slowing the pump down or making the siphon bigger would fix this issue.  I've recently seen an item called a 'tipper' that looks to be able to solve this issue, but I've not tried to make one yet. I'd look into building one of those.

I have an air lift pump that won't start my siphon on my tiny setup. I am going to try to make a tipper for it.

Do you have a gravel guard? Is the air tube blocked?  Did you try adjusting the air tube? Pics?

So true Michael!  We made ours because we are DIY's but in the end it's a wash!  And they work like a charm----- we can watch them for HOURS!!!  LOL  (So can our cat - he's very curious about the drain cycle!)

Michael Welber said:

I worried about this also because I am a world class klutz. So I solved the problem by purchasing the ones from Aquaponic Source, which have worked perfectly and didn't cost much more than the materials would have. Just a thought. 

Hi Christopher: I had the same problem when starting out. I have a similar design with my 2 bell siphons (but without the snorkel tubing). One worked well, the other didn't. I slowed down the rate of fill on the grow beds-  and they both siphoned just fine.

I agree with Mike: the grow media is displacing your water volume by roughly 2/3, according to my figures- so your siphon is not as strong if the rate of fill is too high. Also, you might check that some pieces of grow media haven't sneaked in at the bottom and interfering with the seal of the siphon.

Good Luck- don't give up!!

i looked it up and the 50$ they want for the siphon i saw is definitely more than i spent on materials. Thanks though.

Michael Welber said:

I worried about this also because I am a world class klutz. So I solved the problem by purchasing the ones from Aquaponic Source, which have worked perfectly and didn't cost much more than the materials would have. Just a thought. 

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