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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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Oh man! I feel your pain.  I have two IBC setups, both identical, one works like a charm, the other worked great for 4 weeks, but now the siphon has slowed and sometimes doesn't empty the grow bed.  I rebuilt it once before... it started working... then 3 weeks later, same thing.  What sucks now, is it is full of fish, so tearing it apart isn't an easy option.

John, we've been working on 3 new gravel beds with bell siphons this week. Have you tried putting an extension snorkel on your drain line? It really helped ours siphon SO much better. Murray Hallam's video recommends this. We adjusted the rate of flow for each bed so it wouldn't fill so fast and that helped with stopping the siphon, too.

Siphon iniation, and break... is almost always a factor of inflow/outflow rates...

I had a snorkel coming off the bell cap, but that was more problematic than not, so both (working and non-working) no longer have that.  I use a 1" pipe, with a 2" bell cap. There is about 1.5" between top of pipe and top of bell cap.  I currently do not have a guard around the bell siphon.  What does Connie mean by a snorkel on the drain pipe?  Is that on the bottom side of the bed where the water exits?

RupertofOZ said:

Siphon iniation, and break... is almost always a factor of inflow/outflow rates...

 yea i was wondering about the "extension snorkel on your drain line" too. do u have a link to that connie?

 btw i have recently taken my bell siphons out and am operating on a timer since my fish had babies and i thought it might give them a chance to escape the suction of the pump (i also put a screen around the pump). i hate to say it, but i think that i am liking this system better than a siphon. btw i have not seen any babies in the main tank. i think the fish must have ate them.

Yea, if you are using carnivorous fish, such as trout... they will eat their own.  I've heard that you need to put in some smaller PVC pipe to give the lil ones places to hide, or remove them from the tank.

Christopher Brickey said:

 yea i was wondering about the "extension snorkel on your drain line" too. do u have a link to that connie?

 btw i have recently taken my bell siphons out and am operating on a timer since my fish had babies and i thought it might give them a chance to escape the suction of the pump (i also put a screen around the pump). i hate to say it, but i think that i am liking this system better than a siphon. btw i have not seen any babies in the main tank. i think the fish must have ate them.

 good idea with the pvc pipe. do u know if it will actually work? the chick at petsmart was trying to sell me a castle for them to hide in, but my concern was if they would actually go in there (we r talking about goldfish, btw) i hear for the first several days they are unable to swim. nowadays they seem to be hanging out at the top of the water though. i think we r off topic, lol. i will bring it up on my other thread though http://aquaponicscommunity.com/forum/topics/a-fish-looks-pregnant?x...

John Foster said:

Yea, if you are using carnivorous fish, such as trout... they will eat their own.  I've heard that you need to put in some smaller PVC pipe to give the lil ones places to hide, or remove them from the tank.

Christopher Brickey said:

 yea i was wondering about the "extension snorkel on your drain line" too. do u have a link to that connie?

 btw i have recently taken my bell siphons out and am operating on a timer since my fish had babies and i thought it might give them a chance to escape the suction of the pump (i also put a screen around the pump). i hate to say it, but i think that i am liking this system better than a siphon. btw i have not seen any babies in the main tank. i think the fish must have ate them.

Sorry- I couldn't find a link... I saw it on the Aquaponics Secrets video by Murray Hallam. The snorkel extension I am talking about is on the drain line to the fish tank. I have 3 gravel beds all draining through 1" pipe into a 1.5" main return pipe back to fish tank. On the 'uphill' end of the return pipe, I attached a 90 deg. elbow and a 18" length of vertical pipe- this acts as a breather for the bell siphon on each bed to work more effectively. It really sucks- but in a good way!

I don't subscribe to the piece of tubing (normally referred to as a snorkel) attached to the bell siphon as helpful. I omit this piece and just have a 1" stand pipe, 2" bell siphon with 2- 1" notches cut in the bottom and a cap on top, covered by a 6" gravel guard which is big enough to see the siphon and get my hand inside. The beds I have are approx. 9' long and 2' wide- I used 3- blue barrel halves screwed together to create the bed. 3 of these units are end to end and filled with C gravel: 1/2 - 1" river rock media.

I find that adding a breather or snorkel to the drain line and the pump tee helps our design with draining and aerating.

An added note about your fish fry: a friend of mine sinks a plastic bucket with holes drilled in the sides for the little fish to hide in. Works really well for catching fish, too.



Connie Christians said:

Sorry- I couldn't find a link... I saw it on the Aquaponics Secrets video by Murray Hallam. The snorkel extension I am talking about is on the drain line to the fish tank. I have 3 gravel beds all draining through 1" pipe into a 1.5" main return pipe back to fish tank. On the 'uphill' end of the return pipe, I attached a 90 deg. elbow and a 18" length of vertical pipe- this acts as a breather for the bell siphon on each bed to work more effectively. It really sucks- but in a good way!

I don't subscribe to the piece of tubing (normally referred to as a snorkel) attached to the bell siphon as helpful. I omit this piece and just have a 1" stand pipe, 2" bell siphon with 2- 1" notches cut in the bottom and a cap on top, covered by a 6" gravel guard which is big enough to see the siphon and get my hand inside. The beds I have are approx. 9' long and 2' wide- I used 3- blue barrel halves screwed together to create the bed. 3 of these units are end to end and filled with C gravel: 1/2 - 1" river rock media.

I find that adding a breather or snorkel to the drain line and the pump tee helps our design with draining and aerating.

An added note about your fish fry: a friend of mine sinks a plastic bucket with holes drilled in the sides for the little fish to hide in. Works really well for catching fish, too.

try using a pex pipe ..hard stuff .. not that flimsy tubes .. glue it in .. been using for 6+months and haven't missed a heartbeat yet.

Late answer but we just joined the website....

BIO-10 is pure magics and we use that document for our community systems.  Based on experience if the siphon starts, dumps and then continues to flow without breaking then there is a problem on your snorkel tube.  Check to make sure that it is at least 1/2" above the highest hole in your bell and that you have adequate flow in your gravel guard to facilitate draining.  Also check to make sure that it's not pinched by the cable tie or pulled down too tightly from where it enters the bell cap.  Sometimes it will kink ever so slightly and it's not enough air to break the siphon because the flow rate of the pump is greater than the amount of air being allowed through the snorkel.

I hope this helps.

 do u have a link for the bio-10 doc. thing? i tried to google it, but got a bunch of irrelevant bio-engineering stuff. thanks.

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