Aquaponic Gardening

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As anyone ever used a siphon guard like this one? or made one like it? And how did you do it? Any pro's or cons to using one like this?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=251121183846

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I guess it does not hurt to put something like that up for sale at a ridiculous price to see if anyone will bite.

Any number of things will work including an old plastic garden pot.

Seems a bit overkill to me.  Seriously, just go to a hardware store and buy a 10' section of PVC or ABS drain pipe (it's the thin-walled stuff).  It costs around $4-5.  Drill a bunch of holes in it, or cut slits with a saw into it.  There's no need to anchor it to the base of the grow bed...the media will hold it in place and it won't move.  It doesn't need to be pretty since no one can see it anyway.  Plus, if you anchor it, you can't twist it to break of the roots as they grow into there - as shown in this video! ;-)  http://youtu.be/Jf8Lxpl_8z8

In one of my dirtier grow beds i have a lot of problems with stuff getting stuck in the wholes of the pvc pipe and so was thinking about switching it to something like this. Right now my guards are silconed down but after watching that video i think i'm going to undo that and try just adding more holes to the current guard which isn't easy to do when it's stuck.

Thanks for the ideas!

Stephanie, it looks good to me.  But being stingy, I've always made my own out of 4" plastic drain pipe with slits cut using a table saw.  

Unlike Rob, my main issue with any siphon guard is preventing them from drifting upward and allowing some of the media to sneak in under the bottom edge (very frustrating and a pain to correct--need to take out most of the media to re-set the guard).  I recall someone using a guard that was cone-shaped (wider at bottom) instead of cylindrical, so that the weight of the media held it in place.  I loved the idea, but never found a suitable cone to use.  I've ended up cementing a horizontal flange onto the bottom edge of my cylindrical media guards.  That seems to work.  

Lately I've been getting away from in-growbed siphons altogether and going with external siphons (mostly bucket siphons - look up Glenn Martinez's design at Olomana Gardens in Hawaii).  Saves growbed space, is more accessible for observation, fine-tuning, and maintenance, and can be set up to drain the growbed lower than an internal siphon does, essentially dry.  With this design one does need to come up with a perforated false bottom in your growbed (which performs essentially the same function as a siphon guard but in a different configuration).  Figuring out how to set that up isn't necessarily trivial, but it's been worth it to me so far.

As a component of a DIY project, the price is way out of line. It looks like maybe its vinyl covered screen of some kind so I would question how well it would withstand abuse. In the media surrounding the guard, the airflow downward would be directed toward the guard rather than down through the media.  As to securing the guard to bottom of the container, prefer to utilize the pass through connector to secure the circumference of the media guard.

Those mesh tubes are polyethylene.  They are made for around stand pipes in aquaculture fish tanks.

I've used those, unfortunately the 4 1/2" ones are a bit too flexible to stand up well to filling the bed with heavy gravel.  The 3" ones are sturdier but a bit small for people with big hands/arms.


If the choice is between buying a mesh screen and drilling zillions of holes in a pipe with a drill.  I'd buy the mesh screen.

If you can cut slits in large pipe (not foam core) with a saw, that is probably the less costly option.

I've been making gravel guards out of polypropylene mesh that is pretty large and sturdy and normally used for things like food dehydrators.  They work well but you have to protect the polypropylene from the sun because it has no UV stabilization.

  Gravel Guards

Why not DWV Foam Core?

TCLynx said:


If you can cut slits in large pipe (not foam core) with a saw, that is probably the less costly option.


  Gravel Guards

I am using 8" PVC drain pipe with 1/4" holes at the base. Takes a little time but works fine. My Mason Jar Bell Siphons and my big hands need 8".



TCLynx said:

Those mesh tubes are polyethylene.  They are made for around stand pipes in aquaculture fish tanks.

I've used those, unfortunately the 4 1/2" ones are a bit too flexible to stand up well to filling the bed with heavy gravel.  The 3" ones are sturdier but a bit small for people with big hands/arms.


If the choice is between buying a mesh screen and drilling zillions of holes in a pipe with a drill.  I'd buy the mesh screen.

If you can cut slits in large pipe (not foam core) with a saw, that is probably the less costly option.

I've been making gravel guards out of polypropylene mesh that is pretty large and sturdy and normally used for things like food dehydrators.  They work well but you have to protect the polypropylene from the sun because it has no UV stabilization.

  Gravel Guards

Because as far as I know no one seems able to get an answer about what the "foam core" is and how safe it is in our food.  Therefore I generally chose the solid pipes.  (the thinwall suff is easier to cut anyway.)

Bob Campbell said:

Why not DWV Foam Core?

TCLynx said:


If you can cut slits in large pipe (not foam core) with a saw, that is probably the less costly option.


  Gravel Guards

I guess we will see if I die..lol.  All I could find at either Home Depot and Lowes in the 3" sched 40 was PVC Foam Core, unless I purchased a 10 foot length.  They had them in 3 foot lengths so I got them.  True TC how safe is it?  I do remember that in college we used foam core products extensively and care was needed to no heat as it contained chloroform and petro by-products to make, that being said there is always the probability of leeching for degradation of PVC, because it will degrade over time, either through temperature, UV or via particulant wear.  Groups are still claiming leeching of plastisizers although that seems to be more to the vPcv (vinyl products) but both are still at the base level the same thing.  Still not believing it cause after 3 pots a coffee a day for 30 years and a strong belief in the 5 second rule, I am still alive......oooo got a chest pain....

TCLynx said:

Because as far as I know no one seems able to get an answer about what the "foam core" is and how safe it is in our food.  Therefore I generally chose the solid pipes.  (the thinwall suff is easier to cut anyway.)

Bob Campbell said:

Why not DWV Foam Core?

TCLynx said:


If you can cut slits in large pipe (not foam core) with a saw, that is probably the less costly option.


  Gravel Guards

"They" also say that GMO's aren't dangerous either.  

Yeah it is used as a whitening agent in breads and for flour and the government recommends avoid bromide breads due to allergy reactions but ok for use in flour processing. It is the reactant for the foam used in the PVC core.  MMMM bromide by-products..

I think this sums it up:

The principal use of azodicarbonamide is in the production of foamed plastics as an additive. The thermal decomposition of azodicarbonamide results in the evolution of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and ammonia gases, which are trapped in the polymer as bubbles to form a foamed article. Common examples of this application are window and door gaskets, padded floor mats, gym/exercise mats, shoe soles, etc.

But yet it is listed as a food additive.


Bob Campbell said:

I did a little research to find out about DWV foam core PVC.   Azobiscarbonamide is used to create the foam interior.

This is a chemical that is also used in flour.  I'm no chemist but it does not sound too dangerous.



TCLynx said:

Because as far as I know no one seems able to get an answer about what the "foam core" is and how safe it is in our food.  Therefore I generally chose the solid pipes.  (the thinwall suff is easier to cut anyway.)

Bob Campbell said:

Why not DWV Foam Core?

TCLynx said:


If you can cut slits in large pipe (not foam core) with a saw, that is probably the less costly option.


  Gravel Guards

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