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"Hi Everyone, I have Murray Hallam's IBC setup exactly as on the DVD with 3 4x4 12" deep gravel beds, sump beneath and 275m gallon fish tank.


The problem is keeping the beds in sync to avoid the pump going dry and shutting off.


I am going out several times a day to add a little water to one bed or another to get them going and fill the sump.


Does anyone else have the same kind of flood and drain system and if so what did you do to fix this problem.


I can sync the beds for a time but they always go back to all going at once.

 

Janet Little"

 

Janet,

1.  I'm taking the liberty of making your inquiry a Discussion here - I think that might work better than Msgs to/from all in the Sac group.

2.  I haven't studied Murray's IBC systems in depth, but my first thought is that your sump volume is too small.  If your sump was large enough to hold the amount of water held in all your growbeds and plus a few inches, your sump would never go dry.  Not sure if that' feasible for you.

3.  I know people talk about sequencing valve so that only one growbed is supplied water at a time, and only one flushes at a time.  But I don't know much else about them.  Without don't think you can ever tune flows in and out of 3 growbeds so tightly that they will never flush all at the same time.  I think the flows change over time with amount of organic matter in the beds, etc., so even if you get them right at one point, they are likely to go out of sync at some later time, consistent with your experience to date.

4.  Having had the pleasure of seeing your system first hand, let me commend you again on a beautiful job!  Awesome project!

Hope you're able to fix that problem.  Let's see what the other bright minds in this group come up with.

Paul

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks, I suck at message boards and such. I agree that the sump is too small.  If I fill it up it will overflow again when it gets out of sync again and the whole cycle starts again.  The only way to remedy it is to empty all the beds and get a new sump which I am hoping to avoid.  I have heard rumors of other ways of cycling the water but without the detailed instructions of Murray's system I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have. I am not that mechanical. I am an expert at growing plants but the engineering baffles me. I...

I am also looking forward to expanding but not before perfecting this one.

Isn't there something called "Timed" flood and drain?  You control the time at which they flood and drain with a timer?  Wouldn't that prevent this from happening?   Before we did our system, we filled a growbed with our media (red lava rock) and started pouring 5gallon buckets of water into the tote.  Discovered it help approx 60 gallons of water (with our specific media) to "the full" point.  That was good to know!!!   So now multiply that times the number of grow beds and thats what 'could' theoretically go into (or out of) your sump all at once if ol' Murphy law wins out and things go wrong.  According to Murrays' video which we followed somewhat, a sump cut a bit larger than a grow bed will only hold maybe150 to 175 gallons of water?  Thats a little less than 3 growbeds.  Do timed flood and drain??

Here's what we've done with our system.  All the water from fishtanks (2 totes connected to one another by several bulkheads and pvc) flows into a large sump the size of the fishtanks (275 gallons).  From that large sump we pump constantly to all 5 growbeds and a little bit to both fishtanks as well, in a waterfall fashion to provide oxygen, constantly.  When growbeds drain, they drain into another sump....the size Murray promotes on his videos.  We have a big pump in it with a float.  When it starts to fill, it quickly pumps (again by waterfall) all the fresh "media cleansed" water into both fishtanks.    Fishtank levels equalize and drain into large sump.

there is a cool sequencing valve , I will try to find it, it will fix you up.

That is what I was hoping to do, I don't want to change my whole set up. Thanks

That is where we seem to have a problem our sump is not big enough to hold all the water if they drain all at once.  I wish Murray had thought of that. I would love to see your system, do you have any pictures?

Susie Gehri said:

Isn't there something called "Timed" flood and drain?  You control the time at which they flood and drain with a timer?  Wouldn't that prevent this from happening?   Before we did our system, we filled a growbed with our media (red lava rock) and started pouring 5gallon buckets of water into the tote.  Discovered it help approx 60 gallons of water (with our specific media) to "the full" point.  That was good to know!!!   So now multiply that times the number of grow beds and thats what 'could' theoretically go into (or out of) your sump all at once if ol' Murphy law wins out and things go wrong.  According to Murrays' video which we followed somewhat, a sump cut a bit larger than a grow bed will only hold maybe150 to 175 gallons of water?  Thats a little less than 3 growbeds.  Do timed flood and drain??

Here's what we've done with our system.  All the water from fishtanks (2 totes connected to one another by several bulkheads and pvc) flows into a large sump the size of the fishtanks (275 gallons).  From that large sump we pump constantly to all 5 growbeds and a little bit to both fishtanks as well, in a waterfall fashion to provide oxygen, constantly.  When growbeds drain, they drain into another sump....the size Murray promotes on his videos.  We have a big pump in it with a float.  When it starts to fill, it quickly pumps (again by waterfall) all the fresh "media cleansed" water into both fishtanks.    Fishtank levels equalize and drain into large sump.

I know this an old thread but what are uniseals and where can I find them, I bought a 55 gallon drum to connect to my sump. I would have bought something bigger but I do not have the room for it. As it is I am going to have to do some backwoods engineering to get it connected.

Bob Campbell said:

I don't know what your tanks are like, but maybe you could plumb two tanks together to increase the capacity of your sump.

Uniseals can make that kind of job very easy.

Janet Little said:

.  The only way to remedy it is to empty all the beds and get a new sump which I am hoping to avoid. 

Wow those look great and cheap, Thanks.  I have a 55 gallon plastic barrel they tend to be pretty thick so I think it will work. My son is starting a system so he will be happy to save a few bucks also.

Bob Campbell said:

Here's the place I've been ordering Uniseals from The-Hydroponic-Source

Here's another I just found.

http://www.aquaticeco.com/subcategories/829/Uniseals

And here are the instructions.  They probably sell them too. 

The one thing to watch out for is the that the thickness of the tank you are going through needs to be thick enough for the Uniseal to press tight against,  I don't have a specific gauge, but something thin and flimsy will tend to leak,  But I used then to make my spin filter which is a water cooler bottle.  That was pretty thin and it does not leak



Janet Little said:

I know this an old thread but what are uniseals and where can I find them, I bought a 55 gallon drum to connect to my sump. I would have bought something bigger but I do not have the room for it. As it is I am going to have to do some backwoods engineering to get it connected.

Bob Campbell said:

I don't know what your tanks are like, but maybe you could plumb two tanks together to increase the capacity of your sump.

Uniseals can make that kind of job very easy.

Janet Little said:

.  The only way to remedy it is to empty all the beds and get a new sump which I am hoping to avoid. 

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