I hope you're doing well! It's been a while. We're still chugging along, slowly but surely. I'd love to talk with you again sometime. We'll have some neat stuff to show off soon and I think you'll get a kick out of it!
Carolyn sorry for the delay in responding - haven't been around the forum lately. Most relatives are on the East coast or Germany. As far as the bell siphon goes I would use it in a drain/fill type application. I currently don't have any systems since I have a big problem here in Dallas - heat! I haven't figured out how to develop a system that will keep the fish from boiling in 108 degree temps without expending a lot of energy.
Since I had set the system up in the garage, temperature and light was most critical for me. Water temp was easy enough with an aquarium heater since the system was relatively small. I used a space heater to keep the grow area warm. This was not reliable since I was actually wasting heat/energy on the whole garage. My flourescent tubes were okay for light for what I was doing. I also had to learn about PH since I had a very high PH. This I believe is very important to understand, and also learn how to properly adjust and regulate. Aeration is also important. On a smaller system this can be easily managed by an airpump with airstone.
I have taken the whole system down to make another one. I will put up a coldframe around the growbeds to control the temp better.
The question of gravel or raft is a popular one. I experimented with both on the previous system. With the gravel, there may be a need for periodic cleaning. With the rafts you will need to eliminate solids passing to the growbeds, since the solids will accumulate on the roots and may hinder nutrient and oxygen uptake.
Plan your system design well for filtration, aeration, water flow, and maintenance. The nitrification process needs to take place, and that will take at least a few weeks.
There are many factors that play a role in the whole system. It will be fun and frustrating at the same time. I touched very briefly on some things I find important. Also there are many opinions on what works best. There are no systems that are exactly the same. Use what makes sense to you, and what works for you. And do your own research to verify what is suggested in the many forums out there. And that goes for what I am saying as well.
Most important, get started. Just jump in. It will all come together. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Sorry it's taking so long to arrange another call. Hope you're doing well! I'll shoot you an email soon to figure out a time to talk! Oh, you should check out how my strawberries are doing- awesome!
Thanks for joining the Aquaponic Gardening community! I hope you find it a fun place to explore aquaponics. There is a real blend of experienced and new aquapons in this community, so please don’t hesitate to get in there and start asking questions. Everyone is quite happy to help out new members – no question is too basic.
A great place to start is to read the How to Use This Site link on the upper right corner, “Start Here” section of the Main page.
Thanks again for joining us, and I look forward to getting to know you. I would like to take you up on your offer to chat with you. Is there a time next week when you be available?