This is an explanation of how a traditional bell siphon operates. It goes into some of the physics of how the auto siphon gets started and stops. One of the biggest problems I've run into is getting them to stop properly on large grow beds. I've solved this problem with one simple little piece! It's so simple, I'm kicking myself for not figuring it out years ago!
This grow bed is using 3/4" pipe for the drain and standpipe with a 2" bell. The fill rate is LESS than 1/2 liter per minute and the siphon still starts with no problem. It's been running for about a week without any problems.
Yes, I've used Affnan's siphon. His needs a bit higher flow to get it started whereas the bell siphon can start with very little flow. The cup is used for stopping the siphon which has been a problem for a lot of people that want to use a true bell siphon.
Have you tried Affnan's Bell Siphon? It has a reducer in it while your does not have one, perhaps that's why you need to add the cup to the tubing? Just asking
@Trevor - Has anyone used compost tea to inoculate their media bed?
I too have wondered if that would work, but I've never tried it.
It certainly can't hurt, and it would IMHO be well worth a try.
Anymore I just use some media from an existing bio filter
(My personal opinion) Media beds are good for the larger root crops like tomato, cucumber, etc. - basically plants that have a long life span. The rafts are good for plants with a shallow root & quick life like lettuce & spinach. In our new greenhouse we will be using both where the fish water will go into a media bed which acts as the biofilter and it will then drain into the raft system.
In my current greenhouse, we are going into the 4th season with the media beds and I have never cleaned them out. Having red wigglers in there certainly helps to clear out the solids from the fish poo and plant matter. I believe the general rule of thumb is to clean them out every 5 years (remove stone and rince the solids out)....there are very few of us that e have system that old. ;-) Make sure you join my facebook page (www.facebook.com/bigelowbrook) and/or subscribe to my youtube channel (www.youtube.com/web4deb). In the near future, I will be releasing some videos on how the beds are set up in the new greenhouse!
Chris is right on the money! The only thing you have to keep an eye on is for roots. Every once in awhile it's a good idea to give the media guard a twist to break them off.
the old water will mix with the new water entering the bed. The cup should be fine because it is inside the media guard which allows for easy servicing of the siphon.
what about the water that is left at the bottom of the grow bed? wont it get stagnant or fill with debris eventually that will not allow the cup to work?
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