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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 7th, '15, 13:00 
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Good to see your system progressing JimV. Looking forward to you getting the water flowing and the system cycling (but not as much as you are I'm sure :thumbleft: ). It is so much fun when you get to add your fish - and then you really start to worry :think: :? :shock: :laughing3:

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 7th, '15, 23:07 
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JimV wrote:
Oh, I just noticed that @smatthew is Scott's Pride Farm! Great work on the water testing posts.


Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 7th, '15, 23:16 
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ha ha ha, yep! My wife keeps telling me it seems like I'm having to work pretty hard at this, to which I replied that it's not work if I'm having a good time!
seems to be going around :?

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 8th, '15, 00:11 
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joc wrote:
Good to see your system progressing JimV. Looking forward to you getting the water flowing and the system cycling (but not as much as you are I'm sure :thumbleft: ). It is so much fun when you get to add your fish - and then you really start to worry :think: :? :shock: :laughing3:


Yep, I'm really looking forward to getting fish in my system! And nearly as eager to set up my monitoring/graphing system -- You've got my data-envy activated with your recent chemistry posts. :thumbleft:

Not *too* worried about my first batch of fish, since they're just (free) mosquitofish from the county's vector control district. They're pretty hardy little buggers, too.

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 8th, '15, 00:15 
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boss wrote:
seems to be going around :?

:laughing3: Yep, a burden we willingly bear! ;)

Good news on the weather: looks like we are getting plenty of rain today! So I think the bag of LECA I spread out yesterday evening is at least getting a partial rinse, with no effort on my part. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 8th, '15, 03:11 
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JimV wrote:

Not *too* worried about my first batch of fish, since they're just (free) mosquitofish from the county's vector control district. They're pretty hardy little buggers, too.


And when you get bigger fish they make a nice fish-snack.

Edit: I suppose you could eat them on toast points, but I meant they'll be a snack for the big fish.

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 8th, '15, 16:16 
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JimV wrote:
Not *too* worried about my first batch of fish, since they're just (free) mosquitofish from the county's vector control district. They're pretty hardy little buggers, too.

I doubt you will be able to kill the mosquitofish no matter what you throw at them :twisted: . Horrible feral pests here in Oz along with carp that seem to survive in overheated liquid mud. My sacrificial carp (which ended up smoked alongside a trout and tasted just as good, can you believe it?!?!) wasn't phased by off the scale nitrites while cycling.

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 9th, '15, 00:32 
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smatthew wrote:
And when you get bigger fish they make a nice fish-snack.

Edit: I suppose you could eat them on toast points, but I meant they'll be a snack for the big fish.


:laughing3:

The mental picture of MF's on toast points -- Fantastic! :D

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 9th, '15, 00:35 
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@JoC: Yes, I remember you mentioning smoked carp. You definitely have me considering them for my system! Especially since they're readily available and temperature tolerant here in the Sacramento Valley.

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 13th, '15, 23:00 
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I didn't have any time to work on my AP system this weekend. :( But I've been thinking about increasing my drain size. I currently have a 3/4" affnan siphon with a coanda drain, and it takes 6-8 minutes to drain the GB. No trouble with the siphon starting up, though.

Before I bump up the drain tube, I'm going to assemble the larger bell that I would need for a 1" drain and try that on my current setup -- just to make sure I didn't screw up the flow *outside* the drain tube, (into the bell and around the "funnel").

Now that I think about it, it's also possible that my media guard isn't allowing enough flow. I'll have to do the math on that, because I'd rather not move a bunch of LECA out of the GB just to check the media guard.

In case I bump up the drain tube, here's another link to TCLynx's Uniseals:
http://www.aquaponiclynx.com/products/a ... es/uniseal

My 3/4" bulkhead fitting uses a 1.375" hole. Going up to a 1" pipe would about double the cross-sectional area in the drain tube, but requires a 1.75" hole. Not looking forward to running a hole saw through an existing hole. :think:

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 14th, '15, 12:48 
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I did some more testing this evening after work. One thing I can rule out: The media guard isn't the problem -- I did some fill/drain timing and kept an eye on the water height inside vs outside of the media guard, and there was no noticeable difference. That's not to say that it *won't* be a limiting factor later...

Speaking of fill/drain timing: Approximately 5 minutes to fill the GB and get the drain to begin dribbling. Full flow "burp" happened about 3 seconds later. Draining was *very* slow, so I pulled up the bell to stop the siphon, replaced it and let the GB fill up again. This time when the siphon started, I shut off the water into the GB. With the water off, it took almost exactly 5 minutes to drain.

I'm still not sure if it's my bell or the drain pipe itself that's limiting the drain flow. But it seems that my inflow is about twice as fast as it should be, and my drain is about half as fast as it should be. (Actually, I guess drain performance is worse than that, because I shut off the water during the drain cycle.)

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 14th, '15, 13:12 
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Hi JimV, I found I had to fiddle a bit to get my siphon working too :support:. I have a 1/3 IBC ~300L growbed with a bell siphon - 32mm (1 1/4") drain pipe, ~60mm bell in a 100mm gravel guard. I also have a 1/2 barrel CF GB so that I can adjust the flow to the main GB. I had ~1000L/hr coming from the FT SLO split between the beds. The GB was filling in around 4-5 minutes and draining via the siphon in ~2 minutes. I had to put a 32-25mm (1 1/4-1") bush in the elbow at the end of the siphon drain pipe to constrict the flow sufficiently to kick in the siphon, then had to file it out a little so that the water would drain fast enough to break the siphon. 3/4" seems pretty small for the drain pipe, but the siphon kicks in and breaks I am not sure it matters much how fast or slow the cycle is, so long as it is reliably ebbing and flooding :dontknow: .

I also had to up the size of my SLO from 32mm to 50mm, and had to enlarge the holes in the FT and timber cladding. Because it was near the top I could clamp a bit of wood behind the existing hole and drill into it for the new hole. If you need to enlarge, can you wedge or clamp something under your existing siphon hole to drill into?

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 14th, '15, 14:18 
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Jim, I had flow problems with my bell siphon and increased the size to 1" then still had the same problems. Eventually I found one day when I pull ed on the bell to stop the siphon the flow increased. I found that holding the bell about 1" higher increased the flow out of the drain line. I cut a left over piece of pipe to various heights(.5",0.75",1",etc) and experimented by taping them to the bottom of the bell. If you are experiencing the same issue this could help and save you the cost of replacing the drain line.

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 27th, '15, 01:55 
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My system is cycling!!!
:headbang:
Lots of progress, and not a lot of time to type it up, so apologies in advance for the "shorthand" English and lack of metric conversion!

I swapped out my original 3/4" bulkhead siphon with a 1" (thinwall!) "bell-less" siphon, based on Affnan's design:
http://youtu.be/tTu3GgyAt4s


However, I stuck with a 45-degree Coanda drain instead of Affnan's double-90. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it before I installed it. :(
It takes approximately 9 minutes to fill the GB, 2 minutes to drain. Siphon start has been very reliable, but I had a bit too much flow for the siphon to break initially. But this was easy enought to adjust -- I just waited until the siphon was "slurping" at the end of the cycle, and slowly opened the FT diverter valve until the siphon broke. Now it works perfectly!

Got all my media rinsed and loaded into the GB. Many thanks to AquaNate for the loan of his gravel rack! I need to make arrangements to return those to you, buddy.

The vector control district dropped off some mosquitofish before I was ready for them. Poor things didn't make it, but I kept the dead fish in their too-small tank. They ended up being the initial source of ammonia when I dumped their water into my system yesterday. But I guess they were decomposing long enough for the first-stage bacteria to colonize the little tank -- my ammonia reading was 0, but at least I have some nitrites and nitrates in my system now, and hopefully the beginnings of a nitrifying bacteria culture.

Water temp this morning: 62 F
pH 8.2
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0.5 ppm
Nitrate 10 ppm

I will be hitting up the vector control district for some more fish, when I can be present to receive them!

This morning my wife and I planted the GB. These plants have been sitting on the porch for about a month, and most of them should have been planted or re-potted a while ago. They didn't look too good initially, but some of them have perked up a bit since planting.
Attachment:
File comment: Lots of onions, some herbs, and one or two roma tomato plants.
image.jpg
image.jpg [ 87.78 KiB | Viewed 1602 times ]

Attachment:
File comment: Peppers and a few more roma tomato plants.
image.jpg
image.jpg [ 95.78 KiB | Viewed 1602 times ]


I've got a total of 4 roma plants, 3 different chili peppers, some herbs (basil, marjoram, and thyme IIRC), and a bunch of onions.

I didn't take into account the buoyance of the bell/media guard, which is just some ABS pipe sitting atop an inverted atrium grate. I should have put 3 stainless steel screws through the pipe and grate to keep them together, because when I started pumping water through the system the bell /media guard lifted a bit. This allowed some Hydrocorn media into the drain. I *think* it all passed through the drain. To keep the bell from lifting, I put a fairly heavy wooden assembly on top of it for the time being. I calculated that the bell has a maximum displacement of 2 kg/4 pounds, so I'll be on the lookout for a large rock of about that weight to put on top of the bell, so I can remove the wood.

Okay, out of time. Please let me know if I left anything crucial out!

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 Post subject: Re: JimV's IBC starter
PostPosted: Apr 27th, '15, 11:10 
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Interesting video of Affnan's I like the idea of no holes in the media guard, I think that would pull the water to the bottom of the GB rather than have it exiting half way up and probably help in avoiding anaerobic spots :dontknow: .

It would also stop the roots higher up in the GB from entering the media guard :dontknow:

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