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PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '08, 21:43 
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Nope :( I checked my 3 foot tanks thats under ground. The temp is 44°F

Guess I cant raise fish in the ground here :( ..That is why Texas allows Tilapia here, they die every winter.


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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '08, 01:05 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Well, by in ground hydro tank was down below 45F this morning too but I had the pump running to the troughs all night and no protection over any of it other than the lid on the tank itself. I expect that if I had turned off the circulation to the troughs, the temp in the tank would have stayed much warmer. Even better, I might have thrown a tarp over the whole hydro system and run the dryer vent into it and probably kept the plants from freezing. (the plants currently in it are fine but had I been growing summer veggies or tropicals, they would have appreciated some warmth.)

I just finished reading the Barrel-ponics Manual, very good read. I thought it well written. Thank you Travis W. Hughey. A simple way to make a starter system for those of us not already into Aquarium culture. Easy to expand and alter as the whim and available materials take one!

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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '08, 07:40 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Cut a barrel in half, the Cook did it using his circular saw with it's new blade. I have to say he did a pretty good job. (Sorry no pic tonight, it's cold our and dark now.)

We went to Lowes today and loaded up on plumbing fittings and other hardware/lumber today.

I found that with a 1" spade bit I can open up the 3/4" tap in the coarse thread bung cap. I attempted to drill a hole in the other bung cap but it didn't work so well and now it's quite mangled. I ordered some of the fine thread caps with the tap threads.

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PostPosted: Jan 4th, '08, 22:28 
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not to knock your efforts TC but buying the bungs and then adding the MNPT pvc piece to that would be about as much cost as just drilling thru the barrel somewhere else and using a M and F NPT pvc fittings one on the inside the other on the outside. That also puts the drain lower in the bed.

If you go thru the plastic of the barrel rather than the nylon bung I found that if you drill the hole a bit smaller than the bulkhead fitting you will use and then heat the rim of the hole up you can thread the M NPT fitting onto the barrel making for a nice tight fit requiring no sealer.
This discovery was made on a day I did not feel like driving 10 miles to town to get the right size drill bit for the fitting I was going to use. Improvisation can learn ya a thing or two sometimes.

It did get rather chilly there didn't it? Those temps might have helped my Jayhawks last night against those Hokies who aren't as used to such cool weather.


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PostPosted: Jan 5th, '08, 07:40 
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Seeing as I had mangled the one cap, I needed a replacement to be able to seal that one bung hole anyway. We cut this one barrel with the bungs at the bottom of the beds.

The one set of instructions I found (the barrel ponics manual) used metal conduit nuts and I've always had an aversion to using metal other than stainless steel within a Hydroponic environment so I was trying to experiment with avoiding using the conduit locknuts to make the bulkhead fittings. I've attempted to make "bulkhead" fittings in the past simply by using a an M and an F fitting and wound up with leaky results.

I decided to use one barrel to play around and see if I can make use of what is already there on most of the barrels (or at least one side of them anyway.) I actually think I can use some 3/4" nipple fittings I have (Like a 1.5" long 3/4" male to male pipe thread fitting that has threads running the entire length. If I run that through the tap I can probably thread onto it on either side for a wide assortment of options.

I was thinking about setting up an auto siphon to drain the barrels so hopefully having the hight at which the tubing exits the barrel be a little high won't be too much of a problem. We will see if an extra turn in the line before the siphon causes me too many problems. If the bungs turn out to be too much of a problem, I can always cap the taps and start over with new holes. I will definitely share my results

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PostPosted: Jan 7th, '08, 11:19 
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So I've gotten my feet wet so to speak, I've hooked up my first functional siphon.

I can say that I made it work using fittings through the barrel bung caps. I'm not sure it is worth it to cut this way round and use the 3/4" tap in the bung cap but it did work.

Anyway, I had some flexible black fountain pump pipe that I used for a sort of loop siphon as well as a bin inside the barrel to suck out the water below the level of the bung tap. Fittings are two 3/4" barb to Female pipe thread, one right angle for the outside, the other strait on the inside. I used a short Male to Male pipe thread nipple that went through the bung tap with enough threads all the way through on the inside to attach the inside fitting and little bit of tubing.

The thing has been cycling for the past 6 hours just fine though I'm sure that once I set it up in a more perm location and add gravel, I'll find more issues. I intend to use the corrugated drainage pipe cut in half over the bottom of the barrel to hold back the gravel but since I used the bung, I'll have to figure out how to get it to lay in there properly. Perhaps instead of cutting it in half, I need to leave it intact and just thread in onto the short bit of pipe and run it the length of the barrel. Then just hold it down as I add gravel so it doesn't pop up.

Here are some pictures of the testing set up. I did time it once at taking about 11 minutes to fill before the trickle started another two minutes before the full siphon kicked in. It took about 7 minutes from full siphon kick in to siphon full stop.


Attachments:
File comment: Testing set up
siphon testing 1 (Medium).jpg
siphon testing 1 (Medium).jpg [ 77.96 KiB | Viewed 7946 times ]
File comment: simple loop held up with strings for testing.
loop siphon 1 (Medium).jpg
loop siphon 1 (Medium).jpg [ 76.46 KiB | Viewed 7947 times ]
File comment: Very little water left when siphon's done
as empty as it gets (Medium).jpg
as empty as it gets (Medium).jpg [ 52.13 KiB | Viewed 7947 times ]

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PostPosted: Jan 7th, '08, 15:10 
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Wow, that water looks crystal clear int eh barrel there, much nicer than the slightly tannoned look in the buried drum... I guess it's cos there's only a little in the barrel, but very clean looking.

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PostPosted: Jan 7th, '08, 15:10 
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looks like ur up and away TC


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PostPosted: Jan 7th, '08, 18:12 
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looks good tc, you might find you need to re-adjust the loop once the gravel is added but it is not any different then the adjustments you've already done. I kinda envy all of you who can play with water outdoors this time of year. I need more gravel washed but it is a real pain indoors...


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PostPosted: Jan 7th, '08, 22:04 
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DRD, this time of year is the middle of scorching summer. Talk to us in winter (when we can still get out) and the rain is falling and it's cold and we really don't wanna go out, and our fish are freezing and not eating... (unless we're running trout) and then you can laugh at us when you're enjoying your summer.

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PostPosted: Jan 7th, '08, 22:32 
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13 minutes fill 7 minutes drain huh, more confirming data for my 2:1 siphon timing ratio theory...

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PostPosted: Jan 7th, '08, 22:49 
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Looking good for sure. Pity your not closer I could easily get you some bungs, (cough), pretty much free here. I trust you will find the loop syphon a winner. Looking towards the future, do you plan to pipe in an overflow in the grow beds?

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PostPosted: Jan 7th, '08, 23:07 
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I expect I will hook up an overflow. I just needed to prove to myself that I could get a siphon to work before I worked out my support stands and layout.

KP, Even when the half barrel was pretty full the water still looked quite clear in it. Probably a color thing since the buried container is an off white color the brown tint must show up better there. I've found that most of my outdoor hydroponics nutrients tend to swing to that dark tea pond color since I had been using wood chips as media. The water you see there is relatively fresh since I cleaned out that tank about a week and a half ago. One trough has aquarium gravel and perlite the other sill has some wood chips. At the moment the few plants in there are not getting any extra nutrients other than a little bit of compost that the chick peas are in within their milk carton containers.

I expect everything will be getting a fair share of re-adjusting as the barrel isn't even in it's proper position yet (will have to decide what that is now.) I still need to source gravel.

As for the fill and drain time ratios, that can change depending on the flow from the pump I give it. It looks like I could reduce the flow a bit and still get that siphon to kick in, in which case the fill time could get longer and the drain time would get a little shorter.

Another think I need to decide is if I will bother with the flood tank since I have a siphon working on the grow bed. I think I'm going to build it even if I don't use it for this part of the set up. Eventually I will still need a bigger pump.

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PostPosted: Jan 8th, '08, 00:28 
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I used some velcro strips to fix my loop syphon in place, makes it a bit easier to do adjustments too it as well as a bit more sightly. With AP it all starts with the fish. Keep them fat and happy and your golden. With that in mind Id say a pump size would be dependent on your fish tank size, changing out the water so much per hour/day. I dont know the recomended numbers, also dependant on stocking densities I guess.
You'll find the barrel halfs bow a bit when full of gravel so keep that in mind when building your supports.
What do you mean a flood tank?

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PostPosted: Jan 8th, '08, 01:01 
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The velcro sounds good and flexible.
Flood tank as in the barrel ponics manual. Granted, I've already done things differently than that basic starter system.
Anyway, that system uses a barrel on it's side on the bottom as the fish tank. A barrel cut in half to make to grow beds in the middle and a barrel mounted high that will fill then flood the beds which can then slow gravity drain back to the fish tank. This allows the use of a relatively small pump but may not be compatible with the use of auto siphons to drain the grow beds.

I'm finding myself torn between just building as close to the instructions as I can for a quick learning system that will be small enough to take down and move once we build the new hose or building something a bit bigger here since it could be a few years before we can move.

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