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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 13:44 
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I had a spare coupla hours this morning and had been thinking about how to go about setting up a stepped auto siphon system with the bits I had spare from my first system.

So with a small amount of head scratching first, then a decent amount of mucking around joining bits together, I achieved my goal... An automated stepped or cascading, which I think sounds better ;), auto siphon system.

Piccies will come as soon as my camera recharges, but it is a thing of beauty and wonder... :lol: Watch this space!


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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 13:44 
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A few tidbits for you, 2 tanks, 2 beds, one pump. One tank low one tank high.


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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 13:53 
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Can't wait till your camera recharges :)


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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 15:23 
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I can already picture it!

Pump fills first tank which austo syphons out to second tank, which autosyphons back to fish tank. ?

One hint...... i reckon make the auto syphon point on the lower tank just a smidge lower than the upper tank.

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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 16:41 
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OK, so first I had to prove the concept would work, so I wheeled the old bbq back around and got my tubs out of the shed from the old system. A few bricks and blocks, and we have a test system in under half an hour.

Image

Just filling with water from the hose at this stage, slowly, but fast enough to start the siphon in the blue tub which you can see below...

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Minutes later, the red tub starts... and I can see the level in the blue tub is dropping fast enough to suggest its siphon will stop itself eventually.

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So, I've seen enough at this stage to warrant a decent crack at this, and it's time to think some more about the final configuration. What does Les call those moments again...?

I want to leave this setup as a permanent system as long as it's reliable and robust enough once it's going, I have some gravel and old pump I scavenged as well that are just begging to be used. Hmmm....

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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 16:59 
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I decide to move the barbie out where the beds will get some more sunshine and added another tub, the white "tank" on top, to the system. I figured that there would need to be a decent amount of water in the system for it to work. The tank volume would probably need to be at least double the bed volume.

Image

I attached siphons to the blue and red tubs, drilled some standpipes for them and adjusted the height of the siphons to the desired fill height. I applied a decent amount of Blu-tac and it stuck to the coloured plastic tubs just as readily as the black poly ones in my other system. The two growbeds were ready for gravel, but I couldn't face washing any more of that stuff just yet, there was more fun stuff to do.

Image

The siphon from the white tank to the red growbed is of the upturned "U" design and is wider (19mm) plastic tubing than the black 13mm stuff I have used for the black siphons. It works just as reliably IMO, and when it goes it empties pretty quick. Would be nice to have this going into the pond, but never mind.

Some more detail on the siphons from the growbeds...

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...and from the white tank to the red growbed...

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... and from another angle...

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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 17:21 
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Good work Simmo. Not sure that this is going to suit most designs though, as raising one of the tanks higher than the grow-beds could be a little unrealistic for decent sized systems, but I guess this top tank could just be a blue barrel or something with a few fish or yabbies in it, with the bottom tank being the big one. In this regard, a sysphon on the top tank is not really necessary is it. An overflow pipe would suffice. In fact, I would be likely to do away with the top tank altogether and just have the pump feeding into the first and highest grow-bed. Another limitation of a terraced system like this is having the first bed high enough and the bottom one not so low as to be a pain in the arse or so low that it can't feed back into the fish tank. Remember that unless dug right into the ground (not always practical) a decent sized tank will be 1 meter plus high. By the time you get to the top bed, even if you only have 2 - you will be needing a step ladder and will be sticking your head through the roof. Not wanting to be negative mate as this will certainly work for some systems that are small or designed accordingly.

When I talked about a stepped syphon, I did not mean this cascading or terraced type of system (I should have used different wording). I mean having one that has the beds at same level but the cycle is running at opposite times. Ie, when one is flooding, the other is draining. Of course it would be easy for this to get out of wack, but it may take some time for this to happen if the components are identical and flows adjusted to be the same. If it takes a while to get out of whack, then it could just be stopped and adjusted every week or so to get back to the right timing.

Good work mate.


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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 17:25 
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I filled the white tub with water and put the pump in, the first siphon started after a few minuted and my growbed started to fill with water. splash by splash...

Image

Image

The bottom tub emptied fairly quickly, and I had to keep the hose in it right the way until the siphon started into the blue tub.

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Thats when it dawned on me... The bottom tank needed to be bigger... Much bigger... The siphon design on the red and blue growbeds would cause them to almost empty completely, thats 100L of water, plus whatever extra has come over from the white tub, that will be deposited in the bottom tank when the cycle stops... Duhhhh...

No time for one of Les' moments, still can't remember what he called them, If I didn't act quickly the whole thing was going to overflow everywhere... :shock:


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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 17:30 
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veggie boy wrote:
Good work Simmo. Not sure that this is going to suit most designs though, as raising one of the tanks higher than the grow-beds could be a little unrealistic for decent sized systems, but I guess this top tank could just be a blue barrel or something with a few fish or yabbies in it, with the bottom tank being the big one. <snip>


Cheers mate, yeah I may have misunderstood your concept a little, but I liked the idea of this sort of thing, basically you know that for each level of growbeds you are going to eat 30cm of height, and thus you need to incorporate this into your pump calculations. You could, for example tack another level on top of my black poly system, and the pump I have probably has the grunt to do it too..... hmmmm... nope, enough for now I thinkg... ;)

And, you're right, the top tank is superflous, I just thought it was a way of having more total water in the system and wanted to have 4 steps. The little pump I scrounged wouldn't pump another 30cm higher though, otherwise it would have been another growbed identical to the others.


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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 17:34 
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Any time that you have more water flowing around the system than your fish tank holds, I reckon this is asking for trouble. Power goes off, pump cuts out, water overflows out of bottom fish tank, power comes back on, pump uses all the water from the fish tank to try and fill a system that is now devoid of water. Best case scenario would be that the float switch on pump stops this from happenning and everything just shuts down until there is human intervention.

Of course extra water in the system that is poermanently in other beds or tanks is not an issue (eg a DWC component).


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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 17:45 
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Phew, found a 140L plastic tub and that did the trick.

Image

Added a tiny bit more water, then sat and watched the system cycle for a bit...

Image

Image

Image

Its been cycling now like this for a couple of hours and seems to be stable enough... looks pretty cool too and it only took me a couple of hours in all. I'll only need to wash 100L of pea gravel, which won't kill me, so if I pull my finger out I should have it cycling tomorrow.


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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 17:47 
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veggie boy wrote:
Any time that you have more water flowing around the system than your fish tank holds, I reckon this is asking for trouble. <snippity>


Yep, It was a blonde moment, no denying it... :oops:


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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 17:53 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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well done simmo - WIPM

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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 18:00 
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Thats it! :)


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PostPosted: Sep 7th, '06, 19:05 
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Go simmo. :)

VB, i understood you the way you meant it, but IMHO it would be nearly impossible to keep a system like that constantly "out of phase" Have you ever noticed the cars turn indicator infrot of you at a set of lights? Sometimes it is exactly out of phase, then as you wait they get closer and closer till they flash in time, and then back out again. It would only take a TINY difference in timing for the flood and drains to eventually go betwen being in and out of time. Unless they were set by something other than just size matching.

Just a theory.

Steve

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