How It's Made - 15 mm Mini Siphon

How the 15 mm Gutterbed siphon is made.

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Lemongrass Repotting

Lemongrass that I grown in the gutter few months back will outgrown its pot if not transferred to a bigger container.
On gutterbed, this is the largest pot it's able to acommodate. Therefor instead of a larger pot, I need to plant these into few pots.
Trimmed and need to be removed from its pots.
Massive roots after few months, this root ball is easily scraped off with a knife giving way for easy plant removal.
It's out, looks like there's enough for four pots.
Four pots done.
Cheers... :)

Front Gutterbed - Making a smaller setup.

Since my backlane CRAFT set was completed last week, I can redo the front set into something smaller or repurpose it into a test bed.
I need to test further into possibility of mosquito breeding in my set, from initial trial it is not a problem. However it is good to be safe then sorry.
All plants removed and placed in a temporary tray.
Gutter all emptied and drained, I'll only use two leaving room on the rack to try out something else.
This FrankenRack need redo, few additional angle iron from the back lane project will be enough.
Water needs to be drain from the tank and fish safekeep into the round container in foreground.
Fast forward, after four hours the new set with two gutterbeds completed. Racking redo to make it more compact and stronger.
Each of this gutter require 500 Liter/hour pump before considering the height require. Actual inflow should be around 250 liter/hour the most. The two gutters add up to 1000 liter/hour, so a 1000 liter/hour pump is use. This pump consumes 14 watt of electricity for it operation per hour.
Siphon use existing unit, no issue there.
Completed set, netting in place to ensure fish contained inside since they like to jump whenever in new surrounding.

I'll use this set for few test, one test is to see how reliable the smaller pump is. Another is Strawberry, I can start planting it again in this setup. Previous trial was using traditional growbed.

So there goes, the front set.

CRAFTS Gutterbed set - Video Update

Completed making the guttergrowbed on my CRAFTS set and here's a short video on it.

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Backlane Gutterbeds - Planting Simple

The #gutterbeds completed few days back, after letting it cycle for couple of days, it is time to start planting. As any new set it is best to try simple plants first.

As the front gutterbed set, this I do the same by planting in pots. It will be much easier doing it this way, but it will be limited to smaller plants. Oh well.. win some lose some...

These pots that I use is for orchid and they work really well in aquaponics, they have slots for root growth and not as wide to allow LECA drop through.

Slotted pots above ideal to be use with LECA

Eighty pots in total 20 pots per 4 meter of gutter, I maintain the CRAFTS setup with water returning to left and right return tank. It works why change.. :)

That's how much LECA save for same or even more area for planting, 3 growbed full. The trade off is I can't do large plants with the potted system. I estimated that the potted gutter system uses 75% less LECA as compared to traditional style growbed.

Siphon empting the gutters, it works like a charm. I monitor for first couple of days to see any problem, it only need minor tweaking to ensure optimum performance.

Not only did I save on LECA, the pump is replaced with a much lower power requirement. Above pump is for the four traditional growbed.

This pump above is smaller for the four gutterbeds. The reason for a smaller pump is due to the smaller size siphon. This same siphon can be use on traditional growbed thus saves power as well. So this power saving is because of smaller siphon needed on the gutterbeds.

All it is left now is to continue planting, build a shade since hot weather is round the corner. I will try going off-grid with setup since the power requirement is very low.

Till then...

My Rice Trial in Aquaponics

I sow these rice seed on Nov 20th 2016 in the gutterbeds as a trial to see whether aquaponics can support this plants.

Rice needs lots of water, so it's a good candidate to try doing it in Aquaponics

I transplanted it to individual pots and place them in the #gutterbed, after two and a half months only did I realise it started to flower and produce rice grain.

I only keep four pots to try, and all the plant produce rice

Some reported empty husk, this I need to see in few weeks time whether it is empty or not.

Kids will love to see Rice plants, since these are grown far away from the busy cities.

Back Lane CRAFT Set Goes Guttergrowbed

Replaced all the traditional growbed from my CRAFTS set it took me two days to do and what a long day today.

Started by removing all the old growbed from the set.

Gutter tested for leak, only one leak due my mistake for not noticing the slight damage part on the gutter.

Gutter placed at an incline, reducing water and make it easier to do a leak test.

I use the standard Solvent Cement for PVC and it does work really well. Use a fresh bottle and apply generously, it will seal good. As stated one leak but easily fix with a hot glue.

Once the old growbed out, a new racking needed for the gutters. Gutters are 13 ft each (4 mtr) the Dikson bars or angle iron is 10 ft long. I'll put additional length on both ends to support the extra gutter.

Using these angle iron is easy to custom make the needed rack, took me close to four hour to make it.

The rack need to be level to ensure water do not spill out from one end before the siphon operates.

Those white tubes is needed to ensure pots didn't topple and for root to hold on to something. The tubes is the electrical conduit which I often use as plants support.

Siphon use is the 15 mm mini, I need to see how it perform. On some installation siphon need to be tuned, usually the outlet pipes adjusted to make it works better.

Inflow is from one pump rated 2000 liter per hour flow at 30 watt. The power requirement for 15 mm siphon is very much less, about 1/3 of that 25 mm siphon.

Water from the pump is divided by four since there are four gutters, each with its own siphon. Easiest way to divide and distribute water in Aquaponics is by splitting it by two and four. It will divide evenly and most of the time we don't need any tap or valve to adjust.

Siphon outlet is best to be as far away from the inlet, a pair of gutter emptied into one of the left return tank while the other into the right tank. Water feed taken from the feeded tank with a single pump as stated above.

Took the above photo at 21:30 hrs, the set completed at 19:00 hrs. Need more pots.

This #guttergrowbed is mainly for small plants and leafy vegetable. It is not recommended for large plants. I will further my Aquaponics trial using this method and hopefully it can evolve into something cost effective to operate commercially.

Evolution Of The Media Base Flood & Drain Gutter Growbed.

My ongoing quest for cheaper and easier Aquaponics set are finally coming to an end. The traditional Flood & Drain Media Base Growbed has to go. It has been more that eight years since I started Aquaponics, initially using pebbles or stones chip then to hydroton.

The traditional media base works, it does has its pros and cons as any other type of system in Aquaponics but the one that really hamper the progress of Aquaponics in this part of the world is the cost of setting up a system. Traditional growbed are relatively expensive to setup due to the volume of LECA needed. To do large scale is almost impossible due to this.

It is not so straight forward that we can design a system and walla.. it works and at the same time reduce the cost of setting up. It takes time to test and test.. and systems evolves from these trials. I specialize in media base flood and drain using siphon and I try my best to make a system using this technique cheaper and easier to construct.

I started experiment with mini growbed system few years back when I made the single barrel set to see how well a smaller siphon control the water flow in a growbed. As with siphon, the smaller it is the more difficult to get right due to very small tolerances it has to work upon.

The barrel set above uses my midi siphon, a medium size standpipe of 20 mm, it does work but not good enough to make it a cheaper setup. It still requires lots of LECA and only the size is smaller.

I had to make something that resemble a NFT set up but has a flood and drain element in it, that is when I started experimenting with the gutter growbed few years back.

Above in 2010 was my first attempt of a gutter system, the siphon use at the time is a downward loop siphon, and it doesn't work that well. As in the photo pebbles was use and most of the time it function as a media filled DWC which has limited plant type to be grown.

In order to get a good flood and drain, the siphon must work ! The problem with siphon is the smaller it is the more difficult to get it right. My 20 mm siphon is too big for gutter setup I had to design something smaller.

It was my daughter that asked me to make something for her "Show And Tell" she asked me to make a micro Aquaponics set that demonstrate the concept of Aquaponics. To make a micro set requires a micro siphon. That when I make the smallest siphon that I currently use, takes about 2 weeks for me to figure out the design proportion and further few weeks to test the proof of concept.

15 mm siphon is actually not new to me, it was the size of the first siphon that I made for my initial Aquaponics set, at the time I was very new to Aquaponics and the siphon is just a straight standpipe with enclosure to create the siphoning. Obviously it is not a reliable siphon at the time. But instead of pursuing the 15mm siphon I took the 25mm route to make a big siphon and improve upon the design until it is what it is today.

I tried the 15mm siphon on ornamental set for almost 2 years, being first make it debut in early 2014 and many test done using the 15 mm siphon that works beautifully. After extensive testing, only then I am satisfied that now I can use the smallest siphon to run an Aquaponics set that is easy and cheap to make.

This is when I started to make the #guttergrowbed system and to make it easier I didn't put the LECA directly into the growbed but uses pots to make it easier to handle. I was worry that the potted setup do not has enough surface area for effective biological nutrification processes, but it does do well it the initial test.

It is obvious the #guttergrowbed setup is not for large plants, but for commercial intent it is viable to have crop of smaller plants and leafy vegetable at a lower cost of setup.

So finally, the traditional growbed has to go and make room for #guttergrowbed at my back lane set.

These 4 gutters is 4 meter in length each replacing my 4 traditional growbed, trials shows that it uses only 1/5 the LECA for the same area and 1/3 the electricity to run it. This is possible due plants are in pots and siphon is smaller.

So this next few weeks I'll be busy with this retrofit and I hope it does work on a larger scale setup. The design and how to will be made freely available here as my contribution to the Aquaponics community.

The final part would be going off grid, which is easily achieve due to the low power requirement of this set up. For the 4 #guttergrowbeds it only consumes 30 watt of electricity total.