Timed Flood & Drain System

There are various aquaponics setup, in this post I write about Timed Flood and Drain System.

A strainer tube (not shown), should be place around the stand pipe to prevent gravel entering the tube.

Above diagram shows, typical components on a Timed Flood and Drain Setup (minus the timer). The ball valve is an option, it is use to restrict water flow in, in situation where you use 1 pump for multiple growth bed or in situation where the pump is too strong.

Diagram above shows during pump operation, water will flow in and once reach top of stand pipe it just over flow. Stand pipe is use to set the high water level.

Diagram above shows during pump OFF, water will slowly drain via the small leak hole at the base of the stand pipe (sometimes somewhere else). The idea is to ensure water not left standing and as its drain it will draw oxygen to the roots and microbes.
This system is widely use due to its simplicity and easy to setup. In this setup components that we need to worry about is the timer. Timers are relatively cheap so that will not be much of an issue.

As long as the timer don't fail while you are on long vacation then its ok.


  1. Hello,

    Can you tell me approximately how high the stand pipe should be? Is it all the way to the base of the gravel, or a certain point below it?

    1. There is no definitive answer to this question since it can vary based on the specific conditions of your aquarium setup. However, as a general rule of thumb, the stand pipe should be placed a few inches below the gravel substrate.

  2. Affnan- How well would plants in the ground transition to a grow bed?

  3. Hello,

    First of all thanks for your great contributions to aquaponics and enthausiasts. I am going to setup a timed flood and drain type system and I am new to aquaponics. I don' t understand the type of standpipe in timed flood and drain system. Is there still a bell syphon or just a standpipe(which the structure of that I don' t get) with a media guard?
    And finally how does the timed flood and drain type standpipe look like?

    1. The stand pipe for Timed Flood & Drain is to create the overflow at certain level during pump "ON" the leak hole usually located at base of stand pipe to provide the draining of water during pump "OFF". Normally its 15 minutes "ON" with 45 minutes "OFF"

      A Timed Flood & Drain stand pipe don't need the bell part or any funnel shaped ends, its just a straight stand pipe with a strainer around it.

  4. What size hole for the leak drip and how many in the bottom.

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