New Chapter - Replanting

My experimenting with siphon and growbed mostly completed for now, can't think of more to do till new problem crop up.

From now till end of the year I will concentrate on plants, redo some growbed and sow new seeds. I need to put more growbed material to increase it height.

Few plants I've identified as a viable option to generate income, if the plants can supplement fish food, electrics and water bills and partly pay for equipments and labor then I can get the fish for free.

Tilapia doing well, this is another area I need to look at and learn. I have intention on making larger scale Aquaponics, only restriction now is land. It need to be within 30 minutes from where I am staying now otherwise its not good.

No photo with post, will include some later where possible.

Single Barrel Aquaponics - Part 5 of 5

Part 1 : Here  Part 2 : Here  Part 3 : Here  Part 4 : Here

Update : Here

Set completed, "saddle valve" bleeder hole enlarged, all gravel/pebble in and trial running it. My main worries is weight, 80 kg of pebbles in the growbed. Those that use lighter material should not worry about this.

I use 32mm to 15 mm reducer with extender PVC pipe to adjust water level suitable for growbed situation. I will lower this water height once plants take root and established.

As mentioned earlier I use water feed inlet from bottom of growbed, there is a slight drawback to this arrangement.

As water fill the growbed, water head increase and back pressure will increase on delivery pipe. This increase of back pressure will cause more water to be bypass by "saddle valve", resulting a slow water filling in towards top of water head at highest stand pipe height.

Photo below show water bypass at max height about 8 inches water level in the growbed. Take note of the water jet from "saddle valve"

Photo below taken at end of flush, water level in growbed at its lowest.

If you compare both above photo, you can clearly see that at maximum height water is diverted more and at lowest height less.  You have to take into account this scenario if you want to use water feed from the bottom of growbed.

There is also a plus point to this approach, if you have the water feed from below, you can do away with 4 mm leak hole at base of Siphon stand pipe. This is due to water will back flow through the pump if you decide to periodically switches off the pump or power failure occur.

Having said that, the set been running fine and I am cycling it. I will put mosquito eating fish for a start to ensure safe cycling.

I need to change the stand pipe with the without a leak hole on it base.

This is the first single barrel set I made using recycle 50 gallon drum and its a learning process for me. I have identified few drawback and improvement to be made and my next set should be a product of what learned.

Update :

I have replace the siphon with one without leak hole since its not needed due to this growbed is fed from below.

The siphon stand pipe base on left is the old and right is the new without leak hole.

Redo siphon stand pipe below with a 32 ~ 15 mm reducer.

Without leak hole, during operation you will not get the drip flow like normally found on my other siphon.

If you decide to have water inlet from top then its recommended to have the leak hole, this to avoid water clog if you decide to have periodic pump off operation otherwise is not a must have feature.

BTW the actual water level in growbed is directly proportional to the strength of the saddle valve jet.. now this is a good indication of system operation once you familiar with it.

Since I do not have any other mosquito larvae eating fish around these two red Tilapia will do.. they are the pioneer in this set.

I am thinking of putting Discuss in here but they are expensive fish, so have to wait until its totally safe.


Single Barrel Aquaponics - Part 4 of 5

Part 1 : Here  Part 2 : Here  Part 3 : Here  Part 5 : Here

I have redo the water inlet as shown below

Its from below,, and using a straight pvc pipe as feed,, the water distribution to the growbed not done yet. Should be almost like the home kit water feed, with minor improvement.

I do away with ball valve for excess water and make a "saddle valve" to control water bleed off from pump to growbed as photo below shown at full open.

Photo below is  at smaller opening... I need to make the hole bigger .. at full bypass

Reason for this "saddle valve " is to make it simple and cost saving, as this set is primarily for school project its best to make it cheap and simple.

To make the saddle valve all you need is a piece of PVC pipe about 2 ~ 3 inches and make a slit along its length. Shown below, saddle and a long PVC pipe assume as the water inlet pipe from pump to growbed.

Slit on saddle will make it grip the pipe and stay in position.. next install the saddle to the PVC pipe and make a hole.. across both the saddle and the PVC pipe in one go.. actually if require you can make more than one hole on the saddle valve.. then more water will be bypass thats all.

Walla... saddle valve complete... this type of valve is best to be use internally within fish tank so that any leak will just return to source and not make any serious water problem.

Ok water inlet done,, I decide to do it this way... get a piece of PVC end cap about 50mm / 2 inches.. drilled lots of holes and place it over the water inlet opening making a strainer.

Note : After trial, its not a good thing to do feed from bottom, has change that on later posting.

If you want to make it cheaper a Nescafe jar cap will do.. or any cap that is big enough works great.. just make as many holes as you desire.

Aerator use is a small unit about 3 watt in power with only one outlet,, this aerator will be running 24/7, not worth to wire it up with additional circuit.

Its completed and as from above, siphon on  left and water inlet on right done.

View from below the growbed, with water aerated and "saddle valve" done. This saddle valve I need to make its hole bigger, still insufficient bypass to prevent equilibrium flow. This mini siphon is too small and requires very little water for its operation.

Updated video of set


Single Barrel Aquaponics - Part 3 of 5

Part 1 : Here  Part 2 : Here  Part 4 : Here  Part 5 : Here

4 Bags of gravel totalling 80 kilograms in the growbed, so far its holding. I need to see is there any sign of stress to barrel rim.

Its already 3 days growbed loaded with gravel. This gravel is limestone base, I don't recommend this type of stones because they may cause your water PH goes high. If possible use river gravel they are more on the neutral side of the scale.

Its difficult for me to get river gravel where I am located.

I still need to get aerator and fixed up wiring to water pump and all set. Need to cycle for 2 weeks at least before I start planting. I may get another barrel to redo this one to make it better, but it may be a waste so until this one shows sign of breaking I will just monitor.

Updates : 24th June

The barrel is holding, this photo was taken 10 minutes ago at about 11:30 UTC 24th June

Redoing the water inlet to remove those ugly pipes and make it a clean installation with minimum of parts required. I just have a better idea on not using that ball valve to reduce cost.

Single Barrel Aquaponics - Part 2 of 5

Part 1 : Here  Part 3 : Here  Part 4 : Here  Part 5 : Here

Continue with making better water inlet control.

Close up of the water feed control, a ball valve in place to divert excess water from the pump. This valve need to be adjusted to control water diverted away from growbed.

The pump I use is rated 1000 L/hr, I may need to get a smaller pump, for a fixed setup I would prefer to not use the ball valve method but stick to lower capacity pump.

Video of the setup


Bought another pump, this time smaller and its rating 7.5 watt / 500 L/hr flow rate. Its still more then what needed, have to still divert some excess water but not as much as compare to the 1000 L/hr pump.

This pump price RM 23.00 about USD 7.00. So far this brand is good the first pump of this make I bought still running after more that 2 years of usage.

After assembling the set I realise, the cut out I made for the bottom part should have not cut all the way to the top. I should have left about 1  to 11/2 inches of the top part so that the barrel mouth have a continuous rim around it. This will make putting growbed on top more secure.

Above diagram illustrate this.