Siphon Outlet - Assembly

This post is a reference material.

Made 2 set of siphon for a person in Australia. It is a 25mm Siphon kit, with double elbow or high water "Whistler" outlet for both. This post is to give simple instruction on the slight differences in its assembling.
Above on the left is the double elbow and right the "Whistler". Double elbow is a straight forward type of outlet, where as the whistler is slightly more complex.

One different that is on the final down spout, it is reverse for the Whistler more holes on top as compare to the Double Elbow with holes towards the end of outlet. This doesn't matter much but this is how I would recommend it.

Apart from this difference, the Whistler use a Tee joint as the second elbow replacement, this Tee is the one that does most of the aeration while water level is high.
The first vertical, the one immediately after growbed can be adjusted to length depend on your installation. Extra 25mm tubing provided just cut to length. This standard is shown using 3" of 25mm tubing. The horizontal link after the elbow is also 3" in length. Normally this don't required to be adjusted.
The aerator tip is provided to give additional aeration while water is high. This tip adapter has a marking to be align with Tee joint mark to ensure optimum aeration. Once fix, its can be glued on to prevent leak (not critical)
All fittings not glued, only the aerator tip adapter is glued on to prevent difficulties in doing it right. This outlet has been tested and work good. The Whistler is tested by using a non holed pipe as in first photo to ensure it can give optimum aeration even with high water situation.

Whistler should work, aerating water up to minimum of 8 inches clearance between your growbed base to highest water level in the tank.

Aquaponics Display Set

I have an old 2 ft. Aquarium, actually its the neighbour's that he's throwing away. So rather that seeing it heading to the dump I asked for it, that was few months back. Thinking what to do with it, I decide to make a small Aquaponics set.
Left overs plywood from around the back and few pieces of lumber all done. A fresh coat of paint on those seasoned wood it can be a demo set, small and portable. I will put a mini siphon next.

Will continue here.

PET Bottle Funnel

Everyone will have one of these, okay.. deep in the Amazon maybe a bit difficult but most of us that have a pump and can do Aquaponics surely can get hold to one of these.... :)

My main concern from the start of introducing the reducer was difficulties in getting it elsewhere. That's the reason for the flared funnel, now another addition. I know some have made siphon totally out of PET bottles, but it is difficult to get it to be deployed on growbed without worrying that maybe tomorrow it will leak or fall apart.

This I made partly using the PET bottle, its a combination of plumbings parts and the bottle.

Get one of these bottle.
Strip it naked, this depend on your preferences.
Use a hair dryer or an open fire by burning old news papers :) make the 20 mm or 3/4" PVC soft and gently insert the PET bottle into the PVC openings.
Trim excess PET bottle to make it fit the bell, I use 50mm or 2" bell so I trimmed it to roughly 32mm reducer size.
In it goes, replacing the reducer stand pipe.. for a testing. BTW being threaded for screw cap these PET bottle funnel can be unscrew from the PVC pipe to be replace if needed.
Flush is good and cutting OFF water is also good. I'll monitor this.

BTW the PET bottle fit tank bulkhead adapter nicely. So it can be done this way below and the bell you could use the bigger PET bottle, it will work.
Something like this.
or if you want to use bigger stand pipe like say 25mm or 1" this Gatorade bottle looks good.
With some gentle persuasion these 25mm PVC and be made to accommodate that Gatorate bottle and use to replace the reducer for testing.
Its in and trying out.
A short video on it.

Tilapia - 4 months old

These Tilapia , those big one are almost 4 months old.
Growing quite fast and these home grown Tilapia are healthier than those that I got from Aquarium shops.
Few more months they will be ready for the plate.
There are more than the last I did, are great to eat.

Keladi - Transplant Update 22nd April

Previous Post : Here

Weather been cloudy and gloomy this past couple of days just like in those low budget horror movies. When there is no sun, one thing good to do is transplant.

I need to move these Vegetable Yam to a new growbed this week. Rather than waiting for the weekend I decide to do it today and spare tomorrow and Sunday for the kids.
These yam shows sign of tremendous progress, before it get any bigger I better move them. Once they are bigger it then would takes more time for them to recover.
Roots form beautifully from that what ever left of the tuber. I can buy more now to grow, since it is a success growing it from the market shelf stock. This plant most of it is edible and I think is easily multiply from that tuber.
Start out with four, all survive and looking good, ideal for Aquaponics
This growbed I'm testing the 20mm siphon not fully matured but would be ideal for only this yam, and I hope it would grow and multiply.

Making The 20 mm Siphon - The Video

The write up is : Here

My experimenting on Siphon just about over, with only minor changes to it. I made this long overdue video to replace my classic that shows how it is made videoed using a camera phone.

This is a remake with additional footage to better explain it. Bigger siphon installation and components is similar just the size is bigger. This video also, show and explain the flared funnel stand pipe siphon, its installation is identical to this.

A 25mm siphon will be very similar to this installation. If you use 32/25 reducer or flared the 25mm stand pipes the same 50mm bell and 82mm Strainer can be use.

I'll concentrate my effort on the "Binary Valve" next.

Okay, cheers.

Making The 20 mm Siphon

Since I am making two sets of siphon for Abu Dhabi, its best I use this opportunity to document it in detail so that it can be a reference for those that want to make it.

This post will be in parts.
  • Making Bell and Strainer
  • Making the Stand Pipe
  • Making Siphon Outlets
  • The Installation
Making Bell and Strainer

This mini siphon make use of 50mm/2" PVC bell with end cap and 82mm/3" uPVC for the strainer with vent cap for cosmetic purpose.
Above are made for 12" Growbed and firstly the 82mm uPVC need to be cut to about 11", you may cut it longer depends on how you are installing yours. The Vent cap take up that additional inch to make the growbed 12 inches.

Before cutting I normally use an A4 paper wrap around the pipe to ensure square cut, so use an A4 paper mark the necessary lines then cut the pipe to length.
There you go, I make two since they asked for two. I use hacksaw blade to cut, initially make a trace cut around then cut it deeper.
Next the 50 mm bell, similar to the uPVC mark it with A4 paper roll to get a square cut, but this time I square the uncut pipe first.
On the ends its easier to use a snip for cutting it. I use snip for all large pipes outer ends to square it.
I cut this pipe to length after gauging it with the strainer pipe, this to ensure matched height.
So after putting the end cap, insert the 50mm pipe in the strainer and mark it to length as below.
Take it out remove end cap, measure the length required double it which would be in this case here 10 and 1/4 times 2 so about 20.5 inches.
So far you will have these below.
Use hole cutter to divide pipe into to by drilling around, 4 or 5 holes will do. Since this is a 50mm pipe and I use 25mm hole saw to cut.
Cut in between the 2 large holes above as marked and you would end up with two piece of 50mm bell pipe.
Next to make holes on the 82mm uPVC strainer to complete this part of the siphon making. I use 8mm Tile drill bit, this is best for plastic. 8mm or bigger normal drill will do, but after making so many this is the best. A Tile Drill Bit
These strainer holes I do "free hand" rough estimate on spacing "fuzzy logic", nothing to worry about. The first row is the hardest to do, next will just a repeat and reference to the first.
I normally do about 4 rows, this one I make 6 rows. Strainer holes most important at about last 1/3 of the growbed water height, because everything need to go downward. No point of having strainer holes on top of pipe. This arrangement also will make sure plants roots will not have effect on strainer, well at least slower effect.

BTW in Aquaponics, using Siphon with strainer plants root don't really have significant affect on it. Since in Aquaponics nutrient is concentrated every where, plant root will tend to be localised and don't need to travel far.

Ensure good drainage with a good siphon will result in better aeration so the roots will not go far.

Finally you will have these done.

Making Stand Pipe

Stand pipe is simple to make, this is using reducer but for comparison the flare trumpet type will also be shown.

What you need for the stand pipe.
  • 20 mm bulkhead fitting (tank fitting)
  • Short piece of 20mm PVC pipe
  • 32/20  mm reducer (25/20mm would work too, I prefer this size)
  • 32 or 25 mm PVC pipe for extension to adjust water level.
If you have difficulties in getting that reducer, just flare the 20mm PVC to make the funnel, more on that post : Here
I drill a 5mm hole on the Bulkhead fitting as a drip hole, this is optional but I recommend it if you need to switches off the pump at night. Otherwise its an optional item. Best to have.
Fully assembled this what you get, the flare stand pipe is on the right for comparison.
On the flares stand pipe, you need to make different flared length if you want to adjust water level. On the stand pipe that use reducer you only need to change the extender to do that.
Again I made two for the set heading for Abu Dhabi, Flared Stand pipe just for comparison actual shape must refer to its own post.

Making Siphon Outlet

Outlet play some part in getting good reliable siphon, don't view it as an after though it just as important as the rest of the siphon. Apart from making siphon more reliable, these outlet can be made to aerate fish tank better. There is also a special High Water Outlet I made for my growbed situation and can be referred on its link : Here

Parts Required are
  • 12" of 20mm/3/4" PVC - 1 off
  • 3" of 20 mm PVC - 2 off
  • 20 mm elbow - 2 off
  • 20 mm threaded adapter - 1 off
Before assembling it, drill holes on the 12" down pipe. half its length will do. Do not overdo it, too much that will weaken the pipe.
I use same Tile drill bit to do these holes.
Assembled two for the road, sexy pair of legs. These should work beautifully and slight changes in its measurement don't make any different in its performance.

The Installation

Installing the siphon is easy once all parts done. Below are all parts for the siphon.
and the grow bed is drilled with a 25mm hole saw to take the stand pipe.
How to Make My 20mm Siphon Installation Video:

Two Sets for Abu Dhabi

When to Aquaponics heaven for some fittings, more like the local hardware(Google map : 3.15847,101.527399) . Rows of everything I need to make many siphons. Bought few item for my flow divider too.
These are cheap stuff for water pipes due lower pressure rating the blue coloured fitting are more expensive and of higher quality, however for Aquaponics usage they are top quality since we don't need high pressure parts.
One important quality for this fittings or pipe in Aquaponics usage is that they are UV resistance, and all of these are resistance to it. So its a good stuff for us Aquapon.
These are the stuff for making two 20 mm siphons minus the 50 mm (Bell), 82 mm (Strainer) and 20 mm (Standpipe & Outflow) pipes, its for installation in Abu Dhabi, long way to take the siphons. I'll make 2 siphons and 2 growbed ready, the fish tank will be locally source there.

Hitting The Holy Grail - Affnan's Style

They say, getting alternating divided flow between growbeds is the Holy Grail of Aquaponics. So anyone that manage to get it done can be called a "Holy Man" :)

My experimenting with siphon just about over, its good. Never wanted to missed this opportunity, so I embark on a long quest to far far away places and end up in my backyard to try and achieve this. I dream a lot, thinking and rethinking to make it, once I have an idea I'll put it to paper and as below is my vision how a binary flow divider should be.

This flow divider make use of a "shuttle valve" that will divert alternately between 2 growbed. This shuttle valve is move by two diaphragm in turn triggered by siphon suction as water start to siphon out from the watered growbed. This suction move the shuttle valve which will cause water to be routed to the other "waiting" growbed until siphon started and the process repeated.

Sound easy, yes it should be easy.
I called it the "Binary Valve", and yes Aquaponics has gone digital. I have tried a proof of concept model it work, but more needed to be done to ensure trouble free operation. This Valve synchronise to a siphon. This valve don't need any special siphon to do, just an ordinary stand pipe bell siphon. Water cutting out not required to be done by the siphon, binary valve take care of it.

My trial, as follow. What you need are:
Two of this, to make the actuator diaphragm housing.
Or any of these plastic tub, like ice cream container will do nicely too.
Make a big hole on its cover, while another hand hold a camera.
Like so...
and another on its butt
like this, and put an aerator hose connector (or a tiny butt plug) in it. You can have it centred if you want, I drill on the thickest part still it cracked.
Put a 15mm or 1/2" tank fitting on the cover after the hole made. Cut off excess threaded part to ensure adequate clearance for the diaphragm later on.
2 pieces of plastic as diaphragm, these the best I could do for now. This is one item need improvement.
The plastic sheet should be install like above later after more item done on the binary valve.
A make shift shuttle valve, I need to make this better just like the one on the diagram or I could use rubber tap washer. That blue rod is a balloon stick, you can use anything similar.
Above how a shuttle should be, using a rubber tap washer on a rod. This shuttle valve is very critical component of this divider, it must be able to be move freely without much restriction. 
Should look like this after install, this is mid position, it should be extreme left or right.
Mount the 2 lid on this valve assembly, I ran out of Tees, so only 2 Tees use the other is a hole drilled on the pipe.
Mount the plastic sheets on the end of the balloon stick. I use rubber end cap here to hold the plastic. A small screw with 2 plastic disc sandwich the sheet would do.
The finished assembly, mounted on water inlet. The shuttle valve is not tight fit so lots of leak. This is proof of concept, a lot more work needs to be done to make this use able. Only 2 tees use, I ran out of tee. I'll make better ones and test again.
Shown above when the siphon triggered it will move the shuttle across to provide inflow to the other growbed.

How it work.

  • As siphon started, there will be suction created inside the bell, this suction is the muscle power for moving the shuttle.
  • Suction will cause diaphragm to expand pulling the balloon stick, repositioning the shuttle.
  • Shuttle will divert water to the "waiting" growbed.
  • "Waiting" growbed recieve water, once filled its siphon will flush, repeating the process as above and routing water back to the earlier growbed.
This alternate action is controlled by the siphon, so it will be in synchronise with siphon and do not need any external control.

Okay, the holy grail just about to be broken.... I could be a "Holy Man"..... :)