Siphon Outlet Revisited - Going Straight Is Not That Hard

I am sure everyone heard the story about "Ars# Hole that wanted to be boss", the siphon world is no differ. Tweak all you like the top part, if the bottom outlet is not happy then you are in for a trouble. 

Apart from having a reliable siphon, good aeration is key important for a successful aquaponics system, instead of using a separate aeration pump it is beneficial to make use of the return water to aerate the fish tank.

What we need to do is to get more from what already given from water splash, introducing turbulence and giving air a chance to mix in will do just that and at the same time reduce noise from returning water.

It was some time that I looked at the Siphon Outlet, it's the unsung hero of aquaponics that been neglected since its work so well.

I did some work due to high water problem then rework to improve aeration and noise reduction, all the work done so far is with regards to variations of the double elbow. Its time to go straight.

I know that we need some form of restriction to create the back pressure making siphon operation more reliable and able to start at lower water inflow as compared to no restriction as in some test I did previously in search for a silence siphon.

Going Straight

It's Christmas today, I am at home. So its time to do some tweaking. I am making the outlet straight to suit some installation where it's needed to be that way and at the same time trying to maintain maximum aeration with low noise level from the splash.

Above siphon outlet works well and hardly need any improvement, but on certain installation it just need to be straight. Multiple siphon going into a manifold for example will require a straight outlet to make it easier for system layout and reduce chances of leak.

Having a straight down pipe with 25 mm tube as below, does not work well. It requires more inflow to start a siphon so its not a good option.

We need restriction to make it work with less water, either in the form of an elbow or some other means. Below a simple restrictor that I made few years back.

This time I decide to use a reducer making the restriction and try to manipulate it to give same or more aeration and less noise on the set. Below is the first trial with a simple 25 to 20 reducer.

Addition of a 20 mm tube with holes to provide better aeration and noise reduction.

Making a venturi below with 2 reducer back to back, hoping it can create improvement and making the final outlet same size as initial which is 25 mm.

Above outlet has been shortened to accommodate and may need to be further reduce its length on some installation.

I replaced three of my growbed double elbow outlet to test out variations of straight outlet to see how it perform over time. It need to be tested with varying water inflow to at least comparable to that of the double elbow outlet rate.

So there goes, I will be testing these for next few months before I can make this outlet for someone else.

UPSI - Horticulture Unit Aquaponics Programme

Was given the opportunity to share Aquaponics knowledge with the The University Pendidikan Sultan Idris in Tanjung Malim Perak, UPSI is the oldest Teacher Training Institution in Malaysia and I am honored to be involved in their activity.
It is a short 2 days programme on Basic Aquaponics covering the basics theoretical and practical aspect of Aquaponics. At the end of the class, participant will be able to understand what Aquaponics is all about, various method of Aquaponics being practice, making the simple Media Base growbed over fish tank Aquaponics and finally making the Affnan Siphon.
Session begins at 8:30 am with me departing home around 7:00 am with fully laden SUV taking 2 sets of Aquaponics Starter kit.  An introduction to Aquaponics and its various methods practiced start off the day.
Explanation on Siphon and the evolution of it until the current design was discovered.
Comparing siphon that was made by UPSI, and pointing out various area of importance for a trouble free Aquaponics operation.
Participants during the class.
An area within Horticulture Unit that's being allocated for Aquaponics installation, a total of five set going to be install and a few racks and siphon already made by UPSI Mechanical undergrad as shown in above picture.
This program was spearheaded by Dr. Mai Shihah Bt Abdullah (center), Head of Agriculture Science Faculty UPSI and participated by few Lecturer, Undergrad and staff of the Horticulture Unit.
It's a good mixture of participant eager to learn something new but initially was a bit apprehensive due to uncertainties on how Aquaponics works.
After theoretical it is hands on time where participant will be actually doing the work of installing a complete starter kit. I do the facilitating giving few pointers to ensure correct setting up.
There are five sets to be installed and they form five groups, one to tackle a set.
Dr. Mai Shihah is keen on doing it herself to have a feel on the making of a set. Shown here cutting the 32 mm stand pipe hole.
Installation of the siphon.
Getting the top part right first time is not difficult, shown above aligning the index hole.
Pointing out few key features on the siphon and it uses.
Bags of hydroton in the growbed after all checked out okay.
Getting a feel at washing hydroton.
Few more sets to be completed.
Completed set.

In all it was a rewarding day, sharing Aquaponics to few would be Teacher that can further share their knowledge with school children later on. Overall the installation was good, but as usual it takes time to learn the skill.

Day two cover making of the Affnan Siphon and testing it out, participant made about 10 siphon and test it on site one by one. Unfortunately I did not manage to capture visual on the second day.

Thanks to UPSI and namely;

Dr Mai Shihah bt. Hj. Abdullah
Head of Agricultural Science Department
Faculty of Technical and Vocational Education
Sultan Idris Education University
Tanjong Malim, Perak.

Spinach Outgrow

Back from UAE this morning 2nd Dec and look what the spinach is up to. They simply overcome the growbed.
Tomorrow I will have to cut and give to neighbour, too much for own consumption.

Abu Dhabi Both Growbed Done

Both siphon replaced, I am monitoring the set to ensure trouble free operation.

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Electronics Ph Tester Overview

Bought one from ebay about USD 12.00, using it with my old skool solution tester.  It's okay, you just need some time to get use to it.

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PH Testing

This is the way most water is tested for Ph value in an Aquaponics set.
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Bayam On The Rise - Update 22nd Nov 2013

This is my Aquaponics system update on 22nd Nov 2013, what's happening and what else can be done.
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Neighbour's Setup - The Video

Completed setting up a simple aquaponics set for a neighbour and testing it out for constant flushing.

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Setup for a Neighbour

Last week was called to do some assessment on this concrete tank to see what I could recommend to minimised work required to keep this tank clean.
Above tank is about 900 gallon capacity with few fish to ensure no mosquito breed in it. I recommend growbed over this tank to minimise algae growth and keep it as simple as possible. Earlier today all items purchase by the owner and I just provide siphon installation and final tweak.
First of the two growbed, this tub is fibreglass and it's smaller than I normally use. I gave a shopping list, its owner purchased item so, just do what I can. The rack were specified for the blue plastic tub which is slightly bigger than this.
Not properly supported, the length and width need to be reduce by 3 inches to ensure better support. It then rains cat and dogs, that reduce my time to get things done. Oh well... there always another day.
Water outlet angled to create some water flow within the tank making a swirl to let solids settle near pump.
Water inlet a simple pipe at the moment, it rain so heavy I cannot complete the water setting to ensure good siphon action.
By the time this second growbed done, it's already quite late and i's time to stop. Water inlet for this growbed I put a temporary Ball Valve to get water balance right. The distance from pump to growbed is not equal, so need some adjustment and pump is also higher capacity.
Need to continue tomorrow for the water inlet adjustment, then it should works without much problem.

Seedling Planting Tool Rivisited

A better explanation of the planting tool that I made. I use it many times for planting in pebbles growbed, hydroton is gentler on my finger so not that critical.
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Bayam Getting Bigger

Looks like the transplant goes well for the spinach plant, it recovered. Soon they will out do all other plant. This Bayam is a short term vegetable, love these and is so easy to grow.
I sow it directly onto growbed and then start to transplant as it reaches manageable size.
Once recovered they will grow very fast, in about a week or two it will be harvest time.

A Relay Flip Flop

Found this AC Relay in the local hardware for RM 12.00 that is about USD 4.00. This relay operates off AC, the control coil is AC current activated. DC Relay is common but AC is a bit hard to get and not use that often. AC Relay has a special arrangement of "anti chattering" due to the continuously changing voltage polarity affect on the relay coil by having a slight gap between the coil core and the activating arm.
This relay has a Double Pole Double Throw set of contacts, ideal to be use as a means of switching power source to two device alternately. If it is couple with a Photo Switch then we could have one device powered during the day and the other during the night.
Actually that's what I intent to do, daytime the pump will be running and at night an aerator or alternate pump will run which could power my Bug Fountain.
Relay pin out above, this can be easily incorporated into my existing Aquaponics power requirement.
Simplified schematic above showing how I intent to wire it up for existing usage. Only thing missing from the diagram are "override" switch that may be needed to switches ON a device during its normally OFF condition for testing or just switching it ON during OFF time as mentioned.

Another possible use of this relay in Aquaponics is to use it as a switch for back up power just in case the grid fail. In this setup, the coil will be permanently wired up to grid power and bias the relay towards NO contact. If power failure occur relay relax and goes to NC where back up power supply could be waiting to kick in.

Or it can also be use for switching between Solar or Grid power, but in this case it's best to use low voltage DC Relay which is more convenient and safe.

Above diagram shows Single Pole Double Throw type, a Double Pole Double Throw just multiply the contacts by two and it could be use to switched the Neutral part of the circuit, or uses by another circuit altogether.

Right, this is cheap and simple enough to do with minimum components, I will not need the Timer anymore if this one works good.

Update 8th Nov 2013

Rainy season is back, water will be surplus and with that will cause nutrient lack in my set due to overflow apart from that issue nothing been happening much.

Transplant some Bayam (Spinach) seedling, that I sow direct to growbed. Kailan seeds seems didn't sprout and few other just disappeared. I probably need to sow those in sowing tray next.
These seedling are quite fragile, with heavy down pour they could get damage.
This bayam consider as simple vegetable, I can only do Tomatoes after about 1 year of system operation the natural way, earlier that that it will not be good.
Cekur Manis above show sign of iron deficiency, rain water wash away nutrient in the tank. I need to look for more iron scrap or Chelated Iron will do too.
I am going to Dubai this 25th for a week, hopefully I can visit Sheikh Jabber Place to see their setup.