Strainer Bell - A "Bell Less" Option

This second post on same topic to include diagram.

Not exactly Bell Less but made this siphon without its normal 80 mm bell. Its getting difficult to source the 80 mm end cap so I decided to try using the outer strainer as the bell itself.

Diagram below illustrate this siphon.

Nothing special just that the inner bell is removed and the vent cowl is replace with an end cap. This will make the siphon cheaper by a few ringgit and less components to worry about.

This siphon need to be tested against root growth.

Strainer bell can be of smaller diameter but this size was chosen on all my siphon due to ease of cleaning, that is the only reason.

Completed Strainer Bell Siphon above, that holes on the bottom needs to be of smaller size, this is using 10 mm drill. The bottom end cap will need to be drilled too making water drainage better.

As previous post, water cut off occur at top rows of drilled holes, in this set up there is about 1.5 inches of water left upon cut out.

Newer sample above with single row of drain holes, this from my latest growbed : Here that I'm testing that will drain really low.

This is for Subang Jaya Installation

This is for installation in Subang Jaya to modified the siphon outlet due there is too much inflow.

1. Either make a restriction like this below :


2. Try adding an elbow with a short 3 inches of 25 mm PVC with final horizontal incline towards fish tank. No other changes to existing pipe just add to make an incline with second elbow as below.

Please try ... the pump used was slightly higher capacity, since 2 growbed involve, and unbalance will cause the other growbed to receive more that its fair share of the inflow.

Kuchai Or Not To Kuchai - Part 4

If your second attempt don't succeed... try a third time ... :)

Previous seed I ordered online and it didn't germinate ... tried cutting, it turn to compost. These I bought at the local supermarket and give it another go.

Sown few seeds today, the whole packet actually... hoping when I'm back from Borneo it miraculously sprouted.

BTW yes ... on my last post : Here its wild weed... :(

4th Growbed Done - That's The Limit For My Setup

Haul another 200 liter (4 bag) of hydroton to complete my last growbed in this current setting. Fish tank is at its maximum growbed ratio, I'll need to convert to CHOPS if additional growbed needed or if this current tank can't cope with the demand.

Note : Power consumption calculation is at bottom of page, based on average Malaysian Electricity Tariff.

This growbed I am testing that "Strainer Bell" type of siphon, which can be imediately converted to my normal bell siphon with addition of a bell and removal of the white end cap.

I made 4 rows of holes just like normal strainer that I use, with slight different in the pitch of the rows making it tighter.

Completed siphon above, this siphon will cut off water once the first top row is reached. I put an outer mesh due to hydorton but forgotten to snap the actual picture. Below picture of previous installation which is very similar.

Water I'm using a single pump at the moment which feed all four growbed using simple divider pipe, no rocket science there just adjust the incline to restrict and roughly divide water by four. Photo below is the actual pump, this was during previous installation where its just a two growbed division.

Pump Rating below, this pump is almost 5 years old today.

Simple "Tee" that branch to left and right feeding four growbed.

Below is the right side.

I will put another pump and made same feed on the opposite side of the growbed, a single pump is sufficient, but I am putting two so that if a failure of one pump the entire setup will still function without problem.

Overview photo above and below, space required for this setup is 3.5 ft x 10 ft so approximately 35 sq ft.

Siphon operation tested with this single pump configuration, it works without problem. Now I can concentrate on planting.

What it cost to operate electrically

Cost for operating this setup with one pump is as below :

Water Pump : 29 watt @ 14 hours/day - 1 pump
Aeration Pump : 3 watt @ 24 hours/day - 1 pump

Total Power Consumption 1 day : (29 x 14) + (3 x 24) = 478 watt hour/day

Total Power Consumption 1 month : 478 x 30 = 14340.00 watt hour (14.34 kwh)

Electricity cost : 14.34 kwh x 0.25 = RM 3.58 ( USD 1.20 approx) per month.

My setup electricity consumption with two pump as follows :

Water Pump : 29 watt @ 14 hours/day - 2 pump
Aeration Pump : 3 watt @ 24 hours/day 1 - Pump

Total Power Consumption 1 day : (29 x 2 x 14) + (3 x 24) =  884 watt hour/day

Total Power Consumption 1 month : 884 x 30 = 26520.00 watt hour (26.52 kwh)

Electricity cost : 26.52 kwh x 0.25 = RM 6.63 ( USD 2.20 approx) per month.

Malaysian Electricity Tariff : Here

Strainer Bell - Back To The Roots

My final growbed almost ready, lately getting a bit difficult to get the 80 mm end cap. While waiting for it, decide to try using the outer strainer itself as a bell.

This strainer is the type that I use that extra end cap inverted to form a holder, as in this posting  making it easier to try out various style for a strainer.

For trying out, this strainer I only made 2 row of holes instead the usual 4 or 5, this to ensure water level will be low. Siphon cut off will occur once it reaches the first top row of holes.

Above looking from top, without usual inner bell and below with the flat 110 mm UPVC endcap.

It works, and siphon cut off will be at the highest row of holes leaving almost slightly more than an inch of water. With just two row of holes I'm not sure how will it stand against root growth and clogging, normal it will be 4 rows minimum but this will makes water in growbed to be about 2.5 ~ 3 inches at siphon cut off.

Trying out on earlier growbed, remove the inner bell and capped the strainer. It work no problem but this strainer has 4 row of holes so water is higher.

This can be use if shortage of parts or to reduce cost of making one siphon, but it need to be tested against roots growth etc.

To Kuchai or Not To Kuchai - Part 3

The Part 2 : Here

Something is germinating, too soon to shout for joy.. but it does looks like something.

Too tiny to make out what is it, all looks the same. Hope its not some wild seeds blown by the wind, let see for few more days whether is a Kuchai plant or a wild grass.

Final Growbed Racking Done

Made another Rack today and this growbed need to be done before Friday. Will not be around this this weekend and I'll be away to Borneo for a week next Tuesday and another trip late March.

Four growbed in total, this will be the extreme amount for that size fish tank. If its running low I will need to add a CHOPS components to this setup.

26th Feb Update

26th Feb 2013 Update.. 

Kailan transplanted to hydroton growbed.

Okra few plants on this gravel bed, okra is a tall plant best to be on gravel for support.

Other plants cuttings starting to take root, that rosemary in the back looks good, I have no idea whether its already take root.

Few more seedling left in this sowing tray, wait another week before I transplant these few.

Midday sun very hot, I un-siphon the growbed to ensure high water preventing the new seedling from drying. Will leave it this way till late afternoon.

Hydroton Growbed - Part II

Top up additional bag of Hydroton today, so that makes it 4 bag for this growbed. RM 280.00 in total, its quite a sum to pay for a 3 x 2 grow area.

Looks good, let see in few more months how its doing on my setup. Now I'm letting it mature for the next 6 to 8 weeks. Will do simple plants first before it fully matured.

Equatorial Lowland Strawberry Project- Ride for Highland Strawberry

Going up mountain today for Strawberry and have fun on the twisties too.

Google Map : 4.583521,101.403245 there are many more in this area its about 45 km of great twisties up mountain.

Video of Strawberry Farm in Cameron Highland below, apologize for those that don't find motorcycle ride interesting, just putting some spice to a flat Aquaponics Video.

Took home one and in it goes into the growbed, I doubt it will survive the low land heat.

Everything you need to know about Strawberries : Here

Pebbles & Hydroton Comparo

This only comparison on price factor between Hydroton and Pebbles on my 3 ft Growbed the only different is the racking required.

Hydroton which is lighter will not need an expensive rack, while Pebbles do need it. I may try Pebbles on lighter rack later.

Below are items needed and it price.

Hydroton : 4 Bags @ RM 70 per bag so its RM 280.00 for a growbed
Racking : Sloted Angled Iron @ RM 70.00 (exclude man hour)
Total Cost : RM 350.00 per Growbed

Pebbles : 10 Bags @ 8.00 (Average price) so its RM 80.00
Racking : Custom Made @ RM 250.00 each (Average price)
Total Cost : RM 330.00 per Growbed

Price different is not that much, however if lower grade pebbles are use than the price would be around RM 6.00 per bag

If racking for Pebbles can be made of Slotted Angled Iron then it could be reduce in price more, than it would be much significant.

Using Hydroton the total price per growbed is around : RM 350.00 excluding other common item and Pebbles growbed will cost about RM 130.00 ~ RM 330.00 depending on racking and grade of pebbles.

Pros and Cons of Hydroton

  1. Light Weight
  2. Ph Neutral - This is one important factor.

  1. Expensive
  2. Limited retailer selling it
Pros and Cons of Pebbles

  1. Cheap
  2. Easy to get

  1. Heavy
  2. Ph on the high side - This is bad.
I will compare after few months how Hydroton holds up to Pebbles.

Update 21 July 2015

Without doubt hydroton is much better to be use in Aquaponics due to its neutral Ph and light weight. It is very easy to work with making the process of setting growbed much easier.

Pebbles, due to its heavier weight makes redoing growbed or setting up very tiring. The racking for pebbles are expensive offsetting the cheaper price of pebbles.

Currently I am trying to reduce on the amount of hydroton requires for setting aquaponics set by using Potted Media Base Flood And Drain NFT Hybrid. It is still in its trial phase and whether it is successful or otherwise only after few months of trial will tell.

Hydroton Growbed - My 1st Attemp

Another Growbed in the process of completion, this time I use Hydroton (LECA) to try out. I'll calculate the costing in comparison to stones or pebbles later : Here

 This time I use a strainer holder made of 110 mm PVC pipe endcap, compare to gluing strainer direct a strainer holder is easier to work with. However water remaining after siphon cut off will be half an inch more than the direct glued on.

Two gasket are used one on each side of this holder to prevent leak and please take note that this gasket at bottom try to use a thicker rubber due to sometimes the growbed tub is uneven and cause a leak.

 Above holder and stand pipe in place.

Water inlet I tap from existing pump, making it feed three growbed. No problem since this pump I am using has excess capacity.

Those Hydroton (LECA) are smaller in size, so my 10 mm holes strainer not able to handle it properly. A quickie additional strainer made of plastic netting fixed the problem.

Three bags of LECA is not enough, I'll get another bag. So 4 bag of LECA needed for each of my growbed.

Under Growbed plumbing, I don't have enough 25 mm PVC that the reason for stepping up to 40 mm. I need to change that to all the way 25 mm.

Murphy's Law of Aquaponics

No. 1 : If you drop something it will always be into somewhere that you can't get to it.