There are a couple of techniques used in order to run a media bed Aquaponic system. One technique you can employ is to inundate and drain the system by using a timer on the pump. The timer switches the pump on and off. There’s also a standpipe in the grow bed that is responsible for regulating the flooding level. Another way to flood and drain your system is through an auto siphon placed in the growbed and then run the pump continuously. Another option is you can run the system with a non-stop flooded grow bed by making use of a standpipe in the bed.
We have run several trials on all these at Outdoor Aquaponics. If you want to follow our results you can visit our forum page so you can better compare the number of systems we’ve experimented with.
While writing this, our trials have been going on for over a year now and in truth at the end of the day, we’ve seen very little differences between the three systems. Although we have noticed some slight differences at the onset of our trial after twelve months we found the differences to be negligible. If you want to know more about the trials we ran with the various systems, we were able to give out reports over three editions of the Outdoor Aquaponics Magazine. The final results of the trials will be summarized in our 13th edition. With this as the case, I highly suggest you run your IBC system constantly flooded since we were able to set up our IBC system on our site.
Chift Pist systems are very famous among the Aquaponics DIY sector. In this system, water is being pumped straight from the sump tank and into the fish tank. In effect, the fish tank’s water level will begin to escalate until it flows out into the growbed. The growbed, in turn, drains the water back into the sump tank before it gets pumped back into the fish tank again. The system uses an auto siphon in the growbed in order to flood and drain the growbed or it can run with the growbed continuously inundated.
An SLO or Solids Lift Overflow is usually combined into these systems. This means that the overflow pipe within the fish tank is placed right down top the bottom part of the fish tank where it will magnet solids up from the very bottom of the tank and subsequently leave them in the growbed.
• The pump is found in the sump tank, which is far away from the wastes and the fish
• The water level inside the fish tank remains the same
• This is excellent if you have a tall fish tank
• You’ll have more water volume because of the sump
• You will require additional equipment (sump tank)
• You are required to have a tall fish tank or a stand
• It can take up bigger footprint
• It has restricted running methods
This isn’t usually set up with timers on the pump not unless you have a huge pump since that requires an enormous capacity to top the fish tank and fill your grow bed in one pump cycle. This isn’t going to be the simplest way of setting up a system since you have to add a pump tank into your overall design.
Simple Flood and Drain
The simple flood and drain can be done in two ways. One is you can have a standpipe in your growbed and a timer found in your pump or two you can have a siphon within your growbed. The contest between which among these two is considered better is still going on but I think that the answer is simple; each of these has its own set of advantages as well as disadvantages. In my opinion, after I played with siphons on a couple of varying systems I decided that I didn’t want anything to do with them. Therefore, all the systems I make I use standpipes instead.
• It has a very simple design.
• It only has 2 main system components
• This is especially helpful if you have a tall fish tank
• The pump is in the fish tank
• The water level inside the tank can fluctuate
If you are wondering what standpipes are, allow me to explain.
A standpipe is the one you’ll see right next to a drain fitting, sitting in the drain fitting. If you want to change the length of your standpipe you can simply adjust the flooding level of your growbed. If however you want to inundate your growbed to make slugs or caterpillars come out of your media then all you have to do is to slip a longer pipe right over the end or a coupling fitting you can already enable the growbed to flood. This causes all the annoying pests like caterpillars and slugs to come out of the media. If the media level of your grow bed is dropping you can just cut off a portion of your standpipe and lower the flood level in your growbed. In your standpipe, you’ll find two tiny holes. These holes allow the water to drain out little by little out of your growbed when the pump is off. This results in the flooding and draining cycle.
This probably looks quite similar to the one above. Well, that is because it is more or less the same as your flood and drain system. The only difference is that when you try to remove the timer from the system your growbed will continuously be flooded.
If you are getting a bit confused don’t fret because it can be really difficult to attempt to conceptualize all these and how all systems work. But if you intend to install and put up your own system all you have to do is to follow our steps so you can build your very own IBC Aquaponic system. If you want to know more about other methods of installing and running an Aquaponics system you are welcome to join the discussions in our forum since in there you’ll find tons of information. (Click here to learn about Different Ways To Deal With Pests And Diseases)