On to the cage/frame prep. I used a metal cutoff blade in my old trusty B&D 7-1/4" circular saw to cut the metal tubing on the cage. Cuts were made all the way around the cage at the second horizontal cross member as shown below.
After cutting is complete on the cage, I had to cut a whole in the center of the base for the PVC piping that would have to protrude through to the fish tank as the bottom of the cage would now be the base for my grow bed. Using the circular saw I cut out an approximate 4" x 6" opening in the base.
After marking the line around the tote, I removed it from the base and laid it on it's side. In order to cut the tote, I purchased a 120 Tooth plastic/vinyl blade for $10 from my local Lowe's Home Improvement store.
The top tanks are approximately 15" deep which is perfect for a 12" grow bed. I intend to use Growers Stone which is an inert lightweight material which looks similar to lava rock as a growing medium. Next it's on to the Affnan Bell Siphon, which is made out of 1" PVC pipe and along with a 1-1/4" reducer coupling SxT, 1" female adapter, 2" Male Adapter, and two reducer bushings, one is a 2x1", and the other is a 1-1/2x1" reducer.The last three items are actually glued together and screwed into the 6" screw on cap which the 1" standpipe/bell siphon attaches to. I also used 3" PVC for the bell portion of the siphon with a 3" plastic test cap glued in place with corresponding diagonal cuts on the bottom to break the siphon once the water reaches the bottom of the grow bed. Lastly, I used 4" perforated corrugated drain pipe over the whole siphon to protect it from the gravel in the beds, and to provide better water circulation.
The above picture also shows the ebb & flo growbed in action. I timed the fill at approx. 25 minutes per 200 gallons of water, so for two grow beds in each system with a full compliment of grower stones which will displace approximately 50% of the water in each bed, that cuts the time down to less than 15 minutes, with a drain lasting approximately 5 minutes I should be able to get 3 cycles per hour, not optimum, should be 4, but three will do.
With the 1-1/4 reducer, it takes approx. 25 seconds for a full force siphon to start. I may try to order the 1-1/2 reducers as my local home improvement & hardware stores don't carry them. This would reduce the siphon start time to approx. 5-7 seconds. I used a 600 GPH magnetic drive submersible utility pump with an attached pre-filter to supply water to two tanks at a time.
In order to do this I had to connect the two tanks together. I decided to use the existing 2" ball valves that were attached to the totes from the factory as each one has 2" IPS threads which will accept a 2" female PVC adapter. To this I attached a 2" PVC Union and 2" 90 degree DWV elbows and 2" PVC pipe between each tank for the connection as shown in the next photo. This gives me the added ability to remove the connection and drain/clean or work on individual tanks when needed.
In order to feed water to each grow bed I came up with a PVC manifold using 1/2" PVC pipe and fitting.
This was attached to the pump with a section of black UV resistant 5/8" card hose.
I still have to add an air system to the tank for Dissolved Oxygen (DO) in the tanks, along with a way to heat the water in the winter and cool it in the summer, perhaps a pond heater and a Chiller are in my future. I will save that for upcoming post....hope you have enjoyed the journey so far. Until next time...