Friday, February 12, 2016

Watch the full video here

Phase one of the aquaponics re-design is completed! The first step of this overhaul was to move and re-design the sump tank system. I wanted to accomplish two goals - Lower the sump tanks to the lowest possible location, and also move them under the grow beds to save space and piping.
So, why would I want to spend hours moving a perfectly good sump system? Well there are a couple of flaws with this design that I talked about briefly in the "tips and tricks" video.

With the current setup the sump tanks are all the way to the far left standing vertically- just one 55 gallon drum on end. The issue I have had is that if all four grow beds decide to drain at the same time the level in the sump gets just high enough to spill small amounts of water out the large drain pipe openings. There is also a lot of wasted space under that would work perfectly for some sumps so on to the install.

I started with a 55 gallon drum that has been cut in half. I have more on that here, but I cut it in a way that both bungs would be useable and perfectly in half.

Each bung has different main threads but the inside of each cap has 3/4" threads that I can use to route water between the two halves.

I removed my auto fill mechanism from the old sump tank. This auto-fill system has been working perfectly for almost two years. I love not having to add water to the system! I installed this into the side of one of the barrel halves using a small bit of silicon to seal the threads.

I am using filtered water for the auto-fill as our water has too many carbonates which raises the pH in the system. During the renovation I changed the filters in our RO system which haven't been changed in over 5 years!

This is the Aqueon 2300 pump, this model has been pumping with not a single issue for two years straight. That is 24/7 run time and I think I only took it apart to clean it once and it didn't really need it. I moved this over to the new sump tanks and used a temporary 3/4" flexible hose to get from the sumps to the fish tanks.

I added some supports on either side of the grow bed framing legs to support the sump tanks horizontally.

The sumps were inserted into the openings and screwed in with deck screws. Both halves were connected with 3/4" piping to transfer water between the two in a sense allowing them to act as one larger tank.

Each grow bed has a bell siphon drain underneath that needs to be re-routed to the new sumps. I was able to remove the long drain pipe with this setup and all four beds now drain directly into the sumps. Less pipes and less to look at.

The final result here is a sleeker, more efficient, and less expensive setup that looks as nice as it runs. Next up will be to move the entire grow bed system and lower it about 8 inches. Please let me know if you have any questions!

Products used in this project

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