Standpipes and Bell Siphon

Day 2 of my solo weekend involved setting up the standpipes and bell siphons.  I didn’t get all the way done, I still need to drill holes in the bottom of the bell siphons and create the standpipe surrounds…  stay tuned!

I also cut some planks from the sides of the old play fort to use as a space filler for the undersides of the growbeds.  Without them, the weight of the future growbed media and water would cause it to sag, perhaps rupture…  (if this sounds confusing, it”ll be more clear once I get the gravel or expanded shale in).

Sump Plumbing!

Today I tried my hand at PVC plumbing… and it went off without a hitch!  OK, the purple primer was a little messy, especially on the last connection or two that were hard to reach, but overall, I’d say it was a success.  No leaks.

Next, I tested the sump connections with rainwater that had accumulated in the growbeds on the ground nearby.  Those kids keep leaving their toys in the yards, so I might as well make their beach bucket useful!   No leaks on the pipes, which was good, because the PVC cement is permanent…  if there were any issues, it would be hard to take apart short of cutting it.

Final step for the day…  next to my rain barrel, I have 275 gallons of rainwater in what will be the fish tank IBC (see previous posts).   I certainly didn’t want to haul all of that around the back of the house to the sumps!   I admit, I did that for a couple of buckets for the pipe test.  What I did was get a garden hose and siphon the water out of the IBC to the sumps, whose water level was considerably lower…  First I made sure the hose was full of water by dumping water in it with the bucket and a funnel from the kitchen.  (In retrospect, I should have used the rain barrel, which has a perfect tap for a garden hose – I had thought to do that before, but had forgotten at the moment it would have been useful.)   I came back an hour or two later and most of the fish tank IBC was empty, with the sumps holding the water proudly!

Here are some of the plumbing shots and the distance siphon hose carried the water:

 

 

Aquaponics Update

I have not had much time lately to work on the project, but here and there I’ve done a bit:

  • ground smooth the rough edges of the IBC cuts with an angle grinder, and spray painted the exposed parts with silver metallic spray paint to prevent rusting
  • leveled the ground under the IBCs for both the tanks and cinder blocks
  • Purchased the cinder blocks
  • Re-used some wood from the old play fort

Now I’ve got to:

  • Plumb the IBC sump tanks together
  • Create the standpipes
  • Order expanded shale, hopefully delivered by 4/22 weekend, which I’ve set aside for working on this
  • Sift the expanded shale, put in the growbeds and start cycling water

After that, I’ll drain the fish tank IBC which is full of rainwater into the sump tanks so that I can prep the fish tank and get some fish.  I can also start some plants before the fish tank is ready, so long as the water cycling is working as expected.