First off, this damn thing is going to be the cause of an aneurysm and second, if you go into this thinking it will be easy to do chances are you will be wrong…….. It looks dummy proof. If you are like me you probably wont have all the supplies on hand nor a few of the essential tools like a hole drill…. or you will have to change your design about twelve times because you have had to do it in segments of spare time.
Regardless though it is finally done. I had to jump the gun and put in the little seedlings I had started because when it was all said and done I was no longer able to put the pots on the top of the tub lid like they had been. I think they might do a little better in the grow beds anyways.
I had the idea to use bell siphons in the grow beds but because they sit at an angle the “bell” acts as more of a crap catcher which is needed!!!!!! I kept having trouble with one of the beds and the stupid clay pebbles floating into the drain and clogging it. I then began to mix in gravel with the clay to help off set the weight of the gravel and the tendency for the clay to float.
One big problem I had was my pump is a pretty weak one (120 gph) but if it was any stronger I would have a flood plain on my hands. I had to get the pump spout up high enough that it created a trickle and sadly that height was JUST below where my original top bed had been so I removed that and put the seedling light there instead.
I had a ton of set backs while I was making this. I had originally wanted to use big PVC pipes but I couldn’t find any in my stores so i though of rain gutters. Which are great except that there is a ton of room fot a leak to spring. mainly out the top if it over flows. THAT is night mare trying to fix. the clay pebbles loved going into the drain tube.
Then when it was all looking good I realized that the top bed was leaking from the drain so I had to pause everything and re caulk that. Then I went to add the 4th bed on I realized that my fishies were too high for me to get the drain flowing right. I had a slightly lower table to put them on that fit under my system perfect so yay for that.
Then the pump wouldn’t pump up to the additional couple of inches I was needing. So I eliminated that bed.
OOOO the beds sit at a pretty steep angle angling backwards so I had to figure out a way to get them to sit in the brackets a little more level. I wound up using wash cloths jammed up under the gutters. the best thing would be to create a wedge to attach to the vertical board then the bracket to the wedge.
A few positives……. My pump doesn’t draw near as much as I feared it would so I don’t need a secondary tank off to the side. With the fish up off the floor my 9 month old cant get into them like he was, and so far only about 5 fish have had to be flushed. I’m projecting that as they get bigger I will need to build another system which now that I know what to do different I can.
All in all it looks like a redneck hillbilly built it but that may be because the Alaskan version of a hillbilly did build it. We love duck tape and it happened to be the only tape on hand.
I will have to see how it does over the next couple of weeks.