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Murray's new Demo FloMedia System.

Discussion in 'Commercial Systems' started by Murray, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    I thought it would be good to run a series of posts about our new demo FloMedia system that we put together primarily for teaching purposes. All the finer details are being posted into our Platinum members area for the use of our students.

    The system consists of a 2500 ltr fish tank, a swirl filter, sump, header tank, media grow beds, raft beds and associated plumbing.

    Here are some shots of the assembly progress.

    Bottom of the 2500 ltr tank just fitted with drain pipes.
    Sump being filled in after placing it in the hole. That night it poured raining and the sump floated up out of the hole.
    Putting water into the sump....should have filled it right up to stop it popping out.
    Plumbing outlet from the fish tank going across to the swirl filter.
    Finishing the connection of the 90mm pipe from fish tank to swirl filter.
     

    Attached Files:

    Shane Edwards likes this.
  2. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    Well at last the design is out... and good on you for doing so Murray....

    I had concerns that merely incorporating media beds (only) before the rafts wouldn't necessarily cut it.. especially in a commercial operation...

    The utilisation of some solids removal certainly changes things for the better...

    The other photos you'd posted of the school "trial" systems didn't seem to show the incorporation of any other filtration....

    The disclosure of your basic design wont harm your business IMO... but will probably however benefit aquaponics in general, even those in the backyard... but especially for those heading in a "commercial" direction....

    Especially as it's now seems to be becoming accepted that with anything beyond low stocking densities... media beds can clog to a point that at the very least requires a level of periodic maintenance....

    There are still a few opinions that even low densities could impact on fish health... or at least optimal growth... at maximised feeding rates...

    But at least there seems to be some merging of aquaponic and aquaculture standpoints begining to happen...

    An important consideration here in Australia, with our species requirements, and value of fish as part of any potential commercial direction... :p
     
  3. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    There is a clear distinction between a home system and "commercial" and that is the level of stocking densities and feed rates.

    Because of that we need a slightly different approach.....obviously.

    Once again, I will say.....we, me, I, have never said that media beds never need maintenance or that some form of additional filtration should NOT be used. Many, many times I have said..."If you want to add an additional filter, knock yourself out, add two" But.....in most home systems it is just not necessary. As is evidenced by many thousands of home systems that operate very successfully with a fish tank and various numbers of media beds acting as the bio filter.

    All that nonsense comes from just one poor little arm chair general.

    We have supplied several large domestic style FloMedia systems to schools and they are running very well. If they have a shortcoming at all in day to day operations, it is that they are under stocked even for a home style system.

    More later, I have to go for a bike ride with my grandson.
     
    Shane Edwards likes this.
  4. Rocking Rabbit

    Rocking Rabbit New Member

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    what does the "header tank" do?
     
  5. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    The header tank will cut down on the power bill because we only need to pump up to the header tank from the sump, then all systems will be supplied with water from there by gravity.
    A smaller pump can be employed than is needed normally.
     
  6. joesunnycoast

    joesunnycoast Member

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    hi Murray, with the header tank you mentioned savings on the power because the system is gravity fed. Would you still need a pump that needs to pump the sufficient volume of water to get the right amount of "water changes" for the system? Would this not be the same size pump even without the header tankj? I am thinking the water volume would be the same?
    Cheers Joe
     
  7. Yabbies4me

    Yabbies4me Administrator Staff Member

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    But although it may have to pump the water higher, in my mind it would be far more efficient pumping up one direct line to the header tank, shortest possible route, with minimal bends/fittings/restrictions etc, and using gravity to then deal with the extra bends and length of pipe etc required to get water to each component in the system.
    You still need the same flow rate per hour through the system, but with this method I believe you could use a smaller pump to achieve it. Long runs of pipe, even horizontal, and multiple bends/fittings etc all take away from the efficiency/flow rate of your pump.

    I'm no hydraulic engineer, but it makes sense to me. That's why in each small country town you'll normally see a water tower with a large header tank on top near the centre of town somewhere, supplying the entire towns water. They can use one pump at the base of the water tower to pump the water up, then let gravity feed the water out through the towns supply network, a much more efficient use of energy.

    Plus, probably not relevent to aquaponics, but in a town situation people are using water at all times of the day, but the water pump doesn't have to run continuously, only when the tank gets down to a certain level.

    Cheers, Yabbies.
    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
  8. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    We have had the header tank working for a good few days now and the 7000 lph pump we have on the system has excess capacity now.
    I have not made any measurements of actual flow (will soon) when I stop experimenting. There is definitely excess over the performance we were getting when pumping everywhere, to all points.

    The water is pumped directly up vertically via 25mm PVC pipe to the top of the header tank.

    The flow to the fish tank is down on what it was earlier but is still sufficient, but I would like it to be more. I may well modify the gravity line to the fish tank to up that flow a bit. Right now it starts out as 25mm pipe but steps down to 19mm about 500 mm before it gets to the tank. That will allow more water through the fish tank, swirl filter and so on. This demonstrates well the performance losses by pipe diameter changes, bends etc. These factors add to the "head" that the pump has to deal with.

    Have just set up a secondary 24 volt back up pump which is switched on by the same fail switch as the backup pump in the fish tank. The secondary pump is located in the sump and pumps water from the sump to the fish tank to the swirl filter and onwards so that whole loop can keep working well if the mains power fails.

    A trickling bio filter is in that loop to ensure bio filtration for the fish should the mains power go down for an extended period.

    Some photos soon.
     
  9. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    So is this, or isn't this "ChopII" Murray... I'm still confused as to the system flow....

    Header Tank>Fish Tank>Swirl Filter> Sump... pump in sump>header tank and media beds (ChopII??)... Media beds> raft... both drain back to sump???
     
  10. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    John,
    Get with the program.....this is a FloMedia System.......:):):):)

    Actually, there is a secret component I am very reluctant to reveal......It is so revolutionary, so amazing, so....well just so.....It is a trickling bio filter !!!!!!!!:tongue:;):D

    No pix yet because I have changed it a half dozen times so far but close to final layout......

    Next part of the project is winter greenhouse heating.....got a great system started for that but a few weeks away from getting it working....need to hurry winter will be upon me before I know it.
     
  11. davidl

    davidl Member

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    AHHA, you've let the cat out of the bag, we're all off to the patent office to beat you to it! lol

    but seriously that sounds like a great idea. :genius:

    I'm not too surprised, just thinking about the idea for 2mins has given me several ideas as to how it could work. Can't wait for photos and some idea on their performance.
     
  12. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    Dident one famous setup the queenslander have one of those
     
  13. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    So "flomedia" is evolving, or was always intended... to be a generic "brand name" for your various systems... rather than a particular technological implementation or methodology???...
     
  14. Castaway

    Castaway Senior Member

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    What ever happen to that Queenslander system that was the going to be the last word in definitive cutting edge aquaponics design?
    Without trying to be a smart-ass here, was that design ever implemented? Did it work? Never heard much about it at all as I suspect the designer moved onto bigger and greater things - like bagging people.
     
  15. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Gee Rupert, you want to know everything.....:) We are always on the move around here, trying things new and old in different configurations just to see what what works best with what.
    There is still so much to be learned about AP that is for sure. With FloMedia Systems (yes I needed to give it a name) we are in the process of further refining and optimising aquaponics systems both great and small.

    We lot here in Australia lead the pack in knowledge and experience about media based systems, no doubt about that. Combining them with deep flow systems is not just a case of slapping a couple of extra beds on and hoping for the best.

    Castaway, what ever in the world are you talking about. Queenslander ??? Is that something to do with the State elections? Or the Broncos ? Bit early for NRL "state of origin" talk isn't it?
     
  16. OzinBrasil

    OzinBrasil New Member

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    My guess- ATS bio trickle filter.

    Mentioned them, and been poo poo'd many times previously.

    Anything for a laugh!

    Cheers.
     
  17. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    Of course I do... that's why I'm on the forums... ;)

    But that's what your 1-3 yr school trial systems seemed to be.... or did they also have other filtration, like the swirl filter shown here... that wasn't shown ??


    Looking at the way things are plumbed... and I'm glad you're changing out the 19mm from the header to get more flow to the tank...

    But even with more flow, and subsequent overflow.... isn't the "swirl" tank, which seems very large... actually going to be more like a settling tank rather than a "swirl" filter??
     
  18. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Yes, it is more like a settling tank. Capable of much more thru-put than currently utilised.
     
  19. trout

    trout New Member

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    Header tanks are great things and serve a multitude of purposes.

    However if you can design system that doesn't need one, then that
    system will be inherently more efficient.

    In some designs you just need a header tank,

    But in Aquaponics I just can't see why you wouldn't use your fish tank
    as the header tank hence avoiding all that extra plumbing.

    cheers Lou
     
  20. davidl

    davidl Member

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    yes the amount of water per hour needs to be the same, but at the lower pressure at each outlet, the amount of power needed to deliver that flow rate is lower. Thus you can use a lower power pump for the same flow rate.

    Most good pumps will give you a little graph or chart showing flow rates at various pressure head heights. For the constant power, pumps used in aquariums and most aquaponics systems, these all show that the more pressure the pump has to use the lower the flow rate. The L/hr rating on a pump is for a standard height for that class of pump, so they can use large print for showing how good the pump is.

    Long pipes, skinny pipes, rough pipes, corners, constrictions, pipe diameter or shape changes all cause a pump to have to work harder to produce enough pressure to maintain a flow rate in addition to the effort needed for the vertical distance it is sending the water up. A single smooth, straight, large diameter pipe going straight up to a small reservoir, called a head tank, will achieve maximum flow rate for that height being pumped.

    All that being said, if you have the same pipe network with all its corners and flow obstructions is used with a head tank, you may need to pump up to a head tank high enough to force enough flow rate through the pipe network, negating the benefit. Though it is very common for the people here using oversized pumps to purposefully put in ball valves to restrict the flow rate, these can be set to a wider open setting, reducing the severity of the constriction, and increasing efficiency, hence requiring a lower power pump.

    Many pumps can operate pumping up to a ridiculous hight above the pump, which is just not needed, so pumping to a low height very efficiently will give lots of flow rate at low pressure. As high pressure is not needed, this is great.
     

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