Self-Cleaning Media Bed Concept | Ask The Aquaponics God

Self-Cleaning Media Bed Concept | Ask The Aquaponics God

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  1. It's basically the same concept as a bubble bead blaster filter. i.e. using air to dislodge and stir up the sludge from a form of media. The difference is in this method you are forcing air through the media rather than letting the media fall through a wall of bubbles…and the end game isn't necessarily to remove the sludge, just stir it up for aerobic activity? Or are you actually draining the bed, washing the media and removing the sludge?

  2. This is one of many things where I see common everyday parts of Fishkeeping being missed in Aquaponic systems. This is a very common way to autoclean and flush media in koi ponds. I’m a fish keeper of many years looking to start aquaponics. Or at least researching if I want to. We use many of the exact same things in closed loop fish systems (your normal everyday Home aquarium) Mechanical filter for solids and to keep media beds from clogging. Many fish keepers are like me and we all fight nitrates and water changes in Big heavily stocked tanks and are gradually moving towards use of aquaponics to solve this issue. Many of us already utilize sump filters so the transition is pretty easy. Many of use run high power grow lights for planted tanks.. etc.. most are just looking to reduce water changes and as such are just using pothos plants which will suck nitrates from the water like non other due to their fast grow rate. I’m looking to take it further and if I’m going to spend time and money to grow something I figure I may as well be able to eat it to recover those costs. That said… we use much much higher flow filtration and much more specialized filter setups that I think can greatly improve parts of aquaponics. One very small and cost effective item specifically is use of circulation pumps in tanks and sumps to keep solids from collecting and no longer needing to be flushed out with a bottom drain. For $50-60you can place a baseball sized dc pump that only uses 8-10 watts of power and circulate 2-3000gph.

    More pertaining to this video we also have moving bed filters which is an airdriven media bed that constantly flows and is self cleaning. Look into k1 kauldness media and moving bed filter. This type of filtration is the single most desired setup for monster fish tanks because it’s 100% maintenance free, very efficient at quickly converting nitrogen to nitrates all will super oxygenating the water.

    We too use trickle filters but a little differently. In Fishkeeping it is yet again another sump filtration method that eliminates maintenance. It’s the most used system in koi filtration because of cost effectiveness but when I see it used in aquaponics it not really being used to it’s maximum filtrating potential.

    What I’m really getting to is from what I’m seeing and learning it’s as if we are all (Aqua culturing and aquaponics) only using half of the available resources setting up two similar systems for different reason but striving for the same results. However each system is severely deficient in the efficiency from what appears to be a lack of a bridge to bring the two sides together sharing knowledge and improving. I even see this between those who keep freshwater vs saltwater tanks tbh. I’m my freshwater fish keeping I’ve looked to saltwater systems for ways to solve common issues because for some reason freshwater people and companies seem to be stuck in a 1960’s loop of how to keep fish. When I look at aquaponics it’s even worse. Many things I’m seeing are the equivalent of 1940’s technology and mindset however that’s just on the filtration and Fishkeeping side not the plant side.. it’s like we have fish farmers who are really good as growing and keeping fish and crop farmers who are really good at growing crops but no one is putting the best of both worlds together properly.

    The trickle filter with netting for denitrification having to be removed and cleaned is very inefficient as it will create spikes of high nitrates or lack of nitrates.. this is due to the trickle design. If using same principles in a submerged filter setting with proper media instead of the netting after heavy mechanical filtration you can simply use a valve to control flow in and out of the denitrification filter which achieve a steady and consistent level nitrates. You can’t do this in a trickle design cause you’ll always be fighting oxygen levels and as the o2 levels constantly change you’ll be fighting two different variables working against each other. The filter would then never need cleaning which kills off everything and then starting the bacteria culture all over which I’m sure you know takes a long time to get those bacteria to culture. Simply increase flow a little to have more denitrification or reduce flow to increase nitrate levels in a separate bypass design diverting a portion of the water returning to the sump. This is actually common in saltwater sump setups referred to as refugiums where 25% of the water is diverted to a slower part of the sump to increase denitrification while the remaining 75% is run through a high flow section for typical filtration.

    As for mineralization issues.. why not just use your clay media for beds as your filtration media? This would actually give you your steady mineralization principles (not to mention the ion exchange principles of clay and the fact that it in itself provides iron in the first place) you could likely do this in a lower stock and feed density setting and then the only issue to solve is phosphate which can be setup on an automatic dosing system eliminating the entire need for denitrification as that one doctor tried in 2006. This is a very common setup for heavily planted aquariums actually. We utilize clay based media’s for mineralization and then simply diffuse co2 to get water the co2 levels of air for proper growth then typically just being left with a phosphate issue and having to add small amounts to offset the imbalance. It’s cost effective and predictable results.

    Bit of a ramble as I’ve been wondering many of these things for several videos now and then this one I was like ok here we go now we are getting to a point where we are working together using solutions in Fishkeeping in aquaponics even if from a mechanic system for tool cleaning lol. One last thing I’ve seen you mention adding air stones. Air stones only oxygenate water when the bubble burst at the surface creating water movement. They really have no point purpose in aquaponics as the best way to increase dissolved o2 is by moving water with flow or circulation. With all the different sections of flow points in an aquaponics system you should already be very oxygenated to start. Especially with trickle filtration. If you need more then simply add more flow or again a circulation pump in a sump or in the fish tank itself would reach 6ppm levels simply by circulating the water better.

  3. I like that table he clipped on, I think like a stand alone table scaled down solely for the purpose of cleaning media would be great. all the fine particles and roots could fall to the catch basin while the cleaned media would remain above the grate. or in a mesh basket for easy removal of cleaned media. It would be crucial to make sure the compressed air be directed through proper filters and driers to prevent contaminating the media with oils from the compressor.

  4. I agree with you on the concept that would be perfect in the perfect world, however I work with aircompressors all day unless you have an air dryer and several painters filters to prevent oil( that is used in the aircompressors to run the engine) from running thru and out into the water which will get mixed in with the systems water and probably kill the fish a proof system that is available cost about 5k to 8k. Do love the concept buddy ….lots of testing involved here.

  5. Setting up a shrimp farm at the bottom of the tank would work, they will agitate any small particulars on the floor of the tank and make them easier for the filter to pickup, also any small peace’s of food the fish don’t eat, the shrimps will clean up.

    In turn this will reduce buildup in the future.

  6. Hey I just found your channel and I just have to give you props. Quick and to the point, comical and very informative. There are hundreds of aquaponics vidios out there and the vast majority are crappy, slow and have a lack of helpful info. I just wanted to let you know you are rockin it!!. Also wanted to suggest a quick vidio promoting your book and where to get it. 👍

  7. how can i maximize my space in an nft aquaponics system . I am using a vertical linear system at the moment ,zigzagging the 2 inch holes for my grow grips to get the most out of my 3 inch round pvc pipes . Also can I put aquatic plants in my rearing tank to add more oxygen during the day?

  8. Having seen this video two things spring to mind. 1, it's impressive and seems like a great idea and I hope it works in the long run. 2, for those of us who can't build such a system due to lack of skill, materials or just because of cost then I have thought of another much simpler idea although it does involve a little bit of work and that is to fill your media beds with plastic baskets and fill the baskets with gravel or clay balls etc….. That way the baskets can be lifted out individually and cleaned one at a time before being replaced. The TSS can then be used on the garden. Just a thought………

  9. I am writing because you have so much good info on your site and I wanted to pick your brain. I want to set up a modest sized hybrid aquaponics system for my family of three in Thailand. A tropical hot and humid climate as you know.

    I wanted to set up a flood and drain media bed system that drains into a DWC trough and then a sump before being pumped back into the fish tanks. I had planned on two 350 gallon fish tanks for a total of 700 gallons. Four media beds 4' x 8' each with 10" of media for a total of 127 cuft or 152 sqft. A DWC trough 4' x 38' and a sump as necessary. Probably utilizing an ITC for the sump. I thought I might be able to use a flout valve with an associated accumulator to trigger the indexing valve.

    I prefer the concept of flood and drain over the constant flood method. To this end, I read it's ideal to flood for 15 minutes an hour. Perfect, I thought to myself, I will flood each of the four media beds for 15 minutes to get an hour before starting the cycle over. The first media bed can drain to the DWC while the second is flooding and so on. The pump runs continuously and fish tank water is turned over hourly.

    I had initially planned to simply use an indexing valve with either a siphon or a restricted drain but learned that the indexing valve requires a minimum of 10 psi to advance. My gravity design will be lucky to produce 0.8 psi with a 2 ft drop. It looks like I would need to raise my fish tanks some 24 feet to get 10 psi. Clearly this is not practical.

    I then learned that an 1,800 gph pump is the recommended size to operate the indexing valve. That in turn requires a completely new design, additional supporting equipment such as timers and or diversion valves, not to mention substantially more power in the form of electricity. Which in turn makes the prospect of powering the system by solar energy much more difficult. Add on the cost of this supporting equipment and the options are discouraging.

    I am having trouble accepting the solution to sequentially flooding four media beds requires such expense in dollars and power consumption. Please tell me there is a better solution short of cycling the pump on and off continuously?

    I am seeing some talk of custom programming an Arduino circuit board to control a solenoid valve or series of solenoid valves but this sounds more like another rabbit hole. I do imagine it would be a savings in hardware cost as well as power consumption. The primary power savings would come from a much smaller pump being required.

    I thank you most kindly in advance for your time and consideration.

  10. שלום אח ירשלם I'm a beginner in aquaponics and I'm estatic to have found this channel….I know you from other videos relating to our heritage. I would like to connect with you….I assume you are a very busy man, if you are able to I would appreciate it. Shalawam ahch.

  11. Reply to TSS (Total Suspended Solids),
    I've been looking into the gravel/sand filters, but I'm interested in the reapplication of fractional protien skimmers and DIY sock filters.

    The fractional protien skimmer would help remove fats and suspended solid and reduce water surface tension, it's used on koi pond allot and also seen some good diy barrel sock filters that are rinse and reuse.

    I'll keep brain storming on it.

  12. Right now I'm thinking of a straight pipe design that enters the tank from the side and piped together outside the tank, that way they can be removed easily for cleaning or replacement. Maybe by uniseal or threaded.

    Was concerned about calcium buildup and such. And if there's an issue during the growing season I don't want the work or hassle of digging through the bed.

    As far as pressure control you can eyeball it with the hand valve or use a pressure regulator. Doesn't take much pressure but will vary depending on the media used in the bed.

    As for frequency, like you said seasonal may be the best bet as most ammonia problems are mentioned after 12-18 months, but I don't see an issue hitting a gentle agitation once a month if you keep the pressure low enough not to disturb roots or shift the bed while growing (pressure regulator).

    This system could be automated with Mac valves.

    As for hookup, standard quick connector like you have on air tools can be threaded in. Just make sure it's above the water line of the tank lol.

    Also with the grate in place, you can have a sludge drain in the bottom, that also brings up a point that you could probably open the drain and simply hose out the media in the bed but that would make this post longer. 😱

    Thanks for the encouragement ☺️

  13. One of the Aussie Aquaponic's guys, Rob I think? He had a video where he taped an airline to a water line and used that to agitate the gunk build up in his bed and flush it.

  14. fine solids are the problem but cant we put a proper mechanical filter to reduce the solids even before it is sent to the medium beds. i dont know will that solve the problem. best of luck with your testing


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