How To Build a Bell Siphon

Category : For the DIY'er
How To Build a Bell Siphonby wpjljron.How To Build a Bell Siphon This details all the steps on how to build a bell siphon. This model has been adapted to have a small cup on the breather … This details all the steps on how to build a bell siphon. This model has been adapted to have a small cup on the breather …


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25 Responses

  1. Pamela Kissinger20 August, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks. When I do build it I will use these instructions.

  2. Bigelow Brook Farm (Web4Deb)20 August, 2013 at 11:43 am

    The caps should sink when full of water, float when empty. Any regular PVC cap should work.

  3. Joseph E Fasciani14 August, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Some suggestions from a carpenter builder w/50 yrs experience:
    1. Put a large, thick washer or 2 inside the mandrel before you drill, so as to get the disc out more easily.
    2. Do NOT do the priming [it’s purple; solvent adhesive is clear, grey, or bluish] over finished masonry paver bricks, as it’s VERY difficult to remove the stains.
    3. Keep some sandpaper on hand to remove the burrs.

  4. Don Mallicoat9 August, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I have a large bed (120″ x 36″ by 10″ (LxWxH) that just wouldn’t ever break siphon so I tried to do this. I’ve tried caps from all the local big box stores and none of them float. I have 3/8 tubing, but it seems that it’s just sucking a continuous small stream of air and water since the cap won’t float. What am I missing?

  5. GrillingNetwork™6 August, 2013 at 4:49 am

    I enjoyed watching this video!! I employed your hose technique but without the cup. I already had a 4in APC pipe installed with gravel and didnt want to dig it out to install a 6in pipe. The Bell Siphon works like a champ and want to thank you for the mod!!!

  6. Bigelow Brook Farm (Web4Deb)3 August, 2013 at 12:11 am

    1/2″ tubing will be fine. I don’t like to use less than 3/8″ because it seems to catch too much junk. If you can find a 3/4″ bulkhead, that will work fine. I get the other ones as surplus so it’s what I had laying around.

  7. Ethan Dawe3 August, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Questions Please:

    1) Would I be just as well off to buy a 3/4″ bulkhead and use 3/4″ pvc for the stand pipe or is there magic to having the 1 1/4″ stand pipe inside the 2″ bell?

    2) the clear tubing you attach to the side of the Bell siphon… Would a 1/2″ tubing work the same or is there special magic to that size tubing?

    Thanks for helping me.

  8. Paul Osborn1 August, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    I have worked some with these bell siphons, i discovered that the cap at the bottom does not need to float, just has to be taller than the inlet openings. See my bell siphon update. Let me know what you think.

  9. AquaponicLynx31 July, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Hay look, “rocks” oh and a hole to drop them in. Yep, make it easy to get at things to fix, clean them.

  10. Bigelow Brook Farm (Web4Deb)31 July, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    I agree with this too! I can remove all my stand pipes and traps. Sometimes I like to adjust the water level in the beds and it’s simple enough to yank it out and put in a slightly shorter one. After our open house, I did discover some stones in my bells….kids love getting into trouble!

  11. Bigelow Brook Farm (Web4Deb)31 July, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Yup. I agree. I run my water really slow slow so it’s hard to get the siphons to kick on without the trap. Higher rates and you could use a standard bell or the Afnan variation. Basically, I would say these are 99.99% reliable. It’s the roots that cause problems!

  12. AquaponicLynx31 July, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    My rule is all stand pipes should be removable! I just encountered some stand pipes that people had glued into place. AND there is a rock in one of them, and no easy way to remove it.
    And what if you wanted to change the system over to timed flood and drain later? How do you get a drill in to put the holes near the base of the stand pipe if the stand pipes are glued into place? Or what if the stand pipe is the wrong height and you need to cut it down?
    Keep drains removable.

  13. AquaponicLynx31 July, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    I had never actually seen your siphon version with the breather “CUP” pretty cleaver.
    Now if you have your grow beds draining into a tank directly below the grow beds, Skip all the extra junk, don’t bother with traps or breather tubes until you test it out because it can be very simple and the extra stuff is only to get it to work if it doesn’t just work in the first place.

    As to the uniseals, they make it difficult to remove the stand pipe. There are some tricks that can be done but…

  14. Pete LoGiudice31 July, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Forget bulkheads. Get Uniseals. Cheaper and easier to work with and leak proof unlike most bulkheads that are expensive and generally will leak if not properly seated and tightened exactly.

  15. uponmysoapbox130 July, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I’m having big problems getting the right parts in UK to create a decent aquaponics set up! This looks great!

  16. Bigelow Brook Farm (Web4Deb)29 July, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I had purchased a bunch of the 1-1/4″ fittings at surplus for a fraction of the price of new ones so it’s what I’m stuck with. 😉 Most of the ones that I’ve found don’t have 3/4″ slip-fit built in, which would be the best. By luck, the 1-1/4″ thread to 1″ slip fit adapter and 1″ to 3/4″ adapter are fairly cheap and can be found at Loews or HD so I just went with that.

  17. Chad Davis29 July, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    why not buy the bulk head with a 3/4″ out ? then you wouldn’t need the adapters ? I know that this is really obvious. hence the question.
    Is there a reason for using the larger bulkhead.. not being a ass really would like to know.

  18. Bigelow Brook Farm (Web4Deb)27 July, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    I don’t know what all the part numbers are. The problem is there are several types of bulkhead fittings on the market which need different adapters. The best bet would be to find a bulkhead fitting, then search at Lowes or HD for the adapters that will get it down to a 3/4″ pipe.

  19. BroganTDB27 July, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Here is a request, could you post a parts list that one can print out? The adapters for the stand pipe and the one for the trap are confusing…

  20. Tommytune4527 July, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Thank you so much for keeping your instructions brief and to the point, the music low and speeding the video through the repetitive tasks. Your topic is great. But I really appreciate how you put your video together. Thank you!

  21. marthale727 July, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I have given up on bell siphons, I remove the bell, and just let the water flow in to the level of the stand pipe. I wonder if you used landscape fabric on the outside of the bell as you have designed if it would stop the roots? Excellent video, if I went back to bell siphon this is the way I would go.

  22. Scott Baker27 July, 2013 at 2:38 am

    1. Lovin’ the Ragtime. 2. I had no table saw so I used a hole saw on the bottom of my bell housing - drilled four holes equidistant around the pipe, then cut it off about halfway with a hacksaw. Table saw looks much easier!

  23. Ethan Dawe27 July, 2013 at 1:13 am

    I’ve watched all of your videos… You do some remarkable stuff. I’m very impressed. I’m doing a small IBC Aquaponics setup soon. Thanks for this video.

  24. Bigelow Brook Farm (Web4Deb)26 July, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Electronic and software engineer.  🙂

  25. Bigelow Brook Farm (Web4Deb)26 July, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    It’s not required, but sure is helpful. Usually it’s not an issue if you have a small bed, but once you get into the large systems, the water level drains much slower and the siphons don’t always break properly and get stuck in a half on-half-off state. The trap under it helps to burp the siphon to get it started again, if you have a higher flow rate, it’s not necessary, but I run my beds really slow-some of them only cycle every 2-3 hours. With a “traditional” bell setup, it would never start.

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