Tuesday, 28 July 2015


The planned changes to the system are quite large. So I have decided where possible to break it down into component parts.
The new bio filter is a modification rather than a completely new build.
The only parts I did not have were the 110 mm boss pipe and the 40 mm rubber bungs that connect to it. In a perfect world the drain would be at the bottom. I added a little bit of pipe to the L bend inside. No need to drill extra holes.
Gutter guard cut to shape and cable tied forms the bottom media holder.
The top is a sandwich of gutter guard and pan scourers.
The design is called an, Up flow bio filter.
Water enters at the top and falls to the bottom. Collecting  oxygen as it falls. It rises within the body of the filter through the gutter guard and into the K1 media section. This floats when new. As bio slime develops it becomes neutrally buoyant. Holding this in place is the scourer pad sandwich. It then exits through the side 40 mm pipe.
The 22 mm pipe at the bottom is for cleaning. Turn off main flow. Open 22 mm valve to waste. Drain down. Close one open the other tap.

 Once completed I put the whole filter assembly into the sump. This will start the process of conditioning. 

Sunday, 26 July 2015


Ray Davies of the Kinks slips into the garden. Sits down at my table and disturbs my daydream.
A warm English summer afternoon. Later there might be tea and cucumber sandwiches. Crusts cut off of course. 
 I think it was last Thursday. Summer is erratic in Wiltshire.
I am sat with a cold Mojito in reach on the table in front of me. The mint to make the Mojito is growing nearby. I think I can smell it in the air. In my daydream I am walking in Northern Spain. On my way to Santiago de La Compostela. Wild Rosemary and mint have grown over the path we are walking. Crushed under our boots their scent fills the air.
Via, Waterloo Station I am instantly back.  I forgive Ray. Like me he is just ‘Lazing on a sunny afternoon.
At that moment the pump kicks in. I hear the familiar sound of trickling water.
Except its not trickling. Its dripping. When I originally constructed this grow bed I used a 40mm stand pipe. Some time later I modified this. I ran a 32mm pipe  down through the bulk head into a T. Arms cut to fit inside the IBC terminating in contra flowing 45* beds. This rotated slowly. This reduced the height the water had to fall. Dripping not trickling. Water absorbs oxygen as it falls. The height of the fall is related to the amount it will absorb.
This prompted a complete rethink of all the component parts of my system.

The shelf system is ok but; move it out into the sunlight and I can dispense with the additional LED lighting. Cover it with a plastic green house and I can extend growing time.

The fines filter after the RFF is a pain to clean. Replace that with a MBBR and cleaning will be just turning a tap.

In quarantine mode I had to add large amounts of salt to the water in fish tank 2. With, the exception of the Samphire this devastated the plants in the associated grow beds. Alter this so only the pre and bio-filter will be operational during quarantine. Bacteria unlike most plants will acclimate to almost any increase in salinity.
The first and easiest step was to go back to the original stand pipe.
I have ordered the few additional components I require and will start construction soon.
I will be using K1 media for the filter this is already in a net bag in the sump. Bacteria takes time to grow.

I might have a ‘cherry cola’ for a change.

Monday, 6 July 2015


We sailed the boat down to Devizes on Friday. A boat on an English canal travels at around 7 Km/hour. Walking speed. Time to think.Shake the concerns of the World and relax. Watch baby ducks skimming the water surface, to get back to Mum.
Drink tea!
Smoke a cigar!
There are no locks between Pewsey and Devizes but there are two swing bridges.
A swing bridge allows light traffic. Pedestrians and cattle to cross the canal.
Constructed of Oak this is a heavy structure. Normally chained. So only boat owners with the BW ( British Waterways) key or a LOCK handle can open it.
Imagine an old fashioned car staring handle. This is a lock key. Sized to wind lock gates or open swing bridges.
By choice my wife chooses to operate the locks and swing bridges.
I sit on the boat!
Smoking my cigar and sipping my Mojito.
Initially I felt guilty watching her struggling with heavy lock gates and swing bridges.
Many other female partners choose to do the heavy lifting! I watch middle aged women running, lock handle in hand, whilst their male partners steer the boat.
On the boat twenty feet down in Bath deep lock.Wet,cold and dripping. The sky a small blue oblong above you. I understood.

That little bit of bent metal in your hands empowers you.

We have been to The Devizes Beer Festival many times.
This was their sixteenth year. “ Sweet sixteen”
Organized by CAMRA ( The campaign for real ale) it is beer drinkers heaven.
You need to book online well in advance. They sell out very quickly.
You get an inscribed glass mug. This is your entrance ticket.
This year I lost count of the number of beers available.
Now this is real ale. A living breathing drink.
Two stand out.

White Gypsy(Tipperary Ireland)
Dubhain stout(ABV5.2%) - Classic dry Irish stout.Nice on cask. “ Hello darkness my old friend. I’ve come to talk to you again”


Waterloo (Devizes Wiltshire) ABV 4-0%
A special from our local brewer that manages to celebrate the 1974 Eurovision song Contest, a station and a battle, all in one.

Beer. Cigar. Reggae music and Chinese take away. Bliss.
Sailing home on Sunday. Roast Beef and all the trimmings at, The Barge Inn, Honey Street. The perfect end to a wonderful weekend.

I forgot to mention, “The Vaults in Devizes” Our Friday night began here. Our first visit. NOT our last!
Discover. Enjoy.