How to make a bell siphon for Aquaponics

If you’re looking to set up a backyard aquaponics system, then you’ll need to know how to make a bell siphon. This simple device is used to move water from the fish tank to the plant bed and back again. It’s an essential part of any aquaponics system and can be made with just a few basic supplies. In this article, we will show you how to make a bell siphon for your own aquaponics system!

What is a bell siphon and what does it do

Have you ever seen an aquarium with bubbling contraptions attached to the sides? These devices, known as bell siphons, serve a crucial function in aquaponics systems. A bell siphon works by creating a vacuum that sucks water out of a grow bed, allowing it to be filtered and returned to the fish tank. When the water level reaches a certain point, the vacuum is broken and the bell refills with water. This cycle helps to provide oxygen to plant roots and maintains optimal water levels for both plants and fish. While they may seem complicated at first glance, bell siphons are actually quite simple once they are set up correctly. For those looking to create their own aquaponic system, incorporating a bell siphon can go a long way in ensuring success.

How to make a bell siphon

If you want to create a self-regulating water flow system in your aquaponics or hydroponics setup then, as we have mentioned, a bell siphon is definitely the way to go.

Luckily, they are actually quite simple to make and only require a few basic materials. To make one, gather PVC pipes and fittings, some silicone caulking, a valve, some plastic sheeting, and aquarium tubing.

Begin by assembling the standpipe using PVC pipes and fittings.

Then, cut out a circle from the plastic sheeting to fit inside the top of the standpipe. Put this on top of the standpipe and use caulking to make sure it doesn’t leak.

Next, attach the valve at the base of the standpipe and connect the aquarium tubing from the valve to your water source.

Finally, fill up your system with enough water for the bell siphon to function properly. As the water fills up and reaches a certain height, it will push air through the standpipe and cause it to “siphon” out excess water.

This process will regulate your water levels automatically – just make sure to monitor your system regularly for any potential clogs or malfunctions. With some careful assembly and maintenance, your bell siphon will let you control the flow of water in your hydroponic or aquaponic set-up without having to do it yourself.

Tips for using your bell siphon

If you’re an aquaponics enthusiast, you may have heard of a bell siphon. This simple setup helps regulate water levels in grow beds, making it easier to flood and drain them on a regular schedule. Making your own bell siphon is easy—all you need is some PVC pipe, a few fittings, and a small weight (such as a screw or nut).

First, assemble the PVC pipe into a U shape with one end slightly higher than the other.

Attach fittings to both ends, with one fitting acting as an inlet and the other as an outlet. Place the weight inside the U-shaped pipe so that it rests near the lower end.

The weight serves as a trigger for the siphon – as water flows into the inlet, it will lift the weight and start the siphoning action. As long as there’s sufficient flow from your pumps, your bell siphon will continue to regulate water levels in your grow bed automatically.

Give it a try—you’ll be amazed at how well this simple setup works!

Troubleshooting tips

When setting up a bell siphon in your aquaponics system, it’s important to ensure the tubing and other parts are properly connected and not clogged.

The water level should also be adjusted so that it’s high enough for the bell siphon to fully engage but not so high that it overflows.

If you notice that your system is flooding or draining improperly, check the air hole at the top of the bell siphon – it may need to be unclogged or adjusted for better airflow. Another common issue with bell siphons is a buildup of debris or algae.

Cleaning out these blockages on a regular basis can help to keep your siphon running smoothly.

In the long run, proper maintenance and regular troubleshooting can ensure that your bell siphon functions correctly in your aquaponics system.

FAQs about bell siphons

Can a bell siphon move water up?

Many aquaponics or hydroponics systems use a bell siphon to drain water back into a reservoir, but can this type of siphon also pump water upwards? Well, the simple answer is no.

Bell siphons rely on pressure differences and require the water level to be higher on one side in order for them to work properly.

As such, they can only move water downwards, not upwards.

However, other types of siphons, such as crevasse or gravitation siphons, are able to pump water upwards. So while bell siphons may be efficient at draining water in your system, they aren’t capable of acting as a pump.

You may need to look into other options if you want to move water upwards in your setup. But for most aquaponics and hydroponics systems, having a bell siphon in place for drainage is more than enough.

Is a bell siphon necessary?

When it comes to growing plants in a hydroponic system, many gardeners find themselves faced with the question of whether or not to include a bell siphon. While it can be tempting to ignore this piece of equipment, the truth is that a properly functioning bell siphon can make a big difference in the success of your system.

A bell siphon controls the flow of nutrient solution through the grow bed by making a vacuum. This makes it easier for plants to get the right amount of nutrients at the right time. It also helps to prevent standing water in the grow bed, reducing the risk of root rot and promoting better oxygenation. So while it may be an extra step and expense, investing in a bell siphon can pay off in stronger, healthier plants. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual gardener to weigh the pros and cons and make their own decision about whether or not a bell siphon is necessary for their specific growing setup.

Why is my bell siphon not breaking?

If you have a bell siphon in your aquaponics or hydroponics system and are wondering why it isn’t “breaking” or starting the draining process, first check to see if there is enough water pressure in the grow bed. The bell siphon needs a certain amount of pressure to initiate the draining cycle. If there is not enough pressure, try adding more water or adjusting the height of the grow bed. Another potential issue could be a clog in the standpipe, preventing water from flowing out properly. Make sure to clean any debris or buildup from the standpipe regularly. If trying these solutions does not solve the problem, consider adding an air pump to increase water pressure in the grow bed and help activate the bell siphon. Remember, regular maintenance and adjustments can go a long way toward keeping your bell siphon functioning smoothly.


A bell siphon is an important piece of equipment for any aquaponics or hydroponics system. It helps control the flow of nutrient solution through the grow bed.

This keeps water from standing and helps plants grow in a healthy way. While it may be tempting to try and do without a bell siphon, it’s generally recommended that aquaponic gardeners include one in their setup for the best results.

If you’re having trouble getting your bell siphon to work properly, check out our FAQs section for more troubleshooting tips.

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