Aquaponics Indexing valves! Sequencing Valves!
Aquaponics Indexing Valves or Sequencing valves provide a means to flood grow beds in sequence thus reducing the size of fish tank or sump tank needed to support a given amount of grow beds. Indexing valves or Sequencing valves are mechanical and only require the flow to them to stop and start to cause them to index forward. Aquaponics Indexing Valves are a great way to expand the amount of grow bed without needing to buy a bigger fish tank.
The indexing valves are passive devices and require the flow of water to start and stop to the valve in order for the valve to sequence forward to the next outlet. (This can be done by placing the pump on a timer or using a motorized automated diversion valve. Turning pumps on/off with a timer all the time can wear the pumps out before their time but it is the quick, cheaper and easy method. The Diversion valve package costs more but will greatly improve the life of larger pumps.)
The Valves do require fairly strong (for the world of small aquaponics) pumps to operate correctly. For the Low flow (normal aquaponics) version of the valves I generally recommend a pump of at least 1800 gph provided the system doesn’t involve too much height or distance.
The Gravity Modified versions can handle slightly smaller pumps but if you are doing anything less than a 1500 gph pump please contact me (form at bottom of the page) to help you make sure the pump and valve will work together before ordering. (Please understand that while the Low Flow option may list 6 gpm minimum flow that is 6 gpm at 10 psi. These were developed for sprinkler systems which require quite a bit of pressure, as soon as you start using them under minimal pressures, the flow rate actually needs to increase in order to properly engage the valve. I have used these under minimal flow/pressure situations and have tested the limits of their reliability at such, talk to me before ordering one to use at low flows/pressures.)
The valves come in three different sizes. 1″, 1 1/4″, 1 1/2″
They also come in a few different bodies. 4 outlets, 6 outlets, 8 outlets (only in 1″ though)
There are cams that can be installed in the valves to allow them to operate different numbers of outlets.
For example the 4 outlet body can be cammed to run 2, 3 or 4 outlets and one would simply cap off the unused outlets if any.
Here are the list prices for the Indexing valves shipped within the USA.
1 inch 4 way valves
1 inch 6 way valves
1 inch 8 way valves
1 1/4 inch 4 way valves
1 1/4 inch 6 way valves
1 1/2 inch 4 way valves
1 1/2 inch 6 way valves
Indexing valves do require a certain amount of pressure and flow to operate properly. Please contact me for assistance in pump sizing for your specific situation. I DO NOT recommend using these in conjunction with siphons! If for some reason your pump is not moving enough water to properly engage the valve, water will flow to all zones and will probably not be fast enough to trigger your siphons and all beds will flood and your tank or sump may run dry. This is for timed flood and drain NOT for siphons.
If I did not sell you the valve directly, I am NOT the person to contact for customer service, I have no any way of knowing what they sold you or what they told you, and I can’t afford to spend hours on end providing customer service on things I did not sell.
I work very hard to make sure the valves I sell are being installed into a situation in which they will work. If you order a valve, expect me to e-mail you to check on your installation and pump size because I don’t want to ship you a valve that won’t work for you since they can not be returned after you have installed them.
I generally recommend 1800 gph pumps for most installs (just to make sure you have the flow and pressure to make it all work.) If you are wanting to run a smaller pump, talk to me. I have worked hard with the manufacturer on the gravity modification to be able to run gravity pressure or lower power pumps but there is a limit on how small you can go and still get it to work and at the really low pressures, you need MORE FLOW and every inch of head pressure and any flow restriction can cause problems. So if you hope to use a pump smaller than 1800 gph or if you are pumping high or using long runs of smaller pipe, talk to me before ordering so I can help sort out if the valve will work for you.
It is normal for a small trickle to come out even the “inactive” zones but water should mostly be coming out the Active zone when the water is flowing to the valve.
If you need troubleshooting help, here are some of the questions I’m likely to ask.
Does the valve engage fully when the water is flowing to it?
(If you touch the zone indicator on top does it suddenly drop down and water flow mostly to the one outlet?)
When water stops flowing does the zone indicator move once the valve drains?
Have you checked to make sure there is no debris in the valve?
Have you checked to make sure the pump is not clogged or restricted in any way?
Have you checked that the pump is still moving as much water as it did in the beginning? (damaged impellers can cause a reduction in flow and therefore the valve won’t get enough water/pressure flowing to it to operate properly.)
What happens when you push down on the zone indicator and then let it pop back up?
(does it work it’s way around from zone to zone smoothly?)
Has the valve ever worked properly since you installed it?
Knowing the answers to the above questions will help pinpoint where the problem is. And in many cases, answering those questions may allow you to fix the problem yourself quickly.