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Aquaponics Indexing Valves

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


outlet cam configuration
Stem Disk Assembly


outlet cam configuration
Stem Disk Assembly


outlet cam configuration
Stem Disk Assembly

1 1/4 inch 4 way valves

1 1/4 inch 6 way valves


outlet cam configuration
Stem Disk Assembly


outlet cam configuration
Stem Disk Assembly

1 1/2 inch 4 way valves

1 1/2 inch 6 way valves


outlet cam configuration
Stem Disk Assembly


outlet cam configuration
Stem Disk Assembly

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.

If you order one without contacting me first, please respond to any e-mail I send from since I will be checking to make sure your install will work with the valve, these can NOT be returned after you install them. I can’t ship until I hear back from you!

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.

Aquaponics Indexing Valves (Sequencing Valves)

Aquaponics Indexing Valves, Sequencing Valves

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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.

70 comments to Aquaponics Indexing Valves

  • Hello, I’m installing 3- 4x4x1 foot (16 cu. ft. each) media beds on my aquaponics system. Looking to maybe expand it to 6 beds at some point down the road.Want to flood and drain it and need an indexing valve and some advice. I will be using a 9-1200 gal danner submersible pump and 1″ pvc. What valve do you recommend? Any advice and a price on the valve would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,James

  • TCLynx

    Above are the list prices but if you want to find the discount prices from your Aquaponics Indexing valve dealer in your area, Check out this link
    and click on the map for your area till you get to the contact information for your dealer or to their price list.
    Any of the six outlet valves can start out with a 3 zone cam and later be set up for 6 zones. Just make sure to cap the unused outlets in some non permanent fashion.

    However, I’ve never tested the pump you mention with the indexing valves. I think it will probably be strong enough to operate the 1 1/4″ 6 way valve with the Gravity Modified Stem Disk Assembly as long as your heights are kept minimal. In my install where I am using a less powerful pump to operate the gravity modified 1 1/4″ valve, the fish tank is in ground and the valve is installed less than 18 inches above the water line and the tops of the grow beds are only about 18 inches above that. I made sure to upsize the plumbing from the pump to the indexing valve and I minimized the length of the plumbing runs.

    The Danner MD18 (or 1800 gph) pump can handle any of the indexing valves with the low flow (normal aquaponics) stem disk assembly.

    You will need a timer to turn your pump on and off since the valve only indexes forward when the flow to it stops.

  • Brian

    Do you have anyone in Hawaii that sells these Valves?

  • Bill

    Hi TCLynx,
    I have enjoyed your website and prolific and informative posts on Aquaponic Gardening. I am in the process of building a deep water trough and raft AP system, but am having some second thoughts about media beds. My current plan is to continuously pump from the last trough into the fish tank which is maintained at constant height with a stand pipe. My question is can I use an indexing valve to alternately feed several banks of half barrel media beds using only the gravity flow from my tank? I will have about 3 feet of head (water level in fish tank to water level in grow troughs) to work with. I have never used an indexing valve but understand that I will have to interrupt the water flow for it to index. Does that mean I will need a solenoid valve to accomplish this task? Your thoughts on this will be much appreciated. I expect total system flow to be on the order of 20 gpm. Thanks for you consideration.


    • TCLynx

      Hi Bill,
      It is possible to operate an indexing valve under gravity flow provided you have a little bit of head to work with. However it is challenging to figure out some means of stopping/starting the flow to the valve since most inexpensive solenoid valves won’t operate under such low pressure nor will they allow enough flow through at those low pressure to operate the indexing valve.

      I have operated (just for testing purposes) a 1 1/4″ gravity modified indexing valve using a Barrelponics sort of flush tank. The high water in the flush tank was about 26″ above the valve when the “flush” happened and it did work at least for the few hours I was testing it. Here is sort of a diagram

      Anyway, not sure if this is quite what you have in mind to add an extra tank to manage the flow to the indexing valve and the media beds since you would need to make sure the flush tank was big enough to hold enough water to flood one bed at a time.

      I am always working on other options and ideas for this. I have also made an automated high flow low pressure valve before but it quit working when a bug got fried in the electronics on me. Currently my big system is alternating between an extra pump in a Flush tank and when the pump turns off the FLOUT will sink to flood some other beds. See the Pumperflouternating blog post for more info on that.

  • Bill

    Thanks TCL, I don’t know that I have enough head space to add another tank. Perhaps I can modify the Barrelponics flush system to operate on just the top 1 foot of my fish tank (~1,000 gal & 7 ft dia). That would give me a flush every 10 minutes or so and with a four port indexing valve would flood and drain each media bed every 40 minutes. I don’t know how the fish would respond to the water level rising and falling every 10 minutes, and it would add more “stuff” into my fish tank. How much head does a gravity modified indexing valve require?
    I enjoyed reading about your adventures with the FLOUT system. Very ingenious adaptation.

    • TCLynx

      I like to draw the flow from the bottom of my fish tank (hence the SLO drain in my fish tank and the FLOUT tank next to the fish tank.)
      The indexing valve needs some where between 18-26 inches of head pressure with as full a flow as possible to really engage the gravity modified version.

  • Bill

    Yes, I agree. I plan to use a stand pipe with on oversized sleeve that opens only at the bottom of the tank so water will flow up from the bottom of the tank to reach the top of the stand pipe.

  • Blair

    Hey TCLynx,
    The above Indexing Valve animation seems to imply that the indexing valve only cycles due to a start/stop of the water inflow.
    IE It has no water coming in the animated piston pops up. Then water comes in and it cycles to port 1. Then when the water stops it pops the piston back up.

    Does it require the water to cycle ON/OFF/ON/OFF….

    And will a 500/1000 GPH pump be sufficient to work the low flow valve?

    • TCLynx

      Exactly Blair, the valve does require the flow to stop and start in order to index forward.

      And in general, NO a 500/1000 gph pump is not enough to operate the standard or low flow valves.

      There is a gravity modified version of the valve that I have manged to run in a limited set up (not pumping very high) where I did manage to get it to work with a Quiet One 4000 pump which is nominally close to a 1000 gph pump but it has more lift than most other 1000 gph pumps I know of. I generally recommend a Danner MD 18 or similar pump to operate most of the indexing valves and I usually only recommend the gravity modified version of the 1 1/4″ valve when I discuss the set up with the person and determine that the lift will be small enough and that the Quiet One 4000 will be able to manage the job.

      I usually use a repeat cycle timer to control the pump for these systems since it would require a more complex set up and a very big pump to use a solenoid valve to control flow to the Indexing valve.

  • Do you have any distributor in Hong Kong or Asia region?

  • antonio

    How does work a gravity modified a stem disk assembly? would that allow to use the valve upside down or in a orizontal position?

    • TCLynx

      No, the valve still needs to be installed the normal way around. The only thing the gravity modification helps with is to allow the valve to work at a slightly lower pressure and flow rate than the low flow or standard stem disks assemblies.

  • Marshall

    Would your gravity modified indexing valve work with our diaphragm pump?

    • TCLynx

      I don’t know anything about your diaphragm pump. The Indexing valves work with water flow, so is your diaphragm pump a water pump? I would need to know the flow rate and pressure the pump produces in order to tell you if it would work with the gravity modified indexing valve. I can tell you that the smallest water pump I have used the gravity modified indexing valve with was about a 1000 gph pump.

  • Adam

    We are trying to flow 18 gallons a minute. How much pressure will it take to index an 8 way indexing valve?

    • TCLynx

      I generally recommend the 1 1/4″ valves for the lower pressure applications to get the most flow with the least loss and trickling out the unused ports. The 8 way valves only comes in 1″. I do believe the gravity modified version of the valve will work on 18 gallons per minute at the valve (provided the pump is also able to pump at least 10 feet or so higher than the height the valve is at.) However, I have never personally used the 8 way valve to test it under low pressure applications.

  • Rudy

    Hey thanks for all the info TC. I need to pump water to 4 different grow beds each about 10ft off the ground. What disk assembly should I go with for that kind of pressure on the 1″ 4 cam? I have a mag drive 18 right now but I’m guessing I will want to be somewhere in the 2500gph range? The system will be about 6000 gallons

    • TCLynx

      Wow, 10′ off the ground? Is this system for Tarzan?
      But how high from the water level the pump is in will the top of the beds be? That is the important question. Head is measured from the surface of the water the pump is pumping from, if that fluctuates use the low water level to measure.

      I think perhaps with the 1″ 4 zone valve, if you were going with the stronger pump, you might want the standard stem disk. However hearing that the system is 6000 gallons (is that the fish tank volume?) I’m thinking perhaps you need the 1 1/2″ valve to get more flow through the system. The 1″ valve is going to restrict flow and unless you have a second pump and bio-filter going I don’t know that 2500 gph pump at 10′ head is going to take care of you on a 6000 gallon fish tank if you stock at all heavily.

  • Rudy

    Slight typo, the total head will be just under 10′. The top grow bed is a little over 5′ high, and the sump will be buried. There will be 2 tanks built like raceways (which as of now I’m leaning towards making them 3366 gal each). Ontop of those and to the side I’m planning on having 6796 gal of grow bed volume. I’m not trying to move a ton of water thru the beds, ideally I would want to circulate those maybe 4 times per day but if this will be a 1 pump system it will have to be much more for the fish tank circulation. Unless I use air lifts in the fish tank (forgot the actual name). The index valve will only be going to the beds, I’ll either have a bypass to the tanks or a 2nd pump (ever seen videos of an air atomizer?). Also the top level on each of the grow bed rows will be 6″ of gravel for filtration.

    I’m designing this for a navy SEAL who wants to go all out and get creative. His greenhouse is 23×84 and money is not much of an issue. Could it get any better? Haha

    • TCLynx

      I’ll recommend doing lots of reading before you finalize the designs.

      I like deep (12-24 inches of media) gravel beds for filtration and I usually flood them once an hour. Of course I also run zipgrow towers and Ive taken to running water through those on something like a 5 or 10 minute on/off cycle.

      I’ve been switching over to these diversion valves instead of turning my pumps on/off
      Automated Diversion Valves
      automated diversion valves this way I can alternate between pumping to the grow beds and then to towers or maybe I alternate pumping between two different indexing valves or maybe just alternate between pumping to the fish tank and pumping to the indexing valve.

      So how big is the fish tank going to be? You want to move at least the volume of your fish tank at the height required or even up to 2-4 times the fish tank volume depending on the type of fish and density of the stocking. What are the goals of this system? Is He more interested in growing fish? Or growing plants?

  • Rudy

    That diversion valve looks like what I will need. He wants mainly plants rather than fish. We decided against the raceway style fish tank. We’re going to go with (4) 1000gal tanks. Is there anyway I could get your email to send you a layout of what I’m trying to do to get your advice on it? I’ve been following your stuff for at least a year and would love your input.(I’m stoked to see your progress!)

    In a nut shell though there will be (4) 4×28 grow beds (plus a 4×56 raft) and in order to run a bell siphon on something that big I need the indexing valve. However I’d prefer my pump to stay on and the diversion valve to switch between the tanks and the indexing valve. I’d like to flood the beds 4 times per day.

    I’m also trying to figure out how Murray gets his “Flomedia” system to work, but if I can’t before this gardens set up I’ll just use 2 pumps for now until he releases his secret.

    Thanks TC

  • Marvin Sorg

    I am using a 1″ eight way standard flow indexing valve in my system. The valve does not index every time. I have approximately 25 GPM flow through the valve. I am using a diversion valve to interrupt the flow. Any suggestions why the valve is not indexing consistanly?

    • TCLynx

      I’ve never actually done any testing using the standard flow stem disk assembly. All my work with the valves has really focused on the low flow stem disks (normal for aquaponics) or the gravity modified stem disks. That said, if your pump is only just barely providing 25 gpm at the valve, then any little thing might occasionally keep the pump from moving that much water which would keep it from fully engaging and therefore it wouldn’t index. However, if the valve is getting stuck on one outlet and not popping up properly, then the probably could be due to debris in the valve or the disk sticking inside the valve due to lime scale build up or possibly there are rough spots on the cam or stem that causes the valve to stick at a particular outlet.

      How long has the valve been installed? In the lower pressure applications I usually find that the bio-slime actually helps keep things lubricated so the valves seem to get stuck less after the coating of bio-slime builds up so I don’t actually like to clean the valves too well other than simply removing debris and maybe scraping the edge of the disk of lime scale is building up but I otherwise try to leave the slime mostly intact.

  • Marvin Sorg

    I have only 2 of 8 growbeds on line at this time and the unused ports had short lines into a sump. Air was getting back into the valve body and SEEMED to be causing indexing problems.I installed loops down into the water in the sump to avoid air getting back into the valve.
    I am still checking out the operation but it seems to be more consistant.

  • DAVE

    I hope you can help me, I seems that I have quite a strange problem with this FIMCO Valve.

    > I replaced a 34 year old existing FIMCO 4-Outlet, 3 cam valve system for an exact replacement 4-Outlet Hydro Indexing Valve for home sprinkler irrigation, using a 3-zone cam – for my 3 zones of yard grass.

    > Everything was going good for about 2 years until one day I needed to prime the pump (Check valve must be messed up and not preventing water from going back down into the well) – but that’s not the problem. I’ll fix that later.

    > I have a:

     West Zone
     North Zone and
     South Zone

    >> Problem: The West Zone will go on and then the North Zone as normal, but then go back to the West Zone.

    > Then I’ll go to the timer and turn off the (2nd ON time) West Zone, then turn it back on and it will go to the North Zone again. Then I’ll turn that off again and then back on and it will go to the SOUTH ZONE – by hand but not automatically. WEIRD……

    > Back to above, to when I needed to prime the pump.

    I noticed that every time I primed it – that it would go forward one Zone. Well I know that makes sense because I am pushing water now through the cam and making it go to the next Outlet.

    > I realize that when I do prime it – that it is most likely filling up with water before the check valve and then filling up the pump itself and then going to an Open Outlet and activating the Plunger type thing going up and down around the cam.

    I’m sure that if I screwed it up this way that I can Fix it this way too?!?!?!?

    What do you suggest?

    Thanx for your help, Dave in Plantation, FL

    • TCLynx

      Dave, I am not in the business of selling these valves for non aquaponic purposes and don’t have the time to spend fixing situations not related to my own sales.

      I have forwarded your message to FIMCO you may follow up with them if you need more help. Only thing I’ve ever experienced that makes the valves skip a particular outlet consistently is not having the correct cam installed.

  • Ben

    Hi, I am really interested in buying one of these valves for my compact aquaponics system. The plan is to start a system in a small 7’x8′ greenhouse. The three walls without a door in them will have grow beds that come out two feet from the wall all the way around. This leaves just enough space in the middle for me to put the 250 gallon fish tank underground. I plan to build this system without a sump, so I’m thinking five different grow beds. The pump will have to be pumping about 7 feet high, if I plan on four feet below ground and three more above for the water to get over the top of the grow beds. How would an indexing valve work for this kind of a setup? Thank you so much!

    • TCLynx

      Yes it could work, you just need to have a strong enough pump to operate the valve and some means to stop/start the flow to the valve. This can be done with a Danner MD18 pump and a timer but turning that size pump on/off all the time tends to break the impellers in about 4-6 months. Now days I like to use one of those motorized pool diversion valves to divert the flow back and forth to the valves so I can leave the pump running all the time.

      It may be possible to use a somewhat smaller pump and the gravity modified valve but I have only tested a few pumps at lesser heights for this and if a pump looses efficiency (for instance if the impeller loses a fin) and isn’t pumping enough water flow or pressure anymore the valve will stop working properly so at the heights you describe you will likely need a bigger pump and larger pipe sizes to make sure the pump can do the job.

  • Ben

    Thank you for the quick reply! How exactly does this pool diversion valve work? Also, how is a cam different than a water outlet? The indexing valve needs to be placed above water, right? Would I still have enough head pressure at four feet? What size pipes should I be using? Sorry, lots of questions!

    • TCLynx

      the Pool diversion valves are automatable motorized valves that can be hooked up to a timer or controller that will tell the valve send water to one outlet for a certain amount of time and then send water to the other outlet for a certain amount of time. I have one system where the diversion valve sends water to one indexing valve for 10 minutes and then to another indexing valve for ten minutes. I have 12 grow beds on that system.

      Yes the indexing valve needs to be placed above the water level. There are different cams that can be installed in the valves to allow you to feed different numbers of outlets. The outlets are the actually plumbing parts.
      If you have a strong enough pump, you can have enough pressure at 4 feet. If you get a pump that will only provide enough pressure at 18″ and then install the valve at 4 feet, it may not work.
      You pipes should be at least as big as the indexing valve inlets but I often up size to 1 1/2″ plumbing between the pump and the indexing valve just to make sure I have as much flow/pressure as possible.

  • Ben

    Thanks, that helps. If the diversion valve sends water to different places just like the indexing valve does, then what is the purpose of the indexing valve? In other words, if I only had three grow beds could I just use the diversion valve without the indexing valve?

  • Ben

    So the parts I am going to need, besides the pump, are a diversion valve, an actuator, an indexing valve, and a timer. Am I missing anything?

    • TCLynx

      Well the plumbing to connect it all together and the system to use it with and the power for the pump and controller.

      As for the timer, it is a bit more complex than just a simple timer. To control the diversion valve you need to switch 24 V AC. I’ve made myself some DIY little picaxe controllers so if you are into electronics and stuff I can sell the diagrams for that. It will cost quite a bit more for me to actually make them for you or I might be able to hook you up with other options for controllers (we have modified some of the Bigelow Brook Farms controllers to control the diversion valves before) or a transformer and relay could be hooked up that will plug into any old timer as well as separate power to control the actuator.

  • Ben

    I’m guessing that the transformer and relay option would probably be the cheapest?

    • TCLynx

      If you can get a timer that does the times you want and know how to wire up the relay and power supplies and can protect it all from the weather, yea that is less $$.
      If you are handy with electronics and into something like picaxe or adurino or something you could build your own timer controller for a reasonable price and be able to program it how you want (single most expensive part of the controllers I’ve built has been the weather proof plastic housing and my time getting the parts and building/testing it.)

  • Ben

    I recently discovered Novaris’s sequencing unit using car door actuators. I also understand that this is something you have tinkered with. Is this a viable option? Do you know if he is still using this type of setup?

    • TCLynx

      I did try it a bit however I was never nearly as successful with them as Novaris was. I’m now using the motorized swimming pool diversion valves to send water to my indexing valves.

      If you are really good at tinkering and like that sort of thing, go for it. However, I won’t be of much help to you since I never got them to be reliable long term, the rubber bands kept breaking.

  • Troy


    I have a 8 bed aquaponic system and a 1500 gallon in the ground concrete tank.
    using food and drain with a bell siphon (timer).

    Thinking of expanding but need to split my flow or add another pump in order to do that.

    The highest point of my system (swirl filter)is about 7 feet above the water in the tank.

    pump is a 2150 gph with 20′ max.

    does the index valve need to go at the highest point in the system as the area that the plumbing comes together is only about 2′ above the tank water and then branches off from there. so this would be the easiest area to put a valve in and split the flow.

    the delivery line is 1 1/4 util just before the grow-beds which go to 3/4″ (each are valved to regulate the flow)

    I think the 4 ports would allow me enough grow room for the future. Do you think this will work with my system and if so what size should I order.



    • TCLynx

      For an indexing valve to work, you have to stop and start the flow to it AND you also need enough flow and pressure to properly engage the vales.

      The Low flow stem disk assembly needs at least 6 gpm at 10 psi. The Gravity modified versions can operate at less pressure (as little as about 3 feet of water column) but they still need plenty of water flow, AND the flow to the valve still has to stop and start for it to function.

      The indexing valve doesn’t have to be the highest point in the system if there is enough pump pressure to activate it and it can drain somehow when the pump is off but if there is no way for the valve to drain back to the pump, then I would probably recommend the valve be higher than the grow beds it is feeding.

      It is hard for me to know if the indexing valve will work for you since I’m not really envisioning where you are planning to place it in the scheme of things or how you are planning to drive the valve.

      If you are planning to have gravity flow feed the indexing valve after the swirl filter or something, then you will need an automated diversion valve and I will recommend the 1 1/2″ gravity modified valve. If you will pump to the indexing valve, then I need to see a flow chart for the pump and know how high the valve will be installed at to know which valve is most appropriate for sure but pumping to the valve with that size pump I expect most any valve would work unless you are not sending most of the flow to the indexing valve. The low flow valves need at least 6 gpm at 10 psi and the standard valves need at least 10 gpm at 10 psi.

      You mention using siphons and a timer? I do not recommend using indexing valves with siphons!

  • troy

    thanks for the reply…. in my system everything will go to the index valve and then to a series of beds. the location where I would like to put the valve is at about water level of the tank so i can raise the plumbing so the valve sits above the water line or above the grow beds or both. The pump is only rated for 20 feet or 8.66 psi? so sounds like the gravity version is for me.

    the pump is turned on and off with a relay on a timer so no problem there.

    What size do you think and is the gravity version right for me…. other question is how much head loss should I expect with the valve or would it be similar to the losses in a 90 bend?



    • TCLynx

      Hi Troy,
      I’ve e-mailed you the headloss chart pdf

      For lower pressure operation, I’ve found the 1 1/4″ gravity modified valve seems to provide the best flow with the least restriction while still operating with the minimal pressure and flow. Without being able to measure how high you are pumping or knowing exactly how strong your pump is I’m reluctant to guarantee the valve will engage properly. I have used the 1 1/4″ gravity modified valves with pumping up only about 3′ using a pump that was nominally a 1000 gph pump with a max head of about 14 feet but for most other pumps I would probably recommend at least a 1200 gph pump for a minimal head situation and much higher I generally recommend a 1500-1800 gph pump.

  • Marcello

    I am working with someone to design in AutoCAD the whole layout of their system first before we order parts. I am looking for a dimensional drawing of this index valve with the 4 ports so I can draw it up and run the plumbing to it? Also I was told the best way to install this is with the main inlet pipe facing down and the outlet pipes facing out, is this correct? or is there a better way to install this?

    Thank you

    • TCLynx

      I do not have autoCAD templates for the valves and I can’t seem to find a cad drawing of them.

      The Valves need to be installed with the outlets facing down. The valves use gravity in their operation so if you install them any other way, they may not operate properly.

  • Sebastian Cintolesi

    Hi, I’m planning to build a biodome. I need to raise water 3,5 m with a 5000 lt/hr submersible pump. I need an index valve to distribute water from the top between 8 vertical PVC pipes where I will put the beds, so the water will be able to go down by gravity, flooding these intercalated beds. As water will arrive to the top with low pressure, does a conventional 8 chanel index valve could meet the task, or would I need a gravity 8 chanel index valve?

    • TCLynx

      How many lt/hr do you actually need to move? Just because a pump says it is 5000 lt/hr doesn’t mean it can even lift water 3.5 meters high let alone move much water at that height.
      With that kind of height I don’t think your pump would operate the indexing valve (Low flow or gravity modified.)
      Even the gravity modified valves need about 6-10 gallons per minute of flow at about 2 psi.

      I also don’t understand your comment about 8 vertical pipes as grow beds or what intercalated beds are?

      If you are running vertical towers, you should simply trickle water through them, an indexing valve is not appropriate for towers since it delivers too much flow.

      If you are running flood and drain grow beds, then don’t pump so high, pumping up overhead is not necessary for normal height flood and drain gravel beds. Pumping overhead only wastes energy since you need a much stronger pump to get the flows necessary.

      Also, I don’t really recommend the 8 way indexing valve for low pressure or gravity modified use. I only really recommend the 1 1/4″ valve for that and those only come in 4 or 6 way bodies.

  • Sebastian Cintolesi

    Hi, thanks for your quick reply. Yes, I know that there’s a drop in presure and flow with height, and I calculated near 200 galons per hour to cope with 8 pocket towers intended for vertical growing, using the space at the center of the dome. I understand now that this is not feasible, because of the extreme low flow and presure at that height, and because indexing valves don’t work well in tower systems.
    I have an alternative model, taking water from a tank (a biofilter) from 2 meters height, flooding alternatively 4 horizontal beds over a fish pool, 1,6 meters height each one, with a guaranteed total flow provided by the pump of 400 galons/hour. Could an index valve work in this setting? If so, what model would you recommend for it?
    Thanks. Sebastian.

    • TCLynx

      Flooding 4 grow beds in sequence using an indexing valve is appropriate.
      There are 4 zone valves.
      However, 400 gallons per hour probably doesn’t provide enough flow for reliable operation.

      The lowest flow operation I’ve managed was with a nominal 4000 lph pump that had a max pumping height of at least 14 feet above the grow bed install height. This was pumping directly from the fish tank to the indexing valve/grow beds and the grow beds drained back to the fish tank.

      I have also done true gravity flow to some indexing valves but you need the head for the gravity flow to be about 3 feet above the indexing valve.
      Plus you need some way to stop and start the flow of water to the indexing valve so it can index. (I have done this with a header tank with a FLOUT in it or with a motorized diversion valve like used for swimming pools but those will also require a controller.)

  • Sebastian Cintolesi

    I have a 5000 lt/h submersible pump, that can operate in the bottom of the 1,6 m fish pool, or suspended near the surface if more flow was needed, that can directly feed a 4 channel indexing valve.I can use the biofilter with another parallel circuit, not connected to the indexing valve. That should work properly, shoudn’t it?
    What model do you recommend for this setting?

    • TCLynx

      Head is measured from the surface of the water for a submerged pump so suspending a pump near the surface doesn’t gain you anything in lift. How high above the low water level is the top of the grow beds?

      Gravel filled media beds will provide quite a lot of filtration for you. What is the size of the fish tank, how big will the beds be, and how many fish are you planning to stock?

      You might be able to do a bio filter on a parallel circuit but it might require a separate pump (or perhaps airlift pump) if the pump you have doesn’t provide enough flow/pressure to operate both the indexing valve and the bio-filter.

  • Sebastian Cintolesi

    The low water level to the top of the beds height should be about 3 feet. The pool is a cilinder 2 m diameter, 1,6 m height. The bed surface is about 2,5 m2, with beds 30 cmt deep; they will be disposed on the top of the pool. The other circuit will be activated by another 5000 lt/h submerged pump, independently, and diverting water outside the system for watering vegetables planted in grownd in the greenhouse. Water will be constantly added to the pool.
    I’m going to stock trout, with an end point of 1 Kg of plate sized fish biomass every 80 Lts of water.

    • TCLynx

      Is that 4 beds each with a surface area of 2.5 m2? Or is that the total amount of grow bed?

      Basically if you have twice as much media bed volume as you have fish tank volume, you will have enough bio-filter without requiring extra, separate filters.

      Running an extra pump for circulation/aeration for trout is a good idea though. Can’t have too much aeration for trout, well as long as there is still water in the tank that is.

  • Sebastian Cintolesi

    The whole growing media would be 2.5 m2. And yes, trout needs extremately clean and oxigenated water; every effort should be made to meet this, but this is not enough area I think.
    I read all the comments in your blog. I see I need a diversion valve bond to the indexing valve to let it work. In that way a good idea should be anchoring a diversion valve to 2 four channel indexing valves, for flooding 8 beds (instead of 4 with only 1 indexing valve) and 3 m2 total area growing beds, with maximun head of 3 feet, with a 5000 Lt/h pump. I also read this need a timer, and it seems mounting the system is not straightfoward.
    So I’d like to buy you 2 four channel indexing valves, 2 diversion valves (I need another one for other purposes) and the rest of the elements needed to let the system work.
    Please send me an e-mail indicating all the list, with the recommended models, that I need to build this last system.
    Thank you very much for your help. It has been very usefull to undersand indexing valves function.

  • Sebastian Cintolesi

    For this system, would you recommend 2 indexing valves of 4 outlets 4 cams, gravity, 1 1/4? Is there a simplier/cheaper way for controlling diversion valves?

    • TCLynx

      I like running two indexing valves from a diversion valve.
      However, I have not found a good simple turnkey one box solution for controlling the diversion valves yet. I am looking.

  • Sebastian Cintolesi

    I found out the system for operating the indexing valves using 2 inch diverting valves (I supouse they can be easily adapted to the indexing valves with an adapter).
    Diverting valves are intended for use in pools and spas, therefore the principal drawback for the aquaculturist is that they have complex, and very expensive controlllers, with many functions not needed for a simple greenhouse system. But there’s is an Intermatic PE140 actuator control, for simple functions, that is more adaptable to an aquaponic setting, at an acceptable price, that can control up to 3 actuators, making possible to manage 8 growing beds flooded by 2 four channel indexing valves; a biofilter and a set of towers, and 2 additional growing bed sets within the greenhouse.
    I think this should work, shouldn’t it?

  • David

    We have the following RAS system and design.
    We have 3 rows that have 4 media beds and 2 raft beds per row, each row has the 4 position indexing valve.
    We have a 80gpm Pond master pro pump with 8 feet of head pressure. So that is 4800gph over 3 lines so 1600gph per indexer and line.
    We set the indexing valves to position 1 (using arrow indicator).
    When we cut the pump on and we have water coming into all 4 media beds on all 3 rows. The media bed 1 is getting the bulk of the water but beds 2, 3 &4 are getting a pencil size diameter of water flowing into them. Again same on all 3 rows.
    Knowing we have a high pressure pump how do I know what indexing valve we have what design option should we use?


    • TCLynx

      You didn’t say what size valves. 1″, 1 1/4″ or 1 1/2″
      Where did you buy your indexing valves? I don’t even know what manufacturer your valves are from.
      Have you contacted them about the troubleshooting?
      The person you purchased your indexing valves from would be the one to ask about what indexing valve you have.

      It is hard to provide customer service when I didn’t sell you the product and therefor have no record of what you were sold nor any income to help cover my time in doing so.

      Any comments I make are pertaining to the valves I sell, there is no guarantee that my comments apply to valves sold by anyone else or made by a different manufacturer than the ones I work with.
      When you say 8 feet of head pressure, what do you mean? That the pump is only able to pump 8 feet higher than the height you are pumping? Or that you are pumping up 8 feet high and still getting 80 gpm? Or that the max head is 8 feet high and nominally it is an 80 gpm pump? Or that it is nominally an 80 gpm pump and you are pumping to 8 feet high? (in the final case, you are definitely NOT getting 1600 gph to the valves.)
      Also, 1600 gph may be barely enough to engage the Low flow indexing valves depending on what the actual pressure is. Generally you need 6 psi AND 10 gpm for the valves though the low flow and gravity modified can operate at a bit less.

      If it is the Nominal 80 gpm pump with the Max head of 20 feet and you are pumping up 8 feet high.
      Pump curve
      You will only be getting a max of about 1300 gph to each indexing valve and the pump can only provide about 12 feet of additional pressure (which is only about 5 psi)

      How are you starting/stopping flow to your valves?

      While this would be an ample pump to operate one and maybe even two low flow or gravity modified valves at these heights
      Some flow is likely to come out even the “inactive ports” usually it is just a trickle compared to the active port which should still be flowing enough to flood your bed in the allotted time and the inactive ports should not be flowing so much that they manage to flood the beds. You can’t expect a valve that is passive to provide a positive seal when the only thing creating the seal is the water pressure against the flexible disk. These valves were originally designed for sprinkler systems using high pressure and no one would even realize there was any trickle of water going into the inactive lines since they were all still in the ground.

      DO NOT USE SIPHONS WITH INDEXING VALVES. Used stand pipes with holes so all beds are always constantly draining even while they are filling.

      One Question to know if there is actually a problem with your flow/pressure. When you cut off the flow and then back on again after a minute, does the valve index to the next port? Or does it stay stuck at the first port? If it is indexing consistently but you are just seeing a heavy trickle out the “inactive ports” then it it probably actually operating fine and the trickle will become less as the bio-slime coats everything.

  • Joseph

    Hi TCLynx

    I’m using a 3500 LPH pump (924 US Gallons, 15.4 GPM) to pump to six media beds. Divided into 3 groups of 2.
    The water will be pumping up less than a foot in vertical height. So there shouldn’t be much flow loss. I calculate that at .5m head height the flow rate will be 2760LPH (12GPM)
    Planning on using the 1 1/4″ model. Can you advise on the correct model for my application flow rate wise?

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    All the best,


    • TCLynx

      That pump may or may not actually be able to effectively operate a 1 1/4″ gravity modified indexing valve. It is really just below the very minimum size pump that I have ever effectively operated an indexing valve with.
      I can’t guarantee that the pump will work with the valve, I would recommend only getting the indexing valve if you would be able to upgrade the pump if you find it doesn’t work. Biggest problem with going so small with the pump is any little bit of something clogging or slowing the pump down is likely to impact the operation of the valve.

      The smallest pump I have ever effectively used long term with the indexing valve is a Quiet One 4000 which is nominally a 4000 lph pump with a surprisingly high max head as well for a small pump.

  • Joseph

    Thanks for the reply TCLynx, I was going to use a OASE Aquamax ECO Classic 3500 ( but I can afford the upgrade to the 5500 LPH model if required, as advised. I expect I will purchase a 1 1/4″ 4 zone model. With delivery to the UK.

    So, just to clarify, with a 5500 LPH pump what Stem Disk assembly do you recommend?

    All the best,


    • TCLynx

      I don’t have personal experience with that pump so I can’t really say much about it. I would probably recommend going up to the next larger pump because it is lower power than the smallest one I’ve used with the gravity modified stem disk assembly.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think I can ship these to the UK as I am not the distributor for your region, also, I’ve been told that our pipe sizes are not the same so you would probably need adapters of some sort to fit the plumbing together with the valve.

  • Joseph

    Cheers for the reply!

    1 1/4 ” is actually 32mm, which is standard UK pipe size for waste water.
    It appears that Fresh By Nature’s Index valve page is down. Is there any chance you could ship on to me if the other distributors are down?
    I wouldn’t want you to go against the terms set out by the OEM, but if its possible to get one sent here that would be great!

    • TCLynx

      1 1/4″ is only the “nominal” size (once upon a time it referred to ID but that was in a different material so the actual measurement is NOT 1 1/4″ for either the ID or OD.)

      PVC Pipe is identified by the ID (Inside Diameter) and is refered to as a “nominal” size which means “in name only.” However this confuses people and most novices try to use the OD (Outer Diameter) to order parts.
      1-1/4″ nominal pipe here is actually 1.660″ OD (~1-5/8″, 42.164mm)

      Can you confirm the actual OD of your “32 mm” pipe?
      Have you tried to contact Fresh By Nature? The web site might not be up for ordering but they may still be able to help you out if you contact them.
      If they are not responding, then I can perhaps contact the Manufacturer to see if they will ship one overseas for me but I can’t make any guarantees. This is generally a drop ship item for me so it isn’t like I’m able to just pack it up and ship where ever without it being known.

  • Dave D

    My son is building AP system and I have questions. He has 6 media beds – various sizes = 900 gal total w/no media (yet) & 1 wicking bed – 360 gal w/no media (yet). Going to use gravel in the 6; coco coir in the wicking bed. 1000 – 1200 gal Fish Tank. Two 275 gal IBC sumps. One .75 hp jacuzzi in-line pool pump. He wants to use indexing valves to zone 3 areas. The pump has 2″ intake and outputs. Any suggestions or advise would greatly be appreciated. Thanks

    • TCLynx

      Hum, there are quite a few things going on here.
      If running 1000-1200 gallons of fish tank, I recommend 2000-2400 gallons of media beds unless you are planning on running solids removal and separate bio-filtration for the fish tank.
      With 6 media beds, I would recommend a 6 zone indexing valve, just simpler to have one zone go to each bed.
      The wicking bed I would probably recommend to just top it up from the aquaponic system and NOT attempt to recirculate it with the system.
      There may be better pump choices since an inline jacuzzi pump my be a bit of an energy hog AND,
      to run an indexing valve you either need to turn the pump on/off with a timer (probably not really recommended for that type of pump or most large pumps) or you need an automated valve and controller
      The diversion valve option would allow for easy expansion of the system to add another indexing valve and more flood and drain beds.
      I would set the system up to be a CHOP 2 type system where the pump sends water to the fish tank AND to the indexing valve to feed the beds and everything drains back to the sump. Problem with an inline pump is you can’t really put the sump tank in the ground since most inexpensive inline pumps are not designed to suck water up so you then need to worry about re priming the pump if it ever shuts off. If the IBC sump tanks are on top of the ground, it means the grow beds must be rather high up to be able to drain back into the sump tank. This might be fine if your location has a large elevation difference but then you must take that into account on your pump requirements. There is a certain amount of flow and pressure required to operate an indexing valve and you need to make sure you still have enough flow to turn the fish tank volume over at least once per hour.

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