Aquaponics - in progress

Discussion in 'Hydroponics & Aquaponics' started by stevo, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    This is my sister inlaws aquaponics setup. I don't really know much about it but thought i'd post it up out of interest. It's a bit of a rough homemade grow bed, and an old bathtub. The bathtub has a pond liner in it because they couldn't get the plug to seal properly. I think the shadecloth generally keeps leaves and cats out, and provides shade.

    I think the fish are "sooty grunter" ? i'm not 100% on that. There's about 10 of them, and about 10 - 15 cm long at the moment.

    Photos are at the first stages a few months ago, and then progress to last weekend with some more plant growth. I'm not sure if there's been a few crops or if this is it.

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  2. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Nice setup :thumbsup: How often does the pump recycle the water or is it continuous flow? What I like about these aquaponic grow beds is how good they are for salad crops. You could potentially just keep sowing successive salad crops constantly without any soil tilling, soil resting, and minimal mess.
     
  3. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    The pump is continuous, when it was first set up the water flow was pretty quick (like a garden hose flat out), but last weekend it was pretty slow, so they must be learning and adjusting it as they go. I forgot to ask. If you compare the top two photos and the bottom two photos, you can see that she has bunched up the grow media so the surface level is a bit out of the water, must work better.
     
  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    It may work at little better for stability or root formation - not sure.

    I see there is some yellowing of foliage so it looks like it might be lacking a little nitrogen - may need more fish pee and poop :)
     
  5. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    probably right there Mark, the fish are only small and wouldn't be producing much yet.
     
  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    It's a good start though and once she tweaks the system over time it will become autonomous - wow, what an achievement... Hat's off :)
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member

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    Hey that's pretty cool.

    Question, what is that stuff on the surface? It looks like macadamia nuts! but I'm sure its not.
    Just interested.
     
  8. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    I think the Grow Media is called clay pebbles, you can use different stuff like gravel aswell.
     
  9. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    They could be a lava rock - nice and light?
     
  10. Ben

    Ben Member

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    There is an abundance of pummice stone washed up on my beaches in northern NSW that would be perfect for aquaponics growing media. Obviously a thorough flush with fresh water is needed. And it free!! I like the concept but does any of you know about how much fish could be harvested from such a set up? Also what are good aquaponics fish species?

    Ben
     
  11. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    Hi Ben, If you're interested i have added some updates/photos to this aquaponics set up in the wickbed thread (i'm a bit unorganized).

    I visited a fellas aquaponics set up on Saturday, he has a 1000L tank with 50 fish in it, I think they're Jade Perch, I suspect that might be too many and he might create more space for them in the future.

    There is 10 Jade Perch in the bathtub here, maybe a couple hundred litres of water, but the new pond might be nearly 1000L so we should be able to increase the amount, more fish more fish poo?

    People usually use gravel because it's cheap but they also say it's harder to work with, it's heavy and is hard on your hands/skin.

    In the end, I don't think aquaponics will save you any money because of the set up and ongoing costs.

    (note, I am no expert at this stuff)

    PS. Here's the wickbed project and also contains updates for this aquaponics thread>> http://www.selfsufficientculture.com/threads/wick-bed-project.252/

    or the simplified build: http://shackers.net/projects/37-aquaponics-in-progress
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  12. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    Here's a pic of Terrys aquaponics setup. 1000L fish tank with 50 fish, gravity drains in to two grow beds growing things like spinach, the beds have a flood and drain system using the Bell valve method, (the water builds up to a level and then drains out, not sure exactly the reasons for this but is supposed to help keep worms healthy and in action), they drain in to a lower level tank, then pumps back to the fish tank. Some great stuff happening in peoples backyards.

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    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
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  13. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    G'day Ben - welcome mate. Free's good I reckon :) As long as they (the council etc) are OK with people pinching a few rocks - I know some jurisdictions are a bit funny about removing things like, sand, rocks, and seaweed from beaches but surely some rocks wouldn't hurt as a one-off.
     
  14. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    update, we had a big day on Saturday,

    1. fish pond is full of water with the fish transfered in to it
    2. the water trough is in place and liner is in, basic plumbing is set up (needs a bit more plumbing)
    3. the grow bed is finished, new liner is in and media is back in

    The water is pumped from the fish tank in to the grow bed, then is flows by gravity in to one end of the water trough, then by gravity back in to the fish pond

    when i left Saturday they were filling the grow bed and trough with water . It still needs a little bit more work.

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    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013
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  15. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Getting there :thumbsup: I like how the systems integrate - lots of thought (and work) has gone into this project, well done.

    I just spent the weekend at my sisters new house they built on 2 acres - lots of weekend projects await them in the future to get their blank block producing food and looking good but you can tell they're keen as mustard and wouldn't have it any other way. :maketinker:
     
  16. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    cheers Mark. We've done four Saturday sessions, so when you space it out it's not too bad. It might take a few months to build up the water/plant/fish system. I'll get some progress photos over time to see how it's going.

    a new blank 2 acre block sounds good. You could do time lapse photos, choose a spot in the block and take a photo from that position once a year or so?
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  17. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Time lapse photos is a great idea. I'd ask @Werner but he seems to always be too busy to visit our forum ;)
     
  18. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    But you'll be over there all the time helping out? Maybe you could build a test pizza oven there :sawwood:
     
  19. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I've offered a little help... But my "test" pizza oven is going in here at my place! :p
     
  20. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Thought this video was interesting and quite a clever DIY aquaponic set up:

     
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