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PostPosted: May 24th, '07, 06:36 
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As with many things, I have no idea how I got interested in aquaponics. But I've always liked the idea of growing my own food, and aquaponics seems a very efficient method of doing so. I used to have my own little vegetable garden a couple of years ago, but I'm just too lazy for all the weeding and I never actually succeeded in growing healthy tomatoes.. They all got mildew and such!

Anyways, on to the aquaponics. I've been crawling around these forums and all over the net for a while, gathering information. Space is very limited, as we have a very small garden. This also means that it can't be anesthetic, as it's going to be next to our terrace. The setup I came up with covers 2 x 1.20 meters, excluding an extra tank. I'll construct it from wood and pond liner. The ~1700L fish tank will about 80cm deep, and it'll be burried into the ground. The growbeds are 30cm deep, about 180L each, and I'll probably fill them with expanded clay granules. They're suspended from the fence in the picture, but the fence might not hold the weight, so I might just put the growbeds on legs. The system will face south, and the growbeds only cover two thirds of the pond beneath, so I think the fish will get enough sunlight.

ImageImageImage

It'll have a single water pump, constantly pumping water up to a small tank just a bit higher than the two growbeds (not shown in the sketch, it'll be on the right side). I'd like to use ebb&flow, alternating the supply of water; filling one growbed, while at the same time the other one drains, and then filling the other one etc. Haven't yet figured out how to do this, though, and I have no idea what kind of pump I should buy either.
Each growbed has a drainpipe so the water won't splash onto the pond and evaporate.

The fish in the pond will probably be golden orfe, golden rudd, goldfish or koi, or a combination of those. We won't be eating them, and the netting makes sure that the cats don't either. Not sure how many to put in the pond, though. I might use a small floating solar light to attract insects at night, especially orfe would love that.
The growbed will be filled with cherry tomatoes in the back, strawberries in the front and probably some herbs and lettuce in the middle.

The setup will be out in the backyard, where rainwater easily enters the system. Will this be a problem?

Anyways, thanks for watching, and for all the useful information. If all goes well, I'll start building within a month or so (I still have biology, chemistry and physics exams next week :evil:). And I stole some plants and fish from the Sketchup download section here, I hope you'll forgive me!

Greets from Holland,

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First system (2 m³ ebb & flow, 2007-2015)
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PostPosted: May 24th, '07, 07:39 
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G'day Thomas. Some great ideas there, sounds like you have really thought it through. Rainwater will only be a problem if you get heaps of it!

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PostPosted: May 24th, '07, 08:09 
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Hey looks good Thomas.... Thats the whole idea of the sketchup section, when I was just looking at your pictures I found myself pushing the wheel button of my mouse trying to rotate it around, before realizing it's just a picture....

Would you mind having your model uploaded into the download section to make it available to others? I was just thinking that lattice might come in handy.. You can upload it yourself in the downloads section if you don't mind it being available..

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PostPosted: May 24th, '07, 10:54 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Xz- Thomas,
great start and welcome
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 Post subject: Re: Maximising space
PostPosted: May 24th, '07, 19:50 
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Thanks for the comments!

I just finished sketching the cabinet. It consists of a small tank at the same level as the pond (filled with gravel, for bacteria), two plastic 'drawers' for vermicomposting (with a little door), a compartment for putting things in and a continuous flow tank at the top (probably filled with gravel, and growing lettuce on floats). The two tanks are the same size as the two lower growbeds, and I'll probably make them out of wood and pond liner too.

ImageImage

The pump will constantly suck water from the pond through the lower tank (as it is the same level) to the upper one. From the upper tank water constantly flows to one of the two lower growbeds at a time. Still not sure how to alternate the flow in this way, though.

The vermiculture is just a bunch of worms feeding on plant leftovers and other green waste. Fluids are allowed to drip through the plastic 'drawers' into the lower tank, further providing nutrients to the system. If the worms grow well, I could also feed some to the fish, they'll love that.

I just uploaded the sketch to the Sketchup download section, should you want to see / use it. :)
The pipes in the sketch are lousy, though, but this is the first time I've used the program. :oops:

It's a lot of wood and pond liner though!

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First system (2 m³ ebb & flow, 2007-2015)
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 Post subject: Re: Maximising space
PostPosted: May 24th, '07, 20:51 
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The vermiculture is just a bunch of worms feeding on plant leftovers and other green waste. Fluids are allowed to drip through the plastic 'drawers' into the lower tank, further providing nutrients to the system. If the worms grow well, I could also feed some to the fish, they'll love that.




[highlight=red]I wished i tought a that[/highlight]

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PostPosted: May 24th, '07, 21:23 
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It wasn't my idea, either, though! I think I read it somewhere on the forums here.


I just made a modification; instead of using a tank under the vermiculture, I just made the pond bigger. The left compartment of the cabinet over it will house the pump and valves and such, and the vermiculture is now on the right. The pond is now about 2000L instead of 1700L, the added length and volume means that I can probably grow bigger fish like orfe in it. I've also added legs to support the growbeds.
I hope the upper 180L tank and the two growbeds are enough for the bacteria, and I hope the vermiculture won't actually supply too many nutrients!

ImageImageImageImage

Image

Edit: I drew the walls and the window, to see what it will look like (also from inside) and just for general Sketchup practicing.

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First system (2 m³ ebb & flow, 2007-2015)
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 Post subject: Re: Maximising space
PostPosted: May 25th, '07, 05:33 
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Really well thought out and stylish :thumbup:


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PostPosted: May 25th, '07, 10:18 
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Bloody hell Thomas.... Loooks like your you're going to have the whole house drawn soon.. :)

You might want to have the water controlled to thr worms so that it on drips there now and then, you don't want too much flowing through the worms or your fish water will go brown, and your worms won't be too happy.

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PostPosted: May 25th, '07, 11:05 
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That guy probably does a double-take every morning on his walk to work - "Wow, every day they add on to that thing!"

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PostPosted: May 26th, '07, 17:42 
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Hi Thomas,
Great bit of artwork.
You`ve certainly managed to cram a very diverse system into a small footprint.
Maybe there`s still some space left for a vertical tower or two?
I`ve been eyeing up those 2m long nylon mesh hanging "toy tidies" (cost £2 around here).
They look like a keepnet with seperate compartments.
Filled with coarse perlite (light) they might make a good additional beds bracketed to a wall, or even hung over the tank.

If you have a kids garden swing (the 9ft wide activity type) it would support quite a few in a row and trellise netting on both sides too!

Just buy the kids a sandpit instead :wink:


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PostPosted: May 26th, '07, 18:16 
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Hex wrote:
Hi Thomas,
Great bit of artwork.
You`ve certainly managed to cram a very diverse system into a small footprint.
Maybe there`s still some space left for a vertical tower or two?
I`ve been eyeing up those 2m long nylon mesh hanging "toy tidies" (cost £2 around here).
They look like a keepnet with seperate compartments.
Filled with coarse perlite (light) they might make a good additional beds bracketed to a wall, or even hung over the tank.

If you have a kids garden swing (the 9ft wide activity type) it would support quite a few in a row and trellise netting on both sides too!

Just buy the kids a sandpit instead :wink:

cant fool me when the kids arent looking turn it into grow beds

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PostPosted: May 26th, '07, 19:24 
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Thanks Hex, I didn't think about going vertical, and that nylon mesh is a great idea. However, I don't have any room over the tank (with those toms in the back), except maybe a 1x1m vertical space over the 180L tank on the right. I'm looking at other parts of the garden that I might use, but that would mean I'd have to do a lot more plumbing..

As for the kids: that'd be my sister and I (she's 16 and I'm 18 ). We don't have a need for a sandpit, and we don't have a swing either ;)


I've made a small shopping list, to estimate the total cost. Probably no use to you all, but I'll post it nevertheless.

The pondliner will be 1mm Firestone EPDM rubber. The 180L tank will be out of 0.5mm PVC, supported by a weed mat, and the growbeds will be made entirely from weed mats. Calculated about 100 euros total for mats and pondliner.

I'll use wolmanised outdoor wood, probably 16x140mm planks, for a total of about 100 euros. The colour is greenish (same stuff as the fence). I could also use hardwood (as I did in the sketch), looks a lot better but probably also twice as expensive. :(

I'll use a second hand central heating pump to pump the water around, set to low speed (running at 35W, 1500L/h at 1m). I can get one for under 30 euros, maybe even for free. I'll also get pea gravel for the growbeds for free (after realising that those clay balls cost about 50 cents a liter).

I'll buy a 30 euro air pump just to be sure, and I'll buy for about 40 euros of fingerlings (golden ide, silver ide, goldfish, shubunkins, golden tench, sunfish), all around 7-14cm. I'd love to watch them grow.

Anyways, this would theoretically total only 300 euros (about 400 US or 500 AUS dollars), but I'm sure small things like nails, hinges, a small filter for the pump, nets, waterplants, fishfood, water quality test strips and of course the plumbing will bring the total amount up to at least 400 euros.


Edit: I think I figured out how to make system ebb&flow; I'll use some sort of one-way valve between the pump and the 180L tank, put a timer on the pump and put an overflow hole in the tank, so that it is always filled with water, but when the pump is on the water is pumped from the pond through the tank to the growbeds. With the 1500L/h at 1m, it should take about 15 minutes to fill the growbeds. :)

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First system (2 m³ ebb & flow, 2007-2015)
Current system (150 liter indoor, 2016-?)


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PostPosted: May 26th, '07, 19:41 
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Sounds like you`ve got it all planned down to the last detail.
The central heating pumps work best for closed water circuits and are used quite extensively for koi ponds.
Normally they`re configured to draw just the clean water from the sump after the biofilters back to the pond, so it might be worthwhile checking if they can handle the solids involved with flood and drain.

F&F
You`d fill it with pea gravel instead of sand ..just in case :wink:


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PostPosted: May 26th, '07, 19:48 
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I'll use wolmanised outdoor wood


Thomas - if wolmanised wood is what we call treated wood (ours is treated with copper, chromium and arsenic) then I'd be really careful to make sure that there is no way that even the slightest amount of water can make contact with this stuff and then find its way to the tanks or grow-beds. Don't want to kill you fish, or even worse make yourself or your family ill.

Great to see more young people getting the AP bug :-)


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