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Will I get my fish fry in mid-Jan 2017
Poll ended at Sep 13th, '16, 11:35
Absolutely 40%  40%  [ 2 ]
Maybe 40%  40%  [ 2 ]
Neutral 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Probably not 20%  20%  [ 1 ]
No 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 5
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PostPosted: Sep 8th, '16, 11:35 
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I'm not sure I've figured out the picture posting, but I will try. Can't seem to get my pic small enough so I will load it after I get an assist.

I spent all day moving racks, calculating flows, and ensuring wattage levels do not exceed circuit capability (not my forte, so I will have my husband recheck the electrical). Now, by George, I think I've got it.

My aquaponics area measures 4' by 8'. Because it is in our currently dry basement, I'm being ultra cautious and designed it with two, separated membranes. (I'm a pond person and membranes are easy for me.). There is also an overflow area which will have a sump pump for an emergency fail plumbed to the outside.

My set up will use Hydroton grow media in a constantly flowing system. The main pump, Pump 1, will lift pond water to what I refer to as a bio filter, but seems equivalent to sumps in system diagrams, though they seem to be below the system.

Anyway, from there after solids settle, the sump will flow to the top grow beds on two racks (right and left) via gravity. After flooding, the bed will empty to the second rack via a simple stand tube, and from there to the third level, then to the fish tank/pond.

A second pump, Pump 2, will pull from the right corner of the fish tank and flow in two directions. One to supply flow to the duck weed growing barrel above the center of the tank and from there into the fish tank/ pond via overflow; and two, to a collection of potted herbs and tender plants in pots equipped with stand pipes and overflow directed back into the tank/pond. Note -- Pump 2 has the capability of UV so it can be implemented if there is an algae bloom.

PLANTS -- First, I have several herbs and tender plants that come in for protection and use each winter. While not actually in a designated grow bed, these pots will provide immediate plant growth for the system. Also, my current outside pond has several plants in it that I will bring in and put in the tank on plant shelves inside the water area. My tilapia already know these plants and eat them at will. They include cress, dock, and mint. Though the guys are smart enough to leave my mojito fixins alone.

On the left and right racks, the top shelf will be flowering plants like tomatoes, peas and beans lighted by an LED grow light. Middle rack will have greens like lettuces, spinach, and bok choy under fluorescent lighting. The bottom rack is actually partly in the pond and will have more cress and seedlings supported by reflected and ambient light.

FISH. -- These I already have, fifty five tilapia that are in an outdoor pond. I released them as fingerlings the first weekend in June. Unlike the ones in everybody else's pics, mine are very stealthy. They have approximately half of the current pond under cover of water plants or fountain structure, so I only get brief glimpses when I feed. I'm looking forward to the transfer as an opportunity to measure and weigh the suckers. (I'm also planning to draw a measurement grid on the DuraSkim liner where I will hang the auto feeder before adding the water. Maybe then I will be able to assess size real time.)

EQUIP.-- The system has 3 heaters, with any two being capable of keeping my babies warm. One will be fully submersed in a difficult to access spot, so I won't see it much after install, but the read outs on the other two will let me know if it is not functioning.

I will be using pumps I already have in my ponds as they need to be lifted during our winter anyway. Advantage is that they come with already cycled bio mass.

I've yet to spec out an aerator with battery back up to support the system in case of a long power outage. Any suggestions?

WATER -- ok, my build is not started, but I'm "propagating" pond water to start the system. My tilapia are needing almost daily water changes, a sign the need more space and plants, so I'm containing the withdrawn water as starter for the new pond. Hopefully, I can provide at least half of the new system water from my garden system before I need to move the fish. What a bonus!


Please provide comments or questions to help me get this right on try one.


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PostPosted: Sep 9th, '16, 11:46 
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That's almost too many points to address in one post but, I'll hit a few in an effort to help out. If your post stays on the active list it will have a better chance of getting real help :smile:

First, read the IBCofaquaponics located at the top of the page

next, try searching for keywords of questions you have such as picture posting you can even search those results even further

pictures/diagrams/pictures OF diagrams- help tremendously in planning and troubleshooting. when I post pics I usually use a resizing app on my phone. On the pc I've also used "paint." a windows snipping tool has also been mentioned lately. :dontknow:

your biofilter/sump, is it just an empty tank? or filled with a media of some sort? if its just an elevated sump then I doubt the solids will settle very much.(depends on flow)

the plant configuration is almost limitless depending on your space, design, and plumbing skills.

that's all I have time for at the moment I'm sure someone will chime in and add to/correct my suggestions (hint hint Scotty)


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PostPosted: Sep 11th, '16, 04:36 
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Dave,

Thanks for your comments. I'm planning on using netting within the sump to catch larger solids, though I doubt it will be much of an issue. I will have a spigot near the bottom in case I need to draw off solids. If the beds need more, I can add it to them, if not take out of the system to my compost.

I downloaded a resizing app and will hopefully post a pic of my system plan soon.

I already read 101 and have been doing research on issues. My only current question is info on an aerator as a back up during a power outage. I looked through much of the equipment threads, but didn't see one on aerators.

Any ideas folks?

Thanks, Pat


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PostPosted: Oct 3rd, '16, 08:56 
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Well, I've been reading and talked with folks involved in Aquaponics for some time. Adding that info to my gardening and aquarist experience, I'm in day 8 of my system build. I'm very excited because tomorrow I will start transferring water from my pond source and hopefully will have the system planted and fish moved by the end of the week. Temps are getting too cool for the fish to be outside, even with heaters in the pond and an insulation cover at night, I'm not able to maintain optimum temperatures.

I will try to pos a system pic tomorrow.


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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '16, 17:52 
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Here is a current pic of my system.

I discovered a few problems that need correction before utilizing the grow beds. I relied on press fit connections and most of the outflow drains shifted during installation, so I will need to empty and replumb.

Also need to move upper plumbing back a bit to eliminate interference with the lights being raised and lowered.

Adding the fish to the tank starting today. Used 2/3 conditioned H2O and 1/3 propagated pond water from outdoor fish home. Water already matches current living conditions except for temp and I will be adding a heater this morning to address that.

Will probably take me a week to get the grow beds online but will augment system with bio filter from outdoor pond as well as pond plants.


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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '16, 20:16 
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Pat,

I love the cave look. We've got lots of (volcanic) stone around and about and at first glance my thought was, "Wow! That is a lot of stone mason work to make all those excellent blocks!" ;-)
Very nice! Congratulations on an excellent looking build! :occasion5:

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PostPosted: Oct 7th, '16, 02:11 
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For backup aeration I use an 18 watt air pump plugged into a 1000 watt computer UPS. I don't use air stones in most cases as I like the surface agitation you get from the large bubbles - a better water turnover and oxygen absorption. In my case I discarded the old UPS batteries and connected two marine batteries in their place. I imagine I can run the air pump for many days without power.

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PostPosted: Oct 9th, '16, 22:52 
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Nosliwmas,

Thanks for the comment on my "rock" wall. The manufactured concrete blocks went together fairly quickly. I did not use the company's plastic pins to link block rows. Instead, I put lateral and vertical rebar with joint wiring. So the wall is solid, but we can still remove it from the basement if needed.

I identified areas with small spaces in the blocks (indicated by the blue tape marked) where I will be planting succulents on the face of the wall to be watered by misting using FT water on a periodic basis. There will also be planters on the top ledge which drain return to the FT after I add the topper.

Pat


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PostPosted: Oct 9th, '16, 23:00 
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Dstjohn99,

I'm using my aerator with one bubble stone. The fish seem to like playing in the bubbles. I didn't have a second air stone and initially just put the line in to agitated the surface, but the bubbly noise was a bit strong. I then fed the air tube into the bottom of a water lily planted in gravel. The result I'd medium to large bubbles quietly agitating the surface from under its leaves. I really like the effect and efficiency, so I'm not inclined to add a second stone.

I do plan to incorporate a more robust battery back up as some point. I would like to be able to run at least one pump in addition to the aerator. If we have a serious outage, I have a generator available to use for intermittent circulating the system to keep things alive over long periods.

Pat


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PostPosted: Oct 11th, '16, 02:01 
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You will probably need more aeration then just that one airstone for the amount of fish and bacteria you are going to have in the system...unless you are introducing air in some other way(fountain, surface aeration, etc.)

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PostPosted: Oct 12th, '16, 05:49 
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Lots of surface aeration via pump agitation and growbed returns


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PostPosted: Sep 8th, '17, 02:54 
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Wow, this has been an awesome experiment!

Last June, I ordered 50 Blue Nile fingerlings and released them into my small garden pond to grow for the summer, while I researched and designed an Aquaponics system for my basement.

Because my system was being set up outside our wine cellar door, directly in the path my husband takes all the guests to pick out a wine for dinner, I needed the system to "look nice". Also, our interior basement door will not accommodate passage of an IBC. (See my block wall in posts above.)

With my system started, I counted and sized 49 tilapia as I moved them indoors in early Oct. (It snowed the next week!) I did some things right, and now know I can do some other things better.

First, I was struggling with the need to transfer my initial school of tilapia indoors before they got too cold outside, so my set up was rushed and not fully cycled. That was overcome as the plants began growing and I just did water changes to keep good chemical levels until it balanced out. It was very helpful that I kept a log with both my tank readings and general observation. I RECOMMEND EVERYONE KEEP A LOG STARTING OUT.

So, things were growing well, but far slower than expected based on my researched information. That was OK, I was enjoying myself and my project was experiential rather than commercial. I shared pics of my progress with FB friends and gained quite a bit of attention. My daughter did a live chat of me describing the system and answering questions about Aquaponics and tilapia in Dec 2016. Her chat group (~100 on live, 300+ total) were amazed I was willing to drink the GB return water. I explained that it was probably better than the water in our taps.

Let's see if I can dredge up and post a pic in a few minutes.

So, I didn't think my fish were large enough to harvest when originally expected. I believe their growth was slower due to the periods of time I was struggling to get their tank to stay in the mid 70sF. So I watched and waited more. They were developing gorgeous colors and the school began breaking into 3 stratem: big, medium, and still small, but all growing. By April, I felt they were ready to start harvesting, but they did not want to be caught. I was very busy (remember, they were already supposed to be frozen). My harvesting procrastination cost me big time. By June, I was again struggling with water stability as my guys were bigger than planned for the tank. I and a partner managed to catch 4 on one day and I another 3 larger ones the next day and transferred them back into the outdoor pond they started in. Then I started increasing the temp and let nature take its course. Yeah for Mother Nature!

Meanwhile, I vowed I would harvest the remaining 42 grown out tilapia on return from my vacation. Bad Decision! While in Italy, our alarm sent a message the power was off briefly. I wasn't too worried as it was back on line quickly and I had battery back up aeration in place and tested for short outages. But my husband needed someone to reset the AC in the wine cellar. When they went in two days later, the fish were all dead. The main pump from the FT to the GBs did not come back on line when the power did. The fish volume was too great for a small biofilter and the aeration without the massive capacity of the GBs. I estimate I lost 80 lbs of fish.

Returning home, I needed to entirely dismantle and drain the dead system, even though our friend had removed the fish. I'm so glad I had interested and understanding neighbors!

Since then, my breeding stock did their job, producing over 105 fry. I captured the fry and moved them to a separate outdoor water feature. They were very lively and eating well, but after a few days, I wasn't seeing as many of them. I opted to upgrade the filter/pump combo in anticipation of their growth. I found numerous fry within the bio filter and gently returned as many as possible to the FT. They were large enough to not pass through the filter mesh, but small enough to wiggle in through the box edges. Ok, 105 was too many anyway.

Now I have approx 30 fingerlings, just the amount I want to retry growing some fillets. Meanwhile, it's too cold in the pond for the breeders to keep busy. Harvest day is tomorrow. I have 7 tilapia ranging from 10-18" long. They will be served up as fish tacos at our annual Garden party on Saturday. Can't wait!!!

For this year in the basement, I'm making major system changes based on last year's learnings.

1). Segregate the AQ area from the balance of the basement to better control heat (higher) and humidity (lower outside the AQ).

2). Reduce the types of plants I attempt to leafy greens and micro greens which require less light and time. Tomatoes, beets, carrots, squash and strawberries did not produce. I did get a crop of peas and had fresh herbs all winter. Also, I grew mint, clover and duck weed to augment the tilapia feed. I will still grow duckweed for them and they can have a share of the greens, too.

3). Increase light from just T5s to include LEDs.

4). Add a paludarium type sump to system providing additional plant uptake and aeration.

5). Use a dual pump system flow between, FT and GB, and FT and sump.


Goal: Harvest 25+ tilapia before June and have 50+ fingerlings for outdoor transition (to finish by Sep).


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PostPosted: Sep 8th, '17, 02:55 
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Photo update


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PostPosted: Sep 8th, '17, 03:02 
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Retrying to attach the photo.


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