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PostPosted: Feb 9th, '15, 00:22 
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Better Sump-Tank Area Feb-8th-2015
I had considered using the NW corner of the greenhouse where the fig tree was going to go to build a sump tank to buffer the fluctuations of flood and drain beds. This morning I’m considering the other northern corner. This also was going to be a dirt filled tank, but this location has a lot of merits

Better-Sump-Tank-area-NE-corner
Apologies to the rest of the world, we did our calculations in Cubic Feet. This space is bigger than the other corner. We calculated the sump tank below the grow bed volume to be ~ 63 cubic feet. This will be a more traditional vinyl lined water tank, compared to the expensive paint on rubberized material from Hecht which we’ll be using in the pond. The structure will be made from treated wood. The walls I’m uncertain, perhaps three quarter inch plywood. The deck over the sump tank I’m thinking will be modern recycled plastic deck boards. All that is still up in the air as I just came up with this idea this morning February 8th 2015.

The grow bed will constructed on top of the decking in the same manner as the sump tank. This will put the our largest grow bed @ ~ 22 cubic feet directly above the sump tank and about a foot above the pond. This is done to enable gravity draining from the grow bed.

At 22 cubic feet I went looking at media costs. Remember we’re nearly a hundred miles from a city with good pricing of materials. so this is just a quick Internet search.

VIASTONE-Hydroponic-grow-medium-stoneVIASTONE-Hydroponic-grow-medium-stone
I’m not panicking about that cost. We do have a volcano here in New Mexico. I may be making a road trip to El Captain.

I am super excited about this plan, because I think the time frame is reduced and this can act as a stand alone aquaponics system even before I get the pond window finished and the walls up to level and painted.We can start cycling water through the plants well before we take the chance with live fish in the water.

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Specs: 2600 gallon (347.56cf) Masonry fish pond. 44cf GBs. 200 gal (26.7cf) ST. 15 gal (2cf) RFF. 50 gal (6.7cf) biofilter. Brook trout and Comets.


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PostPosted: Feb 10th, '15, 06:01 
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Looks like a good plan Brian! Always great when you come up with a better plan isn't it?! Plus being able to start cycling earlier is always tops!


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PostPosted: Feb 10th, '15, 20:24 
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Thanks and Yes it does. I literally can't wait for the pond. This should get us growing sooner. We had our eighth straight day of high 60s. The greenhouse is already getting upwards of 100f (38c) and this is February. I'm planning on hail screen over the acrylic panels and over that sun screen. The direction the greenhouse slopes is east, so the harsher afternoon sun is shaded by the house. Still, already damn hot in there.

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Specs: 2600 gallon (347.56cf) Masonry fish pond. 44cf GBs. 200 gal (26.7cf) ST. 15 gal (2cf) RFF. 50 gal (6.7cf) biofilter. Brook trout and Comets.


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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '15, 01:19 
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Having all the water in there will help moderate the heat.

Your post about where to put the sump got me thinking you're pretty close to needing a bigger greenhouse already :headbang:. What kind of fig tree are you going to put in?

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '15, 02:05 
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Hi Brian
Looking good!
Just a thought.
With the grow bed above the sump tank: don’t make the gaps on the decking planks too wide. You are bound to drop some clay pebbles and getting them out of the sump would be a PITA!

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '15, 21:32 
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Having all the water in there will help moderate the heat.
Indeed that is my hope as well. The idea with the dirt tanks all around the edges of the greenhouse to begin with was an attempt to get the earth-sheltering effect increased. So now I'm hoping water will do the same thing basically. FYI, in case you are interested, I haven't seen anyone else employing the earth-sheltering principle here, maybe I missed it; by sinking the whole greenhouse in the earth the hope is to take advantage of the Earth's constant temperature. I do see that many AP people struggle with temperature swings in the water. I don't know if what I'm doing will solve these issues or simply help a little bit, but as I said, I'm hopeful. Most of my research came from this neat little book:
Image

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With the grow bed above the sump tank: don’t make the gaps on the decking planks too wide. You are bound to drop some clay pebbles and getting them out of the sump would be a PITA!
good advice. I suppose the style of deck will be another trade off between access to the pump and height above the ST. So much to think about :geek:

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Specs: 2600 gallon (347.56cf) Masonry fish pond. 44cf GBs. 200 gal (26.7cf) ST. 15 gal (2cf) RFF. 50 gal (6.7cf) biofilter. Brook trout and Comets.


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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '15, 21:37 
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Quote:
Your post about where to put the sump got me thinking you're pretty close to needing a bigger greenhouse already . What kind of fig tree are you going to put in?
I went with the purple fig. I had a green fig in my last greenhouse. I'm hopeful the purple will be sweeter

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Specs: 2600 gallon (347.56cf) Masonry fish pond. 44cf GBs. 200 gal (26.7cf) ST. 15 gal (2cf) RFF. 50 gal (6.7cf) biofilter. Brook trout and Comets.


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PostPosted: Feb 12th, '15, 23:26 
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Another-place-for-sump-tank-Looking-down-from-exterior-door-selfie
Good Morning!

I finally got to work inside while it snowed and snowed yesterday. It was a productive day here on the home-front. Nell isn’t home, she is down in Albuquerque with her sister Sandy and brother-in-law Jim, so I was all by my lonesome. I’m not as productive working by myself, I’ve always got questions for which I need Nell’s consultation. Oh well, I didn’t do anything that can’t be un-done.

Another-place-for-sump-tank-Looking-down-from-exterior-door-about-3-feet-down
I don’t know if you can see what I see? Once I removed the boards by the exterior door, I was like, holy crap that’s a huge space which in the “old” plan that was going to be filled in with rock steps. The problem is we’re running out of floor space in the greenhouse. Most aquaponics builds have a separate fish house away from the sun. We went into this with no knowledge of how aquaponics works. Now, after months of research I see how important grow beds are for filtration.

Looking-at-levels-Everything-needs-to-flow-this-is-one-of-3-outflow-pipes
This is the place where I had always planned to set the bio-filter and particle filter. These are still important even with plenty of grow beds. However now I see that I left out one other important feature of the aquaponics system: A sump tank for the pump. Not a big deal, I have options as the pond sits two feet above the lowest point in the greenhouse; the sitting and viewing aquarium window area. I talking about placing the sump below the grow-bed in this area, but after yesterday working down in this low spot in the greenhouse, I can see clearly that we’re running out of floor space in our sitting area.

Another-place-for-sump-tank-Looking-at-levels-Everything-needs-to-flow
So, with the combined floor space of the steps and the grow-bed on the northeast corner below the window, I can see it is time to get seriously resourceful. My thoughts now are along the lines of a combined sump-tank and steps. I just can’t see how we can dedicate floor-space to steps when we are running out. The other issue that I came face to face with yesterday was the drop off from the door to the floor is huge. I was removing dirt and rock via a five gallon bucket, and it was all I could do to lift the bucket up and through the doorway and climb out after it.

The revelation was that these steps I need to build are gigantic! Probably three standard step heights to get from the house to the greenhouse floor. I know what you’re thinking: I just had to go and build a sunken earth-sheltered greenhouse, didn’t I? .Well, I tell you what, I now have a new appreciation for how deep we got the greenhouse sunk in the ground. We’re getting older, building safe and easy to use steps is critical.

Does this change everything? No not really, but combine this issue with the fact that I am also learning that all the water flow needs to go thorough all the grow-beds and filters and the pump needs to be in the sump tank so it never can accidentally pump the fish pond dry, I may have once again touched the top of brain’s power.

Under-the-boardwalk-outflow-location-to-sump-tank-Everything-needs-to-flow
Under the boardwalk is a good place to build in a large diameter overflow pipe.The pump I’m looking at is capable of turning over the entire contents of the fish pond in one hour. I’ve got to supply the sump tank with the entire contents of the fish pond in one hour! Wow, the revelations keep coming and coming.

The two inch pipe I built-in to the wall of the pond to feed the filters obviously isn’t going to be able to accommodate that kind of flow, especially as it is gravity fed (because the solids from the pond should not be run through a pump.) Okay. So, I’m thinking the smaller pipe to the filters will be a restriction to the full flow thus it will be below the water level in the pond. I’ve seen this in my biodiesel wash tank. The four inch overflow pipe will determine the pond water level, so it can be slightly higher, in fact an elbow can be set on that pipe to alter the water level once I see how the flow is.

Since the large diameter pipe is under the boardwalk I’m thinking the sump needs to be back there as well. Okay one last look at the pond:

Another-place-for-sump-tank-location-of-steps-and-Aquarium-window-right
My plan is to include the steps and an additional volume for water between the pond and the grow-beds. Yep, another tank, this one in front of the fig tree tank, perhaps both can be tanks, one a sediment collecting tank the other the tank with the pump. Crap I need to get this figured out so we can start building growbeds and plant for Spring.

So-not-looking-forward-to-this-day-Andy-agrees
Yep it looks cold out there. Ugh, today working outside will tax my body. Cowboy up, Brian!

So-not-looking-forward-to-this-day-hard-to-believe-it-was-65-two-days-ago
Simultaneous to the digging project I also setup the batteries for the remote wifi tower which we’ll finish this weekend thanks to Jason and Albert for their ATV to haul the heavy equipment up the Crestone

Second-project-it-the-works-New-batteries-for-remote-WiFi-tower
I managed to find enough heavy duty wire in red and black to create equidistant cables for each set of batteries. This should solve an issue we’re had in the remote locations with the outside cells getting more electricity than the inside cells. We’ve seen the results as the cells on the ends always need more water than the middle cells. That was an inefficient way of charging the batteries, as electricity follows the path of least resistance. Now the electricity will come from the solar panel and following the equidistant path arrive at each set at the same time and with an equal resistance.

New-batteries-for-remote-WiFi-tower-homemade-cables-control-panel
That was a fun project, and it felt good to be back in the shop working without needing to squeeze around the dump bed. It did get pretty cold towards the end of the project as the garage doors were still off. I expected Jason to arrive with his ATV which I was going to work on. I’m guessing he didn’t go to work yesterday because of the heavy snow.

Adios

Brian Elctricalision Rodgers

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Specs: 2600 gallon (347.56cf) Masonry fish pond. 44cf GBs. 200 gal (26.7cf) ST. 15 gal (2cf) RFF. 50 gal (6.7cf) biofilter. Brook trout and Comets.


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PostPosted: Feb 13th, '15, 01:12 
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Hi Brian
I too find it different working on my own. My wife tolerates my obsession with AP.
However being English there is always time for tea. Sometimes that break allows you to step back and reassess the situation.
Sometimes I drink tea for forty five minutes and work for fifteen. That’s a serious reassess.
Couple of,’off the wall suggestions’ blue sky thinking. or some guy in England who doesn't have to do the hard work.
Sink a kind of plastic barrel into the hole as your sump tank. Disguise it.
Steps, some fancy hard wood supported by pillars going down into the water.
Stepping places through the grow bed
Private aircraft aluminum folding steps! My personal favorite remote controlled electric steps. “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” Big red button to control them
I would not panic too much about pipe sizes. ( other people know better)
In awe of the expected final look.

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PostPosted: Feb 13th, '15, 03:23 
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Yep tea time sounds great. Here in the USA we call those safety meetings, haha

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Specs: 2600 gallon (347.56cf) Masonry fish pond. 44cf GBs. 200 gal (26.7cf) ST. 15 gal (2cf) RFF. 50 gal (6.7cf) biofilter. Brook trout and Comets.


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PostPosted: Feb 13th, '15, 03:59 
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Hey Brian, your GH looks pretty cool. Can't wait to se it finished.

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PostPosted: Feb 13th, '15, 21:02 
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Can't wait to see it finished.
haha ya, you and me both

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Specs: 2600 gallon (347.56cf) Masonry fish pond. 44cf GBs. 200 gal (26.7cf) ST. 15 gal (2cf) RFF. 50 gal (6.7cf) biofilter. Brook trout and Comets.


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PostPosted: Feb 14th, '15, 04:56 
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boss wrote:
The pump I’m looking at is capable of turning over the entire contents of the fish pond in one hour. I’ve got to supply the sump tank with the entire contents of the fish pond in one hour! Wow, the revelations keep coming and coming.


This isn't etched in stone and as you get into pool sized systems, I'm pretty sure fewer people have this turnover rate and have been successful. Still we know it works and I think the Koi pond types are doing something along the 1 to 1.5 times per hour turnover (I could be mistaken on this). You'll probably want a backup pump on hand in case the first fails.

Tough to give you any pointers since I'm a bit lost on where your overall plan is at this point. Are you losing the viewing space because of the sump location, the steps, or both? Even though I like the doors, maybe you could switch from a French door to a sliding door to regain some space?

I have some of the purple type figs, the Negrone fig tree is the one that's doing the best so far. Didn't taste that good the first year but last year it was very good. Some of the fig trees can get really big but Negrone is one of the smaller trees. I also have LSU purple and Desert King (this produces green figs) but they're starting their 2nd season and didn't produce very well since they're smaller. At some point I'll probably have to cull one since I don't have tons of space.


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PostPosted: Feb 14th, '15, 20:49 
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Aquaponics Modifications As We Go
Quote:
Tough to give you any pointers since I’m a bit lost on where your overall plan is at this point.
good questions and advice. I’m lucky in some ways because I live in a remote location and can build without a plan and my skill set includes a decent hip shot. This all started out as an indoor fish pond sustainable energy exercise project to get physically fit. That first part worked out very well, I turned 61 in January and am in the best condition I’m been in twenty years. I feel that a big part of moving toward sustainability is getting and keeping my head in a positive place, moving forward, learning and helping others understand some of what I find positive and helpful.

This project is by far the most fun, interesting and green project I’ve been involved in during the last ten years. The first was biodiesel and I went from never owning a diesel engine vehicle to that is all we own now. Six months out of the year we still burn our homemade fuel. Next was the axial flux wind turbine built with the help of my friend Kevin after we did a workshop with the famous OtherPower guys up in Colorado.

This project has my full attention, well considering I have a career on the side, AP feels like life blood. So, where am I headed? Seriously, that is a good question. My wife and I wanted an indoor lily pond with fish to help us enjoy retirement. While researching filters I found you all. I know this must sound familiar.

Today I’ll be building another tank under the steps, perhaps I’ll get to the second tank under the grow-bed by the east facing window. I plan on changing my technique today. Up until now everything is built with thin and tall rocks, mostly limestone. Yesterday I bought concrete mix something that in all my years I never had to do, but my truck is down until I can buy a $1000 injection pump. My buddy Jason and I installed a Pierce Arrow dump bed kit on my 1991 Dodge dually, but this project is on hold as I try to complete this aquaponics build.

Plan now: Along the house side of the greenhouse on either side of the French doors will be media grow beds stacked two or three high, probably steel framed and bolted to the wall. That should provide …

Good reminder that the grow-beds aren’t full. Anyway, I’m figuring there will be six grow-beds around the same size. I still am guessing on the pond volume because of the irregular shape… 1000 gallons. Up to six 100 gallon media and/or DWC grow-beds. Two 30 gallon HDPE drums, one a RFF and the other a Net filled biofilter run in series or parallel to the sump tanks, this is where I going at this point. How to get the flow needed to exchange the water in the pond (1000 gallons) while not over-loading the filters, which are at this point a bottleneck in my design.

As for keeping the sun off the pond, I’m building a large deep water culture grow-bed over the east side of the pond. That grow-bed will drain directly into the pond, hopefully creating a waterfall effect as we hoped to have since the beginning. The viewing area is indeed shrinking while at the same time I’m liking the boardwalk a lot and it is returning floor space and providing shade over the pond. Most aspects of this project are easy mods while still maintaining the essence of the indoor fish pond idea. However much like the kitchen – bathroom I built a couple years ago, I get a little stressed working out exactly where the plumbing goes before we pour the concrete. This is the bane of the DIY builder. Since I work in rock and cement the old adage about anything beimg set in stone is very real and true here. Now is the time to get the flows and plumbing proper. So bigger will need to be better.

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Specs: 2600 gallon (347.56cf) Masonry fish pond. 44cf GBs. 200 gal (26.7cf) ST. 15 gal (2cf) RFF. 50 gal (6.7cf) biofilter. Brook trout and Comets.


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PostPosted: Feb 15th, '15, 02:57 
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Back-to-the-original-Plan-SLO-to-RFF-to-Biofilter-to-sump


After much deliberation I’ve given up on putting the sump tank below the door. It is too low and too much trouble. I’ve gone back to the plan with the bio-filters on the east side of the pond. Instead of by the door with the sump, which wasn’t in the first plan, it’ll go next to the filters in the end of the Kiwi bed.

Outflow-fish-tank-SLO-to-RFF-to-Biofilter-to-sump
That white pipe to the right is the outflow from the fish tank and the bottom solids skimmer. I may raise it up five inches to keep the fish pond water level a little higher.

Back-to-the-original-Plan-Don’t-need-to-deal-with-the-low-door-level
you may be able to see the level across to the boardwalk. The filters need weekly cleaning so I’ll probably want them a little higher so it isn’t too difficult to reach the bottom clean-out drain..

Back-to-the-original-Plan-SLO-to-RFF-to-Biofilter-to-sump-side
I’m also changing the way we utilize the space where I’m standing to take this picture. More on that later. For today I better get busy building the pond walls up to level.

Back-to-the-original-Plan-selfie
(the 30 gallon HDPE barrel is from my biodiesel system, don't worry, I will get new barrels)

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Specs: 2600 gallon (347.56cf) Masonry fish pond. 44cf GBs. 200 gal (26.7cf) ST. 15 gal (2cf) RFF. 50 gal (6.7cf) biofilter. Brook trout and Comets.


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