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PostPosted: Mar 4th, '15, 01:13 
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I'm just starting my first aquaponic system, and it's going to be quite large. I'm converting a two year old above ground Intex pool into my fish tank. I'm planning on putting catfish and bluegill into it, and then to grow some veggies around the pool in grow beds.

So far I've got a large aeration pump running along with a 1,000 gph main circulation pump which I have currently flowing through a bio filter. Still designing many aspects of the system, which is how I found this great website.

I've had about 40 gold fish and about 10 crawfish living in the tank for about two weeks for testing. I'm planning on stocking the pond with the catfish and bluegill in about two weeks.

Does the foam on the top of the water mean anything?

And any advice is gladly accepted!


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PostPosted: Mar 4th, '15, 02:31 
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Wow! I'm just in awe of the scope of your system.

I'm practically a complete newcomer to this field, so I'm not really in a position to offer advice. But one source of info that I've been pretty impressed with is http://aquaponic.com.au/. I don't remember who pointed me there, but I know it was somebody from this forum. Good research-based scientific recommendations, rather than guesstimates.

https://www.was.org/documents/MeetingPresentations/AA2012/AA2012_0286.pdf has useful info. In particular, I've been using it for PVC pipe's water flow capacity for my system design. Hat tip to coachchris on thread http://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=24298

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PostPosted: Mar 15th, '15, 06:35 
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No idea about the foam, but it does suggest an issue.. foam would suggest a contamination to me..
Was it there at the start or did it appear "overnight "

Where did the original water come from... are your neighbours disturbed by the noises...
..
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PostPosted: Mar 15th, '15, 07:17 
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what are using to get air into the pool.. looks very aerated.

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PostPosted: Mar 15th, '15, 12:37 
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Assuming you never cleaned the pool with soap or chemical to that effect, i.e. assuming natural causes... the foam could be caused by the algae and/or some sort of protein buildup. I think once you get filtration in place and the microbiology matures it will most likely get digested by the system.

The pool is basically made of PVC and will deteriorate in the sun over time.. how many years do you think it has left outdoors like that? I am not criticizing. I am starting a new system with two of those size/type pools but i am only expecting 2 years of life before i will replace them with a more permanent solution.

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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '15, 02:25 
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Been busy building. Time to update the thread and answer some questions.

The foam is mostly gone now. It comes and goes. I think it is, as suggested, just protein and algae.

This will be the 3rd summer for this pool. I normally chuck them after 3-4 years. I've had these for years, and they are tougher than the look. The bottom is the weakest part, with little holes sometimes appearing. I'll have to keep an eye on the surrounding area looking for leaks or missing water. And there is no way to patch this thing since I can only see like 6 inches into the water. Might have to pickup a clearance replacement at the end of this summer.

The aeration pump is the $40 one on Amazon. I think it was by Laguna. Very nice machine. I tried a couple others and they sucked. This one has some power, and uses very little energy, maybe 10 watts or something. Not much. I'm going to get another.

Not sure about my neighbors. Hopefully they like the sound of water falling. lol. My chickens might be more annoying though. I figure as long as there are no mosquitoes, like there was last month, it should be ok. And it will be more quiet after I get the growbeds, since I will be not using the main pool pump for water circulation 24/7.

Ok, on to updates.

After changing plans a bunch of times, I think I have the system ready for plumbing, which I'll be doing today.

A picture shows how I plan to plumb the system for now. Also, I went to the fish place in Elk Grove yesterday and got my fish! 20 cat fish, 20 sunfish, and 3 bass. I think my current GB and FT size were designed for 27 full size fish from some calculator I found, so I'll need to add more later.

I also built these little fish home things. I was thinking that the little guys would like places to hide in and stuff. So built these three homes for them. They will also allow smaller fish to hide in later on from larger fish. This morning I even saw a sunfish inside one chilling out.

More updates later!!!


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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '15, 02:01 
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Excellent! How'd it go on Sunday?

Can you post the model number or Amazon part number for the air pump you bought? Sounds like a great unit.

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '15, 03:23 
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I also run a intex pool as my FT. However I would be a little cautious about stocking with catfish. As the spines on their pectoral fins may puncture the liner.

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '15, 02:31 
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Here is the air pump I'm using, and only 4.5 watts. It runs 24/7.

http://www.amazon.com/Laguna-Aeration-K ... 082&sr=1-3

Sunday was gravel day! Moved 33 cubic yards, which sounds like a lot, but I think I need more. I bought this huge burlap bag at Lowe's and had to move it four containers at a time from the store to my house. A pain.

With the gravel on hand I was able to compute my sump size. Each of the six containers hold about 12 gallons of water with the rock in. 6x12= 72 gallons + a few in the pipes. My current sump, which is a trash can, only holds 64 gallons. So I'm annoyed.

Deciding to get another larger trash can or run constant flow. The 96 gallon container is about $90 more dollars...

floridafishin - Now you tell me after I tossed 20 of them in there! Hopefully they will not puncture their home. That would sting. HAR!

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '15, 03:16 
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Sorry I was late :roll: My bad. You still have time to take them back out before they cost you a fish tank.

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '15, 03:42 
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Looks like a good start. How many more beds do you have? Just curious, because you're said 33 yards. That's almost 2 tandem dump trucks full. That's a lot of rock. How big are those grow beds?


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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '15, 06:00 
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Maybe it is 3.3 cu yards. Not dump trucks full... Lowe's burlap bag thing. $30 bucks. And I need more gravel. Always more of something.

I only have 162 gallons of worth of grow beds for now. Or 24 sq.ft. of growing surface bed. For 3,800 gallons... So I'm goofy from the norm. But based on some calculator, with all that being said, I should be able to grow 42 pounds of fish.

That's if the tiny little catfish, which I have no chance in heck of catching, don't pop the whole thing! And after having these pools for a long time, at least they just leak where poked, instead of bursting all at once. I think I'd have time to get another and reinforce the next one with liner.

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '15, 06:26 
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http://www.amazon.com/Intex-Swimming-Po ... B0007XC2RO

Just saying

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PostPosted: Mar 20th, '15, 06:00 
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Well, my current sump plan was a bust. Gravity failed me! I tested three of the grow beds, but only one drained properly. Think there is air in the flexible half inch drain lines which is obstructing the gravity siphon. Which I can only imagine happening all the time during the flood and drain cycles.

So I'm building up! My beds will be growing legs to get them above the water line. From there, gravity will not fail me.

I think I'm going to still use my SLO, just use a small pump on a timer to push the water into the GB's.

Always something...

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PostPosted: Apr 1st, '15, 10:19 
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It's been a bit since I updated my build, and I have made some progress! Got my first six grow beds in, and watering. They flood 14 times a day, which takes 5 minutes of power per flood, and drains in about 20 minutes. Still getting the flow just right per bed.

Still working on the SLO design, which will be overflowing into a sump, and onto the GB's. That is next weekends project.

Removed my ghetto sunshade. It was more trouble than shade. Created more Styrofoam "lillypads" to create shade. Planted one with some basil, but it's not doing good. Going to plant some seeds onto these and see what happens.

The best news is that I've seen my fish! Took three weeks for them to start hitting the floating food. It's really cool, and quite mesmerizing.


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