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 Post subject: TCLynx's System
PostPosted: Jan 1st, '08, 03:50 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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All right, this thread will be more to the point of AP and system rather than anything too experimental.

I'll post some pictures of the space and what hydroponic stuff is already there and available for conversion to AP.

The hydro system currently is running with rain water in it to keep some stray plants alive for the time being but they should survive any manipulations I put them through and if they don't hay, they are strays anyway. One trough has pond plants I rescued and the other has large perlite covered in pond/aquarium gravel mixed with some random stones and lava rocks with a couple of milk cartons with chic peas growing in them. I figure if I keep things running and can get the nutrient cycle going with what is sitting there now, I'll have a head start on my bacteria when I go to build a big system.

I'm in the process of looking for containers, bins, barrels, tubs, sinks and whatnot for grow beds and such. Does anyone have some tips on free or cheap sources for such things in the US? We tried at the tip for old bath tubs the other day and technically, they are not supposed to let people take anything out once it is brought it. There may be ways around that (just don't tell) but I hate to jump into things with the intention of breaking the rules right from the start.

How much need I worry about all the components being "food grade". I have read discussions in hydro forums about having to make sure the bins are food grade and then other people saying that there really is no difference in the plastic storage bins. I don't intend to use anything that contained herbicides, pesticides, or other very toxic chemicals but other than that, how concerned should I really be? I've seen people using big trash cans and I doubt they are rated as "food grade"? I have been using a storage bin for my Hydro tank for quite some time and am not really worried about it. I've also heard of people using mortar tubs as grow beds, I doubt they are classed as food grade plastic.

At the moment for the fish tank, I'm thinking dig a pond and use a liner. How bout some discussion on the pros and cons of such?
Tree roots are the biggest con I see in my situation. Digging is quite easy here as the soil is mostly fine sand. I would probably want to dig part way down and then build up the sides a bit before lining as I wouldn't want overground run-off getting into the pond during heavy downpours we sometimes get. Anyway, is any liner you get for a pond at a home improvement store likely to be ok? I've built ornamental ponds using the good $$ rubber liner and having re-built ponds for people, I know to use the higher quality stuff as the thinner plastic just starts leaking for the smallest provocation. I'm likely to make this somewhat ornamental in looks and have plants around the sides unless some one gives me reasons why that might not be a good idea. I'm trying to think of ways I could sort of fence off sections of pond so that I can essentially have "different tanks" all in the same system but using a pond.

One big reason I like the partially in ground fish tank/pond is that lets gravity return water back to the tank without a second pump or having to support the grow beds 3' above the ground. Also, having an above ground tank seems like a big $$ to me and the ground is already there. A liner is an $$ but still probably cheaper for the contained volume.

Ok, so I should probably get some pictures onto this post before I get to far ahead of myself.
The space available is about 12 ft by 25 ft near the east side of the house, will probably need a little shade cloth set up in summer. Ack, I'll have to come back and post again to get the pictures on. BRB

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 Post subject: Re: TCLynx's System
PostPosted: Jan 1st, '08, 04:20 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Ok, back with pictures ready to post, I hope.


Attachments:
File comment: Yellow line shows roughly the footprint available for AP system and grow beds. This is east side of house looking to the North in the background. Aprox 25' long and 12' wide.
space available 2 (Medium).jpg
space available 2 (Medium).jpg [ 130.93 KiB | Viewed 30652 times ]
File comment: 50 gallon storage bin sunk in ground. Small pond pump. Float valve to top up from rain water bin. Some air stones run from my solar powered bubblers and drain from the troughs.
current tank (Medium).jpg
current tank (Medium).jpg [ 78.99 KiB | Viewed 30632 times ]
File comment: Here is the top end of my two current troughs. One with pond plants I rescued, the other with perlite, gravel and some other random plants in milk cartons
current troughs (Medium).jpg
current troughs (Medium).jpg [ 92.93 KiB | Viewed 30507 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: TCLynx's System
PostPosted: Jan 1st, '08, 04:25 
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Here are some other photos.


Attachments:
File comment: I have a cover on the tank, it doesn't keep bugs or small frogs out and was needed to protect the hydro nutrient from the light but is it a good thing for fish?
covered tank (Medium).jpg
covered tank (Medium).jpg [ 92.09 KiB | Viewed 30421 times ]
File comment: The two troughs simply empty into a bucket fitted with a drain.
drain bucket (Medium).jpg
drain bucket (Medium).jpg [ 77.99 KiB | Viewed 30323 times ]
File comment: Here are three little solar air pump assemblies I built mounted on an adjustable array stand the other half built from an old camera tripod and wire shelving.
Solar Air Pump aray (Medium).jpg
Solar Air Pump aray (Medium).jpg [ 87.89 KiB | Viewed 30266 times ]

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PostPosted: Jan 1st, '08, 05:38 
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Hi TC. I have a source for blue 55 barrels in Casselberry. PM me if you're intested and I'll send you the contact info. The guy has plenty, $15/ea.


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PostPosted: Jan 1st, '08, 06:45 
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That sounds great, I'm definitely interested.

How is your research into AP going Mark? Find any good sources of fish yet? Please share info if you have.

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PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '08, 00:18 
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Well, got chilly here last night and will probably see a freeze tonight. I mounded Spanish Moss over the little banana plants we got and made a tiny hoop house with some pvc and rebar to throw a cover over some seedlings.

I'm curious, how much protection will I need to have different fish survive outdoors for the winter. I definitely don't want a real greenhouse as there would be far too much trouble keeping it cool enough during the day down here. Perhaps something like a hoop house or stockade fence tunnel that would have shade cloth most of the year and then a tarp or other cover for the really cold nights.

I'm thinking an in ground pond type fish tank since the average ground temp here is probably between 70 and 80 F.

I've read that Tilapia don't survive year round outside here without supplemental water heating. (Or at least I read they can survive in extreme southern FL and TX with out, which seems to read to me that here they probably would not make it but that might be for above ground tanks.)

Anyone got advice or warnings for me so far?

I'll be seeing about picking up some barrels and perhaps ordering some liner very soon. I'm leaving the existing Hydro system cycling so what little perlite and gravel I have in there can keep growing bacteria (or hopefully not kill it at least.) I'll add very small amounts of humonia to keep that going so I have some starter for any new grow beds or filters.

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PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '08, 02:33 
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tilapia go belly-up at about 50F water temperature. I think if you were careful about not pumping during cold nights, and were inground with an insulated lid, you could work with tilapia. (The lid is key. Heat rises.)

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PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '08, 03:01 
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TC. The Tilapia source I have near tampa has all his fish in a swimming pool with no heat and they do fine. Janet is right on about the cover. Even an old pool cover would work. You loose almost all heat through the surface of the water. Also since we typically get a lot of sun, you might think about some solar heating. If you watch, you can find people unloading solar panels for next to nothing. I bought six 4 x 8' panels for $50 recently. Even one panel would probably give you enough extra heat to keep from loosing your fish. I also see tents on craigslist from time to time for nothing or almost nothing.


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PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '08, 03:04 
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Hi TC, good start on your thread. My mortar tub is the same exact material as the stock tanks I am using; I figure if the stock tanks are not kosher then I'm screwed anyway. I chose clear plastic for my small grow beds to avoid anything bad that may be in the dyes. Food grade plastic is usually clear or white. Recycled plastic should be avoided as you can't know what is in it.

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 Post subject: Re: TCLynx's System
PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '08, 06:02 
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Dave you are right, after a little more research, I have found mortar tubs and such that are I guess safe plastic (at least all but the black ones.)

I agree about the cover for cold nights! And definitely shade for the sunny hot months. Big challenge here with hydroponics is keeping the water cool enough most of the year. LOL, I've had the idea to use the output from my dryer vent to heat a "greenhouse" space on the hard freeze nights. Just set the alarm to get me up to switch the laundry and start the dryer around 3am or something. Might cause a bit too much extra moisture but any greenhouse I set up will likely be more like a tarp thrown over the shade cloth frame just for the cold night.

Mark, I got the barrels. He said he was getting more and I mentioned you might be after some too. Thanks for the contact!

So, how do most people cut their plastic barrels in half?
1- Circular saw?
2- Jig or saber saw?
3- sawzawl?
4- hand saw?
5- Hot blade?
6- mental powers?
7- other?

Getting even colder tonight but I picked up a thermometer today an it is now down in my hydro tank to see what sort of temps I get with the pump running to the troughs overnight. Possibility of a hard freeze here tonight perhaps down to 28F We shall see. The neighbor will probably be spending the night up with his smudge pots keeping all this tropical trees and citrus alive. I only made the concession of heaping spanish moss over my little banana plants, throwing a cover over a few seedlings and bringing a few container plants into the garage.

Good lcuk all!

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PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '08, 06:11 
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TC, I used an angle grinder, because that's what we have :)

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PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '08, 06:13 
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Dang Jaymie, I hadn't even thought of that one.

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PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '08, 06:16 
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makes a good mess! Make sure you wear all the safety gear, you don't want to inhale hole plastic lumps :(

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PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '08, 09:47 
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I use a jig saw. It cuts like the barrel was made of butter. Don't turn it on until you're pointed in the right direction.!! :)


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PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '08, 10:46 
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This makes me want to convert my hydroponic system to AP.. Infact, I'm going ti go check the temp of my under ground tank now thats its been freezing for a couple days..


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