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 Post subject: Xtro - Home Project 1.0
PostPosted: Jan 29th, '17, 12:47 
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Hey folks,

This topic will be about my quadrillions of questions to finalize my first system. I`m still in phase 1, which is planning :)
Hopefully we ( GF and me ) can move to a new, bigger house so I can start my first aquaponics system. We do live in Canada, so everything will be inside, controlled temperature all year round.

First and most important question:

Is it a problem to have a medium scale system inside the house ( 3 bedroom, no shed or greenhouse in the garden ), lets say in one of the areas we don`t use ( second living room, or a bedroom ) ?

I know the system is "loud" because of the pumps and water flows, but that`s not a problem at all.
System size will be around 6 square meter grow bed area ( media and DWC mix ) with the required FT, filter and sump tank. I guess it has to be on ground floor because of the weight of the system.


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PostPosted: Jan 30th, '17, 03:56 
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My two concerns from personal experiences indoors are:
1. Water. If a catastrophic event occurred when would the water go and what would it damage?
2. Pests. It seems like small pests (aphids, mites, etc) always make it into amateur indoor systems while the larger predators (lady bugs, spiders, praying mantis, etc) can't make it to the system.

If lighting bills don't deter you after addressing first two issues, then go for it! Many people run hydroponic and aquaponic systems indoors, and I'm jealous of their "growing season"- anything you want, year round.

Good luck!

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PostPosted: Jan 30th, '17, 14:54 
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I`m not too worried about water flooding everything, I`m sure I can make this system safe.

Small pests - hopefully i can deal with them using some organic stuffs. Will they go everywhere in the house or they concentrate on the AP greens?

Electricity bill is not a problem, but still I will try to place the grow beds close to big windows with lot of sunshine. I know most of the owners put their system to the basement, but I try to avoid this. Best would be ofc a heated/cooled greenhouse. I may consider that, if I will have a place for it in the garden ( depends on the house we will rent ), but the temp control would be much easier and cheaper inside the house which is well insulated and controlled anyway.

Anything else to think of?


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PostPosted: Jan 30th, '17, 15:42 
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You will need good ventilation to control humidity etc, including fans to provide air movement - this will help prevent diseases like powdery mildew etc and also make your plants grow better (if there's no wind pushing them around apparently many plants just don't bother to grow strong stems and then fall over under their own weight). Ventilation and airflow will also help prevent condensation and mildew on your walls - other posters on this forum have pointed out that this gets much worse if you heat the water without heating the air.

This is definitely doable, especially if you're lucky enough to rent a place with a sunroom or similar! ;D

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PostPosted: Jan 30th, '17, 22:21 
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Guess I will just start my system with a down-scaled baby version. Luckily I designed my system to be able to be easily modified. And if everything goes well, than I can just add the modules I originally wanted.

Good ventilation is a must and it`s good to know that heating the water is not such a good idea. If the air temp is around 22C - 23C all the time in the house, than I don`t think I will need water heating anyway ( the pump will produce a bit, but that`s good ).


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PostPosted: Apr 10th, '17, 20:53 
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Still working on my first system plans, and I have many more questions, but will just ask them one by one I guess :)

Lets see the first one:

1. The growbed and maybe fishtank as well will be made of concrete. Do I need any sort of liners inside, or just leave it plain concrete?


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PostPosted: Apr 10th, '17, 21:32 
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Xtro wrote:
Still working on my first system plans, and I have many more questions, but will just ask them one by one I guess :)

Lets see the first one:

1. The growbed and maybe fishtank as well will be made of concrete. Do I need any sort of liners inside, or just leave it plain concrete?



Hi Xtro,

Welcome to the forum.

Can I just ask why you would make an indoor system out of concrete? :dontknow:

First of all I second Mel's concerns about humidity. It's a huge factor indoors. I've had aquariums for years and something as small as that noticeably increases the humidity in the room.

I would instead go for an outdoors system, covered and with fish that live naturally in your region.
They will be able to handle the temps. I'm betting on Trout, Sturgeon or Catfish for Canada. That does however depend on where in Canada you are and how cold it gets.

Cheers - Jens

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PostPosted: Apr 10th, '17, 21:44 
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Welcome? I`m here for ages! :D

"Can I just ask why you would make an indoor system out of concrete? :dontknow:"

The final system will be commercial size ( like 40 meters long ) dwc bed, so the plastic is not in play, and stainless steel will be very expesive ( specially the welder`s labour ).

I would like to plan the final system, but first just build the 1:10 version of it, but with materials used and setup as close to the final version as possible. I may go for plastic bed and FT for the small one, but still I would like to know how to desing my final system. This will be indoors or maybe in a small attachement, but the final will be in a big greenhouse.

"First of all I second Mel's concerns about humidity."

Good ventillation will be installed including cooling and heating solutions because of the 4 seasons. I would like to keep up production during the winter as much as possible.

"I would instead go for an outdoors system, covered"

In Canada? No outdoor systems will survive in -20C.


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PostPosted: Apr 10th, '17, 22:21 
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Xtro wrote:
Welcome? I`m here for ages! :D

"Can I just ask why you would make an indoor system out of concrete? :dontknow:"

The final system will be commercial size ( like 40 meters long ) dwc bed, so the plastic is not in play, and stainless steel will be very expesive ( specially the welder`s labour ).

I would like to plan the final system, but first just build the 1:10 version of it, but with materials used and setup as close to the final version as possible. I may go for plastic bed and FT for the small one, but still I would like to know how to desing my final system. This will be indoors or maybe in a small attachement, but the final will be in a big greenhouse.

"First of all I second Mel's concerns about humidity."

Good ventillation will be installed including cooling and heating solutions because of the 4 seasons. I would like to keep up production during the winter as much as possible.

"I would instead go for an outdoors system, covered"

In Canada? No outdoor systems will survive in -20C.



All righty, so we have similar plans.

Look up Friendly Aquaponics on the net, if you don't know them already.
They have all the know-how you can dream of.

If you dig your fish tanks into the ground and lay your DWC beds on the ground and cover it all with a double layer polytunnel you can actually keep it above freezing year round with very little heating.
Friendly Aquaponics also has plans showing you how to build an insulated greenhouse.
There are people growing year round in their greenhouses with temps well below -20 in the winter.

In the winter time you will need lights anyway, and they will help somewhat towards heating as well.

Anyway, I'm actually going to build my DWCs out of a coated plywood which is watertight.
Of course all the seams will be caulked, but there will actually not be a liner in the troughs.
They will be very cost efficient and quick/easy to build.

Cheers - Jens

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PostPosted: Apr 10th, '17, 22:49 
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JLCPH wrote:
All righty, so we have similar plans.

Look up Friendly Aquaponics on the net, if you don't know them already.
They have all the know-how you can dream of.



I saw their page, sure they have some information, but for the useful ones you really have to pay. And that`s just one team`s opinion, while here I can get thoughts from different people around the globe.

JLCPH wrote:
If you dig your fish tanks into the ground and lay your DWC beds on the ground and cover it all with a double layer polytunnel you can actually keep it above freezing year round with very little heating.


FT will be raised. GBs will be concrete as in current plans, and no need insulation because I don`t even try outdoor growing in this climate. Greenhouse is the key, with constant temperature.

JLCPH wrote:
There are people growing year round in their greenhouses with temps well below -20 in the winter.


Yes, inside their geenhouses, not outdoors as you wrote before :)

JLCPH wrote:
Anyway, I'm actually going to build my DWCs out of a coated plywood which is watertight.
Of course all the seams will be caulked, but there will actually not be a liner in the troughs.
They will be very cost efficient and quick/easy to build.


What kind of coating will you use? And what size is the growbed?


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PostPosted: Apr 10th, '17, 22:57 
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On this video, it looks like they do not use any kind of coating or liner in the concrete fishtank:

https://www.friendlyaquaponics.com/comm ... reenhouse/


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PostPosted: Apr 11th, '17, 03:27 
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When I wrote outdoors I just meant out of the house. :)

With regards to Friendly AP I get their newsletter where they actually share all of their info except for their drawings and plans. I don't need the blueprints etc.
What I like about them is that they are actually operating an AP farm successfully and sharing their knowledge.

There are no really commercial growers here on BYAP (that I have come across), although there are a lot of very nice people running some quite successful backyard systems to partially feed their family. I applaud that, but just be aware that what works on that scale may not work in a commercial setup.

I will use either a liquid pond liner or aquarium silicone to seal all the seams. The plywood sheets come coated with a kind of film. They are used to build concrete pouring forms for construction. One brand is called Bodex, another is Plyfa. In N. America there's Wisa Plywood. These kinds of plywood for concrete forming are also used by aquarium enthusiasts building large build-in aquariums.

I think I will make 12 meter long by 1,25 meter wide DWCs. Two in each polytunnel with an aisle in the middle.
Tunnels will then be 3 meters wide and 2,2 meters high.
Each polytunnel will have it's own fishtank setup in a separate insulated shelter at one end of the tunnel.
This way I can expand one tunnel at a time and any infestations or illnesses will be isolated to a single tunnel/fish population.

Right now I'm setting up my first 6x3 meter tunnel here in my own garden. This will be a 5000L system to provide food for my family and AP experience for myself. In order to maximize capacity and versatility in this setup I'm making a different kind of system than the one I envisage for my future commercial setup. Again, what works backyard is not necessarily a good idea for a commercial system.

Cheers - Jens

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PostPosted: Apr 11th, '17, 03:41 
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Xtro wrote:
On this video, it looks like they do not use any kind of coating or liner in the concrete fishtank:

https://www.friendlyaquaponics.com/comm ... reenhouse/



I have seen others talk about concrete fish tanks as safe. As I recall you have to let it sit for a while with water in it to leach out the PH buffering components of the concrete. But other than that it's perfectly safe. After all, we use concrete water reservoirs for drinking water all over the world.

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PostPosted: Apr 11th, '17, 12:34 
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JLCPH wrote:
When I wrote outdoors I just meant out of the house. :)


Ahh, ok :)

JLCPH wrote:
With regards to Friendly AP I get their newsletter where they actually share all of their info except for their drawings and plans. I don't need the blueprints etc.
What I like about them is that they are actually operating an AP farm successfully and sharing their knowledge.


Maybe its time for me to subscribe.

JLCPH wrote:
There are no really commercial growers here on BYAP (that I have come across), although there are a lot of very nice people running some quite successful backyard systems to partially feed their family. I applaud that, but just be aware that what works on that scale may not work in a commercial setup.


I won`t ask about commercial stuffs much I guess, just basic aquaponic related questions wich will be the same for backyard AP systems, like the concrete question.

It looks like I will construct the GB from stainless steel, even if its a bit more expensive. Concrete is nice reliable when its done, but any changes will be a nightmare ( like drilling holes for pipes ). Probably the fishtank will still be concrete, I will see.

JLCPH wrote:
Each polytunnel will have it's own fishtank setup in a separate insulated shelter at one end of the tunnel.
This way I can expand one tunnel at a time and any infestations or illnesses will be isolated to a single tunnel/fish population.


Same here. Everything inside the greenhouse, but still will have sections separate, so if anything happens... and I can just start with one, and build more and more units as we grow. I will be able to just extend the greenhouse as well, not a big deal.

Good luck for yours, hopefully we both get up something nice :)

[quote="JLCPH"After all, we use concrete water reservoirs for drinking water all over the world.[/quote]

I know that, but I did not know if they used any coating on the concrete which we cannot see, or used special materials for building a food grade concrete ( like different cement ).

Good thing is that even the plastic fishtanks are quite sturdy and not too expensive, so that is still an option.


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PostPosted: Apr 11th, '17, 16:32 
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I wish you good luck too and hope to see your progress here on the forum!
Both on the small learner system and the big one later on.


Cheers - Jens

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