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PostPosted: May 7th, '18, 15:38 
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I did end up getting a solar water heater. :lol:

Image

Now I just need a good sunny day to find out how well it works! I know it's going to have some effect - I checked while I was messing around trying to get the flow rate correct, and there was a significant difference in temperature between the water in the tank and the water coming out of the heater. The pump for it is on a timer and should be kicking in about when the sun hits the hoop house tomorrow morning, so fingers crossed!

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PostPosted: May 7th, '18, 16:30 
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You are so annoying Mel, show pics like that without the details.... I presume the black thing/stuff is the heater, but them you have pvc pipe behind it, so are they getting heated by the black...??

questions we have so many questions.
V

V

V

V

V

V or maybe I'am just dumb.... :laughing3:

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PostPosted: May 7th, '18, 18:24 
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Hee! No worries Tonzz, the white pipe is just a frame I built; the heater is zip-tied to the sides and each crossbrace. I used 15mm pressure pipe because it's a lot lighter than an equivalent strength frame built out of wood etc. There's wire criss-crossing each section to make it more stable and I also used fishing line to tie on plastic garden mesh, mostly for extra support for the heater panel but it turned out to do a good job of helping stiffen the whole frame. There's a flexible pipe on the right (out of frame) coming up from the pump in the sump tank, and the black pipe on the left that's coming down on an angle from the top of the heater panel is the outlet running into the fish tank. The heater itself is basically a 40mm pipe on each side with a bunch of thin flexible tubes running between them.

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PostPosted: May 7th, '18, 18:32 
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can I ask where you got this from? and not the old...it fell off the back of a truck....................

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PostPosted: May 7th, '18, 18:37 
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*snort* No trucks were involved, it fit very nicely in the back of my car. :P I got it from a place called Hydroquip here in Canberra; they gave me a discount, probably because I made them laugh. (The second time I called them I identified myself by saying "I'm the crazy lady who wants to heat her fishpond".) Also they made me promise to send them photos.

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PostPosted: May 7th, '18, 21:34 
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This is really cool. I can't wait to hear how it works.

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PostPosted: May 8th, '18, 09:35 
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My father in law uses the same solar heater on his roof to add some heat to his swimming pool so you could check pool supply stores but I think they run about $400 here in the US. His last about 5 years with taking it down and putting it up every winter/spring... Might last a little longer if you aren't moving it all the time. I'm planning to build something similar just out of PVC before next winter to see how well it works as well.

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PostPosted: May 10th, '18, 16:59 
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Yesterday was a lovely sunny day and the heater warmed my aquaponics water up to the point where the fish were eating again.

Today was a cold, overcast, intermittently rainy day, with rare spots of sun, and the heater still managed to keep things in the comfortable-for-silver-perch range.

:headbang:

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PostPosted: May 25th, '18, 17:50 
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Update on the solar heater after a couple of weeks: it's a definite success! My water temperature is holding firm in the 16-20 C range, a full five degrees over what I was getting at this time last year (and also five degrees more than what I was getting before installing the heater). The fish aren't eating a lot, but they are eating consistently. :thumbright:

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PostPosted: May 25th, '18, 18:06 
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That's excellent work, I have my system on the western side of a large colorbond shed, can possibly use the roof as the surface if I can scrounge an old solar pool heater element from gumtree or the likes.

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PostPosted: Jun 16th, '18, 17:14 
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AAAAAUUUGH. I have a leak... and it's a bad one. One of my growbeds is cracked. It looks like it's been dripping a little bit for a while (there's algae growing in the depressions on top of my power backup drybox where it's been landing) but got a lot worse recently; I glance under my growbeds as part of my daily maintenance routine to see if there's visible drips etc, and yesterday all was fine, but today there was a big wet area on the concrete.

I've drained that growbed and turned off the water to it, so it's not leaking any more; I wiped off the top of the drybox after I found the algae, then checked again this evening and it's dry, so that's taken care of the immediate issue. Of course, it was the growbed with all the silver beet and my 'pet' chilli plant in it, plus most of my lettuces, not the nearly empty growbed next door. :roll: I've moved the chilli plant over, and some of the other plants, but most of the silver beet is now sitting in a couple of inches of water in the bathtub to keep it happy until we can use it. :lol: My husband's going to make a HUGE spanakopita tomorrow.

The current plan is to finish the plumbing on one of the second rank of growbeds that's been sitting half-built for a year, hook it up, move all the gravel and clay balls over to keep my filtration capacity going, then pull out the cracked growbed and put in a new one. Fingers crossed for it all to go smoothly!

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PostPosted: Jun 16th, '18, 17:54 
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I feel your pain as I had to drain and remove all my plants from my suspected leaky growbed and remove all the media last week- what a PITA, damaged soo many of the plants being silverbeet, lettuce and rainbow chards by snapping the stalks unintentionally.


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PostPosted: Jun 16th, '18, 21:13 
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Oh man that blows! I imagine this happens to all of us, but that's of little consolation I'm sure. Early last year I had to reline all four of our growbeds, doh!
Attachment:
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Homer-aggravation.png [ 60.41 KiB | Viewed 2465 times ]

That's when I realized what a pain it was dealing with non-Hydroton clay pebbles.
Good luck Mel.

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PostPosted: Jun 26th, '18, 18:58 
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Hey Mel,, trust you got the leak fixed and no more emergencies in the lovely weather your having in Canburra, :think:

can you do an update on your solar heater, what improvement during daytime, more important night time temps have they improved?

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PostPosted: Jun 27th, '18, 23:10 
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Hi Tonzz! CanBRRRRa is right; It's frickin' cold and my arthritis has decided to flare, so work on the aquaponics is on hold until I get less creaky. :P Hopefully once I'm fit to work we'll get some warmer weather and I'll be able to get stuff done.

This time last year, my water temperatures were down around 10 C at night, hitting 12-13 C during the day. This was also with the hoop house being much better sealed than it is now; I was getting high 30s and low 40s air temperatures in there during the day if there was any amount of sun. I'm getting half that this year. (New plastic next year, definitely...) My daytime water temperatures had dipped below 16 C for the first time on the ninth of April and bounced between 14-17 C all through April and May. The fish had stopped taking pellets around late May and were just nibbling on the occasional bit of lettuce.

The water heater has made a really obvious difference. I've been getting water temperatures holding steady at 16-17 C at night since I installed it, up until around ten days ago; it's crept down to about 12-13 C at night now thanks to a string of freezing nights and cloudy days. Daytime temperatures held steady at 19-20 C until near the end of May, slid to 18 C until about two weeks ago, and are now down to around 15 C. The fish stopped taking pellets a bit less than a week ago but are still stripping a bunch of greens every two days.

I expect my temperatures to take another dive over the next couple of days because we've got heavy rain and cloud forecast, then we're back to partially cloudy days and freezing nights. We'll see how it goes; if we get even intermittent sun at the right time of days it could bump the temperature back up a couple of degrees.

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