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 Post subject: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 4th, '18, 04:55 
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Hello everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve been here as I’ve been studiously converting from scientist to high school agriculture teacher.

I’ve been on the job for one week and 2 days now and thought it was high time I enter the school into the world of aquaponics.

Problem is, I work at a state school so I’m conscious of money.

I’m hoping to use a simple system to teach year 11 about animal production and interactions on a farm (they’ve apparently already done horticulture).

Each 'system' consists of one bucket (or 1/2 blue barrel), water, fish, some media (at the bottom of the bucket to house the bacteria) and an air stone per bucket (one large air pump overall). I drew a pic but can't add it :dontknow: The plants sit on top of the waterline jammed into a polystyrene sheet. The buckets will be kept under shelter so we can monitor the exact water input. We're going to grow lettuce. I would keep stocking density extremely low (1-2 small fish per bucket) to avoid fluctuations in ammonia/pH etc.

It would be constant flood but I’m hoping the air stone would keep up the oxygen saturation in the water enough that the plants don’t develop root rot. My only issue is that plants may have their roots eaten by fish so I’d hope to overcome that by placing them in pots filled with media and jamming them into the polystyrene float (might sink?).

I’d really appreciate any feedback because I’m about to order the supplies. I like this simple system because I can afford one system per student so they can be accountable for it.

(PS I've asked the students to start researching using this forum, you may meet them here!)

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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 4th, '18, 10:42 
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If you are going to use barrels, why don't you do something like in the pic below.

There's 45l of gravel in the GB. It can sustain 6x 10-12cm Shubunkins, which provide more than enough nutrient for the GB filled with leafy greens, ie: Lettuce, Asian greens, Coriander, Spring onions etc. Plus, no issues with the fish chewing on the roots.


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Perth Aquaponics - Customers Single Barrel System.jpg
Perth Aquaponics - Customers Single Barrel System.jpg [ 103.13 KiB | Viewed 1029 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 4th, '18, 11:51 
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what holds the media in the growbed? I'm just thinking of the cost to be honest. I have around 16 students to buy for so every little bit counts. How big a pump would I need? Would I still need an airstone in each? Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 4th, '18, 12:49 
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should be wholesalers, manufacturers around your area that would have suitable plastic blue drums.

Talk to greenshed people about sponsoring/supplying quality paint to improve the aesthetics and even providing plants,

local landscaping supplies for PH quality gravel.

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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 4th, '18, 13:16 
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the barrels I can source, but I'm unclear of how the division to keep the media where it is would be constructed.

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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 4th, '18, 14:40 
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This pic will give a clearer pic of how it's constructed. It's a 190L olive barrel with the top cut and flipped.

An AquaPro AP550 pump, or similar, will do the job in the single barrel system.

If you have a number of systems to build and have access to Scoria in your area then you could buy it in bulk. Landscape suppliers over here usually sell gravel etc by the bucket load, ie: 2x bobcat buckets per 6x4 trailer, and you can usually buy just one bucket load. I wouldn't use blue metal in this system, too heavy.


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Perth Aquaponics Twin Barrel System - Shelter Station Belmont - Resize.jpg
Perth Aquaponics Twin Barrel System - Shelter Station Belmont - Resize.jpg [ 139.62 KiB | Viewed 1004 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 4th, '18, 15:48 
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Thanks mr damage they look really neat too!

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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 4th, '18, 16:24 
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... :thumbright:

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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 13th, '18, 07:19 
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If you add a venturi to the water pump you won't need an airstone. You can aerate with just a water pump and save alot of cash.


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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 14th, '18, 13:34 
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>> an air stone per bucket (one large air pump overall)

As these are presumably multiple for a number of students - then you can make use of the 'large air' and run airlift style fountains, adds a physics and STEM element to the exercise.. google for various 'airlift fountain' and 'airlift pump' info and it would allow simple air feeds to each drum/bucket. Once you nail something that works it will be fairly easy to make for students out of PVC and much cheaper than individual mechanical/electrical pumps (that have safety issues etc in school environments).


>> If you add a venturi to the water pump you won't need an airstone. You can aerate with just a water pump and save a lot of cash.

but he still needs a pump of some form.... and if he has a circulating flow he doesn't need a venturi..

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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 14th, '18, 15:25 
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Not sure you could get a simple airlift to lift sufficient water that high Darren (interesting exercise though). Possibly small cheap 12v brushless pumps would solve the safety issues.
I was sure someone used to make those systems out of blue barrels and worked at the BYAP shop ? Nate.

BTW I had to google STEM; pity they didn't call it PISS ( Practical Integrated Science Studies). :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 14th, '18, 19:25 
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>> Possibly small cheap 12v brushless pumps would solve the safety issues.

yep I did wonder about the host of $20 Amazon pumps, but then wondered about the safety aspect within school environment and power cords etc.

You can lift that height quite easily with air and 15-25mm pipe, the drum depth is favorable (the ratio of water depth to lift is a factor in flow) and lift is only around 0.4m from the water level to top media. These are pretty efficient for small lifts like this and often power consumption is less than equivalent cheap pump.

also I suspect these would be a pretty low level circulation, with minimal stocking.

yep - STEM is the teachers (+Government and universities influencing down to schools) acronym for getting kids to do science, technology, maths, engineering... often there is funding/grant options for it.

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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 14th, '18, 20:19 
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An air-lift pump in each barrel would be easy to create.
Attachment:
aquaponics-hydroponic-gardening.jpg
aquaponics-hydroponic-gardening.jpg [ 45.16 KiB | Viewed 785 times ]

This way you would need one air pump only to drive all the air-lift pumps. Move water and aerate at the same time.
Brian

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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 15th, '18, 06:43 
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Is there any reason why I would need water circulation if I have decent aeration?

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 Post subject: Re: Bucket Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 15th, '18, 08:21 
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If the water is not fed through the bio-filter (media&plants) the fish will over pollute their own water with ammonia via their excrement and die.
The bacteria in the bio-filter will convert the ammonia to nitrates (once "cycled") which the plants will consume.

Some of the floating muck will go with the water and end up in the bottom of the grow bed GB. That is ok as it will form a nutrient bank for plants to use when nutrient levels in the water become less available. The heavier waste will sink to the bottom of the the fish tank FT, be stirred up but eventually needs to be vacuumed out to help prevent diseases forming.

I'd go with the 12v system for safety and also the scoria as it is not as easy to spill or roll around on hard surfaces and is a lot cheaper.

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