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Thread: Aquaponics - anyone doing it?

  1. #1
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    Default Aquaponics - anyone doing it?

    Went to the Show on Mon and was looking at the glass/green houses and that got me onto hydroponics as Hubby used to have a hydroponics garden before we got married. Last year, at Epcot Centre (part of Disney, http://flic.kr/p/5VWpw3 ) I saw their setup for Aquaponics - the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics for those who don't know. I started doing some research and talked to Hubby last night. All excited now because I have 3 large tanks with inbuilt sumps I have been wondering what to do with (only one being used) and now I have a use for them. Our tentative plans are as follows:

    - cover our unused small shade house frame with heavy plastic. Pros: helps with temp control, evaporation and pest control. Cons: may overheat, therefore need good/regular ventilation
    - set up the old pvc pipes used for hydroponics and plumb together with the tank - tank already has hole in base in the sump part
    - insulate tank to help with heat regulation
    - add the pump and double check all connections
    - install media in the pvc piping and set up the sump with chemical/biological filtration media, fill the tank with water and begin to cycle (also check plumbing for leaks!)
    - decide if we need a heater for the water - info suggests that keeping the temp up to 18-20C min temps is best for beneficial bacteria, and therefore fish and plants
    - add critters - deciding between southern pygmy perch, some form of rainbow species, and/or yabbies/crayfish
    - add seedlings
    - eat!

    Any feedback, input or advice would be great. I will take pic's as we are setting up
    12 tanks of various sizes, trying to cut back. MTS Anonymous Member - down to 7 now

  2. #2
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    Quick update, but no pic's yet.

    Got the plastic to cover the greenhouse we have. Bunnings does a builder's plastic (clear, tough enough for pond liners) that we decided to use - $23 for 10x2m. Also decided to pick up square pvc piping instead of the round that Hubby already had. Hubby said that the round needed a lot more water volume to be able to bring it up to the base of the roots, where the square will use less. We are going to have a constant flow set up as this is the easiest to start with.

    The shade house is only small and I was going to re-arrange the shelving so that the tank would sit at one end, under the shelves. Hubby came up with the much simpler idea of "just put the tank outside the greenhouse". Gee I love an intelligent man! As the tank will be outside the warmth of the glasshouse, I have started to insulate the tank with sheets of styrofoam. One problem there - my chickens eat styrofoam! Have put the styro away until I can get something to cover it so the chickens can't get to it.

    Questions I have come up with:
    - stocking levels, what ratio to use. There seems to be a fine balance between ensuring enough fish to provide enough nutrients for healthy plant growth, and enough plants to clean the water and ensure waste levels don't get too high for the fish. I have been given a rough guide of ~20g fish food (ie enough fish for this amount of food) for 1m square plant growth.
    - how to set up for "backyarders". Heaps of info for big/commercial setups, but I can only find general info for what I want to do, and a lot of it a bit contradictory. Therefore, I will just put in all the details of what Hubby and I have done and we will work it out as we go.

    Mrs D.
    12 tanks of various sizes, trying to cut back. MTS Anonymous Member - down to 7 now

  3. #3
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    Great stuff.

    You'll need to make sure the water is never or minimally exposed to sunlight, or you might get algae issues.
    I'm no expert, but in VIC, you could try Silver Perch or Yellowbelly without a heater, or Jade Perch (Barcoo Grunter) with a heater in winter.

    I'll post a photo of my microscopic aquaponics setup later...

  4. #4
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    Behold, possibly Aquariumlife's smallest aquaponics setup:



    One small tank, HOB filter, heater, guppy fry and friends, 2W power filter with hose connected leading into the top of a peach container. The container...contains, quartz gravel and a Vietnamese mint. Small CFL lights it up. Simple loop siphon from the bottom of the peach container facilitates the flood and ebb cycle. Nitrates significantly down in the first week, without water changes. See how it goes.

  5. #5
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    That's awsome! I never thought of doing it inside. Think I will do my herbs in the kitchen now.

    Mrs D.
    12 tanks of various sizes, trying to cut back. MTS Anonymous Member - down to 7 now

  6. #6
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    Update

    Still have to cover the greenhouse with plastic, still have to insulate the fishtank and cover the insulation to stop the chickens munching. They have already started on the top syro which is why we chucked some old towls accross it to protect it. We decided to start with goldfish as they are pretty hardy and didn't want to kill something while trying to figure out amounts. There are 10 bronze commets in the tank.

    Started with lettuce - looking ok or at least not going more yellow. Water has very slight ammonia and nitrite after running 4 days with fish in. The first pump we selected had a flow rate of 3000lph, but we had chosen it based on the flow rate it was supposed to drop down to with a lift of 1.2M. Hmmmm, still way too much flow! Got a 500lph pump which was supposed to drop down to nothing with a 1M lift and I sure wouldn't want anything higher.



    Any suggestions, comments or thoughts would be great.

    Cheers, Mrs D.
    Last edited by Mrs Dragon; 13-10-11 at 05:58 AM. Reason: added wrong pic
    12 tanks of various sizes, trying to cut back. MTS Anonymous Member - down to 7 now

  7. #7
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    I have a small pilot/trial system using an old bath and 200l blue plastic barrel cut in half for the grow bed.
    I have found this site to be very helpfull, they are one of the pioneers of aquaponics
    http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/

  8. #8
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    You need to look at KenR60's setup... on second thought it might not be a good idea unless you plan to loose half the outdoor area

  9. #9
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    I've got a axoltol tank that has a built in trickle filter in the hood, and I grow peace lilies in the filter itself. It works wonders in keeping the water free of nitrates and even ammonia too. I'm starting to wonder what else I can grow in the hood now. I originally started as I was having some water chemistry issues as they are carnivores and I read a few articles about plant filtration, so I tried it and now I have no detectible ammonia or nitrite at all.

  10. #10
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    So, how's this going!?

  11. #11
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    Sorry Jake, finally got around to updating and posting pic.

    12 tanks of various sizes, trying to cut back. MTS Anonymous Member - down to 7 now

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by yotis View Post
    You need to look at KenR60's setup... on second thought it might not be a good idea unless you plan to loose half the outdoor area
    Thanks Alex, I'm preparing for my Next project, Above Ground Growout Ponds for my Fry ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Dragon View Post
    Sorry Jake, finally got around to updating and posting pic.
    Looking Good, let me know if you have any questions on the Aquaponics ;-) Mine allows up to 140 Vegi's at a time ... Replacing the Hundreds of Goldfish and Hundreds of other Fish for about 600 to 700 Perch should be a Better Eye Catcher feeding the fish ;-)
    Brisbane Kennel Builder
    www.buildmykennel.com

  13. #13
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    would love an update on this. Have you expanded it at all?

    Cheers
    "I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it."

  14. #14
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    My mate and me have put alot of funds into two 1000L tanks, will silver perch and bass in one and rainbow trout in one, we have two grow beds, with Veges in them will chuck up photos next time I go to his house.
    35L Dragon Stone Jungle
    140L Planted Fallen Tree

  15. #15
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    I run it DIY aquaponic using Mint herb in a goldfish tank. Light comes directly from window and hits the herbs, not the fish tank so no extra algae growth.

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