Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Hi folks, here are some photos of the progress of our greenhouse build. We went with 8x15 because anything over 120sq' requires a permit within Sacramento city limits, and we wanted to keep our first foray into aquaponics relatively small.

So far We have the 4x4 "foundation" square and level, roughly 50% of the excess dirt from within the foundation has been removed, and when not digging I've been working on stands/cradles for the growing beds.

Once all the earth moving is complete, we'll tamp it down, lay down some weed barrier. and pack the inside of the foundation box with gravel.

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@TCLynx: There is about a 1" fall across the length of the patio where this sits, and I added roughly 1/2" when I mounted the pipe to the structure. In all honesty, despite checking the flow rate of the pipe prior to its selection, I still wasn't sure it would keep up. Fortunately it worked great the first time I positioned it, my educated guess worked out.

Thanks folks, I've put a fair amount of thought behind most components of the system, and it is extremely satisfying to have them come together and work as I imagined they would.

I do what I can to be more consistent with updates in the future.

Well, as fall settles in here in Sacramento, I'm faced with two options. First being to bust my arse, spend time and money I don't really have, and get my system up and running before the weather turns on me. Second, mothball my system until weather and finances improve at the end of winter. Wouldn't be losing much by mothballing other than the water in my sump.

Thoughts?

How bad are the winters there?  If you have water flowing and the winters don't freeze everything solid, you can probably run the system fishless through the winter to grow kale and broccoli and other things that don't mind cold, just have to make sure you won't be having freezing pipes.

Not cold enough to freeze if the water is moving. I might just do that. Just trying to prioritize all the projects I have going right now, aquaponic and otherwise.

Well if your winters are not cold enough to freeze, there are fish out there that could be overwintered too, they might not eat much through winter but catfish and bluegill can survive cold as well as hot.  Or for cool areas people do Trout over the cool season and leave the system fishless for the hot part of summer.  Trout require really good filtration and lots of it since you are putting the heaviest load on the system during the cool months when the bacteria is not at it's peak.

Of course if wanting to leave a system as low key as possible, a hand full of goldfish are hard to beat.

just wanted to thank you for all the updates and pics-  I'm working on my greenhouse to house my future aquaponic project, and thanks to your pictures, i have a lot more ideas.

 

Flattered I was able to give you some ideas Mikio. In retrospect I could've plumbed the pump directly to the main line, eliminating the water tower altogether. The tradeoff would be running the pump full time instead of it cycling on and off automatically as needed to fill the tower.Because I'm currently running fishless, I have the pump on a timer, running during the day, off at night.

I'm keeping the tower for now. I plan on doing an old-timey water tower facade around the HDPE barrel when all is said and done, mostly because I think it would look neat.

Guess who is back?

As of a few weeks ago my system is plumbed, up and running, with plants sprouting. There are a few loose ends to tie up, but I feel they are minor. I have four beds which are empty, and one of the two tanks has yet to receive fish. I may be rescuing some Koi from a friend who is moving to resolve the latter, two of the four empty beds were only installed a short time ago, the other two receive the least light of any of the remaining beds, hence leaving them for last.

The relocation to the back patio proved more challenging to plumb than anticipated. I designed the system to operate in a specific area on level ground and dealing with less room on a sloped concrete slab threw a wrench in those works. The major difference was the drains from the fish tanks. Because of the slope and the very small height difference between the tanks and the sump I had to run a seriously overkill dual 2" drain (from tank to sump). However for my first foray into aquaponics, I'm damn pleased with the results. lots of photos to follow later this evening.

1    I have crayfish in two areas, 1 fish tank.  Anything that is green and goes into the water the crayfish will eat.

2.  I have crayfish in a raft system, they do not seem to eat the roots.   So that seems to work ok.

3.  Crayfish are escape artist and sometime a PIA, can 't wait for first crayfish boil!

Paul Trudeau said:

crawdads I've kept have always eaten any vegetation that was in the tank.  that said, haven't tried them with duckweed...I'm sure others have more experience than me to rely on.

Fishy McFisherson said:

thinking of doing a slow moving shallow tank below the other grow beds to act as a sump/duckweed pond/crayfish/freshwater prawn tank. Anone have thoughts on this?

 

the new location doesn't allow for any sunlight I had in mind for the sump, so I'm no longerworried about the crayfish eating anything, as I don't intend on growing in the sump anymore.

Press on Fishy! 

determination and persistence will overcome everything

And where determination and persistence don't quite cut it, a chain saw may get you more light when applied to the things blocking the light.

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