Aquaponic Gardening

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Hello All,

I'm about to launch into building my AP system here in Phoenix AZ.  

Here is my current system design.

I'd really value any input, comments, criticisms and suggestions before I take the plunge.

The fish tank will be sunk into the ground by 12-14".

 

Regards,

John

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Sounds like good advice TC.

Because of the size of the fish tank I'll use the PVC on it.   If I have problems with the PVC on the grow bed I'll spring for the EPDM, since the grow bed needs a lot smaller liner than my massive fish tank.

 

Thanks again,

John

TCLynx said:

what purpose is the liner going to be put to?  If it's fish and plant safe I wouldn't be too worried about it though flexible PVC liner probably has some materials in it (that though they may still get a food grade stamp many people don't want them touching their food.)

 

What I will warn you about is that PVC often gets brittle in the sun and with age that could be worse.  How heavy duty is the liner?  Will you be making gravel beds out of it or just the fish tank or raft beds?  I might trust lighter duty liner to do raft beds or fish tanks where only water will be wearing on it but if making gravel beds, go for the EPDM.

With a 500 gallon fish tank (even if you are not going to be stocking it fully) I would still say you want to move at least the volume of your fish tank each hour.

The Quiet One 3000 will probably manage this pumping constantly but upsizing the pump by a little bit is often a really good idea to allow for future expansion so I would perhaps recommend the Quiet One 4000 (that is just me, I like to move a lot of water and have the flexibility to add on things without having to buy another pump, extra flow can always be sprayed back into the fish tank for aeration.)

6x4 x 1 x 7.33 = 176 gallons x 60% = 106 gallons ?
not sure if by not putting bell siphons in middle of bed that you might have a problem down the road.
John Malone said:

Hello TC,

Thanks for the advice.   I think I'll go ahead with the Home Depot liner.  Being fish safe and plant safe has got to be a good start.

As far as your questions re the pump, here are my specs.

1) 500 gallon fish tank.    It's dramatically over sized for what I need but I'm trying to have a large thermal bank to try and offset the weather here in Phoenix.  From what I've read the larger the water volume the more stable the system.

2) Pumping height will be between 2 and 3 feet, depending on the height of the water in the fish tank.

3) I intend to be pumping constantly.

 

Other useful information.

Grow bed size : 6'x4'x1' = 360 gallons which will be about 144 gallons of water when full, assuming void space of gravel at 40%.

Initially only one grow bed, but hope to expand to two down the road.

 

Thanks very much for your input.

John

I usually just figure 50% to make the math easier

Hello Jon,

Woops - that's what comes from not reading my notes.  Long term plan is for two of the 6x4x1 grow beds which works out at 180 total volume each so combined 360 gallons.

 

Thanks for pointing that out.

This Aussie struggles when not dealing with the metric system. 

John

 

 

Jon Nose said:

6x4 x 1 x 7.33 = 176 gallons x 60% = 106 gallons ?
not sure if by not putting bell siphons in middle of bed that you might have a problem down the road.

 

 

I've been debating in my head about the location of the bell siphon and can't come to a satisfactory conclusion.   

My current thought it to have the inflow at one end of the bed and the siphon at the other so that there's fewer dead spots in the bed.

Given that idea, I'm now trying to decide which end I should put the 'in' and which I should put the 'out'.  The deciding factor that I don't know is whether it's better to have the water pumped further, or will the siphon work just fine with a longer outflow pipe.

 

Oh - just to clear things up.  My first build will not have the swirl filter and will only have one grow bed.  The diagram at the start of this thread is the long, long term plan, which may, or may not come to fruition.

 

Any thoughts?

Cheers,

John

Probably easier to have the siphon over the tank it's draining into.  Long drain lines on siphons can sometimes cause issues.

 

As for pumping.  If you pump directly up to the max pumping height through oversized pipe and then branch off and let the water flow to where it needs to go pumping to the far ends of the grow beds.

Thanks.

So my original design will stay as it is, minus the swirl filter and the second grow bed for the time being.

I really do appreciate the feedback.

Cheers,

John

TCLynx said:

Probably easier to have the siphon over the tank it's draining into.  Long drain lines on siphons can sometimes cause issues.

 

As for pumping.  If you pump directly up to the max pumping height through oversized pipe and then branch off and let the water flow to where it needs to go pumping to the far ends of the grow beds.

Still playing with mine so my experience is limited .. so having given my disclaimer :) ... I have 3 x 8 growbeds which is the same square footage as yours ... i put mine in the middle and after playing with the bell siphon exit for a while have not had any problems since ... but all kind of factors come into play ... how fast the water comes in etc ... and having set up 4  3 x 8 tables so far I found that they all had their own temperaments .. kinda like have four mistresses but all have slightly different preferences  :)
I just ordered some rubber liner and some bulkhead fittings for a grow bed from watergarden.com.... good prices and the cheapest shipping i found. They sell by the foot so you don't over pay for something you don't need. I have heard that rubber isn't good for the fish tank because Tilapia will eat away at it.

if it is EPDM firestone pond guard liner, tilapia are not gonna eat it, catfish are not gonna poke through it with their barbs.

 

I have had termites put holes in a rubber liner that was up against non treated wood.  I've also had liner develop a leak up against treated wood but never had a fish do damage to a EPDM pondliner.

Arrrggghh!

Isn't it always the way?   I just finished digging an 18" deep hole for my 6'x4' fish tank,  bought the liner and the pump and then found out that we'll probably be moving in a month.  And this is in Arizona where you don't dig a hole, you deconstruct the rocks!   It's going to be a real shame to shovel all that dirt back into the hole. :(

*Sigh*

I'll NEVER get myself an AP system at this rate!

 

OK - Rant over.

Thanks for all the advice here.  I'm learning lots.

John

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