Aquaponic Gardening

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I relocated to Arizona where the summer days are around 110 F and the evenings don't get below 85 F. I am trying to come up with a cooling system I can use for my tank.  I had a successful system when I was in the mountains of Calif. Huge temp difference.  What can I do to keep the temp down in the summer?

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Mark

If you protect your tank from direct sunlight, you should need no cooling if stocked with Tilapia. If I stock with Goldfish, I place an 18" fan to blow over the water surface to increase evaporation which in turn lowers the temperature usually to less than 85 Deg F.

My challenge is keeping winter water temp at or above 55 Deg F. I use a home brewed PVC Manifold to mount 4-6 Aquarium heaters in my 700 gallon Stock tank which has a 2" foam cover.

I have had Tilapia in my box tank for about 3 years - got about 20 fingerlings July 2012. I know they are happy - I have had multiple generations...

My main worry was keeping them warm in the winter. I built a tank using 4x4's for posts and 2x10 slotted in. It's a 4'W x 4'L x2'H 200 gallon tank with a 100 gallon filter/overflow section. Before I put the liner in, I lined the bottom and walls with 1.5" foam sheets. The tank is shaded by a big Mulberry tree in the summer, no leaves in the winter. Water circulation uses a 620 gph pump from Harbor Freight that sprays through a set of pipes with small holes drilled in them for aeration.

During this (and last) winter, I had 2 - 300W heaters running. This year - my electronic data logging system recorded a high of 76 degrees F and a low of 73 degrees F and adding water barely made a blip. I kept another few sheets of styro on the top during the nights to keep in the heat. Here's my blog on this tank build-out... Box Tank

Tim

Your solution sounds like it's doing the job. How many hours a day are your heaters running?

I have a 700 Gallon main tank with un-insulated sides. The bottom sits on a 12" sand base. I use a 2" foam cover and heat only between the hours of 09:00 PM to 09:00 Am with about 1200 Watts and its thermostat controlled for 70 degrees. at lower extreme OAT my water will get close to 60 Degrees.



Tim Graber said:

I have had Tilapia in my box tank for about 3 years - got about 20 fingerlings July 2012. I know they are happy - I have had multiple generations...

My main worry was keeping them warm in the winter. I built a tank using 4x4's for posts and 2x10 slotted in. It's a 4'W x 4'L x2'H 200 gallon tank with a 100 gallon filter/overflow section. Before I put the liner in, I lined the bottom and walls with 1.5" foam sheets. The tank is shaded by a big Mulberry tree in the summer, no leaves in the winter. Water circulation uses a 620 gph pump from Harbor Freight that sprays through a set of pipes with small holes drilled in them for aeration.

During this (and last) winter, I had 2 - 300W heaters running. This year - my electronic data logging system recorded a high of 76 degrees F and a low of 73 degrees F and adding water barely made a blip. I kept another few sheets of styro on the top during the nights to keep in the heat. Here's my blog on this tank build-out... Box Tank


I have the thermostats on the heaters set at about 75 degrees, so they come on when needed, however, I have found that the older the heater, the less efficient they are and the internal thermostats aren't really good. The heaters are $50 each and some years I find they just burn out. I can't really justify the expensive ones because I have seen reviews that they don't last that long either. I haven't started electric usage monitoring yet, so I don't know exactly when they come on. However, that will be another sensor I add to the mix later on this year.

When I would feed the fish in the winter, the water steamed like a sauna when I took the cover off. Those fish never knew a cold day.

Ultimately, my plan is to set up a 2-3000 gallon grow out tank and will probably need to employ a solar water heater to keep things stable during the cold days. One thing I can confirm is that the larger the body of water you have, the more stable the overall temperature - as long as you are not running it through another system that cools it too quickly such as constant flow pipes - a raft system has a much better chance of stability.

I have also got a tank made from an old refrigerator that circulates through a set of 5 gallon buckets. The fish tank part holds at most 75 gallons. I put a liner in the fridge and the freezer. The fridge overflows to the freezer section where I have bamboo growing and then another pump runs from the sump to the buckets. It is on a cheap timer until I put together a more sophisticated controller - really, it's just a proof of concept system for my electronics monitoring. I am sampling every five minutes to a SQL database. You can see the bucket temperature in yellow - when the pump starts, the temp moves right up to the water temp in the refrigerator and when it shuts off, it drops down again, and since things have started warming up, sometimes the temp bumps up. The other parameters I am measuring (but not on this chart) is ambient light and humidity. I've moved to a completely new sensing network, so I am really excited to see how things go this summer. My next part is water level measurement in the sump overflow of both my box tank and refrigerator tank. During the summer, I get more evaporation than any other time - I've only lost one pump in four years due to a lack of water in the sump. When I had barrels set up in the tent, I had ultrasonic sensors measuring water levels so as the siphons would trigger - I could see the flood and drain cycles and know if one of the barrels was having problems. I also had a sensor in my sump barrel. The plan is - after I get water level sensing, I will program in active alarming, so I can find out quickly if something is going wrong.


Robert Rowe said:

Tim

Your solution sounds like it's doing the job. How many hours a day are your heaters running?

I have a 700 Gallon main tank with un-insulated sides. The bottom sits on a 12" sand base. I use a 2" foam cover and heat only between the hours of 09:00 PM to 09:00 Am with about 1200 Watts and its thermostat controlled for 70 degrees. at lower extreme OAT my water will get close to 60 Degrees.



Tim Graber said:

I have had Tilapia in my box tank for about 3 years - got about 20 fingerlings July 2012. I know they are happy - I have had multiple generations...

My main worry was keeping them warm in the winter. I built a tank using 4x4's for posts and 2x10 slotted in. It's a 4'W x 4'L x2'H 200 gallon tank with a 100 gallon filter/overflow section. Before I put the liner in, I lined the bottom and walls with 1.5" foam sheets. The tank is shaded by a big Mulberry tree in the summer, no leaves in the winter. Water circulation uses a 620 gph pump from Harbor Freight that sprays through a set of pipes with small holes drilled in them for aeration.

During this (and last) winter, I had 2 - 300W heaters running. This year - my electronic data logging system recorded a high of 76 degrees F and a low of 73 degrees F and adding water barely made a blip. I kept another few sheets of styro on the top during the nights to keep in the heat. Here's my blog on this tank build-out... Box Tank

@Tim Graber

Tim, I think you and I are on a similar path. I live in the North Mountain area. I would like to talk to you to compare notes. You appear to be ahead of me on some things. I am computer literate(Technical) and would like to control my system via a lap top. If interested my mobile is 602-799-7208

Bob Rowe

Tim Graber said:

I have had Tilapia in my box tank for about 3 years - got about 20 fingerlings July 2012. I know they are happy - I have had multiple generations...

My main worry was keeping them warm in the winter. I built a tank using 4x4's for posts and 2x10 slotted in. It's a 4'W x 4'L x2'H 200 gallon tank with a 100 gallon filter/overflow section. Before I put the liner in, I lined the bottom and walls with 1.5" foam sheets. The tank is shaded by a big Mulberry tree in the summer, no leaves in the winter. Water circulation uses a 620 gph pump from Harbor Freight that sprays through a set of pipes with small holes drilled in them for aeration.

During this (and last) winter, I had 2 - 300W heaters running. This year - my electronic data logging system recorded a high of 76 degrees F and a low of 73 degrees F and adding water barely made a blip. I kept another few sheets of styro on the top during the nights to keep in the heat. Here's my blog on this tank build-out... Box Tank



Bob,

Would love to chat... I will call you on Monday afternoon  - 4/25 - if that works for you.

Tim

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