Aquaponic Gardening

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Hello friends,

 

I am trying to find an alternative to polystyrene floating raft beds and am curious if anybody on here can point me in the right direction.  I remember seeing a youtube video months ago where some people were using raft beds that appeared to be made out of plastic and fit together almost like a puzzle in an interlocking fashion.  These seem ideal and I would love to find some for a closer inspection.   Any information or help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

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steve, it's hard to find alternative, non-plastic materials for this, but it is possible to build racks (submerged or non) for non-floating rafts to rest on, and ride down. If you use a rack or rail system like this you can use boards or any other rigid material for your "raft."
I was just thinking how a fixed height rail would not allow the raft with plant roots to stay in contact with the water as levels fluctuate.  But then I realized that most folks take measures to make sure the water level stays consistent (float valve in a make-up tank) and that a fixed height might actually benefit the plants if there were some minor fluctuation in water level as it would create a small air space between the 'raft' and water.  Maybe floating on top of the water is not so important.
suspending the cover above the water is also a means of getting more air/water contact which does help for aeration.
Cork?

TCLynx said:
suspending the cover above the water is also a means of getting more air/water contact which does help for aeration.
Cork might work to float as a raft but I doubt it would be sturdy enough to suspend on the top edges of the bed.
yes, as a raft

TCLynx said:
Cork might work to float as a raft but I doubt it would be sturdy enough to suspend on the top edges of the bed.
Just had a thought on the cork, it has antibacterial properties so I think one would want to make sure the system had additional bio-filter so as not to depend on the underside surface of the raft for bio-filtration since I don't know how strong the anti-bacterial properties of the cork are.  (kinda like oak cutting boards killing bacteria.)
ummmmmm  having problems with plants to heavey and sinking the floats?  just get your used plastic water bottles and place them under the raft.
i was thinking along those lines too....especially for a third-world setup.  sort of like pontoon boats.

The water bottles would work but being round are hard to keep in place under the rafts.  I've used milk jugs until they start to leak.  Doing the pontoons I did find challenging since when the plants were small the floats held the raft too high and the plants didn't touch the water and then as they grow it can be challenging to place the floats under the raft.  It can work but getting it all balanced and floating even is tricky.

 

Don't wear lotions, sunscreen, bug spray or other products when you will be sticking you arm up to the shoulder into system water which is what you wind up doing when trying to place floats under a 32" by 48" raft.

Good post! I was really looking for this kind of stuff. This post saved me a lot of time looking around. I would like to thank you all for sharing great information.

 

pleatco filter | filbur filter | darlly filter

The idea sounds simple (but i haven't tried it so i could be missing something), but i would just coat the rafts with a thick layer of hot wax and let it dry.  This will give the raft buoyancy, and protect toxins inherent in the rafts from leaching into the h2o.This way you should be able to use any material such as Styrofoam or polystrene.  I read about this idea somewhere on this site a while ago, and it is what im going to try to use in the raft system im building.  Hope this helps.

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