Aquaponic Gardening

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Greetings, all!  My wife and I have finally started building our garage aquaponics system!  :D  We're planning on using two 55 gallon drums, one as our fishtank and the other as our growbeds.  Our ideal location for this project is our attached two-car garage; the layout of our yard and existing landscaping makes it difficult to put up a tasteful looking greenhouse outside.  I realize that our ideal location isn't the same thing as nature's ideal location... given the brutal humidity we get in the summers, I am wondering if a 50 pint-per-day dehumidifier mounted near a window for drainage will be adequate to the task of saving our garage from rotting away.   What are your thoughts?  

 

Attached is a picture of what we've accomplished so far.  We plan to hang the lights from the brackets they're currently sitting on in the picture, and put the cords in conduit.

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Is it possible to seal off the grow area with something like panda poly?  That would allow us to use a more efficient dehumidifier.  Or is it best to dehumidify the whole garage as per the original plan?

Hi Gavin,

There are many past discussions on this subject around the site. Try poking around(you can use the search bar at top left hand) and you're sure to find something like this   http://aquaponicscommunity.com/forum/topics/my-indoor-system

My initial thought seeing the lights is "YOU WILL NEED MORE"

unless you really like watercress.

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss watercress :P  According to wikipedia it's quite the superfood: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watercress#Health_benefits_and_cancer_...

In all seriousness, though, I totally agree:  I do need more lights.  I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better to add an HPS lamp or two.  I'm worried about heating and ducting issues, though.  Like you said elsewhere, pulling in outside air is great, except down here in the south with our 80-90 percent humidity.

 
TCLynx said:

My initial thought seeing the lights is "YOU WILL NEED MORE"

unless you really like watercress.

An older gentleman that works at a local greenhouse in my area known as "the pond cowboy"said it like this, if you think you need a 4 by 4 foot growbed double it because you will be glad you did later on.  I started with a small inside grow system and I see why he's saying that. Plants need space and growbeds quickly fill up when using AP growing methods. 

 I need more growing space!! You look like you have a nice area to produce some product Gavin. Learn alot for all the skilled AP'ers on this site and I look forward to seeing your progress!!

True that.  It'd be nice to squeeze a few more golden beets and basil plants in per harvest, that's for sure :D  At this point, having weighed the costs of setting up a proper grow room to the small amount of money the tiny system could either bring in or save us, I am tempted to go back to the drawing board and use the existing equipment out of doors during the warmer months.

 

Update on materials:  Ordered a 400watt Sunsystem 2 Metal Halide with a Hortilux MH bulb, a 10'x100' roll of panda poly, and a handful of heavy-duty timers for the lights.

 

Next up, fire suppression!

Pics to follow once all the new equipment is in.

Jonathan Farrand said:

An older gentleman that works at a local greenhouse in my area known as "the pond cowboy"said it like this, if you think you need a 4 by 4 foot growbed double it because you will be glad you did later on.  I started with a small inside grow system and I see why he's saying that. Plants need space and growbeds quickly fill up when using AP growing methods. 

 I need more growing space!! You look like you have a nice area to produce some product Gavin. Learn alot for all the skilled AP'ers on this site and I look forward to seeing your progress!!

The garage system may be a good place for getting all your seedlings started through winter to plant out in spring.

A small window airconditioner for summer time would serve as a dehumidifier and would keep the garage cooler, I would get the smallest unit for it.

A dehumidifier for winter would keep your humidity down while supplying some heat of about 500 watts per hr.

A fan mounted in the wall or window would also keep the humidity down.

Also remember that the halogen light will turn about 90% of the watts consumed into heat.

Be careful covering the walls with plastic since walls have to breathe, covering the walls with plastic could make it even worse.

Humidifiers are rated in BTU's, that is what you have to look at. The same BTU humidifier could hold 20 quarts or 50 quarts, but it does not indicate how much moister is removed per hr. Also if the humidifier is rated / consumes  500 watts, these 500 watts will be given off as heat into the air.

I agree that is humid in North Carolina spring time until about June -July and then is will be dryer unless it rains. Then in the fall it will be humid again until it is getting cold or it freezes.

Now that the craziness at work and the temperatures here have died down a bit, I'm back at this project like a fiend! :D  I am wondering about my ventilation options.  The growing space is 765 cubic feet.

 

The smallest air conditioner I can find locally is 5,000 btu, with an advertised *max* airflow of 120 cubic feet per minute.  I don't know exactly how high the a/c will have to be turned up to keep the plants alive when the heat picks up so I have no idea what the actual airflow rate will be.  When selecting my exhaust fan, what airflow rate should I be looking for?  120 cubic feet per minute?  Slightly more? Slightly less?  One website I visited suggesting dividing the total cubic feet by 5, so that leaves 153.

 

Maybe I'm overthinking this... attached is a picture of the grow area.  The walls aren't up yet, but it's basically window-to-window and all the way up to the ceiling (I want to go vertical! :D)

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perhaps overthinking a bit (at least among people who don't have much experience with "grow rooms") If you want people who can give you good number recommendations for air flow and stuff you might have to venture into a hydroponic or indoor grow room type of forum and then the thinking will have numbers to make it sane.

 

I would probably say get a little AC unit if you think you need it.  A box fan to mount in the wall for ventilaiton if you need it (an extra box fan around the house is not likely to be a bad thing anyway.)  And the primary thing I think you need for air movement/ventilation in any indoor plant set up is an oscillating fan since the plant need some variation in the breezes to help develop nice strong stems and those same breezes can sometimes also help foil pests.

How is your framework setup? How much water surface is presented to the air? Do you have covers on your FT and ST to control vanishing?

I have a rack AP framework in my lounge area for tilapia sear, however, I live in AZ where mugginess isn't an issue. Be that as it may, I structured my framework to have almost no "untamed water" to lessen the sound, however, I would think it significantly affects vanishing. My FTs and ST have tight tops with a little feed bring forth, max GB water level underneath the outside of media, and DWC beds likewise have tight-fitting tops. When I complete the last stage to again incorporate the 40g reproducer tank, it also will have a top. Altogether, I have 2x 27g "stuff box" FT, 1x 27g ST, and around 20 sq ft of developing the region, with one 900gph siphon. It's as boisterous as a little tabletop wellspring when running (on a clock), quiet when off (runs 30 min/off 120). That, yet I just need to include 2-3 gallons of a top off every week. I'll post pics when I complete the last stage soon (stage #284, yet who's checking), which incorporates a 40g glass reproducer, +15 sq ft develop bed and 3 dutch cans. I at last just completely improved my filtration, expelling the little RFF and MBBR after enough disappointment with releases (no Bueno in the lounge area).

What do you accomplish for lighting in the carport? I'm utilizing both LED and T5, yet the T5 bulbs appear to pass on at an uneconomical rate contrasted with the LED. Furthermore, they get hot, without dynamic cooling. Despite the fact that the purple shading isn't excessively engaging, and can appear from the control (I'm not developing medication!), I figure I will stick to LED, and conceivably plan my own water cooled units (heat traded with FT)

I have a major BYAP framework outside, however, the sun and warmth are really fierce here. In addition, I appreciate the vegetation in the house, and it coordinates my nerdy character. I simply wish I didn't need to pay for lighting inside!

I would prescribe you Get a dehumidifier and add a hose to deplete outside or down a story channel (most are set up for one as of now, yet the crimped minimal white plastic hoses suck... I utilize a clothes washer supply hose) so it won't top off and quit constantly.

You can check for your choice here https://dehumidifierslist.com/

Remember that it may take days (or perhaps seven days) to get all the abundance dampness out of the dividers, floor, and whatever else put away in the carport... before you'll see the stickiness number begin to drop.

Keep the entryways shut however much as could reasonably be expected and pursue under 70% relative stickiness to avoid form.

(Potentially check whether you can lease or acquire an extra dehumidifier for the primary week or somewhere in the vicinity?)

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