Aquaponic Gardening

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Here are a few pictures of a system I am completing in NorCal.

Its a CHOP 2 system, with two 4x8 ft media beds drained by Bell Syphons, & an aerated 4x8 ft raft. Each bed has half an IPC under it as a sump, & these are all connected by stand pipes that keep the minimum water level above the pump. A single 1000 gph pump feeds the beds, & returns water to the 275 gallon IPC which drains into the center sump by gravity/syphon. I need to put a ball float on the water being pumped into the fish tank to prevent overflowing or excessive draining, but apart from that, the system is working great. The system is cycling while I am finishing the trim & covers to the water tanks, & with the water temp around 60 to 70 degF this may take a while. I have sprouted seedlings in both the media beds & raft & these are showing healthy white root structures. The larger starts I put in the media beds are also doing well considering the ammonia & alkalinity present. The pH is holding at around 7.6, & the ammonia is steady at 5ppm. The owner added 36 feeder fish, so these (& their food) maybe keeping the levels steady as I haven't added anything to the system for a couple of weeks. I had problems initially with high alkalinity, but I suspect the black lava was contaminated by lime or something similar in the delivery truck. I am adding seaweed extract for the plants & I suspect this is acting as a buffer.

I was intending to stock the fish tank with Tilapia, but I doubt now that they would survive the winter here in the Bay Area. The fish tank is insulated, & I am running a heater, but even now I am unable to raise the water temp above 70 degF on the hottest days & it usually hovers around 60 to 66 degF. Any suggestions on where I can purchase something more suitable in the Bay Area would be greatly appreciated. I am also looking to stock the sumps with fresh water shrimp & need a source for those.

Anyway, thanks for looking, & if you have any questions or suggestions please join in.

Mahalo Nui Loa


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Thanks Jon,

I'm back in Hawaii now & have a source for Tilapia here. I'm considering going to UH Hilo, & taking their agricultural degree, so I am slowly getting hooked up on this side again after living in Kau & Kona for years.

Give me a holler when you come over, & if I am working on anything we can hook up. There is plenty of interest, but little money to set up the type of venture I am interested in starting, but by going college, I will be immersed in that environment, & open to many more possibilities.
Jon Parr said:

Nice looking system, kiwibilt. Sorry for the late reply, but I can get you catfish, carp, or koi now, more species later. I'm planning on heading to the Big Island in October, maybe we can meet then. 

That is a beautiful system! Approximately how much did you charge to build that beauty? Approximately how much did it cost you for materials? Do you build systems full time?

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