Aquaponic Gardening

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"Gravel Pit Self Reclaiming Aquaponics System"I knew When I ordered the book that there must be more to Aquaponic Gardening than using waste water from my fish tank,

and am enjoying getting started reading it! Especially since what I've learned about so far has confirmed what I decided would happen by my pumping water to flood irrigate from the free flowing liner-less pond in my gravel pit onto the gravel surface. I was sure this was a success of some kind despite of a huge increase of string algae (I must have 10,000 Japanese Trap Door Snails in there now from this) as the orchard grass which could barely grow there before filled in nice and thick with it getting 5 feet tall in places, and I was right the cottonwood trees growing in a stand next to the pond has taken off quite well now from having fish in there.

Now that I know my fish will do well and that the filtration system works,,,so to speak, can't wait find out/or figure out from the book and this forum what more to do, I will begin adding more fish (I spent around $10 on them to begin with, common goldfish and rosy red minnows as a test) I want to add Koi and edible fish of some kind, not sure how many goldfish I have now, but there appears to be plenty of minnows and snails to support many fish without extra feed, though the hoards of water boatman bugs have been scared off or eaten and only a few remain. I also have Water Sedge plants (quick former of peat) and bulrush plants (a wetland edible) ordered for spring planting along with quite a few of my spring planting trees that are on order being ones that will do well in the swampy condition/while making a nice wind break, so I should have a good start on my filtering of the water!

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Before I stocked the pond with fish and began pumping water even the weeds were super scraggly in the gravel, kind of like the wheat and the tare's, not much will grow on such stony ground without the fish wast!,,,,especially such stony ground with almost no soil, just sand.

I have a induction port on the output end of the 2 inch line to help with the aeration of the water, kind of like a faucet aerator.

With the moisture from the snow, the cheat-grass had already greened up, won't be long till it makes some good growth just in time for me to plow most of it under with the V-plow ditch digger, that should help finish getting the orchard grass taking over where before only the cheat-grass and other weeds grew enough to resemble their kind. That should also get the furrows deep enough to plant my trees in. I'm not sure if I should plant my Hubbard Squash seeds in the furrows somewhere or in the ridge left at the side,,,,or maybe in-between the furrows, I can't overlap them with my ditch digger like a regular plow does.

I hope to some day get water pumping windmills and or solar powered pumps to replace my small gas engine powered pump. A wind powered air pump for the pond aeration would be good too! In warm weather there is enough wind here to keep the pond well aerated, but in the winter only the aquatic plants low enough in the pond to keep growing are what keeps fresh Oxygen going to the fish, I have thought about getting a solar swimming pool heater to keep the pond thawed out for aeration, but figure when it is down to -40 deg F here, if even no other time, it would freeze and ruin it.

Anybody have any thoughts on the Koi I saw on Ebay, anyone on here know if any of the sellers on there really have such a good bargain as their prices look?

I am still at a loss for what to call my "system", just experimenting one step at a time, just now I'm studying up and trying to take as much of the guess work out as I can!  But, I've found there is still plenty of guess work for me to figure out due to my unusual growing system and cold winters,,,,,,I think that is what I'll call it "The One Step At A Time Gravel Pit Self Reclaiming Aquaponics Theory Experiment Station System",,,,,or is that too wordy?????? 

I went to get the pump going yesterday, and found much to my horror, that the pump was coming unbolted from the engine, so today I get to take the pump apart and hopefully quite simply bolt it back together, I will have to give it a close inspection for damage, never know what might have went on in there!! 

The fish have been perking up after what pumping I did the other day, also they have been staying down lower in the water so they are a bit more protected from birds. 

Happy World Water Day! 

I took apart the pump, and I could just cry because I broke the impeller trying to get it off to get at the mounting bolts,,,which wouldn't be that bad except that the pump was used when I got it and nothing on it gives a clue what brand or model it is to get a replacement. 

I will take the broken one with me to see if I can find a match and with a little luck I can find one close enough to it. Just have to wait and see what I can find, because otherwise I need a whole new pump. 

I need to remember too about checking the store where I got some of my fish before about if they could special order some of the kinds of fish I want to add to my pond. 

I lucked out, I found a new impeller that was close enough, just that it has five blades instead of three, so I need to re-plum the pump to have two or more lines instead of just one as the extra water getting pumped is too much strain and the engine stalls. 

I also found a new kind of spark-plug that saves fuel by making more reliable sparking, the time I spent trying to get the pump working used only a fraction of the fuel I use to operate the pump for that long, I know actually pumping the water will eat up some of the appeared savings, but it sure runs good! 

Spring has apparently come earlier than normal for my neck of the woods, the birds plants and bugs are sure showing it, not that I mind, but what I am concerned about is a sudden turn around and then with weather back to normal for around here for this time of year would be bad for trees and plants that have come out of dormancy, most of these are hard to fool though!

I want to get some mosquito fish, not that I am short on minnows, but for diversity in what I have for minnows.

I got the pump re-plumbed for two lines, I did it with a four way and put a valve with a quick connect fitting for a possible third line.  Now between the new impeller and the added line I can drop the water level one foot in two fifths the time and use only a quarter tank instead of a full tank of gas!  Just while I was typing this up, a package came, it was my bacterial clarifier for the pond!  Good thing too because every time I pump the water, it returns with lots of silt in it and quick as a wink the pond is green with algae! 

I ran the pump for 50 minutes today, I was glad to see the pond only dropped 2 feet as the filtered water was making it's way back by the time I dropped it a little more than the foot I pumped each time so far this spring, re-positioning the pump so I could go down a few more inches, lots more filtering at once and less sit and wait! I also was glad to find I used only 3/4 tank of gas instead of a full tank for this amount of time, no smog smell to the emissions, I can't stand an engine that doesn't burn clean! The water is up to 54 deg today, won't be long before I can add some fish if it keeps up warming at a degree a day.

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