Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Hello everybody,

I'm Gabriele, 35 years old, Italian.I moved in Canada on September 2009 with my wife.

I have been studying English for the last two years, but as you can guess I'm still learning...

I like the idea to grow my own food, so I started looking on the Internet... and here I am.

Aquaponics seems to be the perfect answer.

So i focused my research on this this "Tecn(atur)ology", i writing to share my project with you , asking for advice and help, because this is going to be my first experience on it.

The system is going to be located in a basement. the temperature will be around 17/24 degree Celsius.

I only bought the the fish tank and an air pump(4 way), i'm still looking for water pump (which size), and a liner for the grow bed(i'm looking for a billboard,green house cover or a last a pvc pond liner).

I know that we DWC system i'll to manage the solid waste.It is not in the project because i do not know how to do! (small media bed with worms?/ gammourus/ swirl filter, flood and drain grow bed before the dwc growbed)

Any consideration?

Thanks a Lot

Gabriele

p.s.... and thank you for your patient with my English

  

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Hi Dino,

First off I feel like I have to say that as far as 'practical experience with aquaponics' I'm probably not your best bet. There are A LOT of other folks on this site who fit that bill than way more than I...

Would it serve as a good purpose to have a sump for the event of expansion of grow beds, or any probe/sensor additions you made add in the future (assuming you have the space for expansion) and can simply utilize the sump as your "main junction point"?

Yes it is my belief that a sump would serve you well should you wish to expand to more media beds. Or pump out to other "add-ons" (like NFT) that need pre-filtered water. The 2,240 liter sump that I've set in the ground is comprised of two 1,120 liter tanks connected by a two inch fitting at the bottom (so they basically act as one tank). In part, they are 'separated' so that all sensors, probes, air stones, splashing oxygen adding water devivices, net filters, bio-balls, fines trapping mechanisms whatever...can go in 'one' tank, while the other half houses just the sump and float valve in a calm environment. So, yes personally I think it's good to have a sump for a number of reasons (depending on your wants/needs).

I dont know much about SLO, but from what I've gathered it "sucks" up water from the bottom "up" and brings it over to the next area. in this case the media bed. Is this the most effective way to remove all the "detritus" from the fish tank and bring it over to the media bed? I've got afew aquariums and find that the bottom of the tank always ends up with fish waste and I end up siphoning it out manually.


As I have 8 (slightly deeper that the average 12 inches) IBC totes set up as media beds, so I have 8 "areas" that I need to get the water to. (Initially I plan to only plant in 4 of them and use the other 4 as dedicated mineralization sites). I did not want to mess with the logistics of a SLO set up feeding a gravity modified indexing valve, (i chickened out and decided to use a repeat cycle timer, pump and 'regular' low-flow' indexing valve) and will be counting on copious amounts of air to churn up my solids (ala Friendly's) and the pump to suck the solids up and send them off to be worm food (as well as an occasional good old fashion swish from a scrub brush on a stick when needed :)  I have no idea if a SLO set-up is the "most effective way" to remove all the gunk that builds up at the bottom of a tank, or if it too needs an occasional helping hand from the scrub brush. It would probably depend on a number of factors...Maybe some folks who have such a SLO set-ups could chime in with their experiences...

When you say constant, continual flow of water - are you referring to the friendly type system? Is it practical to have a friendly type system, (with continuous flow of water through DWC) with the addition of a large media bed with worms using a flood and drain?


Yep, I'm referring to a Friendly type system as they have it set-up (at least in their manual and drawings...I'm not lucky enough to have toured their farm). My system is one of those that people seem to be calling a "hybrid" system. (thankfully there are more of them out their than what I thought a year ago). It's 548 square feet of Friendlies style rafts with 96 square feet of media bed pre-filtering (keep in mind they're a bit deeper, so there is a bit more surface area than "usual")...It is my belief that these "hybrid" systems will be the future of small commercial/large family aquaponics. Gina Cavaliero from Green Acre Organics,  who is much more eloquent than I could ever be, wrote about this topic a few days/weeks ago and basically said what has been rolling around un-stated half-coherently in my (and I'm sure others) head. Might be an interesting read for you. As I understand it Green Acre Organics was a Friendly's affiliate until recently,

and are now in the process of incorporating (a) media bed(s) into their rather impressive operation.

http://aquaponicscommunity.com/profiles/blogs/is-integrating-media-...

It seems absolutely practical to modify a Friendlys type system to incorporate media beds (and sump). As with a lot of things in aquaponics, there are probably a number of ways to go about doing so. Each will be dependent on the operators wants, location, economics, available materials etc...respecting some basic principles, as well as trial and error reports of those building/running such systems. There are already people doing this (for some time now), flood and drain media bed to DWC troughs.  Even though it's not exactly ground breaking territory, you'd be hard pressed to find any concrete numbers. Using Dr. Leonards calculator as well as other peoples insights I feel it possible to arrive at a decent starting point, and go from there.

I think Green Acres is in the process of modifying their classes/training/program/tours to reflect their new philosophy and have recently teamed up with Sylvia Bernstein and Murray Hallam. Even though there aren't yet many large-ish, long running 'hybrid' systems out there from which to extrapolate practical data from, I would  definitely want to listen what any of those people had to say. And if at all feasible, would like to attend such classes.   

...My 2 cents. Hope some of it was helpful. 

It would be very cool to see you if you are ever in the neighborhood.

 

  



Dino Pantelidis said:

Interesting design.. Vlad I've got afew questions for you. I did the friendly training in April and have practically no experience in the world of aquaponics, I do have a zeal to learn from people who clearly have practical experience in aquaponics. I have begun building a small system as I mentioned before in one of my restaurant locations to see how it goes. I'd love to pick your brain with some questions regarding your last post, only to learn from it. seems that you know alot of stuff.

a)You wouldn't need a sump.

Would it serve as a good purpose to have a sump for the event of expansion of grow beds, or any probe/sensor additions you made add in the future (assuming you have the space for expansion) and can simply utilize the sump as your "main junction point"?

b)You wouldn't need SLO plumbing.

I dont know much about SLO, but from what I've gathered it "sucks" up water from the bottom "up" and brings it over to the next area. in this case the media bed. Is this the most effective way to remove all the "detritus" from the fish tank and bring it over to the media bed? I've got afew aquariums and find that the bottom of the tank always ends up with fish waste and I end up siphoning it out manually.

There is absolutely no reason that I can think of for you to have to have a constant, continual flow moving through your DWC.

When you say constant, continual flow of water - are you referring to the friendly type system? Is it practical to have a friendly type system, (with continuous flow of water through DWC) with the addition of a large media bed with worms using a flood and drain?


Thanks for taking the time to read/answer! Your information is always appreciated! I may be in Serbia this summer, I'd love to come see your operation!






It is possible to do a media grow bed that is constant flood with air stones at regular intervals, I have seen this at Nelson & Pade. The benefit is eliminating the siphon and using less energy to pump if your fish tank and grow bed are adjacent to each other so that they achieve a similar water level. Pumping air takes less energy than pumping water.

Also, since this is going to be in a basement and you haven't built it yet make sure you account for the 4 foot expanse of your growbed to manage your plants. At that width it really has to be accessed from every side so don't put it against the wall.

thanks everybody for the ansewers,

i spent  last week looking for the right growlight in a 4X8 growbed,

and i got scared!

So i'll start with a mini mini micro DWC system 1,5ft X 3.8 growbed system, try to grow something wit that under t12 light, and the if it works... i'll start the "big" system...

thanks again guys

Gabriele 

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