Aquaponic Gardening

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What are your thoughts on system design?  Media vs raft.  Deep media beds vs shallow.  Siphons vs timers.  Tell us your thoughts and let's get the conversation rolling

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Hi, I might have posted my discussion in the wrong section. I was looking for some reviews and pointers on a system Im setting up.

http://aquaponicscommunity.com/forum/topics/filling-ebb-and-flow-bi...
Hi Sylvia,
There are lots of ways to run a system. Depends on a lot of factors. I feel that gravel or clay bead grow beds are the simplest and easiest for a home system. Personally I really like auto siphons, but systems run really well using a timer.
I am not a fan of continuous flow through shallow beds, they do work, but not nearly as well as the traditional flood and drain one foot deep bed.
Raft systems are wonderful for growing salad greens but need the additional work of cleaning a filter system periodically.
Recently we have been making combination grow bed and raft systems for home use. They work really well.
Daniel, I answered you in your other post.


Daniel Driscoll said:
Hi, I might have posted my discussion in the wrong section. I was looking for some reviews and pointers on a system Im setting up.

http://aquaponicscommunity.com/forum/topics/filling-ebb-and-flow-bi...
Over time I have revised my opinions about what works and not as I have seen more varied systems in operation that seem to be functioning over time.

I do think it is kinda important for some one new to the idea of aquaponics to do enough research into their intended method and stick closely enough to that method's recommendations to get a system up and running and at least a first batch of fish past cycling or better yet to harvest before getting too experimental if killing a batch of fish would turn them off to the idea and sent them out spouting bad publicity about Aquaponics.

For instance, I've run across situations where people have (against the advice of many) gotten a kiddie pool and filled it with water and fish before even thinking about what they should do for filtration or grow beds. There were under the impression that you need to let the ammonia buil up for weeks before you should even connect any filtration or start the cycling process. Unfortunately, all their fish were dead within the weekend. People who want to experiment this way are saddly, not likely to continue with aquaponics after they kill their second batch of fish (thinking the first batch died because they didn't rinse the kiddie pool properly so after the first batch dies, they rinse the pool better and re-fill it with water to leave sit out longer to let the chlorine outgass and then simply put another batch of 200 fingerlings in to die again from lack of dissolved oxygen and build up of ammonia.)

Now who am I to say that this method won't work, but I feel the person would be far more successful in their experiments if they were first to follow some other proven successful method to get started while they learn about keeping fish.

It is also important to avoid mixing the metaphors while trying to design and stock a first system. What I mean by this, the flow rates required for a UVI raft system are different from a Friendlies low density system and both are different from the flow rates needed for a flood and drain media based system. And the stocking recommendations follow different rules for all three types of systems. The aeration needs for all three systems are different too. So if you were to use the stocking/feeding rates of a UVI system in either of the other two types of systems, there is a high likelihood of big problems and most of the time I've seen people trying to do such things, they were not yet expert enough fish keepers to be expected to handle such problems without lots of help. (The time to be researching what sort of clairifier to install is not after you have 750 fish in a 1000 gallon tank.)
Hello everyone....I have a 4200 gallon fish pond and want to link it to a couple of gb's. The volume of the gb's are 200 gallon total for all.....is this a viable system....
I've read about the volume of the FT to the GB's .....wonder if I could use my pond for a smaller GB volume....
Darryl
Sylvia:
I read a post by you before I joined the forum in which you commented on the viability of adding water from a nearby pond to jumpstart nitrate production.....you warned of also getting "critters" that were in the pond.....can you be specific of the possibility of getting something detremental ......?
I have an established pond in the woods near my house from which I plan to get my perch for my fish tank....I was thinking of taking 5 or 10 gallons of water from it to kick off my cycle....
Please comment.
Hi Darryl. This could work if two things happen. First, you get the stocking level of your fish pond up to something that will provide enough nutrients for whatever plants you are growing in those grow beds (this is still a debated topic but I would say at least 1 fish for every 10 gallons of pond). Second, now that you have that stocking level you are going to need to filter it either by adding far more grow bed capacity (4200 gallons worth vs the current 200 gallon) OR provide secondary filtration to your pond. This would be pretty tricky to get into balance, thought, as you want the secondary filter to take out just so much waste, but leave enough for the beds.

Tough to pull off...
My caution is based on a natural lake or pond being a less controlled environment than an aquarium or home based pond, and ya just don't know what's been going on in there. There could be disease (here in Colorado we worry about giardia in the streams, for example), there are probably dead animals decomposing, and all manner of pollutants. It is just something to watch out for. Since your fish are already coming from that water, however, at least you know that they can live through whatever lurks in there so maybe you would be ok...


Darryl Hinson said:
Sylvia:
I read a post by you before I joined the forum in which you commented on the viability of adding water from a nearby pond to jumpstart nitrate production.....you warned of also getting "critters" that were in the pond.....can you be specific of the possibility of getting something detremental ......?
I have an established pond in the woods near my house from which I plan to get my perch for my fish tank....I was thinking of taking 5 or 10 gallons of water from it to kick off my cycle....
Please comment.
what's the name of that organic additive that you recommended.....to be used in lieu of seasol....??..Maxi grow or something....?
Available here in the USA
Maxicrop - http://theaquaponicsource.com/proddetail.php?prod=ABAHF003


Darryl Hinson said:
what's the name of that organic additive that you recommended.....to be used in lieu of seasol....??..Maxi grow or something....?
Available here in the USA
I like Kobus's system and is precisely what I am shooting for. My thoughts were to have the media component also act a bio-filter.
I agree with the whole statement (can I not?) but whant to emphasize the last section. I have been working with combination flood-and drain gravel beds feeding into raft beds since 2008 and I simply cannot find a system that will give you a better growing environment. Some plants like rafts or NFT, thus provide for them. Some do better in gravel, so have gravel. This is a one pump, no filter and fidgity timer aquaponics design and I will not shift away from its underlying principles apart from perhaps having a go at using some vertical stacking to go with the first two growing methods.

Murray Hallam said:
Hi Sylvia,
There are lots of ways to run a system. Depends on a lot of factors. I feel that gravel or clay bead grow beds are the simplest and easiest for a home system. Personally I really like auto siphons, but systems run really well using a timer.
I am not a fan of continuous flow through shallow beds, they do work, but not nearly as well as the traditional flood and drain one foot deep bed.
Raft systems are wonderful for growing salad greens but need the additional work of cleaning a filter system periodically.
Recently we have been making combination grow bed and raft systems for home use. They work really well.
I am with you, Kobus and Murray 10,000%, Gus. I don't have a raft bed add-on yet, but I have my eye on a spot for one ;-) The vertical towers are awesome, BTW, because they just sit over the tank so they take up no more room, but give you that much more growing space.

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