Aquaponic Gardening

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I have found Meramec C Gravel, but I'm not sure if it good to use in my grow beds?  Also I am not exactly which size PVC pipe to use. 1, 1 1/2 , or 2 inch. I can't afford any mistakes in these supplies right now so someone can help I hope. Thanks so much.

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Well thank you again. I did read this rule of thumb when I first joined, but I couldn't find it after that. I saved it. The video is very helpful too, I had just a little bit of a different idea on the syphon from the video I watched yesterday. But this is good. Once I get things in place and start connecting it together I know I'm going to be excited. I did want to go ahead and put fish in, but after I read that it could put stress on the fish I won't do that until later. I'm not so much in a hurry to get good size fish to eat as I am to get the plants started going. In one of my earth beds I have some empty space from the rabbits dining in my yard, lol. I would like to fill them back in with the quicker growing aquaponics working it's miracles.

Harold Sukhbir said:

Hi Adrena,

FYI here are the rules, which you can read in the meantime http://aquaponicscommunity.com/page/aquaponic-gardening-rules-of

Here's an easy way to make a bell siphon   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzZzjK7aFrA      I used this simple method, and has been working for almost 1 year without any maintenance whatsoever.

 

Since you have more media(beds) than FT(Fish Tank) if you want your fish to be comfortable, you can grow 1 fish to a maximum of 1 pound in 5 - 7 gallons of water. So total volume of water in the FT divided by 5 or 6 or 7.

 

If you really want to drool over designs, take a look at our photos at the top of the page, I tell you we have everything on this site!

Since you started out talking about the flush valve, here is a link to Travis Hughey's Barrel Ponics Manual

It really is a good starter system manual for some one who has no experience with plumbing or building an aquaponics system but if you do much research you may choose another design.

 

I kinda recommend cutting barrels around the middle so you don't need to build cradles to support them and siphons are harder to make work in barrels cut the long way.

 

Yes I'm sorry I've been on a gig this past week and haven't been able to get online much.  I would definitely have recommended testing some of the gravel before buying it (as in take a jar of vinegar to the landscape supply place and drop a hand full of the intended gravel in the jar to make sure it doesn't fiz up before buying a load of it.)  See cheap pea gravel is often limestone.  In my part of the country the 1/2" brown river rock seems to be the cheapest appropriate media.  Anyway, before you go to the effort of washing your gravel, rinse off a hand full of it and drop it in a glass of vinegar and see what happens.  If if fizzes big time then use it on the floor of the greenhouse and save just a little to use for buffering pH later.

 

To wash gravel efficiently.  I usually use a couple of bins of water and some of those plastic baskets that are used for pond plants.  Fill a basket part way with gravel and then swish in a bin of water then swish in the next cleaner bin and you get a pretty good clean on the rock, then you can place it in your bed.  If you are really on strict water restrictions you can take a break every so often and let the sediments settle in the bins and pour off the cleaner water from the top to save for use in the first bin.  Then dump the sediments out and re-fill the first bin with the saved water and fill the second bin with fresh water.  Depending on how much grow beds you have to fill you may only need to do that water operation once or twice.

The water will still usually be cloudy in the system when you first fill it up with new gravel but this will clear with some time and you might help it along with a rag or old sock over some of the water flow which you can change out as it collects the dust.

I was almost afraid to put the gravel in the vinegar. I did and it is just cloudy, no fizz. Yay. I have 5 barrels that were split side ways for grow beds to make 10. Thanks for the book, it looks like. I will go through it better when I have time. I got some more help from my son-in -law now, things are looking up.

TCLynx said:

Since you started out talking about the flush valve, here is a link to Travis Hughey's Barrel Ponics Manual

It really is a good starter system manual for some one who has no experience with plumbing or building an aquaponics system but if you do much research you may choose another design.

 

I kinda recommend cutting barrels around the middle so you don't need to build cradles to support them and siphons are harder to make work in barrels cut the long way.

 

Yes I'm sorry I've been on a gig this past week and haven't been able to get online much.  I would definitely have recommended testing some of the gravel before buying it (as in take a jar of vinegar to the landscape supply place and drop a hand full of the intended gravel in the jar to make sure it doesn't fiz up before buying a load of it.)  See cheap pea gravel is often limestone.  In my part of the country the 1/2" brown river rock seems to be the cheapest appropriate media.  Anyway, before you go to the effort of washing your gravel, rinse off a hand full of it and drop it in a glass of vinegar and see what happens.  If if fizzes big time then use it on the floor of the greenhouse and save just a little to use for buffering pH later.

 

To wash gravel efficiently.  I usually use a couple of bins of water and some of those plastic baskets that are used for pond plants.  Fill a basket part way with gravel and then swish in a bin of water then swish in the next cleaner bin and you get a pretty good clean on the rock, then you can place it in your bed.  If you are really on strict water restrictions you can take a break every so often and let the sediments settle in the bins and pour off the cleaner water from the top to save for use in the first bin.  Then dump the sediments out and re-fill the first bin with the saved water and fill the second bin with fresh water.  Depending on how much grow beds you have to fill you may only need to do that water operation once or twice.

The water will still usually be cloudy in the system when you first fill it up with new gravel but this will clear with some time and you might help it along with a rag or old sock over some of the water flow which you can change out as it collects the dust.

In Alabama I used pea gravel.  Except for the fact that is so heavy, its was great.  I just had a bad habit of wanting to move my system around in circles.  After the third move I was resolved to use hydrocks.  But that was more of a local product used in making lightweight cinder blocks.

Getting off track.  I grew just about anything you can think of in pea gravel with no problems or amendments using untreated city water.  Eventually I did put some scallop shells in to play with the pH.  Bottom line, pea gravel is a great cheap media.
to find out if a particular "pea gravel" is appropriate for aquaponics you can take a rinse off a hand full of it and drop it in a cup of vinegar, if it fizzes up big time, don't use it but if there is no bubbling then you should be good to use it.
Should you also check if it's an acid by making it react with a base?
TCLynx said:
to find out if a particular "pea gravel" is appropriate for aquaponics you can take a rinse off a hand full of it and drop it in a cup of vinegar, if it fizzes up big time, don't use it but if there is no bubbling then you should be good to use it.

There are only a few materials that are likely to be so acid and I know of none of them likely to be sold as "pea gravel"

 

The Diatomite products like maidenwell or hygromite may have an acidifying effect as could some of the recycled glass products depending on how they manufacture it.  With these to test if they will have an effect on pH over time I would rinse the media really well and then take some of your source water.  Bubble a container of the source water overnight and take a pH reading the next day to get an accurate pH (seeing as water straight from the pipes will have a false low pH because of dissolved carbon dioxide.)  Then soak your intended media in the water for a while (several days to a week but you might need a cover over the container to keep the water from all evaporating away.)  Check to see what the pH does.  If it stays pretty constant then you should be fine.  If it moves the pH much you might want to think twice or make sure you are up to the task of buffering things.

Thank you, that's what I'm using. It is heavy, I have had to move mine a few times already. If I ever have to do something like this again, I'll ty making sure I put it exactly where it is going to stay.

matthew ferrell said:
In Alabama I used pea gravel.  Except for the fact that is so heavy, its was great.  I just had a bad habit of wanting to move my system around in circles.  After the third move I was resolved to use hydrocks.  But that was more of a local product used in making lightweight cinder blocks.

Getting off track.  I grew just about anything you can think of in pea gravel with no problems or amendments using untreated city water.  Eventually I did put some scallop shells in to play with the pH.  Bottom line, pea gravel is a great cheap media.
I used what another guy told me, I put vinegar in a container and put some gravel in it to see if it fizzed. It didn't and I think it is good.

TCLynx said:

There are only a few materials that are likely to be so acid and I know of none of them likely to be sold as "pea gravel"

 

The Diatomite products like maidenwell or hygromite may have an acidifying effect as could some of the recycled glass products depending on how they manufacture it.  With these to test if they will have an effect on pH over time I would rinse the media really well and then take some of your source water.  Bubble a container of the source water overnight and take a pH reading the next day to get an accurate pH (seeing as water straight from the pipes will have a false low pH because of dissolved carbon dioxide.)  Then soak your intended media in the water for a while (several days to a week but you might need a cover over the container to keep the water from all evaporating away.)  Check to see what the pH does.  If it stays pretty constant then you should be fine.  If it moves the pH much you might want to think twice or make sure you are up to the task of buffering things.

Yes Eric I did that. I thought I sent you a message telling you it's all good. Thanks again.

Eric Warwick said:
Should you also check if it's an acid by making it react with a base?
TCLynx said:
to find out if a particular "pea gravel" is appropriate for aquaponics you can take a rinse off a hand full of it and drop it in a cup of vinegar, if it fizzes up big time, don't use it but if there is no bubbling then you should be good to use it.

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