Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Well, I've been getting enough questions and comments that TCLynx suggested I start a discussion so here it goes- I definitely want to hear about anyone elses attempts at vertical hydroponics, and I'm more than happy to share any details of my system that folks are interested in.

 

TC- Where do you find that media? I get my media from a large plastics company- the problem is, they only sell it in massive quantities (i.e. minimum orders of thousands of square feet, min. $5,000.00 an order or so). I got my intial stuff as a researcher, so they were willing to work with me.  I'm currently using the stuff for my towers, and I'm trying to start a business selling towers (eventually) so I can make big orders.  If you want a chunk of it, i could send it to you, or if you were interested in more, i'd split an order with you however you want.  i also have lots of scraps- it's really cool stuff and it would be great to see more folks playing with it- i'd send you some scraps if you want. email me if you're interested- i'll send you thier contact information too if you want- but i've found they're really unwilling to work with folks interested in small quantities (they're wholesale).

 

 Have you used if for any purposes other than your vertical growing towers? If so, what did you try and how were the results compared to other media.  I've played with it a lot over the past couple years, and it's neat stuff. there are some folks using similar material for floating islands.  I've used it as filter material, and water diffusion material, but the towers seem to really be what it works best for.

Have you tried direct seeding into it or only with seedlings? What are your seed starting methods for the seedlings going into the towers.  The material isn't suitable for direct seeding- it's too coarse and porous, and really doesn't "hold" water  like most starting materials.  I start my seedlings in peatmoss or rockwool and then transplant the seedling peat/rockwool and all.  I've experimented with different starting techniques, and the tubes do best with a peat/perlite/verm. mix that just goes straight into the towers.

Hope that starts to answer your questions. I'll put up some pictures of how i transplant.

 

Nate

Views: 745

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for the explanations.
Do you know of any retailers selling the filter media? Please let us know if you decide to start selling it, or when your towers systems go on the market for that matter.

Have you tested the towers out with an aquaponics system yet or have they been only Hydroponic so far?
Do you intend to use them with aquaponics in the future?
my pleasure TCLynx- i'm excited about these things, so it's easy for me to blabber about them. there are currently no retailers selling this media- all the retailers sell products made from it (mostly buffer pads for buffing floors) but not in any form you can actually use. trust me, i've looked everywhere!!

My towers are purely aquaponic. I actually designed them specifically for aquaponic systems (high nitrification capabilities, compact, modular, simple to plant, simple to harvest, easy to retrofit to aquaculture systems, etc.) All of my data, pictures, etc. are based on thier function and performance as a water treatment element of an operating 2,000 gallon aquaculture system.

Just to clarify, Aleece, the media is designed to be reused for several years at a time and can be recycled when growers are done with it. The company i get it from guarantees it for 3 years. I dry the media out between plantings and hot pressure wash it once it's dry to sterilize it. although sometimes i'm lazy and just replant without any sterilizing- i haven't had any problems yet.

I'll let you know when I start selling these things if you're interested, but it's still a couple months out. I'm pumped at the number of folks who have found these interesting so far!

TCLynx said:
Thanks for the explanations.
Do you know of any retailers selling the filter media? Please let us know if you decide to start selling it, or when your towers systems go on the market for that matter.

Have you tested the towers out with an aquaponics system yet or have they been only Hydroponic so far?
Do you intend to use them with aquaponics in the future?
Fab, keep us posted!
Can you post a photo of the filter material Nate?
Look on Nates member page there are pictures on there
Can you use buffing pads in aquapoincs systems, or are they laced with other dangerous chemicals and such...?
Not sure honestly- i've looked at quite a few pads and haven't found any coarse enough to use in this type of application- most of the pads are pretty fine. I think that they won't quite be thick enough, and the way they're shaped would limit how you could use them. But who knows? it's always worth a try i suppose, so long as you're sure they aren't treated with anything.

David S. said:
Can you use buffing pads in aquapoincs systems, or are they laced with other dangerous chemicals and such...?
Nate, are you filtering out the solids before they hit the top of your tower? Can these be used with smaller fish tanks? I'm excited to see these out as well!
well, i am using a settlement tank so the big stuff can settle out before the towers, but i've put sludge through to see what happens to it- it goes in, but it doesn't come out. these towers capture almost everything that goes into them (depending on your flow rate of course). to be fair, they're operating for only a month or two at a time before the inserts are pulled, dried out and replanted, so it's not like they have to function for years at a time before solids are removed. i just don't have any hard data for you right now. wish i did, but research $ for aquaponics research (and equipment!) is pretty hard to come by! ( part of hoping to commercialize some of the things i'm doing (eventually) is to circumvent the grant-based research system as much as possible, and fund my own research instead of trying (relatively unsuccessfully) to beg it off of conventional grant funds. ugh. the thousands of hours i've wasted. . .)

I hardly ever clean my settlement tank (i have a system i've worked out with my tank design and my duckweed) and i don't have the $ for the equipment to test my supended solids.

as far as smaller tanks- these are really scalable (because you can use one, or two, or fifty) which is one of the things i like about them. i've used (smaller versions) on 15 gallon fish tanks. i'm working on some applications for home herb production in hobby fish tanks using similar technology. right now i have around 300 lb.s (140 kg) of fish very happy on 16 towers. this might be overkill for all i know, but i figure you're pretty safe using one tower per 15 to 20 pounds of fish. but another thing to remember is that it works best with continuous cropping so you don't have hugre fluctuations in nitrification and nutrient uptake.

hope this is coherent, i've been writing grants all day and my brain is mush.

Sylvia Bernstein said:
Nate, are you filtering out the solids before they hit the top of your tower? Can these be used with smaller fish tanks? I'm excited to see these out as well!
So like a fish tank, a settling tank and a tower for each 15 - 20 lb of fish then some means of collecting the water coming from the base of the towers and returning it back to the fish tank. And then of course staggering your harvest and re-planting of towers so that you don't upset too much of the system's bio-filter at any one time. Sounds reasonable.

Your "standard" towers you are using for the big system, what is their size?
That sounds about right Aleece, I have a feeling i could do away with the settlment tank. it's basically a vestigial piece of the pure-aquaculture system that i initially set up- before i "came to the light." my standard towers are 4"x4" square by 4.5 feet long, although the size can be changed quite easily with a chop-saw. : ) I really think the biofilter part is important- nitrifying bacteria are so sensitive. if you were cutting out plants and immediately planting back into the media, i don't think you'd have to worry about backup or staggered cropping, but i haven't been brave enough to try that (my last system (aeroponic) had some disease issues).

TCLynx said:
So like a fish tank, a settling tank and a tower for each 15 - 20 lb of fish then some means of collecting the water coming from the base of the towers and returning it back to the fish tank. And then of course staggering your harvest and re-planting of towers so that you don't upset too much of the system's bio-filter at any one time. Sounds reasonable.

Your "standard" towers you are using for the big system, what is their size?
(my last system (aeroponic) had some disease issues).

And hence your support for UV sterilization.

Wow, for some reason I through your towers were much taller than that. 4.5' long isn't so extreme at all. So that is kinda like 4 lb of fish per foot of well wetted media material!!!!!!

Perhaps I'll be setting up some towers for my quarantine system which is currently under filtered!

You run constant flow to those towers right?

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2019   Created by Sylvia Bernstein.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service