Aquaponic Gardening

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I'm new to aquaponics and i am so glad that there are so many others in my state and even county to bounce ideas off of. I've been scrapping up items to make my first build sense January. I just got 6 ibc's free from a friend.

I have a plan to build a 2FT, 6 media bed with 2 sump system. in the next 3 days in morning before it gets hot and in the evening when it starts to cool down.

i have a plan to add up to 50 hanging strawberry towers for my wife's herb garden and berries hopefully by September. and in coming few months i am going to add a swirl filter onto the system.

i will be placing the unit in south east corner next to house to catch the winters sun but hopefully shade during summer sun. i will be placing a sun screen of 50% above system during the summer (now).

FT     ~500

sump ~150

pump  860gph @ 10' (pond pump i have on hand might get bigger if needed)

going to use syphon to drain beds into sump, and use 3/4" crushed rock for media.

i am thinking about adding type of tilapia for starter fish in about 2 weeks after fishless cycle. Any input on what amount of starter fish i should get. or things jumping out at you guys that look wrong or OK.

Thanks ,

James

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Hi James and welcome aboard the AZ AP 12 step program.  - you'll be addicted after 12 steps

So far everything sounds good as far as sizing goes.  The general consensuses around here is to use a more porous medium than crushed rock.    Many of us have gone the cheaper route and use volcanic cinders vs expanded clay balls.  The clay balls are really cool but they are expensive.  Cinders on the other hand are ~$50 bucks a ton.  Much more cost effective considering the intended use.  You will be glad they are lighter after you shovel a truck load or two on a hot afternoon.  They are also easier to support as a few of us have had those issues.  Bring a bucket of cinders by and I'll put them in my system for a day, your system will cycle much quicker.

I live in the east valley and go to A&A Materials on McDowell and Alma School Rd. for my cinders.  Both streets are accessible from the 202 or 101 freeways near the Tempe/Mesa border. 

We have concluded a radial filter is more efficient than a swirl filter.  Radial filters use the same components but the direction of the water flow is vertical which uses gravity to its advantage by changing the direction from up to down to up again which gives the particulates the slip.  Basically it is just large tube suspended in a barrel.  the water flows from the source into the center of the tube in an upward direction.  The water changes direction after losing velocity and drops down until it clears the center tube.  The water then changes direction to upward again to exit the out barrel.  This second direction change strips the particulars as they are too heavy to stay in the flow and drops out of suspension.  There are lots of YouTube vids that show them.  The radial filter uses cyclonic action which is hard to tune for the amateur who only wants to build just one unit.

I have tilapia fingerlings and bulk fish food when you get ready.

Jim in Scottsdale

203.698.2626 cell/text

BTW: Experience is what you get right after you needed it 

thank you Jim for the info and i'll have to take a look in to the radial filter and cinders. 

thanks,

james

@James - short list - I recommend a schematic diagram of your system showing elevations, controls, pumps etc. then others can spot the weak points(joints or unplanned syphons).

Be sure to select your pump well and purchase at least 1 extra for emergencies(which are sure to happen).

Use quick connects for your pump outlets, so you can switch quickly.

Consider an alarm system to announce no-flow, interupted flow, low water level etc.

Good luck



Robert Rowe said:

@James - short list - I recommend a schematic diagram of your system showing elevations, controls, pumps etc. then others can spot the weak points(joints or unplanned syphons).

Be sure to select your pump well and purchase at least 1 extra for emergencies(which are sure to happen).

Use quick connects for your pump outlets, so you can switch quickly.

Consider an alarm system to announce no-flow, interupted flow, low water level etc.

Good luck

Your are right what was i thinking.

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i am very computer illiterate so please bear with me.

the design is the grow beds and the fish tanks are arranged in a u shaped pattern. the grow beds drain into sump by use of bell syphons. the 2 sumps are connected together by (2) 2in pipe to keep level even. i have a pump in 1 of the sumps pumping water up 1" pipe to height of 30" for the first stage of this project. at 30" height it travels through 32 feet of 1" pipe in shape of a u. i have (8) 3/4 in valves that attach to the pipe through a reducing t.  the valves adjust volume of water going into grow beds as well as fish tank. I have 1 pump as well as aerators in fish tank for circulation. in future i have 3 fish tanks for separate fish and breeding tank. the fish tanks are connected together with (2) 3in pipe to circulate water and keep levels same. both tanks have a 2in pipe to empty into sump tanks.

in future im adding a radial filter and 50 hanging towers along the south side of my house. the towers will be spaced a foot apart to start. right now i am raising a very ugly weed garden in the 30" by 54 foot patch of ground.


thanks

james

James I would advise against using the 3/4 valves and pipe, If I were to start over I would use 1 1/4" feeder lines from the pump to the media beds reducing to 1" at the flow control valves. I am using 1" all the way on the feeder side and 2" on the return side. My pumps have 1 1/4" outlets.

What is the FT output circuit? I pump from the FT to the media beds via a swirl filter with a 15 on 45 off cycle. Don't pump from the bottom of the tank, pump from about 1/2 way up so you won't chance pumping the tank dry and will still get most of the fish waste.

Like I said before a schematic diagram would let everybody see where you are heading and keep you out of the weeds.



James Alexander said:

i am very computer illiterate so please bear with me.

the design is the grow beds and the fish tanks are arranged in a u shaped pattern. the grow beds drain into sump by use of bell syphons. the 2 sumps are connected together by (2) 2in pipe to keep level even. i have a pump in 1 of the sumps pumping water up 1" pipe to height of 30" for the first stage of this project. at 30" height it travels through 32 feet of 1" pipe in shape of a u. i have (8) 3/4 in valves that attach to the pipe through a reducing t.  the valves adjust volume of water going into grow beds as well as fish tank. I have 1 pump as well as aerators in fish tank for circulation. in future i have 3 fish tanks for separate fish and breeding tank. the fish tanks are connected together with (2) 3in pipe to circulate water and keep levels same. both tanks have a 2in pipe to empty into sump tanks.

in future im adding a radial filter and 50 hanging towers along the south side of my house. the towers will be spaced a foot apart to start. right now i am raising a very ugly weed garden in the 30" by 54 foot patch of ground.


thanks

james

Great point Bob regarding pumping away from the bottom of the tank. 

There is nothing quite like that sinking feeling when you look out and realize the plants on top of fish pond aren't there!  I learned my lesson thankfully without losing fish.  

I have settled on 1.5" pipe and 4 inch returns.  I keep everything as straight as possible.  I don't get plugged pipes any more.

I'm sorry im just not a tech type of person i posted these once and if they are not coming up im still learning the computer stuff. im not very good at designing either.

james

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is this a better drawing?

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Hi James, 

I think Bob was asking more for a side view of your system so we can understand the elevation changes between tanks, grow beds, sumps and filter if any.

If you could be a little more detail oriented with regards to how high the pipes will be in each tank etc. show the dimensions of the tank heights and pipes

Since you area newbie to computers I thought it would be nice to help you with a paint lesson.  Paint is a free program that you should be able to find under the accessories tab. here is a quick drawing of a basic system drawn in paint.  I pointed to the icons I used to make this drawing.  Play with it some, it is a handy tool.  Click on the image to open to full size. 

Good luck James!

does this help im still not getting it how did u get the pic to go onto the post

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