Aquaponic Gardening

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I am planning my trough layout and would like to hear opinions on extra space needed in troughs to allow room for rafts. For example, if you want 40 feet of (raft) grow space, how long would you make your trough? Benefits versus negatives of more or less space. Assuming the rafts are 2 feet by 4 feet.

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how big is the space you are working with? with a 2x4 float I'd probably set up a 4' wide trough

I would make rafts 2'8" x 4' this allows for three rafts per 4x8. I would recommend width of bed to be 51 inches to accommodate 48" raft. 

I made my 49 1/2 inches, thinking that 1 1/2 inches would be adequate for lifting raft, but it is a really tight sqeeze and once built you would have to consider cutting down raft for more space.  

Just throwing in my 2.4 cents worth.

-Don

Width is set, just curious about length. For example, if you want 40 feet of raft grow space do you make your trough 42 feet long, 41 feet long, etc...? I guess my question is do you want extra room to be able to work with the rafts or do you want it covered completely with rafts? My thoughts are you want a little play room but how much is enough? My training wasn't very clear on this aspect and I'm building now.

Thanks for your reply.
Thanks Don, width is set at 51 inches. I'm looking for opinions on length and what has worked best for people. How much extra space do you want to be able to work with the rafts? Like you said in regards to width being too tight, my concern is the same for length.

I recommend at least a few inches of wiggle room at the ends. On long troughs this can easily be achieved by adding 1/4 inch gap between the plywood rips that run down the sides. The 2x4's would have to long enough for the full run. I built 41 foot troughs in the beginning and would go 40' 6" max now.  As far as width I now prefer to leave a extra inch(and NO more) of wiggle on the inside for the foam to move. The outside dimension will change depending on the thickness of plywood used. The more room you leave at the ends and sides the more room for algae to grow or in my case more room for duck weed that the birds brought me. I built my troughs at 51 inches inside and had to cover the extra inches of space to prevent extra stuff from growing on uncovered water.

im with Chris on this one, a few inches in the long run is helpful when lifting the boards out. and no more than 1/2" on each side(and you still will see alge) to allow the boards to move. ...im going to say 40' 3"

Dont forget..you are folding liner in the corners, that ads 1/4" to 1/2" to your end wall. i built mine with only an extra 1/2" on sides and ends... its very tight....should have left 1-1/2" to 3 inches on the end to get my hand under the boards.  

Thank you Chris and Rob, that was exactly what I needed to know.

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