Aquaponic Gardening

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Hi everyone, I hope you are all enjoying this rain!

Well, I am in the final stages of building my system am looking forward to more growing space and fewer problems, which brings me to the why I am posting.

In my last system, the by-the-book Chop II system from Murray Hallam gave me plenty of issues, the pump problem I have mentioned in other posts, the system was very high maintenance, the sump was too small and the beds were never coordinated so the sump would overflow or go dry stressing the pumps, there is no filter for the solids so clogging of the pump was a big issue and a few smaller problems.

My new system has two sumps, bigger gravel beds and two raft beds which we have set up but as you all know I am not very experienced in designing the plumbing I am at a loss as to how to go about it.  I can make it up as I go but I really would like a system that works better with less problems and maintenance.

If anyone would be willing to help me design it, (I can do the building) I have a greenhouse and can grow anything so maybe we can trade I can grow you some spring seedlings. I also have a huge selection of seeds.

I also have a couple of 1/3 cut up IBC beds I can part with.

Thanks everyone. I am itching to get this thing going and planted.

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Replies to This Discussion

Sorry Bob, Paul explained what you were talking about with the 2x4s in the picture the boxes are not finished, we are going to add the top rails when we put on the liner, I think they will be strong enough.

Janet Little said:

I planned on putting in the liners in today, I was concerned about the plywood getting wet and was planning to paint them as well as bringing the liner over the sides.  I am using some one inch Styrofoam for insulation and as a soft liner for the rubber liner. The guy who was my inspiration for the boxes (http://urbanfarmfanatic.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/646/) just used the 2x4s for support also and I wondered about the weight, right now we have cinder blocks on the corners but I would feel more comfortable with more support also.

I need to find a lighter medium for the gravel beds, I cant afford clay medium, don't like the feel of the volcanic rock so anyone got any suggestions. Someone said there was a place in McClellan park that had nice gravel like shale? But I cannot find it.

I am not sure what you mean about the fish tank, I am using the old one I had before a full 300 gal. IBC.

Thanks Bob

Bob Campbell said:

I fear this will not be strong enough.  Some cross bracing may help, but those vertical 2x4's may not be strong enough to secure cross bracing to without a horizontal brace at the top. 

If you intend to line the boxes be sure to run the liner down over the outside.  Otherwise water will find it's way between the OSB and the liner and rot the boxes.  But you will first need to beef up the lateral support.  Those 2x4's are not enough.

Fiberglass works well for tanks without bulkhead, but it's a lot of work and gets pretty expensive.

I would advise you to use the 1/3 IBC's instead.   IBC's accept a Uniseal or bulkhead better than OSB and plywood or OSB will swell and contract causing bulkheads to loosen over time.

Janet and all,

Here are pictures as promised.

Overview and settling area.


Tom
Attachments:
Looks like I get only 1 file at a time.

Tom
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This is the pump with manifold. Note the 1 1/2 inch pipe just sits in the 3 inch pipe. This allows water to back flow if the other drain to the settling tank ever clogs.

Tom
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This is the 3 inch inlet and venturi.

Tom
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The DWC and outlets to the ebb and flow beds.
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@Tom Hack   Use the picture icon when posting picture and the video icon if you wish to post videos.

Bob,

From an IPAD that icon does not exist.

Tom

Thanks for the pictures, I like the graphics that explain everything clearly.  Do you have

a back up air supply in case the pump fails?

Tom Hack said:

The DWC and outlets to the ebb and flow beds.

Tom what are the connections into the barrels, it looks like you are not using a uniseal?

Bob Campbell said:

@Tom Hack   Use the picture icon when posting picture and the video icon if you wish to post videos.

Janet and Bob,

I did not use uniseals as that barrel was from my first system. I am using a threaded coupling and an O ring. As you can see it leaks at times - it comes loose due to vibrations caused by the venturi. At some time I will change it or add a seperate DWC bed.

I do not have a second air supply for a few reasons:
I purchased a quality pump that moves only clean water.
I do not over stock my system - nearly 500 gallons of total water for 30-40 fish
My tanks are insulated and shaded in the heat of the day by a tree keeping it cooler and thus holding more O2
I check my system at least 2 times a day and I have a small pump I can swap in if necessary.
I use koi and gold fish at the moment which are pretty hardy

Tom

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