Aquaponic Gardening

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Do you try to cool your fish tank water? Or do you just monitor the water and maybe feed less when the temperature goes up? I've got the fish tanks in the basement so they aren't seeing the 90 degree temps we have outside right now, but the water temperature hit the 70 degree mark this week. The fish who've made it this far seem to be doing fine and are still feeding vigorously and growing. I just wondered what all you experienced trout growers do when it gets hot outside.

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Only caution here is that you are fighting physics. The warm water will always rise to the top and that is what you want leaving the FT and flowing to the GBs. I suggest you work with the thermal siphon effect and not against it as that takes more energy. I use a combination of both a skimmer off the top and a solid waste PU off the bottom but I am not fighting the high temps that you are.

Schaefer Myrick said:

I am planning on doing the exact same thing but with a 4'x6' PVC grid to maximize surface area contact. I will not know until next summer how well it works.

Daniel Budfuloski said:

  Don't know if this would work (but it is what I plan on doing with my system when I get it up and running).  I'm going to have a sump tank burried 4-6 feet down (where the temperature stays at a constant 50-55 degrees and has the effect of thermal cooling/heating) and have it pumped up to the surface of my fish tank that is burried half in the ground.  Then i'm going to siphon the water off the bottom of my fish tank to the grow beds.  My theory is...  with constant 50-55 degree water pumped to the top of my fish tank and then being pulled to the bottom by the siphon effect, it will keep my whole tank the same tank year round.  Do you guys think it will work?

Add well water ice frozen in 5-gallon Homer buckets.  Set them out to slightly thaw, then remove the ice block from the bucket and float it in the 1100 tanks.  5 or 6  does the trick.

Good point, with enough pump in the sump you could draw water form the top with a stand pipe and a smaller siphon at the bottom of the tank to collect solids.

Jim Fisk said:

Only caution here is that you are fighting physics. The warm water will always rise to the top and that is what you want leaving the FT and flowing to the GBs. I suggest you work with the thermal siphon effect and not against it as that takes more energy. I use a combination of both a skimmer off the top and a solid waste PU off the bottom but I am not fighting the high temps that you are.

Schaefer Myrick said:

I am planning on doing the exact same thing but with a 4'x6' PVC grid to maximize surface area contact. I will not know until next summer how well it works.

Daniel Budfuloski said:

  Don't know if this would work (but it is what I plan on doing with my system when I get it up and running).  I'm going to have a sump tank burried 4-6 feet down (where the temperature stays at a constant 50-55 degrees and has the effect of thermal cooling/heating) and have it pumped up to the surface of my fish tank that is burried half in the ground.  Then i'm going to siphon the water off the bottom of my fish tank to the grow beds.  My theory is...  with constant 50-55 degree water pumped to the top of my fish tank and then being pulled to the bottom by the siphon effect, it will keep my whole tank the same tank year round.  Do you guys think it will work?

Daniel....In my experience 4 to 6 feet in the ground might only get you a few degrees in temperature change. Geothermal engineers will tell you that at 25' below ground you arrive at a constant temp. that is mean (or average) temp of your area. Near San Antonio Texas if we go 25' down we will find constant 75 to 78  degree temps. 

I'd be interested if you can prove me wrong, and get some chilling at 6'.

Daniel Budfuloski said:

  Don't know if this would work (but it is what I plan on doing with my system when I get it up and running).  I'm going to have a sump tank burried 4-6 feet down (where the temperature stays at a constant 50-55 degrees and has the effect of thermal cooling/heating) and have it pumped up to the surface of my fish tank that is burried half in the ground.  Then i'm going to siphon the water off the bottom of my fish tank to the grow beds.  My theory is...  with constant 50-55 degree water pumped to the top of my fish tank and then being pulled to the bottom by the siphon effect, it will keep my whole tank the same tank year round.  Do you guys think it will work?

More than anything else the in ground sump is to avoid drastic swings based on a day to day basis but you must go by your average ground and water supply temps as far as choosing what fish will be the least costly to raise temp wise. Let's face it when the Sun is out and the air is say 98F your ground temp at even IBC depth of 4' is going to be far more moderate unless those temps continue for weeks especially if the sump room is shaded like my fish room is. Temp swings are more dangerous than ambient average to fish. But the species should be base upon average ambient unless you don't mind purchasing such equipment as chillers or heaters and the high cost to run them.

We moved to the southern mountains for the moderate temps year round and it just happens to be big trout country so that is our fish of choice as we love trout. When choosing a fish species to raise you should ask yourself what you would be most likely to catch if you went fishing in your area and what fish are raised locally at the fish farms and base your choice around these factors along with what fish you or the local restaurants would prefer to eat. That might not be trout.

If you make a fish tank out of an old freezer you can just leave the cooling system in tact.  Running it off of a thermostat with a probe would allow you to go a bit later in the spring, and start a bit earlier in the fall.  I wouldn't use it in the summer though.  

I plant to start offering a freezer-to-fish-tank conversion kit next month on my website if you're interested: Cold Weather Aquaponics.

I came upon an old Trout raising book and thought this quote to be of interest. Source at the end.

I think it is safe to say that sluggish flat water at 70 is dangerous,
if not fatal, to trout ; while they will live in vigorous
rapid water which occasionally runs to 80. I have
found 85 to be fatal to them in all kinds of water.
Source:
JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY, LATE TICKNOR & FIELDS, AND FIELDS, OSGOOD, & Co.1873

Good stuff. Keep your Trout water rolling!

@ Jeremiah, I have planned such a freezer FT in my original system plan but have yet to pick one up. You will need to isolate it from the rest of the system (I have 5 ibc FTs) during hot weather tho and I haven't quite designed that part yet. Perhaps a separate GB and a bio/solids filter like the one I use now for my Trout finishing tanks would help as well. I see no reason why you cannot run the freezer (on a fridge t-stat) all Summer. So far I have been able to stay below 70F anyway.

If you read my posts on finding a freezer, I changed my mind on leaving the cooling system intact.  Bad idea!

Here are some other ways.

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Why? Just don't drill thru the plumbing

Jeremiah Robinson said:

If you read my posts on finding a freezer, I changed my mind on leaving the cooling system intact.  Bad idea!

Here are some other ways.

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Actually it takes energy to make water evaporate. The concept is that warmer water has more kenetic energy, and as this leaves the mass of liquid water, becoming water vapor, cooler water is left behind.

Averan said:
That doesn't make sense. Evaporative or 'swamp' coolers chill AIR by warming the water. If the air temp is high, it is surely higher than your water and spraying it will only serve to warm your water. Everyone running a flood and drain media bed in the summer knows this first hand.

Am I missing something here?
The cool water will fall to the lower level, so why not put cool in at mid level, and at the other end of the tank take warm water off the top? If the objective is to cool down the water why take cooler water from the bottom?

Mark Hall said:

Daniel....In my experience 4 to 6 feet in the ground might only get you a few degrees in temperature change. Geothermal engineers will tell you that at 25' below ground you arrive at a constant temp. that is mean (or average) temp of your area. Near San Antonio Texas if we go 25' down we will find constant 75 to 78  degree temps. 

I'd be interested if you can prove me wrong, and get some chilling at 6'.

Daniel Budfuloski said:

  Don't know if this would work (but it is what I plan on doing with my system when I get it up and running).  I'm going to have a sump tank burried 4-6 feet down (where the temperature stays at a constant 50-55 degrees and has the effect of thermal cooling/heating) and have it pumped up to the surface of my fish tank that is burried half in the ground.  Then i'm going to siphon the water off the bottom of my fish tank to the grow beds.  My theory is...  with constant 50-55 degree water pumped to the top of my fish tank and then being pulled to the bottom by the siphon effect, it will keep my whole tank the same tank year round.  Do you guys think it will work?

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