Aquaponic Gardening

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Bill Moore's Blog (14)

Re-configuring My Fish Tank Filer

Redesigned the 5 gallon fish tank filter. The original system used a combination of NaturAire commercial furnace filter material and three types of rock: red lava, pea gravel and lime stone aggregate sandwiched between the filter medium.

After a week of operation, I decided to re-confirgure the system, removing all the stone material.  It their place I created two  sand filters made out of a pair of my wife's old panty hose legs filled with sand. So now the both the grow bed and fish…


Added by Bill Moore on August 11, 2012 at 9:38am — No Comments

Controlling Ammonia Levels By Feeding

Learned today that the way to control ammonia levels is to stop feeding the fish.  We were overfeeding and that drove ammonia levels really high in the 8+ ppm range (tubes on the left of photo). Taking what I learned in Knoxville, I stopped feeding the fish for two days and the tubes to the right illustrate how depriving the fish for two days dropped…


Added by Bill Moore on May 2, 2012 at 9:31am — No Comments

How I Nearly Boiled My Goldfish

Made major mistake last nite. Left new tank heater running since it appeared to be keeping temp stable at around 74F. This morning water was too hot. Didn't take time to measure but likely in the 120F range. Immediately started pouring cold tap water in tank. One fish died, others survived near cooler water inlet from NFT system. 

Two huge mistakes on my part. The heater is suspended in the top volume of water, about 5-8 inches below the surface. The temp probe was temporarily siting…


Added by Bill Moore on February 3, 2012 at 7:49am — 1 Comment

Testing pH of Buildex Expanded Shale Pebbles

One possible grow medium that might be considered somewhat comparable to Hydroton (expanded clay pebbles imported into the USA from Germany) is Buildex, an expanded shale product produced at a quarry located between St. Joseph, Mo. and Kansas City, which is only about 150 miles south of my location near Omaha, Ne.  The company sent me a 10 pound sample of the material to test. Today, after several weeks of letting a handful of the material sit in pH neutral snow melt (see attached photos), I…


Added by Bill Moore on December 18, 2011 at 2:27pm — 1 Comment

Cycling System Water Analysis

A.N.N. test of "plan B" fishless system on Saturday, 26 Nov 2011. Have a few seedlings in the bed. Have been occasionally adding capful of seaweed extract. Shifted to Maxicrop with Iron (2%). Added 50 ML yesterday.  Noted that after over dosing with Muriatic Acid (75 ml) pH dropped to 5 range and water seemed to clear. Prior it was slightly murky in appearance. As pH…


Added by Bill Moore on November 26, 2011 at 8:48am — No Comments

Plan 'B' Biofilter Inoculation Experiment

Photo below is of pea gravel in small laundry detergent bucket with holes drilled in bottom and around lower edges. Gravel came from AP community member Kip Edmond's system.  Rather than mix the pea gravel with the Hydroton, I thought I'd see if this approach might work to inoculate my grow bed.  

Also noticing wide swings in pH from a 6.5 at 9AM this morning to 8.0 at 5 PM. Will forego muriatic dosing this evening and take new samples tomorrow.  Photos of each test are on…


Added by Bill Moore on November 12, 2011 at 4:29pm — 1 Comment

Beginning to Cycle the Plan 'B' System

Recently uploaded photo of our tap water showing the results of a test my tap water and the API test kit.  Dark blue green test tube is the tap water.  The light yellow green is a 10:1 dilution with lemon juice.  Conclusion: tap water is slightly alkaline and API test kit is working.


On the advice of TCLynx, added 5ml of muriatic acid this morning (Thrs 11 Nov 2011) and when I tested this afternoon, it was in the 7.0-to-7.5 range (photo to follow).  Also added capful of…


Added by Bill Moore on November 10, 2011 at 2:06pm — 2 Comments

Red Lava Rock & pH Test

Added washed red lava rock to grow bed this afternoon. Also ran first pH test of the water.  Looks to be in the 8 range.  Will monitor this week to see if adding the lava changes the level.  

Added by Bill Moore on November 6, 2011 at 4:16pm — 4 Comments

Plan 'B' Water Test Successful

I am pleased to report that the CHOP2 system using the Rubbermaid Ag tanks is now working as I write.  Glued everything together (boy it's hard to keep the purple solvent from running everywhere!).   Started water test with sump filling grow bed to see if the siphon worked.  Immediately discovered leak around 1" tank flange. let most of water drain and then siliconed the flange.  Discovered same problem as I next filled the 100 gal. fish tank.  It too leaked, so I bailout some of the water,…


Added by Bill Moore on November 5, 2011 at 5:58pm — 1 Comment

Plan 'B' Set Up Assembled

Phase one now almost ready to run. All of the PVC plumbing fittings in place, metal halide light rewired back to 240V for lower current drain, new circuit box installed, power outlets for pump and bubbler GFCI wired. Will begin water tests this weekend.


QUESTION:  What is recommended lighting cycle? Run 24 hrs a day or should there be some X hrs of dark?  

Added by Bill Moore on November 3, 2011 at 10:41am — 7 Comments

Plan B Weekend Update

Whew!  What a weekend. Dismantled old steel storage shed in backyard that was old when we moved here in 1994.  Disposed of it and some other junk at fall clean-up days here in Papillion.  Cut shelf legs and painted first coat of Rustoleum on shelve that will position grow bed above sump tank. The one badly rusted shelf just happen to be where I need to cut out the metal for the siphon outlet to drain into the sump.. convenient!  

Added by Bill Moore on October 23, 2011 at 3:04pm — No Comments

Plan 'B' Commences

I bought my three Rubber Maid tanks Friday ($238) and began looking for plumbing parts. Also cleaned the tanks today and moved them into position in basement.  Have old steel storage rack that I am going to modify to put the grow bed above the sump tank. 

Added by Bill Moore on October 22, 2011 at 8:18pm — No Comments

Plan B (as in basement) Now Moves to "$eriou$ $tage"

Now found local sources for most of the parts I need to start building the system, so it's starting to get serious now. Will start by buying the Rubbermaid Ag tanks: one 100 gal, two 50 gal... with option to add 2nd grow bed in future.  I'll keep you all posted.

Added by Bill Moore on October 17, 2011 at 5:18pm — 1 Comment

Plan "B" As in Basement

If I am going to put my 1st aquaponics system in the basement so we can start learning over the winter, I am going to have build it out of 2x4 lumber, osb, and some type of liner. Reason: the door leading downstairs to the basement is only 29 inches wide, which rules out using IBC tote system. Thought is 48"x24"x60" fish tank. 24"x24"X60" sump tank, on top of which would be mounted 12"x24"x60" grow bed. Above the grow bed would be florescent grow lights (and I think I'll have the sheriff…


Added by Bill Moore on September 10, 2011 at 2:45pm — 21 Comments

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