Aquaponic Gardening

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The roller coaster called today - hopefully I learned my lesson

This morning I headed to Boulder, excited to see Sylvia's Bernstein's greenhouse, aquaponic arrangements, and most importantly, to pick up my white tilapia stock. Sylvia's house is a beautifully peaceful home, and the greenhouse provided me with the level of sensory overload I've not experienced in quite a while. She graciously explained the state of the systems she is running, and we went on as aquaponists tend to do about all things related to all of it. The conversations are often difficult to try to narrow, as we are all so excited about so many different aspects and applications for these types of food producing systems. I got my healthy tilapia, and made the return trip to Thornton, quickly showing the fish to my wife and hurrying upstairs to begin acclimating the fish to the new water. I added some tank water to their container and got about the next task.

When I got home, I found Jessica using the first day of her well-deserved vacation to detail the house. I promised my wife that I'd move the cherry barbs out of the tank, as they'd just be future tilapia fodder. To accomplish this, I had to detach the flood pump from the growbed. I spun the timer to a drain cycle, added another 15 minutes to that cycle, and then took apart the rest of the lid, captured the fish, and went outside to get the camera to get a picture of the fish before I put them in the tank. I had kind of been running since I got home, so I sat down with my wife for a minute to discuss what we're going to try and get done to the house in the next week while she's off. One of the things we talked about is changing the upstairs carpet, and improving the water security for the aquaponic closet. I'm guess about 35 minutes had passed in total, the last 5 of which involved a sump pump spraying water upward in a corner of the tank. Not all out, but a decent amount. Just because I used a timed cycle instead of unplugging the sump while I worked.

I turned off the pump, then got to work on the floor. I headed downstairs to find water dripping off the ceiling fan over our dining room table (in the room Jess just cleaned). At that point I got very concerned. I cut the power to the house, put buckets in place, and took a closer look at the tank to figure out how much water I'd just put between floors through carelessness. About 2 gallons what what I replaced to bring it up to normal. I spoke to my brother the electrician, he advised to wait 48 before using the fan, and apart from that my fire risk should be low. I've placed blower fans on the wet spot and ceiling.

The carpet replacement must now transpire, and I'm going to have to move my tank and re-do the floor in the closet (including adding a step and a plastic bed liner). The chance of a tank breaking is always there, and must be taken seriously. I suppose it was inevitable, but I so hoped to put it off a little longer.


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Comment by Sylvia Bernstein on November 2, 2010 at 6:03pm
Oh boy, Dan. So this is what you meant by "the water incident"! Bummer..and I also do this kind of thing all the time. Watching water drip from your dining room ceiling is about one of the worse feelings there is! Glad the fishies were ok, though...
Comment by TCLynx on November 1, 2010 at 8:35am
Now I'm so glad I have a single story house on a slab with tile. The messes I made in the spare room when tinkering with an indoor AP system now seem very minor.

Loosing track of time can be very dangerous. Those hose timers that will turn off after a certain time or flow are great for people who might wander off with the hose topping up a system.

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