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Greetings from Tassie- a girl & her goose

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Raywyn, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. Raywyn

    Raywyn New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Messages:
    6
    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    Tas
    City:
    Kettering
    Hi all!
    Wildlife rehab carer-bird specialist..hubby & I have a wildbird rehab facility in southern tasmania.
    We have cared for a variety of waterbirds over the last few years, but now find ourselves with a permanent resident - an Australian Wood duck (a small native goose).
    Currently designing a permanent enclosure for him..and aquaponics came across my radar. Duck-aponics? Hmmm...

    Grace (my handsome male wood duck....yes Grace)..is like most geese..uses a pond to have a quick swim/duck-dive/preen..and out again.
    In current clamshell pond, it needs changing every 3 days..poop-load is pretty good.
    We are on tank water..so this waste cant be sustained.
    I am currently investigating an aquaponic system to grow food for him and other birds..and maybe tomatoes for us too!

    Another point- while we receive 0 funding to be wildlife carers, we are hoping to apply for a small grant to set this enclosure up.

    I welcome any suggestions!
     
  2. Ringer

    Ringer Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2016
    Messages:
    236
    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    Queensland
    City:
    Jimboomba
    Hi Raywyn,
    Firstly I thank you for your efforts caring for our wonderful native species.
    Secondly , there are a couple of things I can see needing some consideration before building your proposed styem. You will need good mechanical filtration and flow rate in your system as "foul" poo is course and will overwhelm (clog) a media bed very quickly. Also if (?), wild birds use the pond you will have pathogens , plants (duckweed and algae) , parasites (leeches ,ich and intestinal worm for example) being constantly carried in by the birds.
    The poo of wild birds can also host ecoli and salmonella so there are obviously a few things to consider and plan for if building a system fuelled by water foul.
    Don't be discouraged though there is a way.
    You'll need :
    Good mechanical filtration.
    A UV steriliser (kills water boune pathogens and algae).
    High dissolved O2 levels (aeration).
    And low exposure to sunlight (to prevent algae blooms).
    Great water circulation (stops accumulation of debris).
    If all of these factors are addressed in your design there is no reason you couldn't have a very productive system.
    Cheers
    Hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
    bigdaddy and Raywyn like this.
  3. Raywyn

    Raywyn New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Messages:
    6
    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    Tas
    City:
    Kettering
    Thanks Ringer!
    It will be a roofed enclosure so we don't need to worry about wild birds.
    Your point on sun is well taken..the site chosen is in dappled shade..and the water will be on the move constantly.
    We are looking to have a sump pump (to handle the larger solids..and be a bit more robust) 2 long growbeds (with bell siphons) then a reservoir on the end that feeds a waterfall back into the pond (providing aeration).
    Interested in what Grow media to use..i was thinking small volcanic rocks/pebbles..or do i need a specific stone?
    And do we need to clean that media regularly so it doesnt gunk up too much?
     
  4. Ringer

    Ringer Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2016
    Messages:
    236
    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    Queensland
    City:
    Jimboomba
    The short answer to your first question is no, there is no "special" media for AP growbeds
    they all have their pros and cons. I use 20mm gravel in my GB's , it's cheap and effective but heavy. Fine gravels clog very quickly so avoid those. Really the only limiting factor when choosing a media is the substrates pH in water.
    Some alkaline and/or high calcium content stones are unsuitable for use in AP as they leech and your waters pH will never come down.
    There are a heap of vids online showing how to test a potential media using vinegar. (Worth a look).
    To answer your second question , when "fuelled" by foul waste yes a growbed would be quickly overwhelmed by waste if pumped in directly and would become a giant ammonia generator. The nitrifying bacteria present simply can't process big lumps of duck poo properly. I would strongly recommend a mechanical filter with a medium grade sponge that is easy to access and clean. I'd locate it inbetween your pond and your GB's to stop large particles from blogging things up and polluting your water. If I were designing this system I'd go one step further and install a settling tank with a UV steriliser after the mechanical filter and before the GB's.
    No pathogens or algae will be transferred from your pond to your GB's this way. With the right pre- filtration you should only ever have to remove roots from your GB's and that about it.
    Many will disagree , a lot of systems don't use mech. filtration systems but give a few seasons of silt build up , then after their hellish clean ups they'll understand there value.
    Cheers
    Hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
    bigdaddy likes this.
  5. Raywyn

    Raywyn New Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    Tas
    City:
    Kettering
    Awesome info! Thanks Ringer!

    Thats the kind of info i was after!
    I was actually thinking of a seine net between Pond/GB somewhere. .so this info you provided has clarified that for me.
    Was actually going to use a 'muncher pump' for the sump (hubby was a sewerage plant plumber) to handle breaking up the solids..so we could use the filter between Sump and GB.
    Settling pond/UV stuff is not a cheap exercise , but i take your point there..and will certainly consider that.

    Hmm.. grow media..i will study more! And do some fun science things as well..thanks for the tip!

    Plants.
    I woild like yo be growing foods for Grace as the main priority..but tomatoes & chillis may get a look-in at the end of the line of GB..

    Is there a list of good stuff to grow/ successful plants...that can be used year-round?

    Appreciate the help & support!!
     
  6. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    3,035
    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    South Australia
    City:
    Adelaide
    Hi Raywyn and welcome to PAP,

    Gravel is a good grow bed media IMO

    Have you thought of having a completely separate aquaponics system with a separate water supply? Just a thought may not be what you have in mind but I'd look at it anyway. The water use issue shouldn't be a problem, although naturally you would use some.

    If you were to use a separate water supply in a separate system you would minimize the e-coli and pathogens issue/s. maybe start off small then expand, still keeping them separate to your pond, once you have taught yourself to "drive" the system.

    I agree with Ringer about your filtration, but then again I always have been that way inclined.

    Good luck

    Cheers.
     
  7. Raywyn

    Raywyn New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Messages:
    6
    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    Tas
    City:
    Kettering
    Thanks Big Daddy! (Nice moderator name by the way...)
    The main reason for setting up this system is for the Duck pond...so i will be keeping it simple to start with..but will be hooking it up directly.
    Ive already modified my plan, based on Ringers advice & input.
    Once i think i have it right on paper. .id appreciate y'all running your eye over it to see if its do-able.
    Grow media...size of the gravel you use?
    I am still dithering on what to use here...
     

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