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Mel's Big System (plans and questions!)

Discussion in 'New Aquaponics systems - DIY' started by Mel Redcap, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

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    *rubs hands together* Update time! :X3:

    First, a fishy update! The silvers are getting a lot bigger and were actually visible this afternoon:


    I harvested my potatoes!
    [​IMG]

    The soil was nice and loose, and fairly dry despite all the rain we've been having, so I was able to tip it all out onto a tarp and sort through for treasure - er, I mean tubers:
    [​IMG]

    Found quite a few, too! 1.7 kilos of free potatoes! (Also found a small ant colony, which was not as much fun. :eek:)
    [​IMG]

    I took the broccoli out of the aquaponics; they weren't heading up at all, and were supporting a thriving colony of white fly that laughed at all the fish-safe insecticides that I tried on them. So they had to go:
    [​IMG]

    The celeriac and radicchio plants that have been half-smothered under them for months are probably very relieved to see the sun again! Then I had to pull the root masses out. And I do mean masses:
    [​IMG]

    The flat edge on there is where it was pressed up against the edge of the growbed; that's the one that was growing under the water inlet, and it's obviously been enjoying having the first go at all the nutrients!

    When I started poking around and getting some of the clay balls out of the root mat, I found two baby yabbies that must have gotten sucked up by the pump! One was dead :cry: but the other was perfectly fine and has been returned to the sump - I don't have a picture of the live one, because it was trying really hard to jump out of my hand, but here's the other:
    [​IMG]

    Methinks I should put flyscreen mesh around the pumps to keep the baby critters safe!
     
  2. Bumper

    Bumper New Member

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    Hi Mel, just back into the aquaponics research, been a busy couple of months. Doesn't surprise me on the happy plants, we have had to pump an inordinate amount of water onto the garden just to keep it alive. We had good garlic, tomato, zucchini, blackcurrant and corn yields, but low chilli pollination (now they are going gangbusters but playing roulette with the frost). The heavy rains I hadn't thought about, another bit of trouble shooting for the build... With the big rains a few weeks ago we got 36mm in 20 minutes.. Keep up the posts, looking forward to see how your system goes over autumn and winter.
     
  3. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

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    Welcome back, Bumper! Yup, aquaponics definitely uses less water than dirt gardening, or even wicking beds. Rainwater is great, but it's a good idea to set things up so that it doesn't go straight into your system - better to collect it elsewhere and then top up as needed. I'm going to be closing up my hoop house this week, which will keep most of the rain out of my tanks; at the moment a lot of water runs off the top arch into my fish tank and growbeds, which was great during summer but not so good now that we're getting lots of rain and not much evaporation! Even if you're not planning a greenhouse or similar, a slanted shadecloth cover over the growbeds can direct most of the rain away and prevent overflows messing with your water chemistry.

    There'll definitely be more posts! My tomatoes are slowing down, but a lot of the other plants are having a growth spurt - sweet basil, eggplant, chillis and a little capsicum plant especially.
     
  4. Bergermeister

    Bergermeister New Member

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    Wow your system is amazing :wideyed: I'd love to be able to do something like that some day, keep the posts coming! :thumbsup2:
     
  5. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

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    Hee, thanks! I'm having a lot of fun with it.
     
  6. Jayant Bhavsar

    Jayant Bhavsar New Member

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    nice and perfect design of system
     
  7. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

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    I have underwater video of my fish! Whee~!

     
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  8. JaydenTan

    JaydenTan New Member

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    Very informative and so much details. Nice pictures taken as well.

    Currently I am setting up my backyard system too, with my bro in law. But a rather small scale 3m sq land space, a part of the backyard for this moment. We have some more space by the side, a 22m sq area for future expansion, if this tiny system work out fine.

    Will create another tread to post up our system once we start our work, now waiting for tanks and drums to come in. And also our limited weekend time. Haha.
     
    Mel Redcap likes this.
  9. JaydenTan

    JaydenTan New Member

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    And I must say, those fishes look really happy in your tank!
     
  10. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

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    Good luck with your system, JaydenTan! I made a little system at first to try out aquaponics before building my big one, it's a really good idea.

    I'm glad the fish seem happy, I'm certainly trying to keep them that way!
     
    JaydenTan likes this.
  11. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

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    I am mighty and triumphant! And also sore. But mostly triumphant! :broc1:

    [​IMG]

    The hoop house is all closed in for the winter! It's not quite finished - the flap I can get clear access to the fish tank through is just tacked down at the moment, and the door to the filter area needs proper fasteners to replace the C-clamps that are holding it closed right now - but it's done, which is the most important part. Especially since the weather forecast says we'll be hitting 1 degree C tonight. :p

    I had to prune off a lot of the rampant tomatopocalypse in the process, which means I'm going to be making a batch of green tomato chutney soon.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

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    Me: "I wonder if closing up the hoop house is really going to make much of a difference?"

    *goes to check temperatures this morning*

    Official reading from the nearest weather station: 12C (53.6F)
    Current air temperature outside my hoop house: 14C (57F)
    Current air temperature inside my hoop house: 39.5C (103F)

    Me: "...yeah I think that'll make a difference." o_O
     
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  13. JaydenTan

    JaydenTan New Member

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    Your hoop house look great. And also didn't know that it can make so much of difference in terms of retaining heat and maintaining temp.

    By the way, how about during summer time? Would you just leave the entrance curtain up in order to let outside air goes in to cool down temp?
     
  14. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

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    It does a great job of building the temp when the sun is on it, but not as good a job of holding the temperature once the sun goes down. I've got an oil lamp burning in there tonight to see how much of a difference that makes.

    In summertime I have the flap over my growbeds rolled up all the time, plus the flap on the other side that gives me convenient access to my fish tank. This summer I also didn't have the end walls up at all; next summer I'll see how the temperature inside goes with just the flaps rolled up, and if it gets too warm I'll take the end walls down again.
     
  15. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

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    The flap over the fish tank is finished! Opening it and the long flap over the growbeds a bit stabilises the daytime temperature nicely.

     
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  16. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

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    It got cold last night!

    [​IMG]

    The hoop house plastic is utterly covered in frost flowers. The flap I access the filters through was frozen shut. The ice on the bird bath is about an inch thick, and the grass is crunchy. And yet, it didn't freeze inside my hoop house, and even the sweet basil still looks happy. (y)
     
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