1. The Practical Aquaponics discussion forum has been in operation for the last 5 years...

    We have enjoyed giving this service free of charge however ongoing increasing financial costs of running this service is making it increasingly difficult. Up until now we have resisted advertising as a means of a revenue stream to help run this forum but it has become inevitable that extra revenue is required to run this forum.

    We have introduced a donate button to help offset the cost of running this forum. It is completely voluntary, but if you would like to donate, all donations would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks Murray..
    Dismiss Notice

Southern CA new build

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by DanaPT, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. DanaPT

    DanaPT New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2016
    Messages:
    11
    Country:
    us
    State:
    ca
    City:
    laguna
    First timer. In May 2016 my wife asked me what I knew about "aquaponics". I think she saw something on line. Anyhow, I love to garden and knew exactly what she was talking about and began the learning process.

    First was a prototype that I built behind a fence. Small 40 gal fish tank and 20 gal sump tank pumped up to NFT tubes that filled one then two grow beds. A big problem was the lack of sun being behind the fence.

    After running with goldfish, I proved I could do it. So off to the next progression. Same concept but slightly bigger scale. 100 gal fish tank. 50 gal sump tank. NFT tubes draining to 2 grow trays (2x4 ft).


    Here is photo time-line from April to Oct 2016, the tip of the iceberg!


    Here is what's below!


    Thanks for watching. Look forward to contributing.
     
  2. DanaPT

    DanaPT New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2016
    Messages:
    11
    Country:
    us
    State:
    ca
    City:
    laguna
    Figured to provide an update.


    so far all is well. other than moth worms eating at leaves. It's been "cold" in the low 60s with a lower winter sun. The water temp is around 65degrees with help of 2x 300 watt heaters.

    Laughable moment: Getting the 1st month bill running 600 watts 24 hrs a day for about 30 days. $$$$$$

    Learning moment, those heaters are now on a timer, running only at night. so I guess less $$.

    I'd like to push their limits but don't want to see a die off. I don't want to see more crazy electric bills. Just flat out doesn't make sense.

    I may need to explore non-tropical fish alternatives.
    20161127_161528c.jpg 20161127_161911c.jpg 20161127_161742c.jpg
     
  3. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    291
    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    ACT
    City:
    Canberra
    Looking good! You might be able to get your power bills down further with some insulation around your tanks, but the NFT tubes are going to be a major heat loss point no matter what you do. What fish are those? Tilapia?
     
  4. DanaPT

    DanaPT New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2016
    Messages:
    11
    Country:
    us
    State:
    ca
    City:
    laguna
    A February update. . . Just realized how important seeding is to keep things going. have a google drive spreadsheet working by month with a list of veggies to grow. Always be seeding. I've pulled a lot of plants in Jan and Replanted new baby plants. Notice the grow trays are about full. When those get big I'll change out plants in the grow beds OR add plant them in the dirt garden. All the while new seedlings are in line.

    As for the fish, they are no longer spooked. I have not netted the tanks and have only lost one small juvie fish. I think that was the "christopher columbus" of the that bunch, you know an explorer and risk taker. The others are very content in the habitat.

    I am using heaters to get the water about 70 degrees. I am also using the rubbermaid AG tanks. they melt, which is why they say used caged heaters. I believe I have a small hole in the tank where the warm/hot heater touched and slowly melted itself into the side of the tank. I fortunately caught it before it went straight through. I crammed some surf wax into the area in question and that has slowed it down. I have to replace about 15-20 gal per week. Total system processes about 140 gal of water. for winter time, that seems like a lot for evaporation.

    I have enhanced the biofilter. Wanted to be sure to keep hard particles from clouding the tanks. I run the bio filter 24/7 in the 100 gal tank. It spills the water into HDPE drain pipe cuttings filled with common blue fish tank filters. I buy a sheet , cut to size then cram into the HDPE cutting. Those catch an amazing amount particulates, they fill in about 3 days and water will no longer freely flow through. I made 3 so, I swap em out. you can see one in the lower right of the photo. I rinse the filters in a bucket and pour the contents into my dirt garden, trees and other plants. That crap is amazing!

    seedlings are cauliflower and broccoli. Being seeded now are lettuce, arugula, parsley, and radish.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Messages:
    3,032
    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    South Australia
    City:
    Adelaide
    Hi Dana,

    Things are looking good,

    With your evaporation, to help a little, you may want to consider covering your fish tank, the rest looks OK. One other thing apart from your NFT area which may cause a little evaporation ATM, your plants will transpire.

    It's important to keep your fish tank temperature to the optimum temperature for your fish, it keeps their metabolism and feed rates correct. I grew barramundi through our winter time here and paid a bit extra for electricity but IMO it was worth it, at least do do it correctly once. I have posted about this a fews years back if you wish to to do a search. Try Bigdaddy's barra or something like that. There is some good conversation and suggestions others made to help.

    I found insulation helps, particularly lids and insulating them as you lose heat from the top of your tank. There is not much you can do about your NFT and growbeds being out in the weather to stop them from acting as a giant radiator, that's just the way physics work I guess. You can build a small poly or the like, green house around them, that should also work if you were to try it.

    Cheers.
     
  6. DanaPT

    DanaPT New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2016
    Messages:
    11
    Country:
    us
    State:
    ca
    City:
    laguna
    Thanks Big Daddy for the update. Now that we are well into spring, I've dialed back the heating. If I had a "do-over" I would have insulated the tanks and left enough room for a lid/cover on the tanks. I'll just have to live with it.

    So as I'm seeding for summer, I've noticed considerable seedling growth difference between seeds I've started in soil them moved to the AP NFT area. Seeds moved to this have grown significantly 2-4x faster than those left in soil. My guess is the continuous timed flow of nutrient rich water is a key component.

    Anyhow found that the AP system is a good nursery for my dirt garden plantings. Seeds start in dirt, get moved to the AP system and sometimes go back to the dirt. IT's worked out quite well.

    More updates and pics to follow!
     

Share This Page