AQUAPONICS AUSTRALIA.
Grow your Vegetables and Fish in your own backyard Aquaponics System.
A fun and interesting project.
 

Aquaponics Australia (R)

 
 
 
 
 

Aquaponic Systems
using my products.

A selection of various Aquaponics Systems using my purpose made tanks and grow beds.
HERE

Aquaponics
Kits.
Home or unit.
One to suit every budget.

Commercial
modular systems.

Aquaponics system 600
An Aquaponics System based on a A 600 Lit re Fish Tank.

Aquaponics vegetables Plant growth in my 600 Lit re Aquaponics System

A Series of Photos.


Aquaponics - Jade Perch Building my First Aquaponics System.
An Aquaponics Journal .

Aquaponics - Strawberries Aquaponics in a School Setting.

Aquaponics as an Educational Tool.


Aquaponics in Action.

Aquaponics as an Educational Tool.

Aquaponics in a school

Strawberries grown in a Aquaponics "Tower" made from 90mm PVC pipe.
Aquaponics - Strawberries in a grow tower

Murray Hall am

Call Me on 07 3200 0272 if you wish to talk about Aquaponics for your home or Farm project.

We are located 45 kilo metres south of Brisbane CBD towards Beau desert Qld.
Visits to see my Aquaponics system are very welcome but by appointment only.

The worlds greatest
macadamia nut cracker.

Future Farms

Easy Aquaponics

www.aquaponics.tel
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Wild Soap Nuts.
An amazing natural product

We support GANRAD.

The Global Aquaponics Network for Research and Development is a not for profit company that was formed to support the industry and conduct research into Aquaponics.

Aquaponics Grow Fish and plants together

Aquaponics Backyard Backyard Aquaponics
Aquaponics is spoken here. Aquaponics is spoken here 2 Aquaponics is spoken here 3
Newsletter # 6
Could Aquaponics be a necessity for good health? Here.

Aquaponics "SECRETS" - The DVD Here
Read about the new "SECRETS" - DVD Here

Aquaponics WORKSHOP at Mildura Vic. Here


Newsletter 2010 # 6

During my search - the word "Aquaponics" appeared and I became quite intrigued (obsessed???) with the concept.

About 18 months ago I was searching the internet for information about Yabbies. At the time - my father had a 6.0? Ha (approx 15 acre) property in East Gippsland which had a reasonably large dam – he had some Golden Perch (Yellowbelly) in the dam… but he wanted to know more about Yabbies. "Could he grow and harvest yabbies for himself - as well as providing a natural food source for the fish?"
During my searching for the appropriate information for my father - the word "Aquaponics" appeared, and I became quite intrigued (obsessed???) with the concept.

Put simply; "Growing fish and vegetables in a recirculating water supply ; where just by feeding the Fish - an adequate supply of nutrient rich water is produced - that will enable the growth of many varieties of vegetables (and some fruits) ; which in turn provides the necessary filtration for the water to be returned to the Fish".

I then found the websites of "Practical Aquaponics Made Easy" and "Backyard Aquaponics". Both sites led me to "internet forums" where interested people share experiences and discuss all things Aquaponics. (as well as other subjects).
My interest was such - that I virtually read every forum members "Aquaponics experience" and I was determined to build my own "proof of concept" system.

How hard could it be? (Mind you - I have never had an aquarium or fish in my life , and my only experience of growing vegetables was at primary school many years ago).
I was able to procure a glass aquarium 60cm long x 30cm wide x 30cm deep and a store purchased "self watering" planter, an aquarium filter pump and some PVC hose. A trip to the local Hydroponics store - and I had a 15 litre bag of "expanded clay media" and appropriate plumbing fittings. 24 hours later my proof of concept system was pumping water – recirculating through the media and back to the aquarium – continuous flow. (Later on this system was converted to auto syphon and the glass aquarium was replaced with a ½ wine barrel – still operating).

The local pet store had some large Yabbies; bought 6 at $3 each; BigW store had Pak Choi seeds , bought 1 pack.... Should be simple.

Within one week the Pak Choi seeds sown directly into clay media had sprouted – and the Yabbies had settled in well.

Because this system was set-up outside under the patio – it was getting too much sunlight - and algae became a problem.

I persevered, cleaning the glass and pump, and doing partial water changes every week .
I knew this was not really the ideal way to go – but hey! - this was just a "proof of concept system"!!!
Pak Choi grows really well !!!

No doubt this "Aquaponics thingy" really works!!!
I knew I was supposed to be checking water quality and testing pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates - but everything was going so well .... must be alright! 2 of the Yabbies were "in berry" - and Pak Choi and watercress were growing very well.
Three months after setting up the system - we had 2 broods of baby Yabbies must be doing something right!!!

Then the most severe hot spell in Melbourne ... 45oC!!!
Four consecutive days over 40oC!!! ...Damn!!!
Should have listened to my wife and cooled the water down.
All the adult Yabbies died a most horrible death; water temp reached 36oC!!!
Managed to rescue about 75 of the hundred or so baby Yabbies; 2 of which are still alive today , just over 1 year old. Anyway , long story short , Aquaponics works!!!
Very water efficient, chemical free and fun way (despite the tragedy) to grow vegetables and fish (or in this case - Yabbies)!!!
Latest version of
"Proof-of-Concept" system
Now - best way for us to go forward with Aquaponics???
"Practical Aquaponics Made Easy" and "Backyard Aquaponics" provide "ready to go kits" advertised on their respective websites. Both varieties looked very presentable - and both "brands" fitted my wife's criteria of not being an eyesore in the very small courtyard of our unit" (I'm sure I could have managed a DIY system – but it would probably have been an eyesore!!!)

Having read the Aquaponics Forums – the decision for us to buy a kit was easy – all the testing and proving of the "Kit Systems" had been done" they provided a "base line standard" for beginners. The "best accepted practices" of Aquaponics at this time - are already incorporated into the kit systems. They provide an "easy entry" into Aquaponics for any beginner provided that some "basic disciplines" are employed.
Murray Hallam's systems (Practical Aquaponics Made Easy) were made from fibre glass and incorporated the flood and drain process via "continuous flow and auto syphons"; – Joel Malcolm's systems (BYAP) were made from HDPE Plastic (UV stabilised food grade plastic) and incorporated the flood and drain process via 'continuous flow and pump on timer'.

After much deliberation - we decided that Murray's "Balcony Kit" was the kit for us. We contacted Gary and Lin Trott at Melbourne Aquaponics and viewed their "working" Display Kits – very impressed !!!
We chose to have a Fingerling Tank (250l), 2 Grow Beds (2 x 250l), with a Fish Tank (approx 1000l). Although this configuration does not fit the "generally accepted" ratio of Grow Beds to Fish Tank of 1:1 – I figure that if I do not "push the envelope" – we will have the experience of growing and harvesting our own very fresh Vegetables, Fish and Yabbies – in a most water efficient and chemical free environment - even if they are not produced at maximum capacity/efficiency. (Less Risk???)

We placed our order for the kit and prepared the site late March/early April.
Kit arrived mid April – went together exactly as instructions provided. I chose to wash the expanded clay media before placement in Grow Beds (used wash water on dirt garden plants) – set up and tested 240v pump – adjusted water flow so "auto syphons" worked appropriately.... – too easy !!!
A recent photo of my Three Bed Balcony kit.
Purchased 6 mature Yabbies, planted vegetable seedlings and sowed some seeds directly into media – now cold weather here – everything slow growing. Regularly tested the water for 'cycling process' to be completed
– unfortunately it was already May – too cold!!! Very difficult to be patient – but I resisted trying to 'hurry things along' by adding urea or 'humonia' – just a cap full of Seasol every other day.

I set-up and tested the 12v battery powered 'back-up' system – had to do it before adding fish!!! Battery from recycling centre and a new Ctek Charger - hooked up to supplied '240v fail switch' and 12v Bilge Pump supplied with Kit). Worked perfectly!!!

Silver Perch were my choice of fish for our AP System in our Victorian location – they tolerate a wide variety of conditions (water quality and temperature) – as do Yabbies – I expect a 2 season grow-out due to cold winter and small size of fingerlings.

On 20th May, 2009, I purchased 50 Silver Perch Fingerlings - plus 2 Eel Tailed Catfish from Glenwaters Native Fish. (25 Silver Perch and 2 Catfish Fingerlings were about 25mm in length and 25 Silver Perch Fingerlings were about 35mm). A friend gave me 12 mature Yabbies (leftover bait from a fishing expedition) – added to the 6 already in the Fingerling Tank made a total of 18 Yabbies.

Left:
Test results.
Beetroot grown in my Three Bed Aquaponics System.
Our little AP System has now been running for 10 months – and while I cannot claim that everything has grown perfectly – I can say that my wife and I are thoroughly enjoying our 'aquaponics experience' and we expect we shall for many years to come!!! We still have 42 of the original 50 Silver Perch added to the system in May (8 deaths of unknown cause) – not sure how many of the original Yabbies – but there are at least 3 broods of young Yabbies growing in the Fingerling Tank.

The adult Yabbies are very territorial and we have lost a few due to cannibalism and others due to unknown reasons – we have 'topped up' adult Yabby population a few times. Currently there are 15 Adult Yabbies - and I have not counted the juveniles.

We have harvested some Pak Choi, Watercress, Snow Peas, Beetroot, Zucchinis, Celery, Potatoes, Lettuce,Tomatoes, Basil, Parsley,Garlic, Tang O and Vietnamese Coriander and Goji leaves. We have experimented with growing some other vegies - and fruits - but did not get to harvest for various reasons. It is great growing the vegies at waist height - without digging into dirt, without bending and without heavy lifting. And did I mention that our own home grown vegies taste great!!!

Not everything has been perfect – but I believe that I have diligently maintained an appropriate level of water quality - employing a regular water testing regime (the 'basic disciplines' mentioned earlier).
I have maintained the equipment (water pump and air pump, battery and bilge pump, cleaning the syphons and tanks), and I have fed the fish according to instructions from the supplier. (Don't get me wrong. maintenance is not hard work or time consuming. in fact it is quite easy and gives me time to enjoy my AP's experience).
I have joined the various Aquaponics Forums' and by doing this I have access to the most knowledgeable and experienced Aquaponics people in Australia – and the world??? – to whom I am most thankful.
And despite some recently published 'Mythconceptions' –our experience with Aquaponics – using an 'off the shelf kit' - has been. and continues to be - a most rewarding and enjoyable learning experience. We are producing our very own - home grown - chemical free - fresh vegetables/fruit – and soon - fresh Fish and Yabbies for our plates.!

If we can do this – then anyone can do it....!
I am the first to admit that I am not the 'sharpest tool in the shed. – I am not mechanically minded and good with tools (and plumbing) –; but by starting our AP journey with a quality 'off the shelf kit' - I believe we have received great value for money, and have given ourselves a very good start.

Just wish I had discovered AP when my kids were small (and would not eat there vegies), would have been a great educational and 'hands on' experience for them. And they may have even liked eating their own home grown produce that they had a hand in growing themselves.

When Murray first saw photos of our set-up - he said there is only one thing wrong with that Aqauponics setup!!! – you have left no room for expansion !!!

Yes, you are right Murray. Only trouble is - I will have to buy another house with a bigger yard and then I can get a Maximus Kit, and a Homestead Kit, and maybe even attempt a DIY version!!!

Best wishes to all AP'ers – and encouragement to 'give it a go' , if you are not into AP already

ColinW - Mitcham Victoria Australia


Aquaponics.NET.au last updated 28 March 2010
Murray Hallam Aquaponics.
If you want to talk to me about Aquaponics,
Phone 07 3200 0272
Aquaponics Made Easy

AC - DC Air pump. dual operation; great when the mains power goes out. 240 volt and 12 volt operation.

Aquaponics Secrets - The DVD Companion to
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