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 Post subject: 24 cell nft for lettuce
PostPosted: Mar 15th, '17, 19:39 
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Hi everyone. I have decided to start producing my own lettuce. My 13 yr old daughter is on the autism spectrum and has a thing for salads every night with dinner. I am hoping that she will take an interest in growing her own. We will see.

The plan is for 2 8ft long NFT gulleys with 12 cells each. Lit by 2 4' t8 3 bulb shop lights. It is not a ton of light, I know, but I have grown romaine with it before using DWC hydroponics.

The big question is about the fish. I need an idea how much stock I need to be able to feed this setup with room to expand later with another 8' (double the current plan). My DWC nutrient stayed at 65 degrees f all year round. I would prefer not to have to heat the tank. Might be a touch warmer in this room since the furnace is in there.

I have an ibc tote I can use, but it was quite expensive, so if a 55 gal barrel is big enough, I would like to use one of those.

I have a 30g aquarium that I am setting up as a sump with filter, aeration and biofilter. I'm leaning towards buying commercial gulleys, as the DIY ones look like they really add up in cost by the time they are "finished"

I will get some pictures if anyone is interested in the build. Right now, I just have a space cleaned out in the basement and a pile of misc parts. Painting tonight, then I can start laying things out tomorrow.


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PostPosted: Mar 15th, '17, 20:31 
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consider a dwc based AP rather than nft. probably be much easier and more forgiving.

for a small system you can just use a tub 100-200 litres (25-50 gals).
lay something over top and plant in media or foam grips in baskets (that you can easily get from eBay etc.)
much smaller footprint. 55 gal would be fine but an IBC cut down would be better IMO.

you will need some form of filter. a media filled tub etc would do the trick.
else some other type to address solids and nitrification.
shouldn't have to be too complex.

10-15 goldfish for example would be enough at medium size (1" to 3").
bit slow initially but they will grow quickly.
drive 12-20 lettuce plus herbs etc in the media tub easily.

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Darren ( dlf_perth )

May the fish sh*t and the plants grow.....


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PostPosted: Mar 15th, '17, 21:43 
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I am kind of set on using NFT. If has tricks that need figured out, then it is a learning experience for me. I like to learn new things. If it ends up being just too much, I still have my hydro DWC setup that I can switch to. I will sterilize everything and have that ready to go in case I'm forced to admit defeat. In the meantime, I can keep any fish alive and maintain good water conditions.

I have had aquariums my whole life, so I should be able to get through the learning curve without murdering any fish. The last couple years have been planted tanks. That's what turned me on to aquaponic in the first place.

The space I have to work with. Looks like a dungeon now, but a coat of paint and some floor mats should brighten the place up. There is more headroom on the other side of the ductwork. The idea is to grow everything on the ledge.


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PostPosted: Mar 15th, '17, 22:16 
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The following shows how many gallons per inches of depth flowing down a 4" x 10' length of PVC pipe.

Liquid Depth...U.S. Gallons

0.25 Inches.....0.004209
0.50 Inches.....0.011886
1.00 Inches.....1.2762
2.00 Inches.....3.264
3.00 Inches.....5.2518
4.00 Inches.....6.528

Just with 1/2" water depth. with a 1/4" drop in 10', per gallon of water, would be enough for 83' of NFT pipe channels.

Whats the costs of 2 - 10' NFT channels compared to using 4" PVC pipe? Of course your in OH, so to save on freight you could drive down to Crop King and pick everything up.


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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '17, 10:57 
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That is where I am getting it from. 2 10' gulleys with pre drilled covers and endcaps is right about $50. PVC would run me at least 30 and i would have to drill it myself and either buy more fittings, or tinker with a drain line. The downspout way would be cheaper yet, but that is even more labor fooling around with the ends. I expect the hours to get this project up and running are already going to add up fast, so I will just buy the right stuff and be done with that part.

I made a call today to the closest fish hatchery. They said that they will have bluegill, yellow perch and crappie fingerlings available in about 2 weeks. They normally sell in multiples of 100, but when I told them what I was doing, they had no problem selling me a couple. So I might go with bluegill instead of goldfish.


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PostPosted: Mar 21st, '17, 08:59 
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Drove out to Crop King today to get my gulleys. I am really happy with their customer service. I know they equip really large commercial greenhouses and my 50 dollar purchase is barely worth taking a phone call for. But the sales rep was really professional and not in a hurry at all. We talked about what I was doing and walked through their greenhouse there. They actually do research and test their own products. But spent about a half hour with me. I'm not sure what I expected exactly, but they seem to value their customers big and small.

Image


I also have everything painted. One set of lights hung up. 5 gallon bucket radial flow settling chamber built. My IBC cut up and in the basement. It had sunflower oil in it before, and I'm still getting some film on top the water, so I just filled it up and dumped 5 lbs of sodium hydroxide in there. I hope that's enough to dissolve the last traces.


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PostPosted: Mar 21st, '17, 09:13 
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My little settling tank. I am still going to provide a mechanical filter, but i saw one of these and it looked simple enough to build that i figured i would throw one in there just to see if it actually works.


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PostPosted: Mar 27th, '17, 09:06 
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A little further along. 1/2" overflow to the settling bucket. This has a pipe in the tank that draws water from the bottom of the fish tank. That has a 3/4 overflow into a mechanical filter/bio filter. That has a layer of fine filtering pad with 8" of medium under it for bacteria to grow on. It is probably not sufficient for bio, but i can do more in the sump later. It also has an internal overflow to the outlet side so a clogged filter wont make a mess. That filter has a 1" overflow into the black tub that will be my sump. The fish tank will also have an aditional 3/4" overflow a little higher then the 1/2" one that goes directly to the filter.

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