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PostPosted: Jan 13th, '18, 14:54 
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Hi all another newbie here, Ive scrolled through plenty here but can't find anything specifically on rainwater affecting the system. I am going to build a IBC chop 2 with a 1000L FT, 650L sump with 2 x 300L GBs and want to know after everything is cycled and we are cruising along growing does the rainfall that goes directly onto the GBs ruin the chemical levels in the system and should I cover from rain or just let nature do her thing? Obviously there will be excess water at some stage how do I deal with it? Scoop out some with a bucket and tip on lawn?

Please direct me if there is something specifically on this.

regards Steve


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PostPosted: Jan 13th, '18, 15:16 
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I wouldn't start a system purely on rain water. In most situations tap water is more desirable when starting out.

The volume of rain we usually get in Perth doesn't have a detrimental affect on an established system, in fact it's probably beneficial in many cases. If you were somewhere like Darwin or Innisfail, then it would probably be good to have the ability to protect the GB's from excess rain during the wet.

In regards to excess system water volume, just put an overflow in your sump at the maximum level you want the water to get to, then direct the overflow water to your lawn or a catch drum etc.

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PostPosted: Jan 13th, '18, 18:00 
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thanks again for the reply Mr Damage- definitely starting with tapwater just wanted to know if mother nature would stuff up the levels etc. I like the idea of the overflow pipe in sump to lawn/bucket etc now I'm looking into the size of piping required so I buy once not 10 trips later.


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PostPosted: Jan 13th, '18, 18:15 
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Hi,

Rainwater is fine but it will be diluting your nutrients. In case of heavy rains and your system overflowing, you are throwing
away nutrients. Which is usually not that great. But seing the Perth rainfall statistics, this shouldn't be a problem for you.
On the other hand, rainwater can be useful for top-ups when you have very hard tap water (high minerals contents).

And by the way think twice before starting a "chop 2" thing. Most agree to say this is not a good idea and you should stick with a classic chop design.

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PostPosted: Jan 13th, '18, 19:07 
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I started both my systems on pure rain water, and rainwater is the only thing I have added since then. It doesn't cause me any problems, as it comes off a Colorbond roof.
However, if you are catching it off a galvanised or Zincalume roof, it will kill the fish.
It is more acidic than most town water supplies.

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PostPosted: Jan 13th, '18, 22:01 
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SebZ wrote:
think twice before starting a "chop 2" thing. Most agree to say this is not a good idea and you should stick with a classic chop design.
What is it that most say is not good with CHOP2?

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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '18, 01:56 
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I started my system on rain water and only top up with rain water either purposely when there is evaporation or by no choice when it rains. Where I live it's quite rainy during the winter and I started checking my pH etc after a heavy rainfall. But after realising it doesn't change things much (for my system) I only check my system pH etc weekly now.

I agree with the fact that it could wash nutrients down the overflow but even with a huge downpour I calculated my system would only gain (and replace IF it reached overflow level) approximately 30 to 50L. 2 to 5%

I came to this result by measuring how much water filled an empty IBC when there was a massive overnight downpour. There was 15L of water in the IBC the following day. 2x IBCs plus a pond about 1.5 times the surface area of the IBCs meant just over 50L (it rained hard) my pond doesn't overflow immediately because I allowed for rain entering the system.

If it gets a bit high I tap off some water and water plants not attached to my AP system.

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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '18, 08:30 
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Quote:
thanks again for the reply Mr Damage- definitely starting with tapwater just wanted to know if mother nature would stuff up the levels etc. I like the idea of the overflow pipe in sump to lawn/bucket etc now I'm looking into the size of piping required so I buy once not 10 trips later.

Where you are in Perth can be a factor, eg you are NOR.
Tap water up the northern areas can have high pH (>8) and can be hard (GH/KH).
In those cases you may actually like something like rainwater to dilute it.
Check your water as soon as you can to resolve the pH and hardness - then you can cycle it up properly instead of figuring it out after you have added your fish - lots of posts like that with issues from people NOR particularly in summer when you have to deal with a lot of evaporation and the pH stays elevated..

If your tap water is in the 7.5-7.8 range then things should be fine.
The tap water will provide some buffering for pH swings.

The question of rainwater is not a big issue as noted in posts above.
If you have a few beds you will get situations where the water does rise.
If you run a system at around 7 (typical for SOR) then rainwater can reduce pH buffering in winter.
Various members around Perth SOR find system pH's drop in winter.

** take note about Gordons (Gunagulla) warning re: zinc etc - it can be a factor.

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Last edited by dlf_perth on Jan 14th, '18, 08:39, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '18, 08:38 
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Mr Damage wrote:
SebZ wrote:
think twice before starting a "chop 2" thing. Most agree to say this is not a good idea and you should stick with a classic chop design.
What is it that most say is not good with CHOP2?


Have no idea aside from the fact that its a f'ing stupid acronym. :)

Pumping water from a solids lifting overflow back to a 100 fish IBC always seemed like a good idea to me. :roll:


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PostPosted: Jan 15th, '18, 23:42 
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Don't be swayed Steve, stick to your original plan re the CHOP2 design, there is absolutely nothing wrong it. In fact, it is probably the most versatile of designs, as it allows the running of many different components in the one system, using the one pump, and is particularly useful where there are different components on different levels, ie: sloping blocks, vertical towers, header tanks etc. Most commercial operations built worldwide in the last few years utilise the CHOP2 method.

The design basically consists of a central pumping point, ie: a sump tank with the pump in it. The water is pumped through a number of different "loops" to the separate components in the system, which all drain back to the sump tank. The "primary loop" flows: ST>FT>SLO>ST.

If a suitable mechanical filter is located in the primary loop, after the SLO (so: ST>FT>SLO>SWF/RFF>ST) then the negative comments aimed at the system by it's detractors are nullified, as the water returning to the ST is clean, and therefore fit to pumped throughout the system, including to the FT.

My only suggestion would be to ensure you collect the solids removed by the SWF/RFF and treat them in a simple mineralisation tank, to liberate as much of the mineral nutrients from the fish waste as possible, which is then added back into your system.

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PostPosted: Jan 16th, '18, 07:12 
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And then if you put a decent sized biofilter after the mechanical filter you would only require the plants to sop up the nitrates etc. :lol:


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PostPosted: Jan 16th, '18, 12:35 
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"My only suggestion would be to ensure you collect solids"....

Because if you don't, then chop2 is a really stupid way to run your system...!!!

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PostPosted: Jan 16th, '18, 13:12 
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earthbound wrote:
"My only suggestion would be to ensure you collect solids"....

Because if you don't, then chop2 is a really stupid way to run your system...!!!

Thanks can you explain on the collection of solids?
Do you mean into a container to spread around garden or lawn or to tip back into the growing beds?


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PostPosted: Jan 16th, '18, 13:55 
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Firstly, pumping water from a sump tank straight back into your fish tank, just to return to the sump tank again is a waste of pumping, but if you don't have solids removal between your fish tank and the sump, then fish poo is just being pumped straight back into your fish tank... What you do with solids after they're removed from the flow is up to you, personally I like to leave them in the beds.

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PostPosted: Jan 16th, '18, 18:18 
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Fish initially produce (simplistically) two types of waste, soluble and shit (literally). One of the solubles is ammonia (toxic and thats why they get rid of it).
Shit and whatever else that is not soluble that has fallen into the FT hopefully will be picked up by the SLO (bit of a dream) and put in the GB's where it will (but not all) break down into soluble substances. The benefit for this is mainly the plants.
Pumping water from the SLO back to the FT reintroduces untreated soluble substances and pulverised shit back to the fish (who quite frankly were trying to get rid of it).
Recirculating water back to the FT is desirable in certain circumstances(plants don't need the water changes fish do) but if you are going to put it back you should treat it properly ie remove solids and put it through a biofilter at least.

Usually rainwater does not adversely effect a system however last nights little downpour was a bit of a bummer a


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