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PostPosted: Nov 6th, '10, 21:05 
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G'day All!!

What do you all reckon about this design? (Picture attached)

Since visiting india in may this year I have been experimenting with different designs trying to make aquaponics more suitable for the orphanage situation.

The pictured model is what i've come up with...is a one level system, floating rafts (complete area will be covered in rafts...model is just a demonstration) and flow through gravel worm filter beds, circulation and aeration through airlifts and a few additional air stones...

design ideas....deep water ..ca. 50cm deep, for reliability...plants aren't gonna die for awhile if something goes wrong...water is deep so doesn't heat up as much....airlifts for combined aeration and circulation...no need for pump...airlift is very simple, very effiecient at zero head...

I have done a lot of experiments with airlifts trying to find the most efficient size, air ratio for this size airlift ...so far the best basic efficiency has been 1:3 air:water ....i.e..using airpump with 3litres per minute air i moved 9 liters per minute of water....but this can still be improved with better airstones etc....have attached pics of the experiments....

I have just been in hawaii to meet with a lot of the guys doing DWC raft aquaponics in the US and asia....I think theres a lot of potential in DWC not yet really explored so much in Australia...the UVI system is university based...so is a lot more complicated than it needs to be, the guys in hawaii, starting with Tim and Susanne at friendly aquaponics and a lot of other guys that have built on from their system...have simplified it a lot, to the point where i personally think it is a lot easier, simpler and more reliable than most flood and drain systems....especially when you want to do something a little bigger than hobby size and really grow more food for your self...and especially when you go commercial....

I am going to india again in december and will be building the system in january at the orphanage.... it will be constructed using the ferro cement technique...

i will start with the size pictured being about 12m2 of grow area....and once it has been tested and works and the guys there know how it works i plan to make a few much larger systems....same design apart from what we change along the way...just stretch it..so much longer....


so...what are you thoughts?:)

will also be growing moringa ( am excited about this plant :)....i also want to try it in the rafts...can be planted 10cm apart and harvest as a crop...every couple of weeks...met a few guys from arizona that have tried it in aquaponics and it grew very well....so might be a real potential for nutritional supplement....

cheers


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PostPosted: Nov 6th, '10, 21:07 
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airlift pics


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PostPosted: Nov 6th, '10, 22:12 
A lot of people who have followed the "Friendlies" model... have apparantly found that they haven't got anywhere near the claimed production from them...

I believe that a recent "aquaponics" conference in Hawaii didn't "invite" them... for exactly that reason....

Although their recent drug bust might also have been a factor... :wink:


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PostPosted: Nov 6th, '10, 22:13 
Like all "third world" aquaponics proposals.... reliable electricity will be your critical factor...

Does the location where you're intending to build the system have reliable power??


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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '10, 03:27 
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I would agree with that, electricity is a major problem, plan to have UPS back and a diesel generator on hand.

Of course one solution I've always imagined is just using manual labour, a couple of buckets and some sweat will keep the water cycling and aerated, hence functional and not suffering due to blackouts.

Anyhew, just make sure that you plan it out.

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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '10, 10:06 
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yep...electricity is unreliable....definately have a ups system....

that was my main reason for the design...power effieciency and reliability....only using airlift for circulation...etc...means only need air pump....and as plants are in water constanlty they will stay alive for days even when the powers out(they might not grow and thrive but they will stay alive)...so only have to backup aeration for the fish...makes the UPS alot cheaper.....


about friendlies.....all i will say is...I spent over ten days living with the family on their farm, they are genuine people with a real passion about what they are doing...and it really works...they are average people that make stupid mistakes and pay for them...(re the drug bust)...
I met alot of the guys in hawaii, and saw the system they built from friendlies model....and they work....work very well
aquaponics is an eco system...and eco systems work differently in different areas....you can't really ever just take a model...do the formulas and it will always work the same...it about understanding the nature behind it and making it work for/with you...
the sad truth i have found is the good guys, those doing things out of the norm are usually those who get ridiculed and burnt by the masses...and i have also learnt never to judge anyone on the basis of "apparently".....

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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '10, 10:15 
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Interesting looking system.... Would love to see it set up and running. :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '10, 10:22 
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nice looking design :thumbleft:
what rate of water are you expecting to pump thru with the 3 airlifts?? i can imaging that the water will take a fair bit of pursuasion to want to be moved through the gravel beds??

how many people are you looking to feed of the system? and what fish / how many??

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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '10, 10:53 
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hey ben

yeah not planning on feeding to many with this one...this is more as a demonstration and to trial the design...if it all works...and once the locals at the orphanage understand the system...i plann on making a few much large versions of this to feed about 100 kids....

flow rate will be about 15litres per minute (based on friendlies system) so according to my experiments with airlifts so far...that will be about 5 litres of air divided into maybe 2 or 3 airlifts...
will be using very large gravel in the base...50-60mm and about 20mm in the top ca. 10cm...so will be plenty of room to flow through...

idea is to recreate a real eco system....in hawaii they had these little crustaceans show up a bit over a year ago...called gammarus...they are detrivores meaning they eat decaying solids...and since they showed up they have not needed to clean any solids out of the systems...so they clean it up...closing the loop abit more...they are found in most clean waterways around the world....

have a good one


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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '10, 10:57 
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fish will be Tiliapia....will experiment with different stocking densities....about 40kg for this system, with prawns etc...in the growbeds....
depending on power supply etc...lower stocking densities will be alot more forgiving....but can still produce alot of food....


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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '10, 11:27 
i_ngsi wrote:
they are average people that make stupid mistakes and pay for them...(re the drug bust)...

Don't have a problem with that... we all make mistakes...

But it does perhaps raise the question as to whether the claim that they are "living off" their aquaponics systems is completely true.... or whether perhaps it might have been subsidised by other "income"... (as above).... or from sales of plans/advice... rather than the actual production claims...

Quote:
aquaponics is an eco system...and eco systems work differently in different areas....you can't really ever just take a model...do the formulas and it will always work the same...it about understanding the nature behind it and making it work for/with you...

True... the formulas help greatly... but understanding the concepts behind the formulas is just as important...

And that has great relevance for your intended project... in terms of when the client takes "ownership" of the project...

Quote:
the sad truth i have found is the good guys, those doing things out of the norm are usually those who get ridiculed and burnt by the masses...

Often the criticism is raised more by the claim that someone is "doing things outside the norm"... when in fact it's really only an adaption of others works.... and/or more particularly when it is accompanied by claims to having been doing it for years, grandiose production claims... and usually unaccompanied by any photos or figures to prove the claims...

In that respect I do give the "Friendlies" their dues... as they were prepared to openly share the knowledge and ideas...


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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '10, 11:49 
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brilliant. if its cheap and effective it could be a realistic solution to start solving a food shortage in these 3rd world areas, particularly isolated and arid zones

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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '10, 14:12 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Just mho but I would make two changes to start with.

1 have all the gravel together. You may want to have it in a series of tanks or one tank with a series of baffels but you will need to filter the solids out of the water before the water gets to the rafts.

2 Have the fish in a separate tank with good to excellent solids removal. One of the bigest criticisms that AQ people make about AP is the presence of solids in the FT water coloumn and on the floor. There are a lot of things to be tried and tested in AP but FT design and management is not one of them.

I have several similar ideas but I wont be testing them for while. Ive had enough of experi,enting for a while, now I just a system that works.

PS based on the apparent scale of your pics id consider adding more gravel. You wont need it for nitrification but you wil
probably need it for solid processing.

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PostPosted: Nov 8th, '10, 04:53 
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Hey, you can deal with solids by using worms too, great for mineralization as well.

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PostPosted: Nov 8th, '10, 07:12 
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I agree that you probably want to arrange things such that the water goes from the fish tank through the gravel and from there into the raft beds before going back to the fish tank.

Keeping the tilapia separate from the raft beds and keeping the solids out of the raft beds. Now if the stocking density is really really low, the solids getting to the rafts might not be as much of an issue and with the minimal pumping, you probably will be keeping the stocking density fairly low otherwise the system will be on a knife edge during warm weather as far as dissolved oxygen goes.

But it sounds like you have done some research and understand to start small and work your way up from there to see how well things work for such a system.

It is cool looking.

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