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PostPosted: Mar 2nd, '08, 14:37 
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Hi all

I am a secondary Science teacher in western NSW who is relatively new to aquaponics. Last year I successfully applied for a small amount of funding to setup an aquaculture program.

I Purchased 2 x 1500 L oval water troughs and 2 fountain pumps. I also designed and made some biological filters using discarded drink bottle caps and 30 L buckets.
It was also important to purchase some water chemistry testing reagents. So currently we test for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH, KH, and GH.

We started out last year just breeding some yabbies and growing them out to an edible size by feeding them lupins. After reading a lot of post from backyard aquaponics and the new magazine me and my biology students have developed an interest in jade perch. Last year we grew one jade perch from fingerling size to 600 grams in 7 months as an experiment. The jade was feed commercial pellets. This year we have purchased 75 jade perch from livefish and currently have them growing in one of our tanks.

We are now ready to go from aquaculture to aquaponics. We have purchased an LED hydroponic grow light. These types of lights are relatively new and I was wondering if anyone has had any experience using these lights in aquaponics. The one I have purchased has 240 blue and red LEDs. It only consumes 13.5 watts of power which seems a lot cheaper to run that the 400 watt halogens. Unfortunately though it only covers 360 mm X 360mm of growing area. I plan just to try and grow one tomato plant using this LED hydroponic light.

The grow bed will consist of a 60 L flood and drain system using a bell siphon.
I am going to fill the bottom 100mm of the tub with drink bottle caps for improved drainage and then on top of that a layer of shade cloth to stop gravel falling through. The rest of the grow bed will consist of gravel with an emergency over flow at the top of the tub.

I would greatly appreciate any constructive criticism or feedback on the above.

I will start to post some pictures of our system in the next couple of days.

Thanks all


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PostPosted: Mar 2nd, '08, 18:06 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Hi Peno, welcome to the forum...there is some info here on lights...you need to wade through a bit of off topic comments and probably skip the first few pages

http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum ... sc&start=0

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PostPosted: Mar 2nd, '08, 19:22 
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DanDman is currently experimenting with LED lights.

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PostPosted: Mar 3rd, '08, 06:29 
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Hi peno. I am presuming bc you intend to grow only one plant, your system is inside. Do you have the ability to put growbeds on a wall with windows that get at least some sunshine? With 75 jade perch and one plant you are gunna be doing water changeouts all the time to keep nitrates under control once the fish have been in the system a while. The plant simply will not use all the waste produced by 75 fish. To give you an idea, that one fish you grew last year would have kept your tomato plant in good health.
I like the idea of bottle caps and shadecloth as part of your bio. You could read the RSG thread to build a sand filter to help offgas the nitrates that you absolutely will need to be removing to keep ur water in reasonable condition.


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PostPosted: Mar 3rd, '08, 09:01 
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nice TT, glossed over that fact bc i was concentrating on the LEDs...............

Peno, at a rough figure to remove the nutes from 75 jades you'd probably need one of joels 4 or 5 bed systems :shock:

seriously re-think your stocking OR set up some growbeds outside! how big is the tank where you intend to keep the 75 jades?

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PostPosted: Mar 3rd, '08, 09:03 
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if its the troughs maybe consider using one to stock 20 jades and one as a grow bed?

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PostPosted: Mar 4th, '08, 00:19 
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LEDs are working well for my test so far. Its hard to say that there is any difference between LED grown lights and a outside potted plant. I did notice that my growth was stunted for a while by having the lights on to long. When I forgot to turn on the light one day the plant more than doubled in size. So make sure you set a timer on the lights.

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PostPosted: Mar 4th, '08, 00:55 
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I did notice that my growth was stunted for a while by having the lights on to long. When I forgot to turn on the light one day the plant more than doubled in size

DanDMan - I just wanted to verify this- the plants doubled in size when you forgot to turn the light 'on'. is that correct or did you mean turn the lights off?


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PostPosted: Mar 4th, '08, 01:42 
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No, I dont have a timer on the light so I forgot to turn it on. The plant did not grow much for a few days. Then when I left the light off the plant shot up and put on two new leaves. Seems 'night time' is important for the plant. (swiss chard).

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PostPosted: Mar 4th, '08, 02:03 
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thank you for the reply. it is interesting thinking of a plant needing "down time" . kind of like the opposite of cutting the timer back some on a fish tank to reduce the alage growth... hmmm... something to think about. thanks again.


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PostPosted: Mar 4th, '08, 02:29 
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Welcome to the forum WS!

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PostPosted: Mar 4th, '08, 07:21 
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thanks DD. i have been checking this out and reading since november 2007 after the wife found out about all the things she is allergic to, but just logged in a week ago.i have had a big outdoor garden for the last several years with lots of success. new to aquaponics,so have not had anything to offer as far as advice goes,so havent posted before now. as they say-sorry for the hijack PENO! best of luck & keep us informed on your system progress! (am i too new to ask for pictures? :D )


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PostPosted: Mar 4th, '08, 09:18 
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I'm really suprised that LEDs can be used to grow plants. I just did some reading on it and it sounds like a pretty good idea... being able to target the exact wave lengths plants need... lets you save a lot on energy while reinvesting that energy into the wavelengths that you want. I'd like to hear everyone's progress with this because I'm a bit sceptical. I hope it works because I really like the idea.


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PostPosted: Mar 4th, '08, 13:01 
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regarding night period for plants.

yes it is very important. much root growth happens at night and there is a myriad of biochemical things going on in response / due to the light dark periods. it is also important for the dark periods not to be interrupted. can remember exactly now, but one of the biochems can be completely reverted with a few mins of bright light.

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PostPosted: Mar 4th, '08, 16:14 
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Hi all

Thanks for all the feedback i have decided to turn the other 1500 L tank into a grow bed. It is going to be a flood and drain system with a bell siphon. I will place a layer of drink bottle caps on the bottom for better drainage and then gravel on top. This should have a total volume of about 800 L.

I only have one 14 w LED for the grow bed just to experiment with, if the lights work ok i will add additional lights as our budget allows. I plan to run the light on an 18 hr cycle for about four weeks and then cut it back to a 12 hour cycle to encourage fruit.

Because i am only growing one tomato plant to start with i will still need to do regular water changes to eliminate nitrates.

questions to ponder

will i be able to maintain good water quality using this system with 75 jade perch?

how often will i be doing water changes when fish start to become larger than 300 grams?

will i be able to produce tomatoes from a 14 watt LED light?

What will i need to do to make this system self sufficient. (only have to feed fish)?

any help is greatly appreciated

hope i am not asking to many questions

Note i will try and post photos tomorrow i have had some trouble with the school camera. i will take my camera to work tomorrow.

Thanks all


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