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PostPosted: Sep 10th, '12, 20:38 
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I gave away my old IBC system to a community project because we are moving home and the new place doesn't have much of a garden. I though I would be fine but it turns out that I just can't live without a working aquaponics system!

With that in mind, I've started on a small design that I will be able to take with me when I leave this house (about 6 weeks time) and will also fit in at the new house.

Here is the rough concept...

Image

It's 1 x 100L FT at the bottom with 2 x 50L GB above. The whole lot will be put on large caster wheels so it can be easily moved around.

The GB will be filled with expanded clay balls to keep the weight down. Not sure how well the cheep Ikea shelf unit will work but it's worth a try!

I'm trying to work out the best way to plum the system. I'm thinking of going for a simple standpipe with a small drain hole in the bottom and a timed pump cycle. Pump water into the top bed and let it overflow down to the lower bed.

Anyone else got any better ideas that will keep it nice and simple?

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PostPosted: Sep 12th, '12, 01:54 
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Got the shelf unit set up and added some nice 100mm caster wheels and added some cross braces to firm things up a bit..
Attachment:
shelfoponics 007.JPG
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40mm tank fitting for the GB drain..
Attachment:
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Hole cut in shelf for drain...
Attachment:
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shelfoponics 010.JPG [ 257.56 KiB | Viewed 1404 times ]

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Last edited by mattltm on Sep 12th, '12, 02:00, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sep 12th, '12, 01:59 
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Standpipe in place with small holes at bottom..
Attachment:
shelfoponics 014.JPG
shelfoponics 014.JPG [ 294.19 KiB | Viewed 1404 times ]

Lower GB filled and under test. I'll replace the Coke bottle strainer with something a bit sturdier when I next visit the DIY store..
Attachment:
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shelfoponics 015.JPG [ 367.73 KiB | Viewed 1404 times ]

The completed system filled and running...
Attachment:
shelfoponics 016.JPG
shelfoponics 016.JPG [ 262.57 KiB | Viewed 1404 times ]

Next job is to paint the wooden shelving unit with something to help it stand up to the great British weather!

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PostPosted: Sep 12th, '12, 10:23 
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:wave1: Looking good, looks like you can another shelf to the top of the unit & add another GB.

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PostPosted: Sep 12th, '12, 17:10 
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edd024 wrote:
:wave1: Looking good, looks like you can another shelf to the top of the unit & add another GB.


Thanks. I think you could but height may be an issue. I've kept the uprights as I'm going to make a cover (think mini greenhouse) for the whole unit to keep it a bit warmer in the winter months.

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PostPosted: Sep 12th, '12, 20:33 
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Unit painted, plumbed and filled with expanded clay..
Attachment:
shelf 0 ponics 001.JPG
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Short video of the system running..



I have it running from a 360GPH 12v bilge pump as I would like to get the whole lot running via a solar panel.

It runs for 5 minutes on and 25 minutes off. There are some small holes in the bottom of the stand pipes that allow the water to drain during the off cycle.

I notice that the clay balls actually float a little. You can see me pushing it sown in the video. Is that normal?

Next up, some plants.

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PostPosted: Sep 12th, '12, 20:46 
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It looks like you might need to add some more expanded clay balls. They shouldnt be floating like that. Or you could drop your water level down. You want the water level about 1" below the top of the clay balls when there is no water in there, or not floating at all.

How much water do you have in your fish tank when the grow beds fill up with water?

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PostPosted: Sep 12th, '12, 21:34 
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rsevs3 wrote:
It looks like you might need to add some more expanded clay balls. They shouldnt be floating like that. Or you could drop your water level down. You want the water level about 1" below the top of the clay balls when there is no water in there, or not floating at all.


I'll try a shorter standpipe and see what happens.

rsevs3 wrote:
How much water do you have in your fish tank when the grow beds fill up with water?


It's 100L when full and about 55 (guess) when the GB are full.

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PostPosted: Sep 12th, '12, 21:49 
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Great. I cut 1/2" off the standpipe and now its perfect.

Thanks.

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PostPosted: Sep 13th, '12, 21:05 
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Done a water test today...

pH 8
Amm 0.5
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 80

I think i'll chuck a few winter veg in and see what happens.

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PostPosted: Sep 14th, '12, 00:47 
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That is tidy! I have been thinking about starting an indoor nursery system and your system looks perfect for that! Though, if I was to use a bilge pump, I would skip the Rule, and use Johnson Pumps. I see far fewer issues with them.

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PostPosted: Sep 14th, '12, 03:02 
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Thanks. Just used the Rule because it was lying around.

Think it would be OK to chuck some goldfish in over the weekend?

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PostPosted: Sep 14th, '12, 09:40 
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Your numbers look pretty good, how long have you been cycling?

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PostPosted: Sep 14th, '12, 15:15 
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Only for a few days but about 50% of the water did come from my pond.

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PostPosted: Sep 14th, '12, 15:54 
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Ahh, I see. Your system looks cycled because you have water from a cycled system in it. It is not yet cycled becuse your bacteria have yet to colonize. It may take slightly less time for your system to stabilize because you seeded it with pond water, but the bacteria still needs time to move in. I cycled with fish. Some do, some don't. I only did because I had the opportunity to get the fish for free. Otherwise, I probably would have cycled fishless as I would have had more control. I also cycled with a lot more fish than one should. Again, I got the fish for free so it was what it was. It would be fine to throw some fish in, but keep the feed light at first.

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