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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '12, 03:44 
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I'm trying a winter AP system using a buried 55 gal barrel for fish and split 55 gal barrel for GBs. I found the greenhouse for $17.50 on clearance and used free pallets for the floor and GB support (hence the ugly factor). I used a combination of lava rock with river rock on top (plus some bacteria-laden hydroton from my first AP prototype). The system is cycling right now, but I've got some tomatoes propagated from the dirt garden plants and lettuce and radish seedlings just coming up.

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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '12, 07:19 
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Hi Jake - very nice setup, and simple. Probably pretty cheap, too?
Is that river rock mixed with clay balls?
What are your plans for fish?
A lot of room for expansion in the background I see! Is this just a test system and planning to expand or this will be it for now?

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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '12, 08:13 
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How cold does it get?

Looks like you will keep the weather off the system but doesn't look to be much in the way of insulation.


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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '12, 23:46 
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Nashville isn't known for its harsh winters, but I am going to build up the floor a bit more and seal around the outside base (you can't tell from the above picture, but it's built on a slope). It should insulate about as well as a poly tunnel.

I've also installed a vent fan at the top with a temp controller that turns it on when the inside temperature gets to 90 F. We're still getting some sunny days in November and probably will off and on all winter.

I can't decide whether to add something like goldfish for the winter before growing tilapia or bluegill in the spring or just go fishless till then (peeponics, perhaps?).

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PostPosted: Nov 8th, '12, 01:54 
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I can't decide whether to add something like goldfish for the winter before growing tilapia or bluegill in the spring or just go fishless till then (peeponics, perhaps?).


Look up fishless cycling and/or cycling with fish. Aso it was my understanding that Bluegill could survive the winter (as other Lepomis species do) outside.
Re. the second part (fish): how many fish were you considering for a 55gal barrel?


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PostPosted: Nov 8th, '12, 10:14 
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Looks great Jake :thumbleft:

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PostPosted: Nov 8th, '12, 23:00 
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If I go with blue gill (the tank doesn't seem large enough for tilapia), I'm thinking maybe 10 fish. Maybe a few more at first in case I have some attrition.

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PostPosted: Nov 8th, '12, 23:21 
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Put couple of bluegills for winter time, then when it is warm enough add max of 6 Tilapia. But, I think you will expand your system by then!

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PostPosted: Nov 30th, '12, 02:01 
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I did manage to find some hybrid bluegill and have about 20 in the tank right now. I don't expect them to do much over the winter, but if most of them survive, I suppose I'll have to expand.

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PostPosted: Dec 5th, '12, 01:48 
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Fish are still alive, so that's a small victory. I'm feeding them flakes right now, but don't really know when a good time is to switch them to pellets. The pet store nearby can get Purina Game Fish Chow for $33 per 50 lb bag, which seems like a decent price and should last a while if properly stored

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PostPosted: Dec 5th, '12, 01:51 
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Also added a 15 L/min air pump on a UPC backup (got it for $20 on ebay, hopefully the battery isn't shot). The floor isn't usually that wet, I was just mucking about a little earlier.

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PostPosted: Jan 30th, '13, 01:07 
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Added an Arduino-based temperature and light logger.

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More detail at: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=11072&p=369783#p369783

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PostPosted: Jan 30th, '13, 11:38 
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You have been bitten by the bug!! :)

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PostPosted: Jan 31st, '13, 01:10 
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Yeah, I'm learning a lot with this system. Perhaps most importantly I'm learning whether I want to keep going with AP, which is a big "yes" so far.

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PostPosted: Jul 22nd, '13, 04:44 
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I added a hybrid radial flow filter/biofilter (bird netting wrapped around the white bucket) and some Earthan bed type things I'm playing with (continuous subsurface flow wicking beds).

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