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PostPosted: Nov 21st, '12, 19:55 
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Gidday,
This is my first venture into aquaponics and we know very little about it. This is going to be a family effort pulling on the strengths of each of us. She who must be obeyed but rarely is will be the gardener, my son who breeds Chilids (spelling?) will be the fisherer and I will tend the setup and solar power and maintenance.
For all of 30 seconds it was going to be grow fish and eat but the passions of eating pet fish overrode the practical aspect of aquaponics. So it is goldfish or Koi which makes my job easier as I don't need to install solar heating. Unfortunately I had sourced min/max 12 volt thermostats so they can sit on the shelf if the mood changes re growing editable fish. Shame as the challenge with solar pods and heat exchangers would have been interesting.
I'll break my posts up with a few photos so it doesn't get too wordy.

First here are some photos of the two tanks set up along a fence. I block paved under the tanks and the right hand tank is partially under shade cloth. This gives the oportunity of having full sun or filtered light for more sensitive planting.

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PostPosted: Nov 21st, '12, 20:19 
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:wave: Now come on Rodm. Setup and maintenance? Me thinks you got out of all the work.I think you should do all the cooking to make it fair. :think:


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PostPosted: Nov 21st, '12, 20:25 
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A bit about the solar. This is still a work in progress but it should be finished this week.
I built a steel frame to hold the six half panels and thanks to my Hot Rod mate he welded steel plates in a jig I CNC'd at 32 degrees for Perth latitude. I was a bit disappointed he burnt the jig. :D

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The frame was installed over the weekend and the panels fixed today. The panels are the folding caravan type stripped of hinges, handles and legs. I have potentially 360 watts of solar to recharge two 24amp/hr and one 20amp/hr sealed lead acid batteries. I have no idea if this is rated properly so it is a suck it and see exercise for me. As you can see from the photos the framework is completed but there is still painting and tidy up to do. I have put a meterbox on the end post to house the eletronics and batteries.

Some photos of the progress and after the weekend I will post something on the electronics and pumps.

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PostPosted: Nov 21st, '12, 20:38 
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seamonkey wrote:
:wave: Now come on Rodm. Setup and maintenance? Me thinks you got out of all the work.I think you should do all the cooking to make it fair. :think:


Don't tell - I get into enough trouble without extra help. :)


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PostPosted: Nov 21st, '12, 20:44 
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:funny1: :funny1: This looks extreemely interesting and I shall be following with enthusiasm. And the setup and maintenance is by far the most taxing of everything in AP . . apart from caring for the fish, making sure the plants have the correct nutrients at the correct time, ensuring that the weeds, bugs, slugs et al are under control, harvesting the produce, at the right time, consulting the recipe books, making sure the other ingredients are on hand, cooking . . . . .
methinks I need a glass of something adult! :geek:

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PostPosted: Nov 21st, '12, 20:47 
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:laughing3: And welcome. You are doing a great job. :thumbright:


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PostPosted: Nov 21st, '12, 20:52 
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KrisGee,
I like a challenge so am finding it all interesting. There has been a lot of planning and importing of gear to get it to this stage and now nice to see something materialise.
As for the other about tending crops, etc all of a sudden Pizza sounded good. :)


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PostPosted: Nov 21st, '12, 20:54 
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Thanks seamonkey :thumbright:


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PostPosted: Nov 21st, '12, 21:05 
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Im betting there will be extensions happening if space permits. It is very addictive ,isnt it? :headbang:


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PostPosted: Nov 22nd, '12, 07:37 
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Looking great!

Have you sourced some pumps yet?

I'm at the stage of waiting for all my solar stuff to arrive in the post :)

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PostPosted: Nov 22nd, '12, 08:38 
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Hi nebbian,
I have all the pumps and controllers ex China. Shipping time may be a problem for you this time of the year.
I have been using one of the pumps for a year or so on a water wheel I made. I'm recycling most of the water in the picture as the water wheel runs too fast otherwise. This runs all day or 5 hours at night on a solar charged security alarm battery.
Fingers crossed with a larger solar system I should be right.

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PostPosted: Nov 23rd, '12, 21:02 
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That waterwheel looks great! Do the cogs turn as well?

My solar panels arrived today, very exciting :-)

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PostPosted: Nov 24th, '12, 00:18 
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Wahooo you will be busy this weekend. :thumbright:

I like playing with solar and I have spent all day running wiring back to the switchboard. I like to fuse and fit diodes at the solar panel and working overhead on a ladder slowed me down. If I had thought about it I should have done that before fitting the panels. :oops:

So batteries are installed and wiring is half way there. Sitting here designing the switches, timers, volt meters and output fuses. I will machine that tomorrow night and use the daylight hours to trench the power to the tanks.

The brass plate with the cogs was a score from a recycle centre and I think it was a shop fitting from a watchmaker. I had it sitting around for a couple of years and it was the inspiration for the water wheel. It was a perfect backdrop and all I had to do was turn up the spout to suit. Now that you have mentioned it I wish the cogs did turn.

Enjoy your weekend.


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PostPosted: Nov 24th, '12, 10:05 
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Damn the two systems look nice and neat together like that, with 360W of panels you should have heaps of power... :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Nov 25th, '12, 17:49 
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Hi earthbound.

Yeah they are good looking units.

Nothing happened yesterday as shopping and household chores were the order of the day. Played all day today machining and engraving the switchboard panel. I didn't have a piece of black acrylic big enough so white is next best. Can't be too picky if you dumpster dive. :)

The switchboard panel will eventually have the regulators on the panel so I have made room for those but only have one to fit at the moment. I got the portable camping solar panels and the regulator is siliconed to the back of the panels. Silly really as your can't get to the screws to open the boxes up if they fail.

A mate dropped over and strongly advised me to ventilate the cabinet due to hydrogen from the batteries. I removed the door and will take his advise and install four vents in the door.
They are seald lead acid batteries. They have been bubbling away for a couple of days so will be fully charged when I get it finished.

So another day wiring and trenching down to the tanks. I'm not sure if I set realistic goals but I have definately under estimated the time it has taken to get this far. :oops:

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