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PostPosted: Apr 21st, '13, 23:28 
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I finally got around to actually assembling a system. I had a 3x3 or so nook in a corner of my kitchen. Here are a few shots of the initial construction.

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building the basic frame

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bottom cut and test fit, along with two middle braces

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all braces in place, ready to add EPDM pond liner

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closeup of a corner fold in the pond liner. these were a pain.

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PostPosted: Apr 22nd, '13, 00:11 
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Here you can see the twin tanks I built in the nook. At this point they've both been leak tested and the top one, which will serve as the grow bed, has a hole cut for the standpipe that will become the bell siphon

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Getting the standpipe through the uniseal was the most frustrating part of this whole process. however, it eventually slid through and I could continue with the build.

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Standpipe cut to height and reducer placed to aid in proper siphon breaks.

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The two beds are identical, and about 11" tall, 33" deep by 30" wide, subtracting how much of it is functionally usable, i have about 45 gallons of usable space in each.

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Standpipe height is about 1.5 or so inches below the surface of where the media will be filled to.

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PostPosted: Apr 22nd, '13, 00:16 
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First time filling the fish tank! (well, second time. both it and the grow bed got filled to check for leaks once I had finished building them)

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Initial rough plumbing just to test out the bell siphon. After a few minor tweaks it worked flawlessly for a few days of testing.

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Time to wash some expanded shale!

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6" drain pipe with slits cut into it, as a gravel guard.

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Completed setup with gravel in place, running like a champ! Time to run the "final" plumbing and add some fish and plants and get to cycling!

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PostPosted: Apr 22nd, '13, 00:48 
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That is awesome! Are you at all concerned about the water splashing on the wall causing damage? Also, what did your materials bill cost you? I have been thinking of ways to build an indoor system, but I have to get approval from my Chief Financial Officer.

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PostPosted: Apr 22nd, '13, 00:55 
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There is very little if any splash onto the wall. I've been keeping an eye on it, and if it becomes a problem I'll put some plastic there to keep it in check.

Total cost of materials was probably $250, the bulk of which was pond liner (50 bucks? and expanded shale (75 bucks or so). The pump and various pvc fittings, couplings, etc... comprise the rest.

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PostPosted: Apr 22nd, '13, 03:57 
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Tight! :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Apr 22nd, '13, 07:07 
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Great workmanship, love it :thumbleft:

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PostPosted: Apr 25th, '13, 04:32 
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Cleaned up the plumbing and planted some lettuce starters.

I have 10 comets and a fantail(?) in the tank right now. It's about 45 gallons of water, so once I'm cycled I'm hoping to be able to get some help figuring out what is a good stocking density, for the growbed I have available. I'm thinking a few channel cats, perhaps.

Right now, they haven't been fed since i put them in Sunday afternoon, as I'm just waiting on my sample bag of purina aquamax to show up. Apparently those pellets are a decent size so i'll have to pulverize them so they'll be small enough for the 3" or so comets to be able to eat... Anxious to get some food in them to kickstart my cycle, though. Ammonia barely registered on the test kit yesterday evening, which I wasn't surprised about, considering fish need food to produce waste.


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PostPosted: May 5th, '13, 09:53 
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Quick update. My roommate and I are working out some inexpensive LED lighting solutions for hydroponic/aquaponic growing, as well as reef tanks. Put together this test rig that's now providing light to my setup. 3W LEDs, deep red and royal blue, spaced 2 1/8" apart with 60 degree optics, on 2 foot rails. Will be building a couple more rails to add to this proof of concept.

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PostPosted: Jun 21st, '13, 19:13 
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Hey, how much did you spend on your lighting system so far? I'm building my own indoor system and I'm not sure what lighting I chose.


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PostPosted: Jun 21st, '13, 20:48 
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Nice work! I reckon if Charlie is giving the nod of approval your pond liner corners must be sensational!

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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '13, 04:17 
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I'm going to reclaim this thread for updates on my system as I continue to attempt to diagnose and torubleshoot the issues I'm having with poor to zero plant growth. Any and all feedback or ideas are welcome:

http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19066

I'm going to try to put all my updates in this thread so it can continue to live on and consolidate all information in one place.

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PostPosted: Nov 7th, '13, 22:04 
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Quick update. I have been keeping track of the water parameters and this is essentially what I've been seeing time after time.

The nitrates are WAY up (hence doing water changes to try to bring them down to manageable levels) I guess short of those, the only thing I can do is try to get a bunch of nitrate loving plants in there maybe I'll grab a couple philodendrons or pothos from the hardware store and see if having those grow in there will act as a nitrate sponge until I can start getting some veggie seedlings to be a decent enough size to take off?

The PH is also really high right now, about 7.6. It had dropped way down to 6.4 or so, so I added a couple handfulls of shell grit to the inflows in the grow bed. Seems to have over-corrected... I pulled half of the shell grit out this morning and will pull the rest tonight. I can always re-add it later.

I'm also going to grab a couple simple fluorescent shop lights from the hardware store and put them right on top of the plants, to try to rule out there not being enough light, as I know I've grown good lettuce/spinach under those before.

As always, any thoughts are appreciated.


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PostPosted: Nov 8th, '13, 01:06 
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My thoughts are not to worry about the nitrates. Just shove some veggies in.

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PostPosted: Nov 8th, '13, 02:49 
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Yeah that's what I'm gonna try to do. The problem is that it's no longer a season where i can go to the nurseries/hardware stores and just buy strong seedlings. I'll have to grow them out myself from seed outside this setup, since seeds don't seem to make it much past cotyledon right now...

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