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 Post subject: Rairdog's AP venture
PostPosted: Jun 29th, '13, 07:09 
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Well I decided to make a thread of my experiments and failures.

This was what started it all. Too many nitrates and my well water is high in nitrates so water changes were'nt helping. I read about adding pothos and after some more "googling" I ended up here.
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I live on a river that is stuffed with bluegills, longears, catfish and crappie. The state I live in allows the collection of native fish for aquariums. I had raised African Chichlids years ago but decided to do this cheap and mostly free on the fish side.

Longear don't get much more than 7 in so they provide much meat. I keep them in my aquariums.
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Crappie grow very quick and can reach 16 in. However they do not take to pellets and I got tired of chasing minnows. They are a little sweeter tasting than Tilapia and not quite as firm.

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I decided to use blugill. They reach 9 in and are not as mean as the longears.

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I had a 100 gallon rubbermaid tank that my neighbor gave me. We both used it for a bait tank for bluegill to catch flathead catfish. He brought home a lobster tank that was being thrown away and I snagged the pump. I set it up in the basement to keep it running year round and avoid freezing/algea issues. From the basement it pumps up 7 ft to the 12x24 deck.

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 Post subject: Re: Rairdog's AP venture
PostPosted: Jun 29th, '13, 07:45 
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Being a self employed contractor I get a surplus of materials that are free also. Plus I have lots of tools. I had some leftover 6 in pvc and some 2 in pvc and tried a couple cheap GB's with rvier rock media.
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LESSON LEARNED===> These would probably work with lettuce but get root bound with fruiting vegetables.

Next I bought some 55 gal barrels and came up with a design that wasn't to much of an eye sore. I had a stockpile of used deck boards.

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I used the existing bung to tie in a loop drain.
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Then I extended it into the bottom of the GB to drain it lower than the bung hole. I added some fiberglass screen for a filter at the drain.

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After searching for hydroton, and finding it too expensive in the states, I found expanded shale at a landscaping yard for 78 $/cy

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I put in some seedlings and sat back.

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LESSON LEARNED====>

1. With a pressurized system that controls each GB with a ball valve there is a lot of balancing and it changes as media and screens get clogged
2. Loop drains without a media guard (PVC vert in GB) does not allow you to see depth of water. There is no way to tell if it drains completely.
3. Expanded shale is light and will siphon back to the pump and clog it.
4. Screens get clogged very easily

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 Post subject: Re: Rairdog's AP venture
PostPosted: Jun 29th, '13, 08:03 
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Here is what I have so far. The tomatoes in the 2 dirt pots have a 5 gallon bucket with water under them. They are by far out producing the GB's. Most all the cherry and big boy's were started from seed at the same time.
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I changed the long pvc tube to all expanded shale and EB strawberries
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Before this deck space belonged to my lab. He is taking it pretty well and contributes some pee ponics. Eventually I plan on adding a lean to green house. Above the table is a 6 ft window which will be replaced with a sliding glass door to the green house.

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 Post subject: Re: Rairdog's AP venture
PostPosted: Jun 29th, '13, 08:42 
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From you good people at BYAP I have learned about PH lockout. One of the reasons I started this venture was due to dry years. I set up misting/drip systems and my garden just turned yellow around the first of July no matter how much I watered it. The PH of the well water is between 8.2 and 8.4. I am having trouble with peppers having yellow leaves in the GB's.

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I starting thinking about it more and I hope it can be cure with some Maxicrop w/iron foilage fed.
Here is my pole beans below the deck. They started out good, grew to 10 ft and now they are yellowing and not thriving.

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I think its iron lockout and hope its not rust. The leaves turn yellow and then the rusty color.
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My dirt garden is thriving. This grape tomato is already 4 ft tall and stuffed.
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My big boys are from the same seeds and started at the same time as the AP.
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This end of the dirt garden get more sun and struggles with toms.



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The cucumbers are off to a good start but always turn yellow at mid to late July. There are already 4 or 5 small ones.
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Hopefully the Maxicrop can cure these problems. Should arrive in a couple days.

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 Post subject: Re: Rairdog's AP venture
PostPosted: Jun 29th, '13, 08:57 
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Oh an d the lil woman wants to show of here rock garden.
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This place is on the river and in a flood plain. I bought it a few year ago and jacked the house up 7 feet. The flood water was at the top of the concrete steps in early April.
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Landscaping and gardening is very tough because it can wash away or be under water. I have everything in place to avoid problems. The other 10 months it is peaceful tranquility. Still a work in progress.

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 Post subject: Re: Rairdog's AP venture
PostPosted: Jun 29th, '13, 09:02 
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Got to love mother nature. So far we are on good terms
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 Post subject: Re: Rairdog's AP venture
PostPosted: Jun 29th, '13, 09:21 
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This might give you a perspective. It was just after I jacked the house up and finished the block foundation. The house use to sit at about the second block.
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 Post subject: 7/17/13 Update
PostPosted: Jul 17th, '13, 22:54 
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Growth has slowed but some plants fruiting
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Plagued with the "can't grow peppers" syndrome. Tried Maxicrop w/ iron foliage treatment but it didn't help. Hopefully it's just "new system" syndrome.
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First strawberry. Them seem to survive but not flourish.
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Dirt garden is kicking butt! Perfect rainfall for 2 months. Now it will burn up as usual.
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Have one good onion flower from dirt garden. It flowered after I pulled it and left it laying to dry. Hopefully I can catch the seeds.
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 Post subject: Barrell Support
PostPosted: Jul 17th, '13, 23:08 
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Here's a quick sketch I used for the barrel supports in case anyone wants to build one.
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PostPosted: Jul 18th, '13, 22:01 
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 Post subject: Re: Rairdog's AP venture
PostPosted: Jul 19th, '13, 03:11 
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Looking good so far. Welcome to the AP Madness. You might try to get some shade cloth to cover you plants in the mid summer sun. I put 50% cloth over my system to help with the heat. I also have the problems with the peppers and I think the PH is the problem. If you can do something to lower it to 7.5 you should really see a difference. I used rainwater to keep my system full for a while but it also now is over 8 and is doing bad again. The trouble is most PH reducers are TOXIC. Using citrus fruit juice works but it will spoil and cause ammonia spikes.

Look on the home page and find and down load the Free Ebook "IBC's of Aquaponics" and read it. It has much info on how it all is done. It is a very good book.

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 Post subject: Re: Rairdog's AP venture
PostPosted: Jul 20th, '13, 06:55 
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Thanks Don. I was already in the process of adding some shade. Had some recycled lattice laying around. They seem to look less droopy already.
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The peppers seem to be doing better since adding maxicrop w/iron a week ago. Ph is always an issue with my well water. Hopefully it comes down when system matures.

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 Post subject: Re: Rairdog's AP venture
PostPosted: Jul 21st, '13, 06:57 
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Consider this for a drain in the barrels. Take a 1 foot piece of 1 1/2" or bigger PVC and split it lengthways and cut a few slots in one end to allow water through. Put the new gravel guard vertically in the barrel by the bung where the exit is. Do with out the inside pipe in the bottom.

I used the same idea on my blue barrels but started with a hole in the side drilled and tapped for a 3/4" fitting.

You really have a nice setup there. Welcome to the AP madness.

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 Post subject: Re: Rairdog's AP venture
PostPosted: Jul 21st, '13, 08:34 
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So a half pipe vertically in front of the bung hole? It would have to be sealed against the barrel to drain from the bung hole to the bottom wouldn't it or am I missing something?

I definitely need to do something about my drains. I am already having problems with water to the top of the gravel and have to cut back on pump flow. I was just trying to use the exixting 3/4 npt threads in the bung cap.

The 6 in pvc beds are 3/4 drilled and tapped but its easy to glue pvc to pvc. I was just trying to use the existing 3/4 npt threads in the bung cap. I have experimented with tapping hpde 5 g buckets and 55 g barrels with teflon tape, rubber washers and silicone. They work if not disturbed and low water pressure. I just need to quit being a tight asp and by some uni's.

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 Post subject: Re: Rairdog's AP venture
PostPosted: Jul 22nd, '13, 02:10 
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Yeah just remove that piece from inside the barrel that is under the gravel. Put the stand pipe up next to the wall so it protects the drain hole. Also you can see the bottom of the barrel. Just cut slots or drill holes in the side of it to let the water circulate thru. This is just an inside the barrel change.

Here is an example, Pic 3, See the 1/2 pipe coming up out of the gravel on the back of the pot. It goes to the bottom of the pot and is slotted several times near the bottom so I can see the water level. in this case my drain hole is about half way up the pot. Do you see what I am talking about? If not I will do some better pics.
Pic 5 shows it from the drain side


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