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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '13, 19:29 
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It was suggested in my introduction thread http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=17424 that i start a system thread so here it is.

The system i'm building will be small at first till i get a bit more knowledge, made very much easier by this site in particular, thanks to all the contributors.

An IBC system, at the moment cycling using a small bed filled with expanded clay balls and what will later be a sump tank made from 2/3rds of an unusual framed IBC.
The growbed is a plastic underbed blanket box 78cm x 56.4cm x 18cm with a volume of just under 80ltrs
filled with 60ltrs of expanded clay balls, i'm using this till i find a reasonabley priced media to use the rest of the IBC. I have 4 3" goldfish doing the pooing :)

Readings so far with nothing added to the water to feed the plants or anything else other than some crushed oystershell for a PH buffer.

Water Temperature 22.7ºC
Ph 8.1
Ammonia between 0.25 and 0.5
nitrite 0
nitrate 0

Readings to be expected in a new system


Attachments:
File comment: Once i find sutable priced media this will be the first growbed
IMG_0338.JPG
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File comment: The small growbed on top op the 2/3rd IBC
IMG_0334.JPG
IMG_0334.JPG [ 142.91 KiB | Viewed 5372 times ]
File comment: Solid steel frame and metal bed of the 1000ltr IBC
IMG_0382.JPG
IMG_0382.JPG [ 57.45 KiB | Viewed 5372 times ]

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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '13, 19:33 
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It was recomended that i don't add any more fish for now as the growbed is small, i have just been given 2 x 5"-6" goldfish that were getting too big for the owners tank, so it looks like i need to get the other bed ready sharpish

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PostPosted: Jul 26th, '13, 16:38 
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Got the airpump online today with a round flat airstone, seems to be better than the long stick like stone i was using. A second hand Eheim 1250 won on ebay also arrived, 1380 lt/hr, this will be a just in case.


Attachments:
File comment: The eheim 1380 lt/hr spare
IMG_0340.JPG
IMG_0340.JPG [ 49.17 KiB | Viewed 5326 times ]
File comment: sure moves the water with air
IMG_0341.JPG
IMG_0341.JPG [ 107.39 KiB | Viewed 5326 times ]
File comment: The air pump, its realy a piston air compressor
IMG_0339.JPG
IMG_0339.JPG [ 117.57 KiB | Viewed 5326 times ]

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PostPosted: Jul 26th, '13, 16:53 
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As i was given a few more fish i had to get the bigger growbed online, I siliconed the cap in place after drilling for the outlet drain and preparing the syfon, then filling with water and testing to make sure it works ok.

Water tests the same 23/07/13

PH, 8.2
Amonia, 0.5
Nitrite, 0
Nitrate 0
Water temp 20.6ºC


Attachments:
File comment: The eheim pump is working ok, here its pumping to about 1.2mtrs head while testing the syfon
IMG_0378.JPG
IMG_0378.JPG [ 107.96 KiB | Viewed 5322 times ]
File comment: centre tube belled at top
IMG_0376.JPG
IMG_0376.JPG [ 73.57 KiB | Viewed 5322 times ]

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PostPosted: Jul 26th, '13, 17:20 
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Next came the worst bit after netting the top of the FT. I went round the local quarries with a bottle of vinegar and a glass looking for a suitable media to use as at this moment in time i can't afford to fill with expanded clay and i needed something in a hurry
I had a 1m3 sack of crushed gravel, similar to quartz delivered, its about 5 - 25mm size but mostly in the 10-15mm size.
The GB is cut about 34cm deep to coincided with a bar in the frame for the rim as the next lower would have been 24cm which i think might be too shallow. If i fill it to about 30cm deep it should give me about 300-330ltrs of media.

Water tests the same 25/07/13

PH, 8.0
Ammonia, 0.25
Nitrite, 0
Nitrate 0 (not quite 0 but closer than the next colour)
Water temp 20.6ºC


Attachments:
File comment: To give an idea of the size, its mostly like the middle size
IMG_0384.JPG
IMG_0384.JPG [ 109.93 KiB | Viewed 5321 times ]
File comment: Net fitted under the GB
IMG_0375.JPG
IMG_0375.JPG [ 140.51 KiB | Viewed 5321 times ]
File comment: Washing the crushed rock before adding to the bed
IMG_0379.JPG
IMG_0379.JPG [ 142.2 KiB | Viewed 5321 times ]

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PostPosted: Jul 27th, '13, 17:19 
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As i have had the small GB runing for a while i decided to keep it so and not disturb anything as i have some radish seed germinating, i put it on top of the bigger GB.
The small GB syphons into the bigger GB and that syphons back into the sump/FT so hopefully any bacteria growth will transfer.

Just got a call to say my next 2 IBC's can be picked up on Monday 29/07 8)


Attachments:
File comment: A few carrots, spring onions and the odd radish starting to grow
IMG_0387.JPG
IMG_0387.JPG [ 189.81 KiB | Viewed 5280 times ]
IMG_0386.JPG
IMG_0386.JPG [ 175.77 KiB | Viewed 5280 times ]
File comment: Small GB on top of IBC GB
IMG_0383.JPG
IMG_0383.JPG [ 182.01 KiB | Viewed 5280 times ]

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PostPosted: Jul 30th, '13, 16:06 
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Water test 29/07/2013

PH = 8.06
Ammonia = 0.25
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 0
Temp = 20.1ºC

Ammonia is hovering between 0.25 and 0.5 after 12 days, is it enough to cycle the system or should i add more fish? I have only 6 goldfish and feed lightly 4-5 times a day, about 650-700ltr of water in tank when the beds are drained.

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PostPosted: Jul 30th, '13, 21:19 
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The 2 new IBC's arrived, its a shame that one is different to the other three. I'll use the odd one out as the FT as the other ones are better for cutting and seam stronger once cut.

Radishes comming through from seed, and one right on the edge of the see through GB you can see the whole root structure.


Attachments:
File comment: Radish root structure
IMG_0392.JPG
IMG_0392.JPG [ 59.6 KiB | Viewed 5204 times ]
File comment: radish seeds germinating
IMG_0393.JPG
IMG_0393.JPG [ 99.9 KiB | Viewed 5204 times ]
File comment: the one on the right is the same as the others i have,45€ each and as you can see they are new(used once only)
IMG_0388.JPG
IMG_0388.JPG [ 139.08 KiB | Viewed 5206 times ]

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PostPosted: Aug 1st, '13, 00:51 
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My maxicrop arrived today :D i added one cap full to 10ltrs of water from the FT and then slowly added it to the FT rather than the growbed as its a yukky dirty brown and didn't want to dirty the light colour gravel or make algae grow on the dry surface, hope i did it right

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PostPosted: Aug 2nd, '13, 05:56 
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Adding the maxicrop upped my ph from 8.1 to 8.25, strange, the ammonia has crept up today too and is close to 2.0 than 1.0.

Reading the forum it seams that the same ammonia level is more toxic at higher ph levels
so i decided to do a 20% water change just in case. That brought the ph back down a bit to 7.9 and the ammonia closer to 1.0

Fish went to bed with no supper either :D . Ill check in the morning to see how things settle.

I have also found a fish farm less than 5km from where i live :headbang: :thumbleft: , they have brown trout and rainbows, unfortunately they are not allowed to sell the rainbows alive :( A law has been passed to prohibit the sale of live rainbows as they don't want the rainbows to take over the natural river system as they are not a natural local species. The brown trout are, only trouble is the browns are a lot slower growing, i'm sure there must be a way round this :whistle: :wink:

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PostPosted: Aug 6th, '13, 15:11 
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Ph Creeping up again so i did another 20% water change yesterday

PH 8.15
Ammonia 1 to 2
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
Temp 20.9ºC

after change(about 150lts)
ph 7.85
Ammonia 1
rest still the same

still no feeding

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PostPosted: Aug 6th, '13, 18:13 
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Hello Derek

Nice start, are you using tap water for the top ups? With all the recycled water in Europe (but not sure about Spain in particular) did you check for chlorine or let it sit for a couple of days to remove chlorine?

Would be nice to have some clear grow beds to see what's going on at the roots, but I would never use one of these clear transport boxes as grow bed here in the tropics. Whenever I move something in my storage container which was sitting for a year, the container just crumbles apart. Would be a disaster if that happens to a grow bed... :-D

Cheers

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PostPosted: Aug 6th, '13, 19:51 
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Hi oliver, i have my own well and the water has no chlorine or added chemicals :) We get it tested every year to check for potability and its always been fine up till now very litle calcium either, its classed as soft water, only thing is its a bit acidy from the ph at 5.95- 6.2.

I've had to cover the beds/FT etc to block the sunlight as i started to get an alae bloom but i look at the root formation from time to time.

I started the clearish GB off when i was using a small fishtank just to get things going while i decided on the layout.

I also think using the seethrough GB's could be slowing the cycle down as as far as i can gather the nice bacteria don't like sunlight.
Stay tuned as i have a few mods comming online soon (if all goes well)

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PostPosted: Aug 6th, '13, 19:54 
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I could use some of that water, my bore water is pH 8 to 8.1.

I had some carrots and radish in the system which I didn't separate right at the start and it was amazing how much the roots grew in just a week and a bit.

Looking forward to see your progress, it's the best way to learn and get new ideas.

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PostPosted: Aug 7th, '13, 04:01 
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Things are starting to progress as far as the cycling is going, i have also found the reason why my ph keeps creaping up especially after a shower of rain.

Todays water test

Ph 8.15
Ammonia 0.25-0.5
Nitrite 0.25
Nitrate 5.0
Temp 20.4ºC

Ammonia has dropped and the nitrite and nitrate are rising :)
When the ammonia gets to 0 i'll start to feed again.

As to the ph rise especially after a shower, i bought some expanded clay from a garden centre that was supposed to be ph nuetral, i washed it thoroughly before using it to get rid of the dust but didn't check the ph as it was for plants and has ph nuetral on the pack.
I also bought some expanded clay for the building industry used to insulate cement floors which states it may have a ph of 9-9.5 due to residues from the manifacture process but was neutral once this was washed out, after steeping for a week its still rising very slowly but real slow.

I decided to check the clay in the small growbed, using water from the well which came out at 6.05 i half filled a glass and topped it of from the clay on the top of the GB and then let it sit for a few hours.
To my amazement after less than 6 hours the ph is up to 8.55 and after 12 its 9.3.
the expanded clay thats at and below water level should be almost washed by now but the dry stuff is definately not and hence a shower washes the high ph into the system. i'll get it washhed asap i think.


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