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PostPosted: Jan 27th, '17, 23:56 
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I turned off the pump overnight (it is on a timer now) and did not need to heat the fish tank at all. It went down to 32F last night outside. Greenhouse low was 57.9 F
fish tank stayed around 70F all night.

It took the heater 3 hours and 9 min. to heat backup the fish tank backup once the pump kicked back on in the morning. I am not using the natural gas heater at all right now just solar power.

Very happy with these results. My goal was to use the closed loop heater as backup heat or if we have a winter power outage use it to keep the fish alive this just might work out.

A lot more data is needed time will tell how it works out.

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PostPosted: Jan 28th, '17, 03:57 
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Is that a section of galvanized pipe around the outside of your stainless steel water heater? I'm not certain what to tell you if it is :dontknow: . Some leaching of the zinc in the galvanizing could be a bad thing as zinc ions can cause problems (if there are too many). If you can find some stainless from a local metal supplier or some other way to fix it up that might be better (copper is not good beyond what's needed either).


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PostPosted: Jan 28th, '17, 05:07 
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This heater is designed for aquaculture it is completely 304 stainless steel.

http://www.processtechnology.com/aquacu ... aters.html

They also make a Titanium version for salt water tanks.

They have been making heater for a very long time for other industries.

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PostPosted: Jan 28th, '17, 06:41 
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Glad to hear that Mark. The color of the metal threw me off. I don't know how much yours cost but I wonder if some of the newer sous vide immersion heater/circulators might be a cheap alternative. I'm sure they aren't as durable as yours. They run at around 800 to 1100 watts. Not all of them go low enough temperature wise but some do.


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PostPosted: Jan 28th, '17, 06:54 
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I got mine on clearance for a great deal $33 it is 240 volts 1,000 watts. The 240 Volt GFCI breaker was $31.66.
I was not sure if it would be big enough to do the job. I am still not sure how it will do if we have a few cold cloudy days in a row. If you watch you also find these heaters on ebay.

They use to have a clearance section on their web site but it looks like they took it down to bad that is where I bought mine.

I just looked at those heaters I do wonder how they hold up in a fish environment.

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PostPosted: Jan 28th, '17, 11:25 
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Wow, that's a heck of a good price for that Mark. Just going from memory (so I could be wrong), the sous vide heaters are only rated to take care of 4 or 5 gallon water baths even though the wattage is similar to yours. I suspect yours will be similar but better built. On the other hand they are set to do much higher temps than you'd be asking them to do in AP. If someone had a really well insulated tank, like some of the used converted freezer systems, I could see using one of these to very easily maintain the temperature for tilapia. It probably wouldn't use much electricity once it got up to temp as long as it wasn't running out to grow beds all the time.


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PostPosted: Jan 28th, '17, 22:13 
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As always Mark your attention to details is outstanding. I also was guessing that heater was way more pricey than that. Research and bargain hunting are the best way to make this hobby great.

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PostPosted: Jan 30th, '17, 23:07 
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@boss Thanks. I have really tried to bargain hunt even buying things one or two years in advance if the deal was good enough.

I tried covering up the fish tank last two nights. This does help. First night the heater did not have to run until the morning. When the pump turned back on it ran for 5 hours. Last night the heater went on for an hour around 10-11 pm then it did not kick back on until the pump kicked back on. So far the 1K heater has been able to keep up. It take lots longer to get back up to temp but is not an issue. I am able to use solar to heat the water if this heater ever has an issue the closed loop heater can take over.
The lettuce is doing well.

This head was growing to close together so I was going to move it. I found out it is one heat of lettuce.
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The outdoor temp. @12am it was 37F it down to 32F the greenhouse 57.5 F 12 am then 6:45 to went down to 54.1F.

During this time 1K fish tank heater was on for hour until 6:13 fish tank heater kicked back on. So pretty much only the barrels and insulation kept it warm.

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PostPosted: Feb 3rd, '17, 23:43 
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It has been 12 days since the closed loop NG heater has been on. The 1K heater has been doing a great job even better than I thought it could. I am
very happy to use solar power to keep the fish water warm.

Shutting the pump off at night has helped to keep the heating load lower.

The new fish food is starting to help the lettuce is getting darker green. With the water temp constant the fish are eating better.


This morning it took 3 hours to heat the water back up after the pump turned back on.
Yesterday one hour
Colder nights one hour at 12am then 5-6 hours in the morning
We have not had a streak of cloudy cold weather yet.

I may install the second temp controller and set it a couple degrees colder than the 1K heater.
Then if it went bad or could not keep up the other heater would take over.

My second controller uses 12 V to run but the controller I am using now is 120V controller.
It uses a small transformer to take the 120 volts down to 12V. I might just solder a couple wires to the 12v output from that transformer and have it power both controllers.

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PostPosted: Feb 4th, '17, 05:38 
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You've got technical aquaponics down pat. Very interesting to read your build thread. Thank you Mark.

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PostPosted: Feb 9th, '17, 03:15 
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It is time to start cleaning out my front grow bed. I took out about ¼ the tomatoes so far. After more than a year growing the roots are starting to clog the bed up.

We need to plant more of a variety of plants anyway.

I took some time and setup port forwarding for my greenhouse. Now I can web monitor the greenhouse from my phone anywhere.

Lettuce is still growing well.
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PostPosted: Feb 10th, '17, 20:55 
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Mark, I notice in this last picture that you cut the lettuce raft to get it to fit. I was just debating if I would be able to cut them because it sounded like there was some sort of coating on them to keep water from penetrating... but they are just styrofoam boards aren't they? So they shouldn't get waterlogged over time would they? I built my growbeds 24" outside dimension, so 21" inside, so I'll have to cut 3-3.5" off the rafts to get them to fit in the bed, plus I am going to use my 12ft long bed so I'll have to cut 3" off the length to get them to fit too. I have 3 of them scheduled to be delivered today. Hoping to get my grow beds lined and plumbed this weekend. May not get media beds operational for a bit yet (too cold to run the hose to wash media) but hopefully I'll be able to get DWC running at least.

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '17, 02:42 
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I had to cut mine in a couple places. I used a hot knife I bought at Harbor freight. The knife works very well.

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PostPosted: Feb 14th, '17, 22:59 
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I think my lettuce was not getting enough sun. I was away for a few days before I left I had cleaned out some of my tomatoes. This let in so much more light. The lettuce just took off while I was gone.
I think the tomatoes were blocking to much light. My lettuce is getting darker green since I switched fish food.

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Time to eat some of this.

5 days growth
The left picture is today the right picture was 5 days ago.

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PostPosted: Feb 15th, '17, 04:48 
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You're likely at least part right on the food (if not totally) but a lot of things changed that could have affected leaf color. It might be the food, might be the light or day length, could also be the water temperature with the heater (sometimes plants can't use nutrients because of temperature issues). I've noticed in the past that orchid leaves will darken and get larger if grown in low light. Even though you recently increased the light I wonder if this could have been partly in response to the shading from the tomatoes (maybe they just didn't have enough energy or iron before :dontknow: )... Typically higher light causes the leaves to get lighter but that's in summer when they are more likely to burn if they are dark (wouldn't surprise me if it's different this time of year :dontknow: ). Anyway several possibilities since a lot has changed so keep an open mind.

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