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PostPosted: May 7th, '15, 10:59 
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Hi all! This will be my first time attempting an AP build. I live in an apartment so I can't go too big and I'm a student so I can't go too expensive. After some feedback from a few members I've decided to go with a CHIFT PIST system, hopefully flood and drain.

This is what I'm modeling my system after (taken from this website :)):

Attachment:
CHIFT PIST.png
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Here's what I've put together so far:

Attachment:
IMG_0955[1].JPG
IMG_0955[1].JPG [ 129.04 KiB | Viewed 3977 times ]


- 100L (~26 g) FT
- 2x 50L (~13 g) GB's
- 50L (~13 g) ST
- ~1100Lph (296gph) pump

I still need to build my autosiphon and figure out how to plumb it all together (hose or PVC). I'll probably move the FT closer to the two GB's, but other than that I think everything is in it's final resting place.

I think my pump is probably going to be a bit overpowered so I will likely use joc's suggestion of adding a T-valve above it's outlet to short circiut excess flow before it leaves the ST and see if that helps.

Do I need a bigger ST? If I've always got 100L in my FT and I'm planning on flooding and draining the GB's doesn't that mean my ST has to hold as much as my GB's, preferably a little bit more?

I'm hoping to grow some leafy greens and a couple chili's. The GB's will get a good dose of early morning light, but I'm not sure how close it is cutting it to the minimum of 4hrs that curious suggested, so I might have to add a light or two.

For fish my inclination is to go cheap, so goldfish or cichlids or something similar.

Any and all comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

HB
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PostPosted: May 7th, '15, 12:30 
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@HoneyBadger - Take a look at the attached thread, if you don't feel like messing with a bell siphon, you can look into the timed ebb and flow draining method. That way you don't have to run your pump 24/7.

http://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/vie ... n&start=15

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PostPosted: May 7th, '15, 14:14 
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He honeybadger, I don't know if you looked at my system thread, but I'm using a sump the same size as my GBs, and two GBs. In a perfect world, it may just work for you.
What I did to make sure that the volume in the beds would cycle less than the volume of the sump, was put a bucket in the bottom of the GBs, with (if I remember) two 6mm holes drill at the bottom. My idea was that this would reduce the turnover of, in my case, most of the volume of the 14 l bucket, but it would still turn over as some would dribble out the bottom of the bucket with each flood and drain siphon cycle. I also put some fist sized stones at the bottom of each GB.
Then as I built it, rather than fill it with the same lava rock that the rest of the GB holds, I decided to try for a sort of RSG. I filled the bucket with a mixture of 8mm minus pea gravel and primarily granite crusher dust from a local quarry. So far so good...
Filled with grow media, the bucket should work on siphons, but will not provide a benefit on timed F&D, as the bucket will have time to fully drain each cycle. Filled with a lower void volume material, it will still provide some benefit.
I recommend timed f&D for indoors. the noise of your pump excess return to the sump will be quite prominent, and the siphons make noises as well. Timed f&D works great on my indoor system, and I think it would serve you better as well.

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PostPosted: May 29th, '15, 11:03 
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So my system is now close to being fully operational. I've plumbed it all together and kept it running for about a week now. Worked out a few kinks and then introduced 40 feeder goldfish (about 2'' or so long) into the FT on Monday. Two of the little guys have died but I think that's fairly normal for feeder goldfish, I'm not too worried yet.

There are no plants in the GB's yet as I wanted to take a look at the pH and whatnot. So I've got a test kit hopefully arriving tomorrow.

I gave the expanded clay a good wash before using it but I'm still seeing quite a bit of junk in the ST. It might be due to the fish, I'm not sure. Is it a good idea to try and put an active water filter in the ST?

**I'll add the pictures once I've got time to resize them all. (What kind of a cheapass website can't automatically resize pictures on import??)**

Once again, any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!!

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PostPosted: May 30th, '15, 16:30 
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Here are the pics:

Attachment:
File comment: The full system, in all her glory
IMG_1069.JPG
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Attachment:
File comment: Plumbing from standpipe in GB's to ST
IMG_1067.JPG
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Attachment:
File comment: ST. Looks pretty dirty, no?
IMG_1068.JPG
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Attachment:
File comment: FT with 37 (now 36) feeder goldfish
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Attachment:
File comment: Max water height in GB #2
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Attachment:
File comment: GB #1 intake from FT *alternate design*
IMG_1072.JPG
IMG_1072.JPG [ 145.37 KiB | Viewed 3844 times ]

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PostPosted: May 30th, '15, 16:31 
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Attachment:
File comment: GB#1 with old intake plumbing
IMG_1066.JPG
IMG_1066.JPG [ 202.68 KiB | Viewed 3843 times ]

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PostPosted: May 30th, '15, 16:43 
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A few of my learning experiences so far:

Attachment:
File comment: Don't cheap out on supports and/or when in doubt, add extra support
IMG_1073.JPG
IMG_1073.JPG [ 140.6 KiB | Viewed 3842 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: Secure the tubing from the ST to the FT otherwise you'll make a pond in your apartment.
IMG_1074.JPG
IMG_1074.JPG [ 175.38 KiB | Viewed 3842 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: There is always time to do it right. I rushed drilling this hole on a Sunday night right before bed, drilled into my finger and spent the night in the hospital.
IMG_1075.JPG
IMG_1075.JPG [ 96.16 KiB | Viewed 3842 times ]

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PostPosted: May 31st, '15, 02:34 
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Any thoughts on the junk in the ST? Do I need a filter in there or should I wait and see what it looks like once I have plants in the system?

And is there any benefit to putting the lid on my ST versus just leaving it open as it is now?

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PostPosted: May 31st, '15, 09:18 
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My beds flood in about 6 mins and take about 12-13 mins to drain. Is that too fast of a cycle?

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PostPosted: May 31st, '15, 20:36 
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I added 4 little celery seedlings today. My system is now officially up and running! There was a hiccup with the shipping of the test kit so I just went ahead and put in some plants. There were $1.50 so if they don't work out it's not the end of the world.

I started off with 40 feeder goldfish on May 25th and I've found a dead one partially blocking my SLO intake almost everyday. Should I be concerned about so many deaths?

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PostPosted: Jun 1st, '15, 11:35 
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@HoneyBadger - Hi, sorry to hear about your finger, how are you doing?

Looking at your pictures, i am assuming that you are running a timed flood and drain. In a timed flood and drain system you would want to aim to turn over the volume of your FT once every hour. This means that your pump will need to pump that volume in 15 minutes (at whatever head height you're pumping to) assuming you are cycling at 15 minutes on and 45 minutes off.

As for the sand like dust in your sump, you can siphon it out if you like, but in my experience it will usually find its way back into your GBs and settle down there if you don't disturb the GBs too much. No need to do anything special to it, just give it some time.

We will need more info on your water temperatures as well as parameters to determine what is happening to your fishes. I might be wrong, but i don't think the lid of your ST will effect the overall function of your system, so just do what pleases you.

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PostPosted: Jun 1st, '15, 12:22 
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Good looking system so far! And that sucks about the drill, I know the pain....

+1 to the timed flood and drain idea, with regard to the speed at which the system floods and drains though, I've learned two things; 1) it is very much dependent on the size of your system (mine usually has a 1.5 minute fill time, with about a 2 minute drain time), and 2) the times you gave are about where you want to be with a system this size. But again, it all depends on the size of your system and what you think will get enough oxygen to your plant roots.

40 goldfish is a lot. I can see that being sustainable for a larger system, but for yours..... It very well could be a problem with your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels. If there is too much of any of these nutrients in your system, they will starve the fish of oxygen, which will lead to death of your fish.

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PostPosted: Jun 14th, '15, 23:55 
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Sorry it's taken me so long to reply! Work sent me out on a camp shift and the internet there is terrible.

@Curious - I'm currently running my pump 25 minutes on and 35 minutes off. With my 6 min flood time and 12 min drain time I figure this means my beds are "full" of water from about 5 mins passed the hour until shortly after half passed, meaning I have about a 1:1 ratio of bed "filled"/bed "empty". Does that sound about right?

I'm in the process of trying to figure out a fairly accurate guestimate of the volume of water I'm using in my FT and GB's but it's taking a bit of time, as none of them are at their stated capacity and all the bins are tapered, making eyeballing it quite difficult. Once I've done that I'll be able to better tell where I'm at with the pump's ability.

I ended up just giving my ST and good rinse in the bathtub and I haven't seen much of a dirt accumulation since. I guess I just didn't wash the clay well enough to start with.

I thought by putting the lid on the ST I might reduce the ability of unwanted things getting into my system, as well as possibly reduce the rate at which the water evaporates. Does that make any sense?

@thsdragoon - I had 40 originally. A handful died off one-by-one and then I lost another handful when I carelessly let them have access to the open top of the SLO pipe and they gleefully swam to their deaths in my plumbing and GB's. I'm going to fish them out and do a count later on today, but I'd guess I'm down to 25 or so. But they are "feeder" goldfish, and so are only about 2-3" long and I don't think they get much bigger 6".

I've read 3kg of fish per 100L GB and 50-100L FT. The 40 goldfish couldn't have weighed even half a pound, but let's pretend that they did. If 6.6lb (3kg) is good for 100L, then .5lb would be good for 7.58L. I don't know the exact volume of my GB's and FT, but I'm confident they're bigger than 7.58L haha! So am I missing something?

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PostPosted: Jun 15th, '15, 00:26 
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...and now for a system update, with lots of pictures of course!

Attachment:
File comment: Standpipe in my GB. The media guard already had a few holes drilled into it. I added slots with a hacksaw. The standpipe is cut at an angle and there is a small hole drilled level and opposite to the low side of the cut. I find helps to reduce the noise of the draining.
IMG_1197.JPG
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Attachment:
File comment: My first plants! 4 little bits of celery.
IMG_1199.JPG
IMG_1199.JPG [ 167.78 KiB | Viewed 3646 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: I added a handful of different hot pepper/chili plants to the lonely celery and sprinkled a bunch of lettuce seeds everywhere.
IMG_1202.JPG
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Attachment:
File comment: This is a few days after the added the seeds. You can see the lettuce popping up.
IMG_1203.JPG
IMG_1203.JPG [ 143.25 KiB | Viewed 3646 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: June 7

pH - 8
Amm - 4
N02 - 2-5?
N03 - 0-5?

IMG_1204.JPG
IMG_1204.JPG [ 129.9 KiB | Viewed 3646 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: June 8

pH - 8
Amm - 4
N02 - 2-5?
N03 - 5

IMG_1205.JPG
IMG_1205.JPG [ 135.31 KiB | Viewed 3646 times ]

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PostPosted: Jun 15th, '15, 00:38 
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Attachment:
File comment: June 10

I added some bamboo supports, 2 lights and some reflective emergency blankets to by GB's. The beds only get direct sunlight from about 5am until about 8am,, and then a good amount of indirect sun for the rest of the morning. I didn't think this was enough so I decided to try and help them out a bit.

IMG_1206.JPG
IMG_1206.JPG [ 240.01 KiB | Viewed 3643 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: That short amount of morning light was also causing the peppers to start to lean quite a bit so I added the bamboo supports.
IMG_1207.JPG
IMG_1207.JPG [ 254.29 KiB | Viewed 3643 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: The lettuce is really taking off!
IMG_1208.JPG
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Attachment:
File comment: June 13

I replaced the spotlights with real grow lights.

IMG_1209.JPG
IMG_1209.JPG [ 231.8 KiB | Viewed 3643 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: The new growth on my Hot Lemon pepper is coming in a somewhat yellow. I'll have to do a little plant nutrient research.
IMG_1210.JPG
IMG_1210.JPG [ 194.68 KiB | Viewed 3643 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: I may have spread my lettuce seed a little thick...
IMG_1211.JPG
IMG_1211.JPG [ 222.63 KiB | Viewed 3643 times ]

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