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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '15, 14:25 
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Ok - so we've never done this before but we have the chickens and the ducks so the idea of Aquaponics has always appealed to us. Mainly for the fish - because I'm good with animals but haven't yet had much success with vegetable gardening!

Maybe AP will fix all that - who knows!

After almost two weeks of serious research, the bulk of which was on this forum, our plan has snowballed from 1 IBC tank and growbed to the following design:

Southern Elevation

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Birdseye view (pretending the shed that houses the FTs and the Growbeds themselves are transparent so I can work out all the plumbing)

Image

The fish tanks will be made by cutting a poly rainwater tank in half to provide two tanks roughly 1.4m diameter by 1m high
I'll fill them to 80cm so that gives us a total of 1,539litres of water in the fish tanks. (407 gallons)

FTs will be housed in "my" 3m X 2.6m zincalume shed where they will be uphill from the GBs and well shaded.

Both fish tanks will drain via gravity and SLO to 4 IBC grow beds.

There will be 4 grow beds 45cm deep and filled to 35cm with media. The total volume of the Growbeds (without media and filled to 35cm) will be 594L

Once media goes in, these GBs will only hold 118L of water each (If media accounts for 60% of total volume)

These will drain via central stand pipes (with media guards) into 2 linked and partially buried IBC sump tanks.

IBC Sump tank #2 (containing pump) will be 100cm high, filled to about 80cm and will hold approx 1,320L

IBC Sump tank #1 I still need to work out how big it will be. Probably around 800L capacity.

Hoping to stock Silver Perch.

Here's the hole for ST#2 already started:

Image

There will be a pump in this sump tank (#2) that will operate continuously and send water back to the fish tanks.

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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '15, 15:10 
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Well done Sophia!

With the stand pipes and media guards, if you leave enough room for a bell, you could convert between constant flood, or flood and drain GBs. With holes in the lower half of the media guard you would reduce short circuiting of water across the top of the GB under constant flood.

I originally had a ring water distribution manifold for my GB, until the holes kept foulling and I left it in pieces so that it now just sends water to opposite corners of the GB. Where the is low risk of losing water and is gravity fed, leave your pipes unglued so you can pull them apart to remove biofilm & solids from Ts and elbows where it eventually accumulates.

If you can, leave some space so you can access behind you FTs just in case you get some jumpers. You might want to put a shade cloth or birdnet cover over the FTs to keep them in - necessary for trout, but not sure about silvers.

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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '15, 16:41 
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Hi Joc! :wave1:

joc wrote:
With the stand pipes and media guards, if you leave enough room for a bell, you could convert between constant flood, or flood and drain GBs. With holes in the lower half of the media guard you would reduce short circuiting of water across the top of the GB under constant flood.


I'm guessing you're referring to Bell Siphons? I haven't researched them yet but will look into it.

joc wrote:
I originally had a ring water distribution manifold for my GB, until the holes kept foulling and I left it in pieces so that it now just sends water to opposite corners of the GB. Where the is low risk of losing water and is gravity fed, leave your pipes unglued so you can pull them apart to remove biofilm & solids from Ts and elbows where it eventually accumulates.


We recently set up drip irrigation of the garden which is fed by the dirty water pumped out of our duck pond. The water is filtered by a grey water filter before it hits the pump (not a submersible pump) but I have also put removable end caps on all the dripper line so every few months or so I can remove end caps flush the system out of any accumulated solids. Would something similar work for our AP grow beds?

joc wrote:
If you can, leave some space so you can access behind you FTs just in case you get some jumpers. You might want to put a shade cloth or birdnet cover over the FTs to keep them in - necessary for trout, but not sure about silvers.


We have little kids and a lot of friends kids that come over to play. (Other people's kids =OPK) The OPKs worry me even more than my kids because when it's your own kids they get the safety messages drilled into them everyday - but OPKs don't and they forget 5 minutes after you tell them not to do something lol! :naughty:

So I picked up some free galvanized fencing on the weekend and I was planning on bracing the sides of the poly fish tanks with two cross beams of thick PVC to stop it wobbling (as cutting the tank in half will affect its structural integrity)This will support the fencing which I plan on painting with something safe for the fishes and cutting it to size to fit the tanks. Shade cloth will then go over the top attached with cable ties. Somehow I will rig a hinged hatch for viewing/maintenance. Possibly with laser lite or some greenhouse clear plastic sheeting attached to make viewing easier for adults and kids alike.

I forgot to add that I'm planning on building a shelter for the GBs and the soil vegetable garden out of PVC conduit bent to make arches. This will be covered with growcover to keep out insects and a half roof of greenhouse clear plastic to stop the GBs flooding when we get the torrential rains Turramurra is famous for!

This structure can also support a conventional shade cloth during the worst of summer to stop the GBs cooking in the summer sun...

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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '15, 19:57 
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Great beginnings. Somehow for me it is such a blessing to hear people starting into Spring, while we're in the throes of Fall. We haven't had that first frost yet, but our Hops plants have already turned brown and gone back to barren vines. Something quite sad about that for me as a gardener. Then I see Australians digging in the Spring soil and it all brightens up. Somewhere maybe on here, I saw someone cut PVC pipe lengthwise with a wide kerf Skilsaw blade. That left a slot in one side of the pipe. Then bend it around the top edge of the cut in half tank edge. It might be worth a try.

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PostPosted: Oct 7th, '15, 05:44 
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boss wrote:
Great beginnings. Somehow for me it is such a blessing to hear people starting into Spring, while we're in the throes of Fall. We haven't had that first frost yet, but our Hops plants have already turned brown and gone back to barren vines. Something quite sad about that for me as a gardener. Then I see Australians digging in the Spring soil and it all brightens up. Somewhere maybe on here, I saw someone cut PVC pipe lengthwise with a wide kerf Skilsaw blade. That left a slot in one side of the pipe. Then bend it around the top edge of the cut in half tank edge. It might be worth a try.


Thanks Boss! :wave1:

Sounds like a great idea! I'm going to google it an see if I can't figure out what diameter pipe is best to use...

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PostPosted: Oct 7th, '15, 07:20 
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As far as cladding the IBC grow beds and sump tanks to minimize algae goes.... I'm thinking to just save a little money and wrap them in black pond liner (better than tarp for longevity) and then put bamboo screen or similar over the top to make it more visually appealing.

My main concern at this point is how to support the two grow beds that won't be sitting on top of an IBC sump tank...

I have some black plastic pallets here that are very strong... Would these be enough?

See photo:


Image

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PostPosted: Oct 7th, '15, 11:30 
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Yes, those pallets should be ok with the weight of a cut-down IBC GB, especially when using light weight clay balls.

Black 90% shade cloth may be even better than pond liner, it is quite UV resistant if you get the right stuff.

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PostPosted: Oct 7th, '15, 13:03 
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Gunagulla wrote:
Yes, those pallets should be ok with the weight of a cut-down IBC GB, especially when using light weight clay balls.

Black 90% shade cloth may be even better than pond liner, it is quite UV resistant if you get the right stuff.


Good tip Gunagulla! This is why I love this forum!

Just found 10m X 1.8m 90%shadecloth on eBay for $60

So you just saved me some $$

It won't become a trap for rainwater either which was a worry withe pond liner.

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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '15, 06:40 
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All the pieces are starting to come together!

Hubby picked up the second-hand rainwater tank last night which we will be cutting in half to make two roughly 1,500 liter FTs

Tank is 1.4m diameter and 2m tall.
:blob3: :fish: :toothy10:

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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '15, 08:32 
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Lotsa space in that Van!

Those ribs on the bottom may tend to catch a bit of fish poo, but if your water circulation is fast enough it should keep it mostly clear. The ribs on the top half could be an issue too, although the slope down to the centre will assist keeping it clean.

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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '15, 09:23 
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'Your' shed may tend to get fairly warm over summer, how this will affect the water temp I dont know but just keep an eye on it.

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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '15, 09:32 
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I'm going to try to insulate our tanks as much as possible - but it's going to be snug already in my shed with the total floor space only being 2.6 X 3m!

Nothing really more I can do to mitigate temps in the shed other than hope and pray. Already burying the sump tanks and building a shade structure over the grow beds in an attempt to reduce heat fluctuations.

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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '15, 11:06 
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Now I just need to figure out how to plug the massive inlet hole and build a stand to support the "top" of the rainwater tank once I invert it to create the second FT

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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '15, 14:19 
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Slave labour (otherwise known as "The kids") cleaning the first FT. (Formerly the bottom half of the rainwater tank.

Image

Cleaned out my shed

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First tank all cleaned and in position. (Thanks girls!) Still need to find end cap to fit outlet on bottom.

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Starting to come together! Exciting!

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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '15, 14:32 
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Whack up some decent insulation on the inside roof and walls while you can still move the FT! B has panels that would work well.

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