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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '08, 05:12 
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Hi All,
We've been reading, studying and planning a system and basically making ourselves a little nuts. I have to confess to overthinking things a wee bit. We are now at the point where we have a lot of questions. We live in Washington state, USA and have a solar greenhouse that is 10fx13f feet (3mx4m).
* Our plan is to use a 275 gallon (1041 liter) fish tank and a total of 13 grow beds made from 55 gallon (208 liter) barrel halves.
* 10 of the beds would be flood & drain and 3 would be continuous flow.
* Due to height restrictions and the inability to fully bury the fish tank, we'll be using a sump as well.
* Fish tank height is 46 inches (1168mm), and planned bed height is 36" (914mm) at top (24" (610mm) at bottom). There will be an upper level of beds against the wall for growing duckweed & other potential items - these are the continuous flow bed.
* We currently have 3900 gph (14763 lph) pump that I purchased a number of years ago for a pond project that never got finished. It would be nice to use it, but it appears it is likely too large.
* One consideration would be to use the pump in a continuous flow with the "extra" output cycling back into the fish tank to add circulation.

Questions:
1. Can you circulate the water too much for the fishes comfort?
2. With a continuous flow of water and flood and drain beds, would the early beds on the system get more of the "good stuff", as in the sediment from the fish tank?
3. Do valves tend to plug?
4. Does anyone have experience in how much you can effectively back off a pump (limit its flow) without detriment to the pump?
5. For an autosiphon, is the pipe size determined based on the volume in the bed or in the overall system?
6. If there is a power outage, will the autosiphon slowly drain or does it only drain when filled... consideration is how large the sump needs to be.


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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '08, 06:40 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Welcome to the forum! I hope your AP experience is as good as mine has been so far. :-)

1. Yes, when they're plastered against a wall or have to continually swim, they don't like it. If there are eddies and dead spots for them to rest in then they will be better off.
2.Sediment yes, but I believe others on this forum have not had such an issue.
3.Gate valves tent to stick a lot more than ball valves. If you mean block completely, then it depends on how much you reduce flow. With a BIG pump, they will never block, but a gate valve can gum up so it's hard to open.
4. It's better to limit the output than the input. limitation increases the pressure in the pipes, so look at what pressure the pump is rated for. If you're pumping near that pressure, or over it then it may shorten the life of the pump. Theoretically a pump with 0 flow wont be damaged, as it will maintain a pressure, but flow is often needed for cooling.
5.Volume in the bed, how fast you want it to drain, and how fast you are filling it.
6.It only drains when filled. Add a small slow drain bleed into your drain line if this is an issue for you.

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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '08, 06:59 
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Thanks KudaPucat. We're very excited about this "next" version of the greenhouse. Aquaponics seems to make a lot of sense to me. I like the idea of growing as much of my own food as possible since I don't always trust the sources of our food supply.


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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '08, 07:14 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Well come and have fun then :-)
I'd like to grow as much as I can, but am still umming and ahhhing about chicken or rabbits... Seems like too much work, and LOTS of foxes where I live.

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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '08, 07:52 
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Actually, I was in the learning/planning stage on having a few chickens when I stumbled upon the aquaponics info. That has diverted my attention but once the system is setup, we'll return to the chickens. Meanwhile, we will be getting our fish tank tomorrow and then we start having fun. ;-)

Victoria


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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '08, 08:15 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Beware of the addiction! :roll: :D
Far be it for me to make assumptions, so best I ask- what healing are you into?
Seems a dumb question- I was more referring to modality. :oops:

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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '08, 11:00 
healingdeva wrote:
Questions:
1. Can you circulate the water too much for the fishes comfort?
2. With a continuous flow of water and flood and drain beds, would the early beds on the system get more of the "good stuff", as in the sediment from the fish tank?
3. Do valves tend to plug?


KudaPucat wrote:
1. Yes, when they're plastered against a wall or have to continually swim, they don't like it. If there are eddies and dead spots for them to rest in then they will be better off.
2.Sediment yes, but I believe others on this forum have not had such an issue.
3.Gate valves tent to stick a lot more than ball valves. If you mean block completely, then it depends on how much you reduce flow. With a BIG pump, they will never block, but a gate valve can gum up so it's hard to open.


1. No, I don't believe you could circulate too much water for the fishes comfort.

Yes, as Kuda says, if you somehow create a centrifugal force strong enough to get the tank water spinning like the spin cycle of a washing machine and plastered the fish against the tank side... I'm sure the fish would find it "uncomfortable" :D

Most people have found it unneccessary (and sometimes difficult) to create anything other than a small centrifical current in their tanks, even round ones, and most would agree that the fish actually love swimming into a current... just watch them swim into the water return.

Fish are quite capable of "loitering" in a gentle current without seemingly expending a great deal of energy and I suspect appreciate the high oxygenation flow over the gills

2. I'm assuming when you say "sediment" that you mean suspended solids etc...

If you had "cascading" growbeds fed sequentially then the latter beds might not receive as much "sediment" as those first in line.

The only person I know that has/is running sequentially flooded beds is Ellkaybee and I don't believe he has had any significant problems.

In terms of nutrient delivery for plant uptake it has been found that even the last growbeds in a sequence receive effectively the same availability of nutrients. It isn't a concern.

It certainly isn't an issue at all in a continuous flow system/growbed by the very nature of the system

3. Even ball valves could block or constrict over time. Yes a high flow will help mitigate any blocking, but it's probably more dependant on the actual size of the pipe/tubing and ball valves utilised and the placement within the system.

Unless there is something within the ball valve itself ... like the little grid I had to drill out... then even if the ball valve has been closed almost right down to restrict flow I don't think that blockage would be a major problem... if it did become an issue then the ball valve could be cleared by opening it fully during a "flood/pump" cycle


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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '08, 13:10 
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Creative1, I was a massage therapist for 7 years and recently closed my practice. I've been using healingdeva over the years and it's just part of who I am at this point. I'd see the "healing" moving more towards the environment and nature at this point which ironically was my first line of education - horticulture. Funny how things cycle around...


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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '08, 13:13 
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RobertofOZ, thanks for the added information. My husband and I enjoy taking on projects and look forward to this installation. It's great to hear we can use the resources we have!


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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '08, 17:00 
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Welcome to the forum, glad you have joined the AP craziness :D

Try to start small and grow into the AP wonderland as you gain more experience...and above all, ask questions and show pics as you progress

Quote:
* Fish tank height is 46 inches (1168mm), and planned bed height is 36" (914mm) at top (24" (610mm) at bottom). There will be an upper level of beds against the


Is there any reason for having the GBs at this height, I started using 2 bessar blocks high which gave 400mm (16") clearance but reduced it to one brick height (8"/20" top height)...the 36'' top height is okay for growing small vegies/herbs such as lettuce, silver beet cabbages, etc...but that height is a problem in harvesting (and keeping under the GH roof) for things like corn, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers or any taller plants

I found that I can still garden effectively at the lower height for short and tall plants :D

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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '08, 21:28 
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Have you heard of jin shin jyutsu ?
It is a passion of mine.
Great after a massage, I always got more as the giver than the receiver and do both.
OT and a hijack in one post not bad!

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PostPosted: Jan 14th, '08, 21:34 
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Welcome, you could also set up a fountain with your pump. Output to grow beds, fish tank for a bit of current, and fountain in fish tank.
Pictures?

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PostPosted: Jan 15th, '08, 03:54 
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Hi All...
The original height restrictions were based on the floor of the greenhouse, though based on EllKayBee's question, we are considering removing the floor in the area of the sump to allow for lower growing. We do have a large amount of upper space, however, access can be daunting.

creative1, I have not heard of jin shin jyutsu. Is it any relation to shiatsu? I love both giving and receiving though it seems the better I became at giving, the tougher it was to find what I wanted in terms of what I received.

GotFish, I had thought of a fountain at one point, but I love the idea of combining all of the different "uses" of that extra flow. I know it will really add to the ambiance of the greenhouse... which is one thing I have always loved. It's a great place to go get some peace when the rest of life gets stressful. :lol:


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PostPosted: Jan 15th, '08, 04:09 
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Welcome HD!

Pictures Yay!!!

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PostPosted: Jan 16th, '08, 11:54 
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We're glad to hear from fellow Washingtonian who are getting onto the AP bandwagon (we're a bit north of Tacoma). We're also in the planning stages - hoping to have things up and running this spring. What sort of fish are you going to use?

Emily and Mark


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