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 Post subject: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 7th, '17, 17:50 
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OK, I'm embarking on an aquaponics journey and thought documenting it here would be a good idea as people can trouble shoot as I go.

Late last year my bro-in law delivered my first IBC. He gets them from his work, they have just had distilled water in them. I figure, I'll keep it simple and just cut the top off and flip it like you see a lot of... Then, once I started to ponder and read more I started to get a bit more ambitious. The first issue I had was where to locate the system. My backyard is mostly taken up with a pool and decking etc etc, so the logical place was a disused strip down the side of the house (see pictures). Originally I thought I would just place it on top of the bed, but when I measured it I realised that the width of the bed was almost perfect for an IBC, so began the rather awful task of removing approx 4 cubic metres of sand to semi bury the system. It will be 900mm deep, so most of a whole IBC will be out of sight.

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I shall keep this post short and let the pics speak for themselves. The job I have in front of me is more digging, installing a retaining wall to support the neighbors fence (the first post was installed today-see picture, underpinning the footings of the existing walls and paving the bottom of the trench. Then I can start my build, which is probably going to start as a RAS system before adding grow beds. Some of the challenges are going to be ensuring there is room for drainage and the pipework. I would really like feedback if anyone can see some glaring issues I have not considered! Wish me luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 7th, '17, 19:28 
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First of all, congrats on getting started!

I wouldn't be digging quite that close to footings in what looks like sandy soil, but I'll leave it up to your judgement.

Not sure if you've seen this thread, but you might get some useful ideas from it.

http://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=477


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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 7th, '17, 21:44 
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Thanks Sean. Don't worry the retaining is all good. The post near the fence goes down as far as what's above. The sand below the walls is nice and consolidated and I'm underpinning as i go. One complication I've hit is some pockets of tamala limestone, which is common in Perth, although we never hit any putting the pool in. I'm not sure if it's natural or perhaps buryied rock from when the house was built.

Thanks for the link. Interesting read. I was worried a little about shade as well, but it does catch quite a bit of sun. When I put GBs in I might opt for some shade tollerant species, not just vegies. Heat is an issue for Perth as it is for Adelaide, which is partly why I wanted to semi bury/recess the tanks.

The system I am currently thinking of emulating is https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/474x/7f/b7/34/7fb734fc7ab73f1c4b9c96222e18eb6d.jpg

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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 8th, '17, 05:09 
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Good to see you making a start Doc.

Have you got an overall system layout plan? Just trying to foresee any issues you may have before you start to provide help. I already have some concerns with the RAS your emulating. Did you know that pic shows only a part of what is predominately the beginning of a DWC system? That design alone without any other additions won't really support fish.

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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 8th, '17, 09:40 
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Hi Charlie, thanks for the input. Yes that system seems to be missing a biofilter (unless it's the one at the back, in which case it's missing a sump).

Perhaps a better example of what I'm intending is CCBears system. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4A3E7lC585s

The idea would be to install GBs above the whole system.

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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 8th, '17, 13:01 
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Ok, so Im assuming you want a system that can be ran as RAS or AP whichever suits your fish grow out requirements? Just tying to get a grasp on what your needs are from this system.

CCBears system (which Ive seen in the flesh) is a fantastic outside RAS that he uses for barra and SP. He also has an AP system seperate from this. Even though he is in the tropics, he still had trouble with temps to grow out barra so he moved it indoors, insulated and heated. Both these RAS systems, and Bear will admit this, was in constant battle with amm and nitrite readings, as are most backyard RAS systems Ive read of and seen. Its very common and people are getting smarter and using better filters and better strategies to manage all these things so there is much to learn.

Im mentioning this is because there is much to learn as a fish keeper and biology before diving right into RAS, its not for everyone. Robob (the guy in the vid you linked) went away from RAS as he found out its not an easy (or cheap) way to grow fish.

Long story short, if you have lots of time, money, patience and interest then RAS may be for you. If you want the easy road for growing fish and plants then AP is a no brainer. Its personal choice, just giving you the heads up.

But, you may just want the complexity of a RAS system with the addition of grow beds which is an interesting way to learn and build and will be diverse system with good safety limitations if built correctly. Its just the added cost and time if you dont intend to use the RAS component as RAS. Its just an over filtered AP system.

Few things that are food for thought for you anyways. Depends what your grand plan and intentions are?

cheers

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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 8th, '17, 13:41 
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Awesome feedback Charlie.

Yes, I am looking for something i can sink my teeth into, so complexity is not too much of an issue.

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But, you may just want the complexity of a RAS system with the addition of grow beds which is an interesting way to learn and build and will be diverse system with good safety limitations if built correctly. Its just the added cost and time if you dont intend to use the RAS component as RAS. Its just an over filtered AP system.


I think this is exactly the direction I am going at the moment! I am thinking that the overfiltering aspect of the build is an OK thing so long as it's not taken to excess. Cost is definately an issue! At the end of the day I don't want my fish to be costing big $$$ after the initial setup costs. I am big on recycling/scavenging as much as I can. Most of the tank components I have access to for free. Things like biofilter media and GB media are going to be interesting to source cheaply, as will be the pipework. The site preparation is also a factor, but thus far the only things Ive had to buy are the concrete posts and some concrete, I just found out my father in law has all the concrete panels I will need for the job (big saving). Even getting rid of the sand is an issue, but so far Ive been lucky to have my neighbor ordrering a far bigger skip than he needed, so its all going there. If there are any north of the river peeps in Perth who want some cleanfill sand, let me know :D

The bottom line is, my wife will go nuts if this costs an arm and a leg, so this will be a thrifty as possible build. I'm keeping track of expenditure, so at the end i should be able to give a fair estimate of the total cost. That said, even if the aquaponics never goes aheah, I will have reclaimed a 1.5m strip of land in my garage that i can use for storage, so a gain there.

Keep the comments comming :)

I should also add, that I am currently excavating enough sand to build a two IBC plus filter system. Eventually, if it goes well i have room to add a second system (or just more FT and GB) , i have about 8 -9m to play with. I originally considered waterproofing the entire length to make one large tank, but I like the idea of a more modular IBC system.

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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 15th, '17, 17:06 
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Charlie wrote:
Have you got an overall system layout plan? Just trying to foresee any issues you may have before you start to provide help. I already have some concerns with the RAS your emulating. Did you know that pic shows only a part of what is predominately the beginning of a DWC system? That design alone without any other additions won't really support fish.


OK, I have experimented with Sketchup to design what I am thinking for my set up. Appologies, I'm not that proficient at it yet, so excuse some of the rough parts. Can I say that I would recommend the program to anyone thinking of building a system as it makes you think about things you would only find out during the build (often too late).

The attached images should explain most of what I am doing. In posting these, I have a number of points that would be good to get feedback on. Please note that the diameter of much of the pipework is only approximate. Filtered, clean water piping is presented in green, red pipework represents unfiltered or partially filtered water.

Questions:

1. The SLO in FT1 dumps into FT2. I don't see this as a problem, but any opinions here?
2. SLO in FT1 is a standard side drain outflowing from the top, while the SLO in FT2 is a bottom outflow. Any opinions on these types of SLOs?
3. The clean post pump water runs to the GBs and to the FTs. Previous discussions with Porter and others claim to run these together so that the FT inlets can be run with venturis, which is what I want to do. However, I am concerned about pressure to both and how the piping should be designed to maximise flow to both.

There are probably going more questions to follow, but that will do for now. Constructive feedback welcome.

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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 16th, '17, 07:57 
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Lots of things to consider Doc, ill list a few that I can think of but may be some Ill miss.

Main one is because you are digging the whole system down deep you won't be able to drain any part of the system via bottom taps so for cleaning purposes (which will be regular in the RFF) you will have to pump it out or suck it out with something. CCBear end up purchasing a wet vacuum cleaner to do the job so he didn't have to crawl around on his knees.

Better to make both FT SLO's drawing from the bottom of each tank to pick up solids as Im assuming you will have fish in both so you will have waste in both.

The GB's won't be able to drain to the bottom of the FT's as you have drawn, they will need to dump into the FT's from the top. Draining of the beds also needs to be considered. It would be too hard to manage water levels and flow if you used syphons so the only way I can think to do it would be CF (constant flooded). This way you could add a auto top up into the sump tank to stop it running dry as water evaporates from the system. In summer this could be up to 100-200L a week.

To manage flows to the beds and venturi's make sure you have taps at each point.

I think it will be a challenge to build this system in a hole and maintain it. Uniseals can be a bugger the best of times.

What media will you be using in the bio? I think C1, K1 etc is about $10 per litre. The amount you add will need to be considered if you will using the system as only RAS at times. Do you know how many fish you want to stock? I watched that vid again and I remembered that CCBear actually changed his filters a few more times adding in finer filtering matala matts.

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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 16th, '17, 17:55 
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Quote:
Main one is because you are digging the whole system down deep you won't be able to drain any part of the system via bottom taps so for cleaning purposes (which will be regular in the RFF) you will have to pump it out or suck it out with something. CCBear end up purchasing a wet vacuum cleaner to do the job so he didn't have to crawl around on his knees.


Certainly an issue I have been thinking about. Luckily, there is a large soakwell that I can plumb the drains into, so this should help. However, you are right space, ease of access and drainage are drawbacks of this location. Hopefully, the benefits of recessing the system like this will outweigh the negatives.

Quote:
The GB's won't be able to drain to the bottom of the FT's as you have drawn, they will need to dump into the FT's from the top. Draining of the beds also needs to be considered. It would be too hard to manage water levels and flow if you used syphons so the only way I can think to do it would be CF (constant flooded). This way you could add a auto top up into the sump tank to stop it running dry as water evaporates from the system. In summer this could be up to 100-200L a week.


OK, I might be missing something, but I don't see why this cant work. It is modelled on the system Porter has as in the images posted at the end of this thread.

http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=24348&start=45

I would like to flood drain rather than constant flood, but why will syphons not work in the GBs? Is it because the volume of water in the GBs would outstrip the volume in the sump when the GBs are full and overflow when empty? I hadn't considered that.

Quote:
To manage flows to the beds and venturi's make sure you have taps at each point


Yes, sorry, the plans do not show some of the taps that would need to be present. And in reply to the next point on uniseals. Yes, I've not had any experience with them as yet, but planning to make my own DIY bulkhead gaskets.

Quote:
What media will you be using in the bio? I think C1, K1 etc is about $10 per litre. The amount you add will need to be considered if you will using the system as only RAS at times. Do you know how many fish you want to stock? I watched that vid again and I remembered that CCBear actually changed his filters a few more times adding in finer filtering matala matts.


At this stage im sticking my head in the sand regarding the biofilter. If I don't run this as a RAS I may not need it (opinions?). I can only imagine that the cost of the media is very expensive for what must be a cheap to produce product. I could be wrong.

Many thanks for the feedback Charlie!

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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 17th, '17, 07:32 
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Yea sorry you are right about Porters system beds draining to the bottom of the IBC's. Id say Porter drains via small drains into the larger pipe, this way you could achieve the syphon effect.

You need to work out how much water the beds will hold if both full at one time to see if your sump tank can manage the task. Its approx 60/40 media/water. If this will work the next consideration is how efficient the RFF will be with random flushes of water running through it as the FT levels rise and fall. In my experience they need to be tuned for best efficiency by metering the water in-flow otherwise you flush suspended solids through into the next barrel.

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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 17th, '17, 18:45 
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Thanks Charlie, good point about the operation of the RFF and the surging from the syphon system. Ill have to read up on that. Is there another filter type for solids that anyone would recommend? Perhaps a mineralization tank would help?

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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 17th, '17, 22:40 
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After a quick calculation the 200L sump in this design is not going to cope with a siphon system in the GB.

Based on a typical flip top ICB system in terms of GB size 1x1.2x0.35m (approx water volume of 400L with a 60/40 media/water ratio).

To create a safe volume buffer I'm going to need another IBC, which should be able to support a third GB easily.

OK, back to Sketchup for some modifications.

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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 18th, '17, 01:32 
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Is that 400 lt of water for each GB?

My calculations show 420 lt's of water would fill a container 1m x 1.2m x 0.35m = 0.42 cubic/m.

But you have a Freeboard area from the top of the 0.35m to the top of the gravel, and another measurement from the top of the gravel to the top of your overflow syphon standpipe.

Usually that's is 0.10m so the water level would be at 0 .25m high in the gravel, (1x1.2x0.25 = 0.30 cubic/m = 300 lt's) of gravel, minus the 60/40 rule leaves you 120 lt's of water to fill one GB.

My math may be off a little but with on-line Conversions changing metrics to USA measures the results were just off a few points.


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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Fish's system
PostPosted: Jan 18th, '17, 07:08 
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Hi OP,

No your math sounds about right. Was definately over estimating the volume of the grow bed. However, your calc is for one GB mine is for both..

Using your calc and doubling it (not to mention the additional volume of pipes), it would come to 240 L, which is very close to the volume of the sump in my drawing (55gallon drums).

Unless there is a way of ensuring the GBs don't fill or drain at the same time I'm risking overflow or running dry

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