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PostPosted: Jan 18th, '10, 12:46 
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OK, this is my 5th or 6th system, but I've gotten rid of two so only four currently exist. That isn't so bad, right? I can stop any time I want....

Anyway, lots of design time trying to fit the thing into our tiny house where it will be stuffed in a corner beside our wood stove. Finally used two blue (well, white) barrels cut off center for a bit of extra depth to get better filtration in growbed and more sump capacity.
Attachment:
GB offset over sump, siphon.jpg
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Also found an aquarium at the recycle area of the dump/tip: 50 gal (190 liter) for $5! Bought a glass drill for $15 and added an overflow.
Attachment:
filling.jpg
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Dropped pipe from a T at overflow to aquarium bottom to suck solids, but found that water would rise an inch or two, then create siphon and dump into growbed, typically when it was at max fill and it would then overflow. Added emergency bypass for such floods so water bypasses growbed and drops to sump. Cleaned up as much as possible before dw saw mess. (yea, I can grin NOW, but..)

Faced all rough ply with nice stuff left from various jobs... and added the fish from their 10gal aquarium with about .5gpm flow to the new one with 3 gpm flow. Nice!
Attachment:
happy catfish etc.jpg
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Final issue: plant lighting. LOTS of research. I know I don't have room for the other types of bulbs, so it is fluorescent for me. Finally found a site where a fellow had actually tested various fluorescent bulbs and definitively shown which worked best. What a frigging relief to find some empirical testing! http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/fluorescent.html

Not sure what to buy as far as fixtures: would like to build my own reflectors out of the really shiny aluminum used for tubular skylights and source electronic ballasts and make everything perfect, but plants are sprouting and I may simply get some cheap electronic ballast fixtures and pop them in with the GE P&A lights.

If I run lighting for 16 hrs per day then 240 watts (6 bulbs) will run me about 115kW-hr per month or about $35. Ouch! But worth it as a test, I guess. I know "herbs" can easily be worth that price, but mine are all culinary. *grin*

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PostPosted: Jan 18th, '10, 12:57 
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Hydro - did you look into using LEDs at all instead of fluoros. Cost more up front but running costs should be much, much lower.

I don't know much about them, but there have been a couple of threads covering them in the last 12 months.

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PostPosted: Jan 18th, '10, 14:46 
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Yea, I've heard that too, but I can't seem to make the numbers work out that way.

Fluorescent bulbs (the GE P&A for example) typically give you about 85 lumens (of good light) per watt while LEDs produce about 35 to 50 or 60lumens per watt as far as I can find. There are some reports of white LEDs giving around 150, but perhaps that is under special circumstances.

Anyway, even if you only figure that 2/3 of the fluor light hits the plants you are getting about 60lumens per watt, comparable to LEDs and a lot cheaper. You could make a really nice reflector and raise the lumens that fluorescents deliver to about 75 or so.

I'd love LEDs when the numbers work, but not yet.

I want 90% efficiency, color matched to chlorophyll absorption spectrum, and pennies per watt output....and let's throw in cheap to make, non-toxic life-cycle, and output of at least a kw/square meter. And world peace while I'm dreaming!

Is there a way to reverse power chlorophyll: put power in and get light out? I wish! Spectrum would be perfect!

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PostPosted: Jan 20th, '10, 07:00 
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That looks great 8) Have been thinking about how to turn our large indoor aquarium into an AP set up........but have enough other projects on the go for now! (mind doesn't stop ticking over though...)

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PostPosted: Jan 20th, '10, 08:53 
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Looks good, but you always have to be conscious of humidity issues with indoor systems.


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PostPosted: Jan 20th, '10, 09:46 
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tamo42 wrote:
Looks good, but you always have to be conscious of humidity issues with indoor systems.


Yea.....fortunately(?) we rent a shack with no insulation and lots of air leaks. Woodstove is the only heat. Moisture (and warm air :D ) tends to leave, fast. On the other hand, the evaporation still causes condensation on the window above the growbed.

If one were to do something like this in a proper house one might, I suppose, try having a completely separate and humidity-safe section of the house. Sure would be a nice place to go on a cold dark winter day!

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PostPosted: Jan 20th, '10, 09:56 
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We run a dehumidifier in our house because we live in Florida. However, having aquarium in a house will always increase the humidity. As will house plants etc.

When we build I think it would be fun to have an aquaponics system in the bathroom.

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PostPosted: Jan 21st, '10, 01:39 
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hydrophilia wrote:
Fluorescent bulbs (the GE P&A for example) typically give you about 85 lumens (of good light) per watt while LEDs produce about 35 to 50 or 60lumens per watt as far as I can find. There are some reports of white LEDs giving around 150, but perhaps that is under special circumstances.

Anyway, even if you only figure that 2/3 of the fluor light hits the plants you are getting about 60lumens per watt, comparable to LEDs and a lot cheaper. You could make a really nice reflector and raise the lumens that fluorescents deliver to about 75 or so.

I'd love LEDs when the numbers work, but not yet.


OK! When I'm wrong... I'm really wrong! Just found out that lumens are NOT a unit of energy or energy density, but are a measure of the APPARENT brightness of light to the HUMAN EYE! This has NO relation to usefulness for plants: what they need is measured by PAR watts or by einsteins, but even then the exact light spectrum required varies by species and age. ARGH!

So, I take back what I said about LEDs, but still too expensive for now. Looking at some numbers, though, I find that one of Cree's 470nm blue LEDs converts input power to output power at about 7% and one of their red 630nm LEDs seems to give about 70%.... But some of the numbers I'm using are just pulled from air since they don't provide them....Lots of room for Googling research on how many watts per square meter one needs at various wavelengths and the best sources of those LEDs!

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PostPosted: Jan 21st, '10, 05:37 
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hydrophilia wrote:
hydrophilia wrote:
Fluorescent bulbs (the GE P&A for example) typically give you about 85 lumens (of good light) per watt while LEDs produce about 35 to 50 or 60lumens per watt as far as I can find. There are some reports of white LEDs giving around 150, but perhaps that is under special circumstances.

Anyway, even if you only figure that 2/3 of the fluor light hits the plants you are getting about 60lumens per watt, comparable to LEDs and a lot cheaper. You could make a really nice reflector and raise the lumens that fluorescents deliver to about 75 or so.

I'd love LEDs when the numbers work, but not yet.


OK! When I'm wrong... I'm really wrong! Just found out that lumens are NOT a unit of energy or energy density, but are a measure of the APPARENT brightness of light to the HUMAN EYE! This has NO relation to usefulness for plants: what they need is measured by PAR watts or by einsteins, but even then the exact light spectrum required varies by species and age. ARGH!

So, I take back what I said about LEDs, but still too expensive for now. Looking at some numbers, though, I find that one of Cree's 470nm blue LEDs converts input power to output power at about 7% and one of their red 630nm LEDs seems to give about 70%.... But some of the numbers I'm using are just pulled from air since they don't provide them....Lots of room for Googling research on how many watts per square meter one needs at various wavelengths and the best sources of those LEDs!

Hi,for me the best one LED on market:http://www.ledengin.com/led_products.htm

Led vs HPS http://www.ledgrow.eu/ft.html
do it yourself:http://www.ledgrow.eu/diy.html

I prefer to use this:(MORE SAVE)http://eu.mouser.com/ProductDetail/LedEngin/LZ1-10R305/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMt82OzCyDsLFMo%2ffAqNo%252bkh%2fbjweaCa8mo%3d
My idea: 1pc - UV -400nM
2pcs-Blue -455-475nM
1pc -Cool White -5500K
1pc -Neutral White-4100K
1pc- Warm White - 3100K
2pcs -Red - 625nM
10pcs -Deep Red - 660nM
2pcs -Far Red - 730nM
All 20pcs.,Power: 350mA.More cold Led,more Lights.Just 20Wats!!!!
Why LedEngin: 1-- -40C to +150C !!!!! :colors:
2-- New industry standard for Lumen Maintenance (>90% at 100,000 Hours)11.4 years at 1000mA,24/7 at 350mA maybe???? 20 years????!!! :roll:
3-- Very low Thermal Resistance (5.5°C/W) :oops:

Lifetime growlights.

Thanks you,mates

I am very happy with you :cheers:


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PostPosted: Jan 21st, '10, 12:16 
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led-grower wrote:

Gee, they are not very positive about LEDs!

led-grower wrote:
3-- Very low Thermal Resistance (5.5°C/W)

It took me a few minutes to figure out that this is the specification for the heat sink.


Your idea looks interesting. I assume all the LEDs are the same wattage?

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PostPosted: Feb 1st, '10, 02:57 
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OK, lighting is going fine: I've installed six T12 growlights and reflective walls (these reflectors make a visible difference, but I have not measured it). The lights were cheap fixtures, but are equal to the cost of the fluorescent end mounts alone, so I figured I am not out $ and got the system going faster than building from scratch. I've also found sources for good ballasts (well, the specs are good and prices are nice), so picked up one that will handle four bulbs just as a test and comparison. It took some research to discover that the new high-frequency electronic ballasts do not need four wires per bulb: apparently the frequency is so high that it ionizes things more easily.
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By the way, the plant in the GB is either chard or a beet and the tray contains basil, broccoli, celery, parsley, chard, and three types of peppers.

Fish seem happy. Cats are growing well.

Hydroton is so lightweight that it tumbles constantly where water splashes in from the aquarium, so some has rubbed off all the outer red layer and is now black. Next time I use it I may put a couple inches (5cm) of gravel on top to stabilize it. I may even use charcoal with 4 inches (10cm) of gravel on top if my son is ever incidentally making charcoal again.

Some food and other solids are rotting in the hydroton and, unlike gravel, I can not simply remove a few handfuls of mixed crud and winnow it out with running water as the solids and the hydroton have similar densities. Maybe a strainer under the inflow? If I had room I could add a swirl filter....perhaps a 5-gal (18 liter?) bucket sitting partly in the sump with clean water overflowing to the growbed?......hmmm, there IS room.....but it adds complexity.

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PostPosted: Feb 1st, '10, 16:04 
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IMO: Add some composting worms to the growbed. They do a pretty good job of cleaning up.

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PostPosted: Feb 1st, '10, 23:41 
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OK, I'll go hunting in my other growbeds and see if I can pull out 20 or 30.

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PostPosted: Mar 5th, '10, 13:19 
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Update: I tossed in some worms, but haven't looked for them since.

I planted seedlings 2 weeks ago. From left to right, plants are parsley, pimento, spinach and jalapeno (both hard to see in middle), basil, chard, serano, basil. Here are initial and current pics.

The ph seems to be about as high as the other systems (lots of abalone shells for the catfish to hide under), but much less trouble with iron deficiency than my 18 month system in the greenhouse. Yes, I did add some iron and other nutrients just in case.


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indoor AP.jpg
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2 weeks later.jpg
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PostPosted: Mar 28th, '10, 00:30 
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Plants still going nuts although the beet is shading most other plants and needs to be pulled. Basil goes on salad most nights.
Attachment:
indoor March 26 2010.jpg
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The only fly in the ointment is, well, flies. We have these tiny things about 2mm (under 1/8") long that were dropping from light fixtures at night and generally driving us nuts. There are a lot fewer now, thanks to the spiders who's webs are made all too visible under their loads of minuscule insects. (That scale is metric.)
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