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 Post subject: Hello from Canning Vale
PostPosted: Jul 18th, '11, 13:27 
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Hi Everyone,

First off, I must say that this is an excellent forum, very informative and full of fascinating discussions.

I have been reading lots about the different AP configurations out there, and thought that it was time to share with you all the details of my first Flood/Drain system (located in Canning Vale, Perth, Western Australia).

This project all started when I saw the amazing success of a friends system, and after having several years of poor performance out of my conventional veggie garden.

I have been collecting components for about the last 4 months or so, and slowly putting it all together in my spare time. After many trips to Bunnings and local salvage yards, it is finally up and running.

My system consists of a 2000+ litre plastic corrugated water tank (6 foot high x 5 foot is diameter) as the fish tank, which has been sunken about 1 or 2 feet, so that the GB water can gravity feed back into it.

The Grow Beds are made from 2 1000L IBC containers cut in half (giving me 4 grow beds at 120cm x 100cm x 30mm). Each GB has been fitted with a Sink outlet, which sits flush (or pretty close to it) with the bottom of the GB, enabling all of the water to drain back to FT. The media for the GB's is 18mm pea gravel, which has been washed and filled to a depth of approximately 300mm.

The 5000lph pump currently in use, pumps the water to each of the grow beds and takes about 15-20 minutes for them to fill (and roughly 25 minutes to drain). My initial water tests show;

PH: 7.6
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 0

I have recently planted out all of the GB's and have been adding SeaSol and Chelated Iron, my water readings are now exactly the same except Rates are now 160ppm+.

I plan to add two air stones, and then 50 Silver Perch fingerlings of various sizes within the next couple of weeks.

Here are a few pics I took along the way.

Attachment:
File comment: The Fish Tank (I have since cut the top off it, and burried it)
001 - The TANK.jpg
001 - The TANK.jpg [ 17.67 KiB | Viewed 3889 times ]

Attachment:
File comment: Sunken Tank and one IBC frame cut in half.
002 - IBC frame.jpg
002 - IBC frame.jpg [ 32.51 KiB | Viewed 3889 times ]

Attachment:
File comment: First 2 GB's.
003 - IBC in half.jpg
003 - IBC in half.jpg [ 22.79 KiB | Viewed 3889 times ]


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PostPosted: Jul 18th, '11, 13:30 
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More Pics.

Attachment:
File comment: The Standpipe guard.
004 - Standpipe guard.jpg
004 - Standpipe guard.jpg [ 13.32 KiB | Viewed 3886 times ]

Attachment:
File comment: Standpipe guard + Standpipe in place with media.
005 - Standpipe with Media.jpg
005 - Standpipe with Media.jpg [ 41.04 KiB | Viewed 3886 times ]

Attachment:
File comment: Completed system.
006 - Completed System.jpg
006 - Completed System.jpg [ 29.53 KiB | Viewed 3886 times ]


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PostPosted: Jul 18th, '11, 13:31 
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Last one.... for now. :)


Attachments:
File comment: Completed system.
007 - Completed System.jpg
007 - Completed System.jpg [ 24.8 KiB | Viewed 3886 times ]
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PostPosted: Jul 18th, '11, 13:35 
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You will be better off to use something better for support. The pallets will only probably last for a little while.

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PostPosted: Jul 18th, '11, 13:49 
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Nice work Rickni :) What fish are you going to start off with?

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PostPosted: Jul 18th, '11, 14:25 
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Hopefully I will start with stocking about 50 silver-perch, of different sizes, so that I can harvest some of them sooner than others. :)


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PostPosted: Jul 18th, '11, 18:25 
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Looking great there Rickni, nicely done :thumbright:
Dont worry if your silvers are the same size as they will grow at different rates as some are bullies and grab all the food

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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '11, 07:05 
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Thanks everyone for the feedback. I am now on the search for some supports for my GB's, just to be on the safe side. :)

Well things have been running fine now for a couple of months but the plants are growing very slowly, so I think it must be time for some fish, the Seasol is just not cutting it.

Can anyone suggest a good source of Silver Perch fingerlings in or around Perth? I'm looking for about 65.

BTW: I went to the Backyard Aquaponics shop in Success over the weekend. Wow! Wide range of supplies & components, lots of different system setups on display and great friendly advice.


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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '11, 12:14 
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To get it to cycle maybe a few goldfish will be fine over the rest of winter. I would add the silver perch in spring when water temperatures are on the rise so they get a good start, its rough with really cold water when they are small.

That is a really well thought out system.

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PostPosted: Aug 24th, '11, 07:50 
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Hi Everyone,

I have a quick question.

About 1 month leading up to getting the fish (Silver Perch) I was adding small amounts of Seasol (1 to 2 caps), to try and get my system to fishlessly cycle, but I never saw any ammonia so stopped. (approximately 1 or 2 weeks before the fish were added), and haven't added any since.

I've been feeding the SP, roughly 3 tablespoons every second day or so, and have noticed the water has cleared up heaps, and can see the fish swimming around at the bottom of the tank. The vegies are growing fine.

I have been testing the water daily, and my readings are always;

PH: 7.6
Ammonia: 0 to 0.25ppm
Nitrites: 0ppm
Nitrates: 60 to 80ppm

I have never seen any Ammonia or any Nitrites.

Does this sound ok? Is it safe to assume that the system has cycled?

Cheers 8)


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PostPosted: Aug 24th, '11, 10:57 
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Sounds good. Just keep doing what you are doing by keeping wihtin your filtration levels. The water readings will tell you how you are going.

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PostPosted: Sep 6th, '11, 15:34 
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Hi All,

Everything has been going along swimmingly, the water was crystal clear (well clear like very weak tea) and the fish and plants growing. But I want to share with you my experience this morning...

Upon checking the system at 6am (in the dark) I noticed that the tank was very strangely quiet, and the water very still... it was then I noticed that the tank didn't actually contain any water!!!!

The piping from the tank had burst, so every 15 minutes the pump was pumping the water out of the tank and onto the ground! There was about 10cm of water left in the bottom of the tank, but luckily there was enough for the fish to swim in.

I switched on the bore and started re-filling the tank, then I noticed some of the fish were swimming up to the top... (obviously trying to get more air).

Anyway, the tank is now filled (the water is a murky brown colour though), only 1 SP has expired (64 to go) and the pump still works.

Fingers crossed I can get enough air into the water to keep the fish going, and that the PH doesn't kill 'em. (it's around 6).


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PostPosted: Sep 6th, '11, 16:46 
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:support: Ouchie! - good save. I would say you were lucky to lose just 1. good luck! Piping lesson learned.

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PostPosted: Sep 6th, '11, 20:29 
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As the bore water is generally low in dissolved oxygen I would suggest running the pump continuously for a couple if days.
Glad to hear most if the fish survived.

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PostPosted: Sep 6th, '11, 21:05 
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Thanks Faye and bonsaibelly,

I have switched the pump to permanently on, I had 3 pre-made auto syphons on hand, so I have put them in and they appears to be working fine. (I'll have to make another tomorrow).

However this means that 1 GB will be constantly flooded (for approx 24 hours or so). Will this be detrimental to the plants in it (tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli and capsicum)?

Cheers 8)


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