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 Post subject: The desertrat's system
PostPosted: Oct 29th, '09, 19:33 
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Location: Alice Springs, Northern Territory
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Well here is the desertrats system still in progress
Over the last 17 years I have been involved in Appropriate technology design and teaching design process, from my experience I would say that design is always about compromise and a continually evolving process. Now that Is my disclaimer for any glaring mistakes that I may have made especially obvious to all the more experienced participants of BYAP.

My research for my system involved hours looking over the forum and found it to be a wealth of information I have also visited all the known systems in Alice Springs (all 5 of them) and while in Townsville had the pleasure of meeting Jaymie and Alex who were kind enough to show me their system and provided my first taste of aquaponically grown Jade perch, topped off with the best home brew that I have tasted. thanks guys hope I can return the hospitality some time and I haven't forgotten the soap!
I have read Joel's book and all the BYAP magazines plus countless articles sourced from the net.
I particularly like the information in the following article I think simplicity is the key

http://www.aquaponic.com.au/backyard.htm

Armed with information overload and 3 months of very limited experience that consisted of a hastily constructed 1x1.8 m growbed and an existing gold fish pond (I like to learn from doing) I set out designing a system with the following aspects that I felt were essential for our needs.

# Utilise recycled and scrounged materials (being in such an isolated area transport is costly especially bulky items like fish tanks and grow beds)

#Utilise our existing pond for the fish tank (If I didn't have the pond I would be making a large pond with an EPDM liner)

#Simple, reliable and require minimal maintenance.

# Provide vegetables for approx 5 meals a week and 4 fish per week and a yabby or red claw meal once per Month/fortnight.

#Minimise inputs such as fish food, power and utilise local fish that would breed within the system and be good to eat. (still researching that but will use SP as a starter)

Here is stage one of the system and the reasoning behind each component

The Fish pond

Utilised the concrete pond that was on the blocked when first purchased
the pond is about 500mm deep and about 10m long and varies from 2m to 1m wide and has a capacity of approx 6000lts it is also reasonably shaded. Being concrete and surrounded by some large trees I'm sure that it has some leaks but probably loses more from encroaching tree roots that absolutely suck gallons of water especially in our long hot summers
To improve the pond and increase the capacity I have ordered a EPDM liner and will raise the water level by building up the sides
this will hopefully save water provide a better/deeper habitat for the fish the capacity should be about 8500lts. The pond currently stocks goldfish

The Pump
I have opted for a one pump system (for now) as I want to keep the system as simple as possible
I have used 32mm poly from the pump to the grow beds to minimise frictional loses and 20mm PVC on the grow beds that have 8mm holes drilled every 150mm the PVC is not glued as suggested by Joel to enable ease of cleaning
I am using gravity for all the returns and as much height as possible to aerate water back to the pond
I have used an Ebara optima as recommended by Joel
I bought this on Ebay for $274 delivered I like most of the features of the pump although wish I had opted for the model with the SS impeller but time will tell!
Initially I made the mistake of stirring up the fish pond to allow the nutrients to be sucked up to the grow beds I now realise that most of the nutrients are in a dissolved form and that all I was achieving was clogging up the growbeds
My next project is to design and make a prefilter for the pump to eliminate the solids and stop any small fish being sucked up by the pump (which has already happened)

The Grow beds
I welded a 50x50 mm RHS frame from scrap to sit 5 bath tubs
the baths were scrounged or purchased for $10 each from our tip shop
The gravel is 10-20 mm Finke river rubble purchased for $75/m2 which was put through a screen but in hind sight I should have washed the gravel
50mm outlets flow directly into an old floatation tank with the top removed and sits under the growbeds This is my yabby breeding tank

Yabby Breeding Tank
The float tank is 2x1m and 750mm deep lined with rubble, rocks, hollow logs and various sized PVC pipe. Started with 12 of vary size on the 1st of Oct 2009 looks as if several may be in Bery, can't wait for them to breed up

To date the set up has cost
Baths = $20
Float Tank = Free
Grow bed frame = $65 the rest was from scrap
Pump = $274
EPDM Liner $980
Gravel = $220 delivered
Plumbing = $220

Within the next few weeks I plan to double the size of the grow beds and have an additional grow out tank for Redclaws or some other breed of fish possibly in the other half of the float tank or the old spa which I purchased from the tip shop for $45 a few patches and it now holds water.
I'll keep you posted with the progress
Love the forum and checking other members systems its a wealth of information and knowledge and looking forward to expanding on an exciting, useful and fun hobby/obsession
Below are a few photos of the system so far


Attachments:
File comment: The other half of the pond
P1040743.JPG
P1040743.JPG [ 211.29 KiB | Viewed 13412 times ]
File comment: The pond before adding the liner
P1040742.JPG
P1040742.JPG [ 221.88 KiB | Viewed 13416 times ]
File comment: The float tank
P1040716.JPG
P1040716.JPG [ 130.52 KiB | Viewed 13406 times ]

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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '09, 19:47 
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More photos


Attachments:
File comment: Started with 12 yabbies that are growing rapidly
P1040756.JPG
P1040756.JPG [ 126.97 KiB | Viewed 13372 times ]
File comment: Top of the grow beds
P1040749.JPG
P1040749.JPG [ 204.87 KiB | Viewed 13358 times ]
File comment: The grow beds above the Yabby tank
P1040926.JPG
P1040926.JPG [ 222.45 KiB | Viewed 13344 times ]

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View my system : viewtopic.php?f=18&t=6424&st=0&sk=t&sd=a
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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '09, 20:00 
Good stuff DesertRat... "Worms".. another bathtub afficiando... would be proud of ya...


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '09, 20:10 
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Yep worms underneath growbeds in another bathtub & lots of them.

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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '09, 21:10 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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LOL, add some of them worms into the grow beds to take care of the gunk you said you stirred up that went into them.

Nice looking start!!!!!!! I'm sure it will keep on growing as you scrounge the materials.

I like the looks of that fish pond, pretty cool feature.

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PostPosted: Oct 30th, '09, 03:36 
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looks great! :cheers:

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PostPosted: Oct 30th, '09, 05:26 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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heheh lol - "Worms" is a forum member with a bathtub system :D

Nice looking setup DR.

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PostPosted: Oct 30th, '09, 05:44 
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Nice system D'rat!

Have you got a video on youtube by any chance? :wink:

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PostPosted: Oct 30th, '09, 07:21 
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Hi Taz
I was recently asked to do a short video for a web site called Alice on line

here is the link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-TIWV272Qg

I wasn't impressed with the video and we will probably reshoot another soon along with the progress of the system
My EPDM pond liner arrived yesterday so looking forward to fitting this next week

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"The best fertiliser in the garden is footprints"

View my system : viewtopic.php?f=18&t=6424&st=0&sk=t&sd=a


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PostPosted: Oct 30th, '09, 07:37 
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Hi TCLynx
Good idea about the worms I will add some asap
It still amazes me that worms can survive in water

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PostPosted: Oct 30th, '09, 09:02 
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desertrat wrote:
I was recently asked to do a short video for a web site called Alice on line
:wink: :cheers:

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PostPosted: Oct 30th, '09, 10:57 
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looks great!!!

thanks for the photos I am quite inspired by them :flower:


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PostPosted: Oct 30th, '09, 11:01 
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and forgot to mention that your initial blurb was brilliantly written.. I like the part that rationalises your involvement in AP


# Utilise recycled and scrounged materials (being in such an isolated area transport is costly especially bulky items like fish tanks and grow beds)

#Utilise our existing pond for the fish tank (If I didn't have the pond I would be making a large pond with an EPDM liner)

#Simple, reliable and require minimal maintenance.

# Provide vegetables for approx 5 meals a week and 4 fish per week and a yabby or red claw meal once per Month/fortnight.

#Minimise inputs such as fish food, power and utilise local fish that would breed within the system and be good to eat. (still researching that but will use SP as a starter)


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PostPosted: Oct 30th, '09, 11:29 
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Hey desertrat - I also use bathtubs, but I give everyone who uses them a standard warning. If your bathtubs are pressed metal, be very careful of parts where the enamel has chipped off. Basically what happens is that the water goes acidic and you get Nickel leaching into the water. Apparently Nickel is quite often used to get two metals to stick together - so I guess in this case sticking the enamel onto the pressed metal. I learnt this the hard way - my fish died slowly, over a period of about 6 months, of every ailment under the sun. I got the water tested for heavy metals having heard some bathtubs contain lead, and it came up as Nickel being very close to the unsafe drinking water level.

The other thing that bathtubs are notoriously bad for is heat. You think about it they're big metal heatsinks with direct contact with the water, so you get big temp swings if you don't have a big body of water.

You can fix both of these problems in one go by putting a layer of bubblewrap then EPDM pond liner - the bubblewrap just adds extra insulation, the EPDM is safe as houses.

viewtopic.php?p=183942#p183942

I hope you don't have any problems, but if you do, start by getting your water tested looking for heavy metals!


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PostPosted: Oct 30th, '09, 12:36 
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Oh crap I have bath tubs too. Did you bath tubs have the metal exposed where the water floods? Mine but only above the water line. Any chips I did have I siliconed over them.


Where do you go to get your water tested and how much did it cost?


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