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PostPosted: Dec 1st, '09, 22:19 
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Hi guys

Lately i have been spreading the word of aquaponics across the Caribbean.

On my home island, Barbados, i have been fortunate to be funded by the UNDP small grants program.

I have formed an association called Baird's village aquaponic association and we are building a small sale commercial operation, the finished system will be 64 grow beds, 9 fish tanks and 9 slump tanks.

All the slump tanks and grow beds are made from water storage tanks aproxamately 1500cm diameter cut to 50cm deep while the fish tanks are the same diameter but 1500cm deep. (same tanks just different depths)

The commercial system is actually 9 separate systems and we have just completed the first of them to test and make sure all is good with the design, there are some minor changes to be made and we have to use a bigger pump than expected but all in all the system is working good.



Here a picture of the system the media is coconut husk, raw, ground up at the recycling factory close by, fortunately for us they had the required 7 tones of pure husk so we bought it immediately, but there is a big issue with the husk clogging up the grinding machine so they don't grind only coconuts any more they mix the coconuts with pallet wood, i hope this does not have and effect on the quality of this cheap media. (us$40 a tone.)

Damian.


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PostPosted: Dec 1st, '09, 22:25 
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The main fish tank is the one at the back sitting on the ground (with the net on top) and the slump is next to it (not in the picture) also on the ground.

Fish used are tilapia 200(to grow to plate size) in main tank and 75 in slump(70 juveniles and 5 breeders)

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PostPosted: Dec 1st, '09, 22:32 
Haven't heard cooee from ya in months man... and now you come out with this..... :shock:

Far out man.... best wishes Damian... congratulations on obtaining the grant and I hope it all goes well for you...


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PostPosted: Dec 1st, '09, 23:00 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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So long as the wood is not pressure treated, I expect the tilapia will be ok with it based on my tests using wood chips as media. Drawback may be the water getting tinted making it hard to see the fish.

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PostPosted: Dec 1st, '09, 23:08 
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Wow Damian, I look forward to following your progress. Hope all goes well.

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PostPosted: Dec 2nd, '09, 09:27 
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Hey Rupert how you doing? I got to get up to date with your system as I haven't been online for a while.

As you can see I am getting a way bigger playground than before. I want to capitalize on this and start to teach aquaponics for money. Just have to get this one large system going, its a aquaponic first around here.

Tclyxn I don't think pallet wood is treated. I will give it a go and see how it works out.

Faye I will keep you up dated but I am doing it from my BlackBerry phone so expect short answers.

One of the studence from Magil university did a pH test for me and found that it was a little high at 7.35 I like it at about 6.7 I will add some lime stone tomorro to raise the pH. And post some more pictures.

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PostPosted: Dec 2nd, '09, 09:44 
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Caribean-grower wrote:
One of the studence from Magil university did a pH test for me and found that it was a little high at 7.35 I like it at about 6.7 I will add some lime stone tomorro to raise the pH. And post some more pictures.


If the pH is 7.3 and you would like it at 6.7 then adding limestone will probably make the pH go up between 7.6-8 so you probably don't want to add limestone now!!!!!!
Keep some limestone on hand to add in small amounts to keep the pH from getting below 6.7 but you probably don't want to add it yet.

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PostPosted: Dec 2nd, '09, 17:27 
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Oh dear seams like I have been away from my system to long, lime stone raises the pH not lower!!

From memory I used to use a swimming pool pH down. How ever I would like to use something natural this toss.

What do you guys use to effectively lower pH that is natural?

Would ash do the trick?

Once there was a cane fire above us and lots of ash got in to the ap water after the ash settled the water cleared and the system stabilized and worked like a charm. I never got to reproduce this experiment in a lab setting to document the results, there where also a lot of other variables, I was just wondering if ash would actual lower the pH?

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PostPosted: Dec 2nd, '09, 19:09 
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Here is a better picture of the "all PVC" grow bed stand. Its super light and very sturdy I haven't even glued any of the parts together.

It is an optigon using 45's and tees. Pressure pipe of course.

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PostPosted: Dec 2nd, '09, 19:14 
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Here it is.


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PostPosted: Dec 2nd, '09, 19:22 
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I would put some mesh inside the PVC and fill them with cement. After time the media will collect solids and increase the weight. PVC becomes brittle over time and on hot days.

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PostPosted: Dec 2nd, '09, 19:34 
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Agreed, it makes a perfect frame :)

Coz you know, in a year or two, it will get brittle as Duff says, the growbed will fall over, pulling all your plumbing out, and emptying your fishtank of water. And it will happen to the system that has the most fish too :roll:

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PostPosted: Dec 2nd, '09, 21:45 
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The pH of an ap system will naturally fall over time as the bacteria use up the carbon. Eventually you will need to buffer to keep the pH from dropping too low.

I doubt you need to add anything to lower your pH at this point in time. If you want something natural to lower your pH I suppose you could use a little lemon juice but I wouldn't bother as the pH will drop as the system cycles up.

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PostPosted: Dec 4th, '09, 15:54 
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The system is at the point where the water looks 'alive' and the bio film is thick and covering everything under the waters surface. I think that is a good indication of it being cycled. I set this system up on the 15th of November, I suppose i could leave it for a while and see if the pH comes down. The plants are showing an iron deficiency.

I can only assume that PVC becomes brittle because it is not UV stabilized, if that is the case would a coat of paint do the trick? or is there UV stabilized PVC that i could use? i would hate to lose the ability to dismantle and reassemble the stands. I live in a hurricane prone area and want the systems to have the ability to be moved indoors if needed. They can take the weight, to test, i put twice the amount of media and filled it with water then jumped in 8) .

However Duff light i am interested in the method of the cement filled pipe for another application, i would like to use it as a greenhouse frame. Do you cut the mesh in strips or roll it up in a cylinder? can i use 'tight' turns or even 90+ degree bends? will the cement flow through such 'turns'?

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PostPosted: Dec 4th, '09, 19:26 
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Rolled mesh and even long runs of wire to keep it together. The long runs of wire you can thread through the corners. You can even add fibres to the mix when you fill them, straw etc. Not sure if PVC is UV stable. But it does break easier when its older. Even the smaller sizes(not pressure PVC) can be bent when its new but snaps when it ages.

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