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PostPosted: Dec 25th, '13, 20:10 
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So I have been hanging around these forums for a little bit, and figured it was time to share my system with you guys, considering the help you have provided along the way.

A little about me, I recently finished my MBA, and it was the second Masters degree that my lovely wife has suffered through me doing, while also working full time. So she put her foot down and said no more study, so I was casting around to find a new hobby. Something that i had already had some semi-success with, was hydroponically growing chillies. Semi success means that out of the 2 plants i was growing, 1 was fruiting like crazy and the other produced a single pepper in the 18 months the thing had been running. That aside, I decided I wanted to up the scale, and in browsing the web came upon the idea of aquaponics, thought to myself that it looked ok, so I am giving it a bit of a burl.

Another thing about me is that I am a professional nerd, and possibly the least handy person you could ever meet. To put it into perspective, I have been living in this house my wife and I built for 7 years, and in that time have hammered in 3 picture hooks. Basically, before this project, while I owned a plethora of screwdrivers, pliers, soldering irons and a hammer, there was nary another tool to be found.

Moving on, I started with my first IBC and went off to purchase an angle grinder to do my first cut. Fortunately for me, the big B had a sale on Ozito with a pack containing an angle grinder and a hammer drill.

Did my first cut, and was pretty happy with it
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I mean look at this, the GB fits perfectly...
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I even laid out the initial pipe work to fill my soon to be constant flow system.
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So i did all this, then after some discussion about volume of grow media, i realised the numbers in my head did not add up in the real world. I had this idea that I would fit 300L of expanded clay into my GB except that at under 20cm in height, there was going to be a problem, so I did what anyone would do in such a situation, and swore a lot. Once I calmed down, I decided that the only thing for it was to get another IBC and cur a GB out of it, this time, accounting for the fact that a GB is not a tardis, and ensuring I had enough space in it. (Purchased a reciprocating saw to do the cut, because IBC plastic seems to kill angle grinder disks)

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Look how smart I was. I cut it from the side, not the top or bottom, to ensure that there was maximum space. Of course this meant that now it wouldn't fit in the base I had cut earlier. No problem, i can just cut the side off.

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Look, now fits like a bought one.
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even fits in 350L of expanded clay.
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Time to fill her up!

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uh oh! No worries, I can go out and get some ratchet straps and use the bit that I cut off before.
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This actually appears to be working quite well, so I have hopefully dodged a bullet. Now remember initially I had the idea of constant flow. Well Initially I had spent ages drilling holes into this
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Note I have no workbench, so an old Ikea chair was doing the work of this. Holding a drill steady while bent over and drilling into PVC was harder than I expected. Anyway, I am digressing. I ditched the guard, purchased a dremel and made the outer pipe for my bell syphon. Look at that beautiful craftsmanship!
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the drain for the syphon and a bit of my finger.
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Bell syphon in (and a few choice swear words) system seemed to be mostly together. I added some sacrificial goldfish and started using some additive (Stability) to get my system started.

A week later, picked up 16 SP and 4 catfish. Seemed to be fine, however after a week, water started to go to pea soup.
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with a bit of consultation, I covered up the system with marine plyboard and also added a UV inline filter.
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I also decided I wanted some yabbies (for no good reason) and went and bought a dozen at a bait shop. Made a 6ppt salt bath and threw em in for a day with an air stone. Then into a bath of water from my tank while I built what i thought would be a yabby tank. Dont have any pics of that debacle, but suffice to say it went quite badly. Pump I am using doesnt have enough oomph to easily fill my tank AND a separate tub for the yabbies. Also, when i could get it filled, it kind of collapsed. (i may document this in detail later.)

So now I had a dozen yabbies, and my containment plans for them not going so good. So i decided to construct a yabby habitat. Or as i am now referring to it, a yabitat. This uses some 90mm storm drain pipe and elbows with some bird netting. Also some capped bits of piping for yabbies to use as homes, and some cut sections in the storm pipe, some which have extra bird netting stuffed in, in case they decide to get jiggy.
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This wasnt well thought through. Getting the yabbies in was nuts, because I had to tip them in the top edge. One actually made a break for it and I didnt notice until id sealed the yabitat up.

That yabbie is now living in a pipe sitting in some offcut IBC He seems unhappy.

Anyway thats it for now. Ive been having a lot of fun, bought some tools, learning heaps, and hoping to hell my garden grows.

Next step is that I have decided I want to make an in-tank streaming cam. So hopefully that will be done before the weekend.

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PostPosted: Dec 26th, '13, 15:29 
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So the water is much clearer now, so heres a pic of the tank with the yabitat in
Image

also, tomorrow, when the silicone is dry, im going to give this camera a whirl. $12 flood light fitting from B, a fair amount of silicone and some pvc pipe and wire to mount
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PostPosted: Dec 26th, '13, 21:16 
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Feeling a little sad at the lack of feedback. Any thoughts or opinions always appreciated.

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PostPosted: Dec 26th, '13, 22:03 
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Everything seems to be under control, bit confused about your media guard, is there one?
I've been thinking about putting yabbies in my tank so will be following the progress.
It seems the best way to get feedback is to be controversial. :)

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PostPosted: Dec 26th, '13, 22:08 
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one of the main reasons for the camera is to see if i can see yabby movement. I want to work out how many survived into there. SO far only got confirmation of 1, but i assume several.

If this cheap camera works, will get another one, next time with HD and night vision.

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PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 11:37 
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My GB is starting to look like it is actually a GB
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PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 11:49 
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I was thinking of making something similar to your yabbie trap so I can raise crawdads in the same space as other fish or under a floating raft system. I haven't worked out how to get the buggers in and out yet.

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PostPosted: Jan 6th, '14, 12:04 
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I have been thinking about that.

When i build by next one, im going to hinge the top section and have it clip down shut.

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PostPosted: Jan 9th, '14, 15:50 
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dont know how long i will keep this up, but for a while, i have a cam inside my tank, so if you are so inclined, you can check out my fingerlings and goldfish.

It gets really hard to see at night time.

http://willeat.me/fishcam

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PostPosted: Jan 9th, '14, 18:14 
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I fun read Ark. It wont take you long before you can just think of something for your AP and make it with out mistakes. Its all fairly simple and once you get a feel for it you can get the whole system working in your head before you start cutting stuff.

One thing i would consider is painting any of the wood that could drip water into your system. The last thing you want is for a bit of rain to start leaching toxins into your water. i think marine ply uses a formaldehyde adhesive.

With regards to your yabbies, odds are you will only have one left in your yabitat. They are very aggressive towards each other. I could only keep 2 in the bottom of my IBC for any extended period of time. I think my silvers have eaten them now though.

I seem to be getting a 200 error for your video stream?

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PostPosted: Jan 9th, '14, 18:21 
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hmmm figuring out whats wrong now. bit new to making restreaming work.

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PostPosted: Jan 10th, '14, 04:38 
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Ok, stream now running again. Hopefully it stays up for a while.

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PostPosted: Jan 10th, '14, 07:28 
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Ark wrote:
dont know how long i will keep this up, but for a while, i have a cam inside my tank, so if you are so inclined, you can check out my fingerlings and goldfish.

It gets really hard to see at night time.

http://willeat.me/fishcam



Don't worry Ark you will keep going, Aquaponics is very additive and you will have a very rewarding and relaxing hobby.

For someone like yourself who loves learning, Aquaponics has so much to offer the learning curve is as large or as small as you want too take it.

We've all had our setbacks on starting up and that's where the challenge begins.

Keep plodding on bro.

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PostPosted: Feb 8th, '14, 10:37 
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So just a general update, and a couple of quick questions. I still have no idea how many fish I have, but i did add 5 pakistani loaches to assist in keeping the bottom of the tank clean. As per my other fish, i can never seem to get an accurate count, as the buggers are so good at hiding. I have seen 3 at the same time, so thats a base minimum. One of my friends suggested pakistani loaches as they are good at living with other fish, and in theory if they get bigger, i should be able to trade them back to an aquarium for food or other stuff when i restart with new fingerlings in the future.

Theres still at least 2 yabbies alive, though i suspect at least 3 or 4.

A couple of my jade perch are really starting to stand out from the pack in size. Happy little buggers are completely unaware that they will be first to the plate.

Grow bed is going fantastically, though the chillis dont seem to be too happy. I think its a little overcrowded in there. Also, the zucchini seems to want to take over all the space. No fruit on the tomatos or capsicum yet either.

Planning on adding another GB but will likely need to add a sump tank if im going to do that.

Current water tests show PH 6.4, Ammonia .25, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 0.

Should i be concerned that theres 0 nitrates? Is my garden bed too densely full? Any suggestions to get my chillis to do better, much appreciated.

My growbed today
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PostPosted: Feb 8th, '14, 10:50 
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Looks like it's going along nicely, the commentary on your build was fun to read. :D

Take what I say with a grain of salt, but I think I've read that a 0 nitrate reading isn't necessarily a problem if everything is growing fine? It all seems good to me anyway. :)

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