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PostPosted: Feb 5th, '13, 04:16 
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Good day everyone. Well, I'm partially up & running so I thought I'd post some photos. Before I do post them, I'd like to describe the project, and let you know where I feel I've succeeded and where I've screwed up. I would appreciate some honest feedback from you (So if I've screwed up elsewhere, or if you think my ideas suck, please let me know!).

Project notes:

*I used just about everything I had rolling around in my shop. So if so see different color pipes and just stuff that might make you wonder "WTF did he put a reducer there", well, that's probably why! :)

*Nothing is glued together, or perfectly cut to size, or centered properly, or tied down. I just threw it all together to get it up & running.

*Fish tank: 1 IBC with a 3" SLO

* In the fish tank you'll see a pool chlorine floaty thing. I figured bleach would be a good thing at this stage, plus to keep mosquitos away. There's been a lot of dengue fever around. Tonia & I got it back in '07, and Tonia got type III. Nasty & sometimes deadly bug.

*RFF: 55 gallon drum- 3" inlet, 2" out. I'm not going to leave the RFF the way you see it on the pics. The Pipes still need to be cut to fit properly, the bucket will be centered, and the outlet will have a "ring" made out of 2" 45 degree elbows & pipe sections with slits on the top, so the water flows evenly from the surface.

*Pump. Waterfall pump from Home Depot. I don't know the specs. its the second largest they sell here.

Pipes to GB's are 2". I was told to use 1", but I decided to go larger, to make sure I don't have issues with biofilm or anything else clogging pipes and restricting flow.

*GB 1. Not finished. Need more gravel & bigger sump.

*GB 2. 15" high section of an IBC with 12" total gravel. Bottom half is coarse large gravel used for concrete, top half is finer, smooth river gravel. Siphon is 1" x 10.5" standpipe with 2" bell. I used an end piece (wider end) of a PVC pipe for the standpipe, to have a revised affnan type siphon without using reducers. At the current flow rate, GB 2 fills at 18 minutes, siphon starts at less than 10 seconds, and breaks at 4 minutes. It worked perfectly on the second try, after making the bell's 1/2" tall "legs" thinner, creating more room for air to go in. For this test, I eyeballed the flow to be 1/3" of the total flow for this pump, as the system will ultimately have 3 growbeds.

*Capped pipe at end of GB 2: this pipe will feed a 3rd growbed that may be running at constant flow to further filter water & drain into another tank that will feed water to phase 2 (An NFT system on roof... Coming soon!), & phase 3 (a tower system along the sunny wall)

*Sumps EPIC FAIL. The sumps are (2) 30 gallon drums. I don't think they have the capacity to keep fill both grow beds, in the event they both filled at the same time (much less 3 GB, in case I decide not to make the 3rd GB constant flow as I plan to. Need to see what I do about this. I suppose I could kill the RFF and dig a bigger hole to put part of an IBC underground, but I don't want to kill it, plus the laundry room drain pipe runs down the center of the yard, <2' deep. May replace (2) 30 gallon drums with (3) 55 gallon drums, as that might work. I'm not real crazy about using U tubes either. Ideas welcome.

*Once I'm done digging holes, I'm going to put coarse gravel all over the area.

*I'm still debating on whether or not to put a roof over the system.

So that's it! Hope you enjoy the photos coming up! Sorry about the mess!

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PostPosted: Feb 5th, '13, 04:41 
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Overall system pics:

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Image

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SLO

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Radial Flow Filter

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Square pipe buried half way into gravel to prevent splashing on surface

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Siphon (in this photo I hadn't cut it to proper size)

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Coarse Gravel:

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Finer gravel:

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Roof photo: Where Phase 2 is going!

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PostPosted: Feb 5th, '13, 09:32 
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One thing i dont think is a good idea is putting chlorine into the system. Chlorine will be trying to kill your bacteria. For mozzie control you would be far better buying some feeder fish or goldfish to eat the mozzie larvae.

Also, bear in mind that water is heavy. You dont want to overload your roof! :)

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PostPosted: Feb 5th, '13, 12:09 
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Thanks! Yes, I plan to flush the system very soon to remove the chlorine & start cycling it. I plan to put a few guppies in any vessel that will have slow flowing water. About the roof, I was planning on just doing an NFT to keep the weight at a minimum.

Thanks again!

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My system: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=15173&hilit=puerto+rican+ponics


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PostPosted: Feb 14th, '13, 06:39 
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Hi guys! Update. A few days ago I poured around 30 gallons or water & a bunch of filter muck from my other aquariums, in an attempt to jumpstart the cycle. The RFF foamed up almost like a protein skimmer. On the attached pic, the foam wasn't nearly as much as when I first put the gunk in. You can see the coral rubble in the bottom of the RFF. I dug up some Cilantro / Coriander / Culantro / Recao (depending on what part of the world you're in!) that grows wild in my backyard, and put it in the system. I separated them to see how they reacted to different areas of the GB. The one on the right (the shriveled up one) gets full sun. I put my hand on the gravel at lunch time today and it was HOT. The poor plant was cooking. So I guess I'm going to have to invest in some sort of cover, but first I'm going to remove some gravel & see how it goes. Maybe my top layer is just too thick. As of today the FT water is crystal clear. I put 20 feeder goldfish last night and so far so good. So that's it! I hope to go buy my tilapia in a month!

RFF in action

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Wild coriander in back yard

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Coriander in GB

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My system: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=15173&hilit=puerto+rican+ponics


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PostPosted: Feb 26th, '13, 00:13 
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Update 2/25/13: Lets start with the bad: Mosquitoes! I found one wiggling in the RFF. Solution: Guppies. I glued some PVC pipes together and cut some slits in it, so the guppies won't end up in the GB. I've also found some little egg boogers clinging on to the edges of the sumps when the water level dropped. I'm not sure if they're actually mosquito eggs or snail eggs, as they look just like the snail eggs I've found @ mid water in my aquarium. I'm not taking chances, so I took them out and fed them to the fish. On 2/23 I planted some Romaine and black seeded Simpson. The BSS sprouted within 24 hours, the Romaine took a little longer. On 2/24 I Put in some watercress, spinach, Chinese cabbage and Swiss chard, but nothing so far. I also transplanted some Coriander from my backyard. Here are the pics:

Top view of RFF with "fish guard"

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Side view of RFF with "Fish guard"

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Growbed as of 2/24/13

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Black seed Simpson after about a day

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Fish tank as of 2/24/13. Will be replacing with tilapia soon

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My system: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=15173&hilit=puerto+rican+ponics


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PostPosted: Feb 26th, '13, 01:17 
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I'm deeply impressed... thanks for the pics!! The protection/heat sink being between two buildings could go both ways... re-radiating heat from the day into the tanks at night... With Tilapia and goldfish, it shouldn't bother the fish... but it will indeed broil seedlings. How neat to have the rooftop-- but I think you're right!!

Shade!

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PostPosted: Apr 4th, '13, 20:00 
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Hey everyone! Well, this is like watching water boil. I can't wait to eat my veggies! I just took these photos a few minutes ago:

RFF, doing its thing:

Image

Watercress that took quote a bit to sprout, I think now its going to take over:

Image

These are some tomatoes that grew on my compost pile from scraps. I think they're those roma tomatoes from Costco.

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Swiss Chards:

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Romaine Lettuce:

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Black Seed Simpson:

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My system: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=15173&hilit=puerto+rican+ponics


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PostPosted: Apr 4th, '13, 20:18 
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You must love that RFF MW :grin::grin:

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PostPosted: Apr 4th, '13, 20:39 
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Ha! When I saw it for the first time I though "I gotta get me one'o these"! :)

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My system: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=15173&hilit=puerto+rican+ponics


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PostPosted: Apr 5th, '13, 01:27 
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MW - very nice design and nice utilization of the tight space. I am located in Tampa, FL so I have a similar climate as yours. Curious to see how your lettuce grows with the heat and humidity this summer. Keep the pictures coming!


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PostPosted: Apr 5th, '13, 18:48 
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Thanks Chris. I certainly will. I'm not going to expand until I see how plants react in the summer. I already have a 600g tank on standby!

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My system: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=15173&hilit=puerto+rican+ponics


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PostPosted: Apr 12th, '13, 08:14 
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mw - So give us an update! I am curious how your system is running. Get hte roof top setup?

Question for you, I know you are growing culantro as well and wanted to know with what I'm assuming the seed pods. The shoot coming up is alot "spikeier" than the other leaves, are they as tasty as the other leaves? If not, can I just cut that seed pod off or is it going to mess with the plant? If my plant looks a little measley it is because I've been eating it every night!! Love the stuff! Need to cut the plant in half and grow a second one.

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PostPosted: Apr 12th, '13, 08:37 
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Hmm. I really couldn't tell you how the spikier part tastes, as we only pull out the bigger leaves as we need. One thing I can tell you is that I suspect the stuff will start sprouting on its own in the AP system (In spite of my kid weed whacking the stuff all the time, its all over my backyard).

By the way, if you really like this stuff... I used to work with this Ecuadorian guy who made this killer steak with milk and culantro (or Recao, as 'Ricans call it). The stuff was awesome. I wish I could get the recipe again. If you know someone that has it, please email it to me!!! felix@boatgraphicspr.com.

I have not yet begun my rooftop project. I will soon be digging a hole and burying a 600 gallon tank to house more fish, and will be adding a couple grow beds. Once this is set up I'll be adding add a vertical grow system on the side of the house, and then the roof system.

System Update: The sun is beginning to beat down hard on the plants. The side that didn't have much sun until recently is in almost full sun now, and what had been in full sun since day one appears to be smaller in size, and has some burnt leaves. I did a quick & dirty shade thing that covers about 25% of the sun. I put this on the plants that were in the shade to see how it goes. The ones that were in full sun I'm going to leave in full sun. If indeed I need a shade cloth, I'll put it up (but don't want to blow money unnecessarily!). Still experimenting!

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My system: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=15173&hilit=puerto+rican+ponics


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PostPosted: Apr 12th, '13, 09:48 
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I've been having some plants getting a little sun burn too, mainly the peppers. Trying to see how much they can take before they need shading. Trying to get eggplants and cucumbers to sprout to make some big leaf shade. Trying to get some summer squash to sprout too.


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