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PostPosted: Dec 2nd, '18, 01:09 
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hello there and good day! :wave1:

just joined the forum recently and wanted to introduce myself.

been watching quite a few videos about h20-ponics. wow. head is spinning.

seems like h20-ponics is a good way to start growing veggies and fishies.

so just what filters are required to keep the beds clean? looks like a swirl filter, trickle filter, and bio-mass filter are all necessary! :dontknow:

-terry


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PostPosted: Dec 3rd, '18, 04:52 
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Aquaponics is an excellent way to grow fish and veggies together.

Not sure which videos you have been watching but you don't need a swirl filter, trickle filter or a bio-mass filter - all you need is a fish tank and growbeds. Stock the right amount of fish for your growbed volume and that's it.

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PostPosted: Dec 3rd, '18, 06:26 
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thanks for the response.

watched several from rob bob & bigelow brook farms & others. of course many of these are larger scale than planned here.

the plan is to ultimately incorporate fish & crustaceans (fresh water lobster or large crawfish) along with media beds & floaters.


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PostPosted: Dec 3rd, '18, 07:35 
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terry daktell wrote:
so just what filters are required to keep the beds clean? looks like a swirl filter, trickle filter, and bio-mass filter are all necessary!


Arbe is correct, in most basic backyard configurations the only filtration you need is provided by the media beds (grow beds). These remove solids and provide a place for mineralization (breakdown of the solids). If you stock too heavily for the number of media beds then you'll need something like a swirl filter or a radial flow filter to reduce the solids going to the grow bed.

With floating raft beds that are in a normally stocked system you can either pass the water through grow beds first and then to the floating rafts or do these separate but add some other form of filtration before the floating rafts. A static upflow filter by itself might be enough in this type of system. This would filter most solids and do some mineralizing.

A more heavily stocked system would probably need a combination of a swirl/radial flow filter (for settleable solids) followed by a static upflow filter (for suspended solids) and it's sometimes necessary to breakdown those solids using a mineralizer to return nutrients to the system instead of dumping them out.

Ask if you have any questions.


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PostPosted: Dec 3rd, '18, 08:41 
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the plan is to initially use an ibc cut down as many have demonstrated. this would give 1 fish tank & 1 media bed. after this is working then add 2 floaters & then some more fish.

but temperatures here typically range from 25-98 degrees Farenheit. so the water will need some heating and possibly cooling for the extremes. so a sump tank will probably be required from the start. it seems a good idea to use a solar hot water heater (swirl type) for the winter. bob rob recommended putting frozen milk jugs of water in the sump to cool the water in the summer.


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PostPosted: Dec 3rd, '18, 08:53 
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then on this note - to swirl or not to swirl: is there a performance difference in a media bed with the water supply pipes in the media or above the media or from a single point to the bed?

for example, some show a media bed with the supply pipes in a square or rectangle above the media. in others the supply pipes are (hidden) in the media and in some, the water is dumped into the bed from a single point.


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PostPosted: Dec 4th, '18, 06:04 
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There is a bit of a performance difference between the options but they all work.

The distribution grid is slightly superior to a single outlet in my opinion. Having a single outlet can sometimes result in a nutrient gradient especially if one of the plants near the outlet is a heavy feeder like a tomato plant. Sometimes you'll see this in pictures with posts about nutrient deficiencies that show yellowing or other problems further from the outlet (keep in mind that certain plants are more likely to show deficiencies first so distance from the outlet is not always the cause). Usually as a system ages this becomes less of an issue because a reservoir of nutrients builds up. For relatively small beds a single outlet works fine, larger beds should either use multiple outlets or a distribution grid.

Another thing to be aware of though is that a distribution grid within the grow bed should not be glued together because you will have to take it apart for cleaning at some point. It won't be necessary to clean very often but just remember not to glue the grid.

Above or below the media distribution - I know some have gone with below media distribution but I think this will be harder to access when it needs cleaning and it's also more likely to have roots grow into, and clog the pipes. Tomatoes will grow into and clog almost any pipe if you don't watch out and prevent it from happening.

FYI - I've been using single point outflows with the largest of my grow beds at 50 gallons. There were some times when the nutrients didn't distribute evenly at first but now I don't see any problems.


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PostPosted: Dec 4th, '18, 06:23 
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thanks all for the responses.

it seems that placing the pipes above the media makes sense. i asked this because it seems that those with pipes in the media talked about clogging 'problems' at some point in the videos.

some folks use 5 gallon media filled buckets. some show media in flower pots placed atop floaters (dwc). any opinions on these?


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PostPosted: Dec 4th, '18, 17:23 
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Not really, it's tough to visualize what you're getting at - It sounds like regular media based growing vs DWC :dontknow:


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PostPosted: Dec 4th, '18, 20:38 
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Media beds are bio filters, mechanical filters, mineralizers and grow beds at the same time, and if configured right also help oxygenate the water.

DWC requires that the water is already clean, so that the roots don't get coated, so other filters (RFF/swirl etc) are required.

DWC is used by commercial set ups because working with lightweight rafts is much easier and more efficient than working with gravel. Such systems require more maintenance; e.g. cleaning filters, mineralizing sludge separately and reintroducing mineralised nutrient water. Higher stocking densities are possible due to solids removal, but the balance is more delicate and problems may be more acute.

Media beds are low maintenance and simple to set up. They do all the required functions apart from the fish tank as Arbe mentioned. They provide great conditions for plant growth, but the balance of fish to wet media in system must be respected, and stocking density is thus more limited than in systems with solids removal.


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PostPosted: Dec 5th, '18, 08:58 
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IIUYC, then just because floaters (DWC) are added to an existing system w/ a media bed, the # of fish should not necessarily increase or only slightly increase? or should floaters be avoided in aquaponics?

do plants like lettuce, peppermint, spinach, etc. go in the floaters? do fruits, heavy veggies, potatoes, etc. go in the media beds?

thanks.


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PostPosted: Dec 6th, '18, 02:56 
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There are a couple of components that make up your filtration. One of these is mechanical removal of solids and the other is a biofilter that breaks down ammonia and nitrite into nitrate that the plants can use. Grow beds can perform both of these functions but DWC beds mostly perform biofiltration, you have to mechanically remove the solids before they get to the DWC. Suspended solids will usually coat the roots of plants in the DWC and eventually kill them if they aren't removed.

Let's say you have one media bed chained in front of your DWC beds. The media bed can only handle so many solids before it can't break them down fast enough and gets overwhelmed. Your stocking levels are limited because of this. You can do things to increase the stocking levels - adding and RFF in front of the media bed is probably the easiest. A Radial Flow Filter (RFF, also known as Radial Flow Settler (RFS)) will catch a good portion of the settleable solids which reduces the solids load on the media bed to a point that the media bed can again handle the solids well enough as a prefilter for the DWC. There is a good chance that you'll need to mineralize the solids you catch in the RFF (You'll know if you see lots of deficiency problems in the DWC).

Grow beds and Radial Flow Filters are not good at catching suspended solids but hopefully enough of these will be removed that the plant roots in the DWC are not damaged. If you find that it's still a problem then a Static Upflow Filter added between the media bed and the DWC is an easy solution. Here are a couple of different system layout options -

A very basic version would look like this -

Fish tank -> Media Bed -> DWC -> Sump (Back to fish tank)

If you added more fish you'd need more filtration in the form of grow beds or other filters, like one of these -

Fish Tank -> RFF -> Media Bed -> DWC -> Sump (Back to fish tank)

Fish Tank -> RFF -> Media Bed -> SUF -> DWC -> Sump (Back to fish tank)

Fish Tank -> RFF -> Media Bed -> SUF -> DWC -> Sump (Back to fish tank)
RFF to Mineralizer to SUF subloop

Here's the same system with part of the flow bypassing the Media Beds and going to feed the DWC. You're limiting the flow to the Media Beds so you're limiting the solids. The outflow from the media beds can go the the DWC or directly to the Sump.

Fish Tank -> RFF -> SUF -> DWC -> Sump (Back to fish tank)
separate Media Bed then Sump loop


DWC can work for most things if you can support them from above but I would probably avoid root crops and tall or heavy plants just to make it easier. Crops like lettuce, basil and mint would do well (Check out Ryan's thread for some inspiration (viewtopic.php?t=12589). Media beds can handle just about any plant you want although I would do root crops in wicking beds (Milne's thread (aka Food and Fish) is good for this). For media based IBC growing check out the IBC's of Aquaponics free PDF for some examples - it's located here - http://ibcofaquaponics.com/. Also the FAO has about a 300 page guide to small scale aquaponic food production which can be found here - http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4021e.pdf.


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PostPosted: Dec 6th, '18, 05:26 
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thanks. this helps a lot. the layout or design is what i have been wondering about.

this is for a family, not business, so the object is to build a system that works well from the beginning and one that avoids killing stock and plants.

tomatoes, black berries and strawberries are on the fruit plant list. want to work some dwarf loquats in also. mangoes, papaya dwarfs also.
leafy lettuce, spinach, mint, basil, etc. are for the floaters. aloe also will work well here. i saw some aloe leaves at the store for $2/each! got an aloe plant in the yard that is worth $20 or more at these prices.

thanks everyone for the input. nice blog.


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