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 Post subject: Hello from Livermore, CA
PostPosted: Aug 12th, '16, 08:22 
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I'm a total newb in Aquaponics, but learning little by little, with a few bumps along the way :)

I'd been interested in aquaponics for a few years, I read a little and talked to people about it. I always wanted to set up a system, but I didn't think we really had the space.

Then recently, for unrelated reasons, we decided to build a small (30ga) fish pond in our garden. That went great for about a week. Within two weeks it was so murky and green we couldn't even see the fish anymore.

Then I remembered: Aquaponics! I remembered how a grow bed can help filter out the built up waste and algae in large aquaponics systems. I figured maybe it could help with my tiny little algae problem too. So I set up a very small system (only 1 cubic foot grow bed) mainly just to to help with clearing up our new pond.

It's been about a month now and I have to say I'm amazed at the results. I used a small 12V DC pump, about 50GPM, to circulate pond water through our grow bed. I used red lava rock as the grow media in a 8"x6"x36" plastic planter. I embedded a few patio tomato plants and some basil in the lava rock. Then, just for grins, I threw some lettuce and italian parsley seeds right into the lava rock, just to see if they'd sprout and grow. In the last month, the tomatoes have thrived, putting on lots of new fruit and blossoms, and the leaves have turned a much deeper shade of green. The Basil has grown about 3 fold, and we've been harvesting. And the lettuce and Italian Parsley seeds sprouted, drove roots into the lava rock, and are growing fast.

But the best thing: the pond cleared up completely within the first week of running the Aquaponics system. We can clearly see the bottom of the pond and all the fish and snails. The transformation was steady and astounding. I've also been monitoring the ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels in the pond water. All three are at nearly undetectable levels. I've always heard it was hard or almost impossible to balance the chems in a small pond. Well, not if you run an Aquaponics system, I guess!

Just one question for the community: It's about solar. I didn't want to run power out to our pond just to run the pump, it was too far. Plus I didn't want to mess up the perfect symbiotic nature of aquaponics. I figured solar power would be a perfect, sustainable, symbiotic completion to our system. I googled around looking for a solution, but I couldn't really find a good solar powered controller for aquaponics.

Being an electrical engineer, I figured I could throw together a solar powered pump controller that handles the flood/drain cycles, and charges a lead acid battery to keep the system going in case of clouds.

It's working great, but the question is has anybody else found or put together a solar system to power their aquaponics pumps? Just curious how you set up your system and what kind of luck you've had with it.

Thanks!!!
MarkinLVCA


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PostPosted: Aug 12th, '16, 12:46 
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Hi Mark, welcome to the forum :thumbright:

I think if you look around there are several other people running solar setups but I'm not certain if they use a setup like you're thinking of. I believe Gordon's system (Known here as Gunagulla) is running off solar.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Aug 12th, '16, 21:32 
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Thanks, scotty435, I'll check that out.


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PostPosted: Aug 23rd, '16, 05:17 
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Here's our little starter system. A 30ga pond with 7 big goldfish and tons of small Gambusia. Two grow beds with tomatoes, basil, chard, kale, cilantro and strawberries. I also threw some lettuce and parsley seeds right into the lava rock media, which sprouted and are growing fast.

Two separate 12V DC pumps, one for each grow bed, powered by a 20W solar panel with battery backup. I put together a pump controller (upper right) to handle the flood/drain cycling, and it also controls the lead acid battery charging.

It's very surprising how much food we're getting from this tiny space, and how trouble free it's all been, so far that is :)

We're already making plans for next year's upgrade: 500ga pond and much bigger beds.


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