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PostPosted: Oct 21st, '17, 15:25 
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Hi all , and thank you for all your help via this forum on various aspects that have been a great source of information. I have built my first system and have really enjoyed the process, and am in the process of cycling it now.
So many questions but to start I have the nft on the left of the system and have quite a lot of algea on the roots of the plants , the whole system went really green when I first got it up and running but I have since covered the tank so no sunlight can get in which has turned the water nice and clear but I am still getting green roots, do I need more of a filter than just the swirl filter that is already installed. thx Andy


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PostPosted: Oct 21st, '17, 17:53 
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So many questions but to start I have the nft on the left of the system and have quite a lot of algea on the roots of the plants , the whole system went really green when I first got it up and running but I have since covered the tank so no sunlight can get in which has turned the water nice and clear but I am still getting green roots, do I need more of a filter than just the swirl filter that is already installed. thx Andy

Hi and welcome Andy, certainly got the climate for it in SEQ.
Neat little setups - buckets and tubes good idea.
Feel free to ask all your questions.

The PVC tubes [ around here known as a not-NFT; local gaff for some ] do require well filtered water.
The tubes may also be quite light inside if the pipe is thin. How does the water run/pool in the tubes ?
Often members find best to run the reverse way - through the media beds and then on to the tubes and back to the fish tank.
Often the media filter is sufficient - it also provides for the ammonia-nitrate conversion which wont necessarily happen via the FT-filter-tubes.

Some plants are sensitive to ammonia so that does depend on your system levels.
And it is normal in a start up to get the algae burst.
Covering the tanks will really help and putting some air through and keeping the system running 24/7.
The fish tanks will be a challenge - perhaps some board etc. You could keep a couple small holes to look through.
Know it is nice to peek but the fish will get startled/stressed depending on type if regularly open and closed..

Have you measured your pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates ?

What method are you using to cycle ?

do your buckets have media in them ?
(what are you using for media)

for your little system take some inspiration for Dangerous Dave - http://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/vie ... 18&t=22374
see he just posted on another thread so is around if you have any questions.

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PostPosted: Oct 21st, '17, 18:40 
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Thx Darren , I just read the thread about Nft or not Nft and was going to amend my post here lol, In my defence I saw this design on you tube and they described it as such .

The pump takes the water directly out of the FT and then Tees off left to the not Nft and the other to the Gb's and dutch buckets , it runs pretty rapidly through the tubes of the not Nft which are 100mm downpipe and are fairly thick so I hope there is not too much light getting through( but maybe there is ?). At the end of the pipe the water runs into the FT and grabs air like a venturi and oxygenates the tank. The other way it heads into the 2 Grow Beds and dutch buckets. the grow beds are a 55 gallon drum cut in two and filled with river gravel and connected together with one bell siphon activating the two beds and providing oxygen for the FT , the 4 dutch buckets which are filled with river gravel and then back to the FT creating more oxygen for the FT.

I have 15 small goldfish in the tank and also 3 redclaw crawfish and have been trying to cycle for about 6 weeks now but my readings from my testing kit are 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and 0 nitrates. with a ph of 7.4 as of a week ago , I am going to test again tomorrow. but I have had a couple of nice cucumbers already from the dutch buckets and a nice chilli is growing. :headbang:


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PostPosted: Oct 22nd, '17, 10:33 
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>> I have 15 small goldfish in the tank and also 3 redclaw crawfish and have been trying to cycle for about 6 weeks now but my readings from my testing kit are 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and 0 nitrates. with a ph of 7.4 as of a week ago , I am going to test again tomorrow.

good idea to keep testing. In your temps bacteria should be present after 6 weeks.
It is possible to have a system running 0 0 0 - it simply means the plants are gobbling everything up.
However algae does tend to need ammonia and nitrates so normally would expect something even if small.

which test methods are you using ? Key one is to make sure you follow the instructions carefully if test tube drop type.

you can always use the DSWPT option..... ;-)

could be worth going Beds to tubes but that requires height change.
the buckets will be fine with a direct feed.

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PostPosted: Oct 23rd, '17, 12:52 
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Hey Darren , I am using the Nutrafin test for aquariums, and are the test tube type, I have done another test and it looks like I have a very small increase in ammonia but still hovering around the 0 mark, some of the abbreviations are a bit confusing lol DSWPT.?
So far the buckets are out performing everthing is this typical ? .

This whole aquaponics thing is pretty addictive and I have just bought a IBC tote already for my next build lol, my trouble and strife is just shaking her head at the thought of more of our yard being taken up, :) .
I have read quite a few of the other posts on here about other systems and the ebb and flow in a media bed seems to be the most popular but then I see that most commercial systems are using the DWC method is there a reason other than commercially most farmers are producing leafy greens in them.


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PostPosted: Oct 23rd, '17, 18:49 
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>> some of the abbreviations are a bit confusing lol DSWPT.?

that one is a tongue in cheek. If you are NOT doing NFT then must be Doing Something With PVC Tube...
it pops up in that thread about not-NFT :D

on the more serious side - yep the abbreviations are one of those initiation things.. they get thrown around pretty casually. There are a couple of glossary of terms threads/pages around.
the main http://www.backyardaquaponics.com web page is worth a skim. look under information > glossary

>> So far the buckets are out performing everthing is this typical ? .

can be. I find them a lot more efficient for things like tomatoes. They also have the advantage that you can add things like blood&bone quite easily. Some plants like being able to spread the roots out without competition.

This whole aquaponics thing is pretty addictive and I have just bought a IBC tote already for my next build lol, my trouble and strife is just shaking her head at the thought of more of our yard being taken up, :) .
Very common affliction around here...always no shortage of enthusiastic people to cycle through the AP process.

>> I have read quite a few of the other posts on here about other systems and the ebb and flow in a media bed seems to be the most popular but then I see that most commercial systems are using the DWC method is there a reason other than commercially most farmers are producing leafy greens in them.

you don't have to buy a lot of media ;-) For thing like lettuce and small greens DWC and SWC methods are very effective.
But filtering and Dissolved Oxygen (DO) etc are factors as well as ensuring sufficient opportunity for nitrification to occur. Having a reasonable volume of media to match the fish load can make small systems simple.

Flood and drain ensures that the media water is fully renewed regularly and provides some oxygen into the root zone. It is not essential but refreshing the water even once a day is good. Mostly the drain is as much about providing oxygen back to the fish tank. It is typical to flush anywhere from once per hour (or less) to 2-3 times per hour. You don't really want too much draining. If you don't want to build a siphon then a timer works fine and can run for as little or long as you like.

A good read is the FAO small scale aquaponic food production PDF. That discusses quite a few things.
Google it for the PDF or try Technical paper 589 from http://www.fao.org
sadly the original full report seems to be mis-linked these days but it is around.

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PostPosted: Oct 24th, '17, 18:13 
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Cheers Darren am going to check out those links tonight, just one more question, My Gb s are flood and drain and the bell siphon was one of the most amazing discoveries ive made , ( simple things I guess ) but in order for it to work ive had to set up the flowrate of water into the Gb s such that they drain a lot more often than than 2-3 times an hour , do you see this as being a problem for the plants, if I lesson the flow rate then the bell siphon doesn't initiate properly.


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PostPosted: Oct 24th, '17, 23:45 
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it will be to do with the diameter of the pipes. Can't remember what way around it goes but if you use a different sized bell and standpipe ratio you can change your flow rate. Can also be because you have too much flow from your pump for yur grow bed volume.

Look for one of the siphon threads or someone else will step in - I dont bother running them myself as I am away a bit and/or at work and not always around. And I run a few tanks rather than one large one so I switch pumps on and off.

Ideally every 15-20mins. I think UVI or one of those looked at what was optimum.
You dont really want it firing every 5 mins.

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PostPosted: Oct 25th, '17, 04:03 
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dlf_perth wrote:
it will be to do with the diameter of the pipes.
A bell syphon with a smaller diameter standpipe will break at a lower flow rate. Not sure if the ratio of bell to standpipe is as critical.

But, if you can't change your standpipe, it probably doesn't matter. I have a system that cycles every 10 minutes. The plants don't seem to mind.

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Last edited by Dangerous Dave on Oct 25th, '17, 05:36, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Oct 25th, '17, 04:12 
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Way back when I used to use bell siphons mine fired every 6 minutes and everything grew just fine. I kind of doubt that it would matter if the cycles were shorter as long as the roots aren't getting beaten up, I think it's more important that the water is oxygenated. FWIW longer cycles are OK as well based on what I've seen here in the past.


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PostPosted: Oct 26th, '17, 07:22 
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Thats reassuring, i timed mine last night and it is cycling every 11 minutes or so. It was a real pain to get working at first but when it did it hasn't stopped working at all in the 6 or 7 weeks its been running, i think ill Leave it alone and see how my plants do. Just need it to finish cycling first.. Thx guys.


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PostPosted: Oct 27th, '17, 12:13 
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Welcome! Great system

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