Backyard Aquaponics

Growbeds without much sun
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Author:  Ozzyrod [ Aug 11th, '19, 09:02 ]
Post subject:  Growbeds without much sun

Hey all,
I am looking at setting up a system where the fish tank is inside a shed and it feeds to a bio filter and then to three grow beds which are outside that then fall to a sump. The water will then will be pumped back from the sump into the fish tank . The only problem is the location of grow beds won't get a lot of sun. I have only been in this location for 3 months and so far the area where I wish to put the grow beds doesn't appear to get any sun at all through the winter months this may change slightly as the summer approaches. I am thinking this will certainly prevent any algae build up in the main tank and I think the temperature of the water will be rather warmer which may perhaps allow me to have jade perch here in Victoria?

Has anyone had any experience trying to grow plants in a grow bed with little to no sun? The other type of fish that I'm considering are silver perch with some tandanus catfish or yellow belly
P.s I am located in Torquay Victoria and woukd love to make contact with any other aquaponicists in or aroung Geelong or Bellarine area to share knowledge

Author:  Terra [ Aug 11th, '19, 10:55 ]
Post subject:  Re: Growbeds without much sun

With respect to the sun

I am in the Riverland SA so similar to you but bit further north

The sun at the moment tracks across the sky quite low

By December it will track parallel to its current track but will go overhead during the middle of the day

By February it will track over a bit to the south of vertical

Hope that makes sense and you can site your growbeds for the best use of sun

My system is under 70% shadecloth all year round and everything grows fine

Most plants need about 6hrs minimum sunlight to grow

What is blocking the light

Post some photos of your growbed site will help

You may be able to "reflect light" using something like plywood painted white to help a bit

Prune Trees if they are the problem

Raise growbeds up 2 metres not ideal but if its the only way you can get light might be an option this of course will require a stronger pump which will use more power.

I don't grow a lot of veg in my system through the cold season (water gets pretty cold)

Brassicas will grow but take forever and fill growbeds due to their size

I get best result from Garden peas and silverbeet (for the Chooks) through the cold season

Plenty of options through our warm / stinking hot season

You will find during the hot season its likely you will have enough light

Author:  TCLynx [ Aug 12th, '19, 06:38 ]
Post subject:  Re: Growbeds without much sun

Most plants need a good amount of light to grow. What is the purpose or goal of your aquaponic system? Keep in mind that most shade loving house plants that might thrive in full shade, may not use up the nutrients from a fish heavy system and most garden veggies are going to be happier with full sun through the cooler months.

You may find you are better off arranging your plumbing so that you can place your grow beds to get enough light to be successful. In a HOT climate you want some shade mid day or late afternoon during the summer but in the cooler winter you want as full sun as you can get since that is often the best growing season for veggies. (At least that is my experience in Florida in the USA.) Dog days of summer are for cleaning up and and getting ready to plant. Winter and spring are usually my best growing seasons (fall would be better except for it is often still rainy season through most of it.)

Author:  Ozzyrod [ Aug 12th, '19, 11:50 ]
Post subject:  Re: Growbeds without much sun

Thanks for your responses. As requested here are the pics. I have a big garage where the IBC is now that I could move over to the wall and continue with plan, to go through wall to outside area. There are pics of the side of the shed (where I also keep my 4 chooks incidentally)
It gets light, but as yet no sunlight. Hopefully this changes in the summer. Then to the back of that shed (attached to it is the smaller shed) with two clear sheeting roof panels. Perhaps I could house the whole system indoors? Would that be enough light for the plants? The sun does pass over that and I imagine in Summer will be very humid inside.

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Author:  TCLynx [ Aug 12th, '19, 20:20 ]
Post subject:  Re: Growbeds without much sun

I expect if you do it in the shed, you could add supplemental lighting in needed but that will cost you in electricity. You may also need to do some ventilation to keep the humidity and heat in check.

My systems are all pretty much outdoors with the fish tanks under a roof but most of the beds out in the open or under a clear canopy (except wheatgrass which does better in full shade so there is a tarp over the clear canopy.)
I do use 40% aluminet shade cloth here in Central Florida since that can help during summer to keep the heat down a touch and in winter it can reflect radiant heat back down and sometimes stop frost damage. But I'm dealing with much larger systems.

Author:  Nhibbo [ Aug 20th, '19, 20:59 ]
Post subject:  Re: Growbeds without much sun

Hi Ozzyrod. I think TCLynx is pretty close to the mark. You will need as much sun as you can get in winter and keeping Jades in Torquay is not doable without extra heating (and therefore $$$$$). The silvers and pandanus do fine.
I used a 13mm x 100m polypipe solar heat absorber for the last couple of years which added up to 4C extra, but that is still nowhere near enough.
Have you thought about replacing some of your shed roof with polycarbonate sheeting and building inside the shed as a greenhouse?
I am in Altona and you are welcome to call in to take a squizz at my systems next time you're on your way to Melbourne.

Author:  Nhibbo [ Aug 20th, '19, 21:01 ]
Post subject:  Re: Growbeds without much sun

I HATE AUTOCORRECT!!!!! I wrote Tandanus

Author:  Ozzyrod [ Aug 22nd, '19, 10:06 ]
Post subject:  Re: Growbeds without much sun

Thanks everyone for the words of advice, and yes I have to go with the indoor system with some polycarbonate sheets aboce (two, see pic) and I now have a hydro light with 4 full spectrum globes in place above the 2 grow beds, (1 established, the other to be built, am doing the bell syphon today). As per advice I will stay with Silver Perch and Tandanus due to our climate here in Victoria. I would love to come by to Altona Nhibbo. I am actually going to Koroit Creek Rd Aquarium as I believe they have some good marine tank setups. Will PM you on that one one. Thank you.
I will have posted some pics of the light in place and the progress to date when I get onto PC to shrink pictures to an acceptable size
P.S I bought the light yesterday from a hydroponics supply place and it only cost $190, so I will see how that goes.
Cheers Rod

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