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 Post subject: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '10, 01:29 
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I am very new to the AP scene. I have a ton of ideas, but I am limited by space and funds. Currently I maintain an outdoor 150 gallon pond with goldfish living happily. I want to use that water to grow some veggies. Here is a pic of my first idea for a NFT system.

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '10, 02:26 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Could work.

Just keep in mind that if your fish pond has been well balanced for a while (as in if you are not having to do regular water changes and the algae isn't out of control,) then the pond plants might be using up enough nutrients that there might not be much for the NFT pipes. You might want to run some water tests on your fish pond water before you get too carried away.

If you have nitrate readings above say 5 or 10 ppm then it might be worth trying. If you nitrate is 0 and you are also not seeing any ammonia or nitrite readings, well then you might have to change the balance in order to get other plants to grow in the NFT pipes. This is where you need to decided if the current balance is nice to keep or if you are willing to risk upsetting the balance in order to meet new goals.

good Luck

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '10, 02:41 
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There are no pond plants right now. The algae grows pretty good. Sometimes I have to scrape the algae out. In the summer when it's hot I have to wrap the submerged filter in quilt batting to pre-filter the algae bloom out.

I think I need to add something to the pond (plant in an AP system for example) to use the nutrients that exist.

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '10, 03:04 
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Test kits are available (the best ones for AP seem to be mail-order) to see just what's going on nutrient-wise.
Until then (and I haven't gotten my kit yet either), PetSmart will test your water sample for free with test strips... shows pH, Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates. Not as accurate as the vials with indicator solution, but hey, free.
As you figured, algae is indicating you've got Nitrates to spare at the moment.

Looking forward to watching you grow your system!

Rick

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '10, 03:09 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Yep sounds good A gravel bed could well help with the algae too. Once some of the algae dies and is decomposing in the gravel bed, the chemicals given off by that decomposition can assist inhibiting the algae in the future. Some heavy duty shade over the fish pond/tank might help with the algae die off as you are trying to get your NFT plants growing. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '10, 03:24 
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Sminfiddle wrote:
Test kits are available (the best ones for AP seem to be mail-order) to see just what's going on nutrient-wise.
Until then (and I haven't gotten my kit yet either), PetSmart will test your water sample for free with test strips... shows pH, Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates. Not as accurate as the vials with indicator solution, but hey, free.
As you figured, algae is indicating you've got Nitrates to spare at the moment...


My son is an Aquarium hobbyist and has a kit. I just sent him a text message to have him test that water for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '10, 03:52 
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My son replied with:

Nitrates = 0-5
Ammonia = 0
Nitrites = 0

In the winter things go very clear, but in the summer the water is very full of algae. I imagine that by the time I actually get a system built those numbers will change.

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '10, 22:30 
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I analyzed my location and materials. Here is my second idea.

I have these 4 big tubes that I want to utilize. Last night I was trying to figure out how I could do the flood and drain system using these tubes. It would have to be CHIFT PIST (I feel like I'm saying a dirty word when I say that...) because I do not want my fish to have to endure the constant fluctuation in water levels.

The sump tank was giving me a headache because I couldn't think of a good way to make a large enough ST without elevating the FT. Then it dawned on me... I can bury two of the tubes and use the other two as GBs! Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems like it would work.

Check it out.

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '10, 22:43 
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Hi DK:
For CHIFT PIST you want the grow tubes to be immediately after the FT, the tubes have to be a little lower than the water line in the FT. Then the grow tubes go down to the sump tubes, then pumps in the grow tubes go back up to the FT. In the picture the solids from the FT would just accumulate in the sump tubes and cause stinky problems for the water quality. HTH!

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '10, 23:07 
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OHhhhh... I thought the FT dumped into the ST, then pumps into the GBs...

hmmm, well, I'm back to the drawing board then. I don't want to elevate the FT and I don't want to put any holes in it.

Thanks for the education. I've been looking at the diagrams incorrectly.

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '10, 23:31 
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So the FT already has a hole in it somewhere? You can use any existing hole for CHIFT PIST as long as it is below or at the water level, the outlet to the beds just has to be around the water line - the water will find its way up there if your tank has a bottom drain already. You need a few inches above the drain hole too because the water level may rise up a bit depending on the diameter of the outlet.

I like to have the overflow drain hole on the side of the tank higher up because it means the joint isn't containing tons of water pressure as it would if it were at the bottom of the tank.

HTH!

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '10, 23:48 
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Yes, the FT has a drain plug at the bottom. It's a 4ft round stock tank normally used for watering livestock.

I get it now. I'm starting to think that I really should put the FT on blocks. I didn't really want too, but I think it would make things easier for me.

I went to the Home Depot (home and garden supplies store) last night and saw lots of strawberry plants, peppers, tomatoes and other plants that I'm itching to plant now.

My budget is tight... I hope I can get this running in time.

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '10, 23:54 
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You're already ahead of the game if you have one of those (drool).

To get the water to go up you'd just put on an elbow, then up to to a tee with one end open at the top and the other going into the beds - that keeps the pipes from gurgling and forming a vacuum. As long as bends and distance are kept to a minimum the solids will find their way out of the drain to the beds. Since the tank is round you may want a pickup at the center of the tank going over to the drain hole, because solids tend to settle in the center of a round tank.

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 27th, '10, 02:20 
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Am I getting closer to a "better" system?

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 Post subject: Re: Daddykirbs' System
PostPosted: Feb 27th, '10, 02:39 
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Yes, and no DK...

You have the concept of "Chift Pist"... my only concern is that the pipes wont have a large volume, in relation to your tank... and are limited by their size...

So you'll only be able to use a small pump.. otherwise the outflow from the Chift Pist could possibly overflow the pipes... and/or the siphons.... or maybe not even trigger/break the bell siphon properly/reliably..

You've no way of controlling the flow into the pipes... other than sizing the pump...

With a small pump.... your tank volume turnover could be quite long, timewise...

Also your aeration by water return to the sump pipes is going to be constrained by your height between siphons and sump pipes... and volume/frequency of flood in your grow pipes...

This all may not be a problem... what do others think???

How long and what diameter pipes are you considering??

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