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PostPosted: Mar 1st, '11, 22:46 
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I've been collecting pieces of my system and started breaking ground over the weekend. I plan on doing a CHIFT- PIST system. I've obtained the fish tank, the sump, and one grow bed so far. I also picked up a pump, some bulkhead fittings, some PVC components for an Afnan Bell Siphon, some gravel and concrete blocks. I live in Clear Lake, Texas (a suburb of Houston). There are several hydroponics shops in the greater Houston area. The closest fish hatchery that I know of is in Danbury, Texas (about an hour away). I plan to raise Channel Catfish probably, although I am contemplating doing a seasonal harvest of Tilapia during our warmer season if they will grow out well enough from March to October. I may also try a couple of NFT gutters on the return lines from the GBs to the Sump. I am planning to do rain water collection for top-ups. I plan to add a black soldier fly larvae harvester as well in the future and some shade and cold frame structures. So much to do!! One foot in front of the other. :geek:

Progress so far


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File comment: Still need to dig the sump in about a foot deep.
IMAG0023.jpg
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File comment: Picture of the area
IMAG0020.jpg
IMAG0020.jpg [ 125.71 KiB | Viewed 7382 times ]
File comment: Sketchup Plan
Sketchup.jpg
Sketchup.jpg [ 67.08 KiB | Viewed 7374 times ]

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PostPosted: Mar 2nd, '11, 05:47 
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Looking good. Those Rubbermaid containers sure are popular in the States :)

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PostPosted: Mar 2nd, '11, 05:52 
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You didn't waste any time. Looks good. Channel catfish are always a good choice :) .


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PostPosted: Mar 2nd, '11, 06:52 
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Rock on Merlin! Regarding the rainwater collection, if you're collecting it off of roof shingles the usual shingles can have zinc etc. coming off on them, you may want to filter the water somehow after the roof. Crustaceans in particular don't like zinc, not sure about how catfish would do.

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PostPosted: Mar 2nd, '11, 07:15 
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Yes - you can grow out the tilapia in time. I did a second batch last summer after the kids killed the first batch 1/2 through. If the section of roof you want to collect water from is not facing the road, then some corrugated plastic sheeting on top of the roof would protected the rain water from the nasties in the shingles. You do not need much roofing to provided quite a bit of water. 3 2x8 sections of corrugated sheeting provides most of what I need.

Looking good!

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PostPosted: Mar 7th, '11, 11:08 
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We had some fantastic weather this past week. So, I managed to get out of the office on time or a little early on a couple of days. I dug the hole for the sump and levelled, and levelled, and chipped away, and finally got that sucker to fit. A lot more dirt came out of that 150 gallon hole than I would have thought. I'll be putting it into some raised beds and mixing it with some better dirt and amendments. I'm planning on planting beneficial insect attracting plants in the dirt garden near the aquaponics setup.


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File comment: The sump is down!
IMAG0028 (Medium).jpg
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PostPosted: Mar 7th, '11, 11:17 
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Didn't get too much accomplished this weekend. We had some family visits. But I managed to squeeze in a little bit of work out there anyway. 8)

I picked up some PVC and got started on the cover for the fish tank. I decided to make the cover in two sections so I could lift one piece open to feed the fish. I'm just using zip ties to "hinge" the two pieces. I'm going to attach some shade cloth to the top of the frame with zip ties as well. The rubbermaid tank has some holes in the rim/lip that i can fasten the cover on if I choose as well.

I also drilled holes and installed two bulkhead fittings in the tank one for SLO exit and one for overflow an inch and half above that. They aren't pictured below. Lots of updates coming this week as the pieces come together.


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IMAG0027 (Medium).jpg
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PostPosted: Mar 7th, '11, 11:19 
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Couple of closer pictures of the tank cover skeleton.


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IMAG0025 (Medium).jpg
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PostPosted: Mar 7th, '11, 17:10 
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Looking great mate!

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PostPosted: Mar 7th, '11, 17:29 
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lookin great mate :headbang: you americans use those rubbermaids alot . . .
one qn, why have you built it all on plastic??

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PostPosted: Mar 7th, '11, 21:40 
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The plastic is there to kill off the grass underneath. We have really thick St Augustine grass. I didn't want to have to mow and edge around the system and toss up clippings into the sump. the sump will be covered but that would not necessarily keep the clippings out. grass clippings find their way through the cracks in my garage doors already. definitely don't want them in the tanks.

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PostPosted: Mar 7th, '11, 21:49 
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He is looking for that post-nuclear mars colonial look. heh heh...


Dood, tell me that you got water circulating thru that mother ?? It was way too nice a weekend to not have that. I am surprized that you spent time building the cover before the piping.


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PostPosted: Mar 8th, '11, 00:11 
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The plastic also attracts less dirt than gravel (meaning no weeds), is sweepable, and cheaper. We'll see how it holds up to traffic.

I've had a pretty constant drizzle of pollen, pine worms (the pre-pubescent pine cone things), and general tree litter over the last week or so. I felt like covering it before it collected any more junk in it. The plumbing shouldn't take long, so I only lost a day by doing the cover first. Besides I've only purchased the one grow bed so far also, so cycling isn't going to happen until after I get those and more concrete blocks. Hope to start cycling this coming weekend if everything falls into place. I'll have the pump up and running between the sump and FT by tomorrow probably.

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PostPosted: Mar 8th, '11, 14:29 
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Love your fish tank cover Merlin... :thumbright: But what I love even more is that according to your sketchup diagram you managed to get a couple of women to maintain it for you.. :headbang:

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PostPosted: Mar 8th, '11, 22:38 
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:laughing3: Life wouldn't be complete without the ladies...

One of the women is the default in Sketchup. After reviewing my Sketchup model, Merkurmaniac added another younger, cuter lady to the sketchup because he felt the first wasn't attractive enough. :wink: And two is always better than one, right? :bootyshake:

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