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PostPosted: Feb 1st, '19, 21:31 
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After 3 weeks of very intermittent work I finally go somewhere. I've attached the picture from the first stage which is grow bed 1 and the sump tank, system has been cycling for about a week with Yabbies in the sump tank. My partner just added some plant.

Next up is getting the plumbing to the fish tank (Waiting on Venturis) in and some cladding onto the tank. I'm using some corrugated iron and scrap pallets for this.

I have 200L blue barrels, one for the RFF and one for a MBBR. The connections are on I am just waiting on some valves in the mail to run the return line. I have another 2 grow beds ready to be setup, but that'll be after the FT is ready. Shade cloth will be going up at some point too.

The heart of this machine is a PondMax PU7500, thanks to Mr Damage for his advice on pumps!

Plumbing out of the pump is through 25mm and return from the fish tank is 50mm. System is set up in a split flow running to the grow beds and fish tank/MBBR, I am able to isolate one from the other. The return from GB is bell siphon. Return from FT is SLO>RFF>MBBR(via a 1/2 length SLO)>ST. MBBR will be plumbed but media a ways off.

System size; 3x 300L Growbeds, 1x 600L sump, 1x 1000L FT. My aim is to have my system ready for Rainbow Trout.

Chapter 2 will be involving a new house and moving towards some off the shelf grow beds, stands and fish tank. :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:

Feel free to give your input/advice, don't be shy the more the better. MORE PICTURES COMING SOON!!!


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PostPosted: Feb 1st, '19, 22:08 
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baZz1nGa_Perth wrote:
After 3 weeks of very intermittent work I finally go somewhere. I've attached the picture from the first stage which is grow bed 1 and the sump tank, system has been cycling for about a week with Yabbies in the sump tank. My partner just added some plant.

Next up is getting the plumbing to the fish tank (Waiting on Venturis) in and some cladding onto the tank. I'm using some corrugated iron and scrap pallets for this.

I have 200L blue barrels, one for the RFF and one for a MBBR. The connections are on I am just waiting on some valves in the mail to run the return line. I have another 2 grow beds ready to be setup, but that'll be after the FT is ready. Shade cloth will be going up at some point too.

The heart of this machine is a PondMax PU7500, thanks to Mr Damage for his advice on pumps!

Plumbing out of the pump is through 25mm and return from the fish tank is 50mm. System is set up in a split flow running to the grow beds and fish tank/MBBR, I am able to isolate one from the other. The return from GB is bell siphon. Return from FT is SLO>RFF>MBBR(via a 1/2 length SLO)>ST. MBBR will be plumbed but media a ways off.

System size; 3x 300L Growbeds, 1x 600L sump, 1x 1000L FT. My aim is to have my system ready for Rainbow Trout.

Chapter 2 will be involving a new house and moving towards some off the shelf grow beds, stands and fish tank. :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:

Feel free to give your input/advice, don't be shy the more the better. MORE PICTURES COMING SOON!!!
Looks amazing. Well done! 200l is pretty huge for a RFF so you could easily downsize on that if you wanted. You're looking at a retention time of at least 60 seconds, so 200l would allow for a flow rate of 12000l/hr :) My RFF for my 600l IBC fish tank is 10l.

Also, I'm guessing your FT is a bit smaller than 1000l, depending on how much you've cut off from the IBC? Unless the picture is your sump and not the FT?


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PostPosted: Feb 1st, '19, 22:28 
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I got the 205L drum for the MBBR so I just went with that for the RFF. My plan is to not have to up size things later, Ive got all these ideas but just don't have the space yet. It's too late for me anyway :shock: , Ive already got the RFF 90% plumbed :D

The FT will be just under 1000L (not pictured), I basically cut a sunroof out of the IBC so it didn't take much away. The slo is around the 1000L mark on the side of the tank I believe.

Thanks for the reply!!! :) :) :)

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PostPosted: Feb 2nd, '19, 12:43 
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Here are the photos as promised. Have to go an pick up some more 50mm fittings to complete the return line. I used 150mm DWV for the RFF. Once its done I'll be setting up the other grow beds, I also need another bag of clay to the current grow bed, its a bit low.

I also found a dead yabby today :( :(

I'll add more pictures when the plumbing is done and as I add grow beds.


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PostPosted: Feb 2nd, '19, 13:34 
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That looks very impressive! What is your plan to clean the RFF? Do you have some kind of drain valve installed near the bottom?

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PostPosted: Feb 2nd, '19, 16:21 
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Thanks!

Both the RFF and MBBR will have drains on them, I'm still deciding how to do it. The drains will be 20 or 25mm. I'm thinking of something similar to what Rob Bob does on his with the drain to waste fitting that has bolts that keep it about 5 to 10mm off the bottom (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQEh4FSNMrE).

I'm also going to get a small cheap pump so I can make up a pump vacuum.

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PostPosted: Feb 3rd, '19, 04:56 
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being pedantic here but
try and get it away from house windows, you will have pump noises coming through.

get shade cloth around the GB's and tank, corro will help heat the water and you dont need that in Perth, shade cloth is far better.

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PostPosted: Feb 3rd, '19, 08:48 
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Hiya baZ, I know we can get carried away when we build our first system all the excitement.....
Beware, in time you will get a calling from another hobby and the AP will take a back seat. So my advice is to keep it simple or make redundancies to simplify if need be. I had a filter in my system but have bypassed it as I couldn't be bothered cleaning it as frequently as required. Since then my plants are growing better and all I need to do now is plant, feed and harvest, easy peasy, the system looks after itself and I now focus on other things.
I have a layer of 6mm foil coated foam insulation between the ibc bladder and frame with tin cladding. Damn it gets hot still. ;)
As Tonzz says, as you want as much water splashing to oxygenate the water it can start relaxing and is a good sign the pump hasn't failed, (Use a good pump) it does grate after a while, even the whine of the pump......
But all looks good, keep us posted on the progress.

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PostPosted: Feb 3rd, '19, 10:47 
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Tonzz wrote:
being pedantic here but try and get it away from house windows, you will have pump noises coming through.

The window pictured is out bedroom and ensuite so this was something we considered but we don't have anywhere else to put the system, I put the sump around to corner to get it a little bit away. The missus actually likes the constant sound of water xD. I told her it's going to get louder with the venturis. I sleep like a brick so I'm not as concerned for myself.
Tonzz wrote:
get shade cloth around the GB's and tank, corro will help heat the water and you dont need that in Perth, shade cloth is far better.

I'll look into this, I was worried the shade cloth was still going to let light though :think: but you're not the first on to recommend this. I was worried about the heat from the colourbond but I bought it anyway (Got a good price so I'm not gonna loose too much money). What are your views on bulker bags compared to shade cloth?
skeggley wrote:
Beware, in time you will get a calling from another hobby and the AP will take a back seat. So my advice is to keep it simple or make redundancies to simplify if need be.

I'll keep this in mind, the return system isn't actually going to be glued so I'll be able to modify or add in a bypass. Our plan is to grow as much food with it to eat, while it's a hobby it's also going to be a big food source for us. I may have build the system, but my partner will be running the day to day (feeding, cleaning and plants). Shes quite the urban farmer already, I don't thinks shes going to loose interest.
skeggley wrote:
I have a layer of 6mm foil coated foam insulation between the ibc bladder and frame with tin cladding. Damn it gets hot still. ;)

Damn! This was my backup plan for if it got too hot :( :( :( I guess I'm gonna have to go with shade cloth!
skeggley wrote:
(Use a good pump)

I've got a PondMax PU7500, from what I could find they are recommended as one of the best. The brand was also recommended by Mr Damage, who from what I gather seems to know his s**t :wink:

Thank you guys for the advice and knowledge!! :) :) :) I will keep updating as I go along. While I may not be using all your advice immediately, it's definitely not going to be lost and will be noted down for Chapter 2 (When I move house and have more space).

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PostPosted: Feb 4th, '19, 08:10 
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Your filters are not too large. I've always thought you need 15 minutes retention in the RFF. If you increase your stocking level or feed rate in the future you'll need all the filtration you can get. I have an idea of how to clean your filters using a hose like a SLO. View this video from the 3:00 mark. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TbLRRWpocI&t=239s I would exit the hose out the side instead of the bottom.


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PostPosted: Feb 4th, '19, 12:27 
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JeffS wrote:
Your filters are not too large. I've always thought you need 15 minutes retention in the RFF. If you increase your stocking level or feed rate in the future you'll need all the filtration you can get. I have an idea of how to clean your filters using a hose like a SLO. View this video from the 3:00 mark. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TbLRRWpocI&t=239s I would exit the hose out the side instead of the bottom.
Could you share what you base the 15min retention time on? I've always worked at 1 minute, but it'd be great to read some other insights

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PostPosted: Feb 4th, '19, 13:49 
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Videos I've watched in the past from some reputable sources is where I got the info. Personal experience proves it out. Makes sense that the more time solids have to settle to the bottom the less chance they'll float out the outlet. If you put some type of filter like polyfiber material under your inlet to the grow bed you'll see in a few hours how many solids are getting to the beds.


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PostPosted: Feb 4th, '19, 14:24 
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I've always heard 15-30 minutes for an RFS, which makes sense since a lot of commercial growers aren't sending their entire water flow through it. Like if you check out web4deb's new greenhouse video he's sending some through a SLO to his RFF and but also skimming from the top of the FT as well that doesn't go through the RFF.

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PostPosted: Feb 4th, '19, 19:32 
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JeffS wrote:
Videos I've watched in the past from some reputable sources is where I got the info. Personal experience proves it out. Makes sense that the more time solids have to settle to the bottom the less chance they'll float out the outlet. If you put some type of filter like polyfiber material under your inlet to the grow bed you'll see in a few hours how many solids are getting to the beds.
i guess longer is better, although I must say I am happy with the results of my RFF with a 60 sec retention time

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PostPosted: Feb 8th, '19, 15:50 
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JeffS wrote:
I have an idea of how to clean your filters using a hose like a SLO. View this video from the 3:00 mark. I would exit the hose out the side instead of the bottom.

This is very similar to what I was thinking, I was going to make up a little vacuum head like done on Web4Deb, I still want the ability to use a pump on it though (https://youtu.be/rEDoPr-ZJUI?t=224).

A lot of good discussion about the RFF, I didn't really put much thought into this, I already had the drums so I just used them. I'm planning for Trout and expansion so at the stage it might be overkill but I shouldn't have the need to upgrade later. I've also heard 1 minute can be sufficient for large solids when running media growbeds and allows the small solids (apparently extra nutrients) to go into the growbeds where they can break down.

Flow rate to the FT has been slowed down, it was too fast and overflowed my Biofilter and created surge in the RFF, this I think is mainly due to the ST not being low enough.

On another note I put up some shade cloth over the growbed area, it's been a busy week and Ive been a bit sick so didn't have the chance, my Aloe Vera, strawberries and melon plants got scorched by the sun. Hopefully most of it will make a comeback. They were just test plants, most of them were in bad health and were discounted from Bunnings.

I'm planning to get the shade cloth around the GBs, ST and FT, I'm planning to use white 90% shade cloth, doubling it over and techscrewing it straight into the ibc frame.

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3. Anything can be used as a hammer.

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