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PostPosted: Apr 26th, '18, 10:09 
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Ok, so tried AP last year and didn't go well. So I am starting from the almost the beginning again.

Live in the mountains of AZ

Cleaning out grow bed (50-60 gallon) and fish tank (100 gallons) on Friday. Going to rinse solds of media (clay rock) and touch up my homemade U-siphon. Hoping to have the system ready for fill Friday night.

Will probably need a couple people to help me along with the process.


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PostPosted: Apr 26th, '18, 16:40 
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Hi Firemoose529,

We'll need to know more about your system but the first thing you need to do is to make certain you don't overstock the fish for the filtration you have. One rough guide can be found here - http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=6646

It's less work and best not to stock to the maximum, especially when you're just getting the hang of it.

If you haven't already looked at the IBC's of Aquaponics that is a good read as well - the pdf can be downloaded here - http://ibcofaquaponics.com/.


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PostPosted: Apr 27th, '18, 03:37 
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Thank you scotty. Will send pics tomorrow. But can describe the system. Will look at those links too.

Fish tank - will be 100-110 gallons
Grow bed - i believe is 60 gallons.
U-siphone for the growbed, and media is clay rock
Pump - Forget the gallon/hr it is around 500 if memory serves me correct
I didn't have a sump tank/filter
system is going to about 8-10 hours of sun (and might have to screen part of my fish tank)

Was planning on 5-7 bluegill when it was time to add fish. I think I added fish too soon last year.

Friday will be cleaning out the tank and grow bed and filling the system.


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PostPosted: Apr 28th, '18, 01:59 
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Sounds good so far.


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PostPosted: Apr 28th, '18, 13:07 
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Alright so here's where I am at. My growbed is a 11 inches (deep) x 48 inches (long) x 24 inches (wide). I have read that 12 inches is the optimal depth. Will I be ok with a 10 inch deep grow bed (leaving a inch lip)? If so do I set my siphon to start draining at 8 inches?

I also bought wool seed starters based on the recommendation from our local nursery. Was told to put seed in the middle of the wool block, place it 2 inches under media. Yay/ nay?

And last question for right now --> what vegetables would be good to start with?

Thank you so much scotty (and anyone else that has and will give me input)


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PostPosted: Apr 28th, '18, 16:50 
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The 12 inch deep is only a guide ive had great results in a 6 inch deep growbed , which by the way is easy to clean out compared with a 12 inch full of scoria rock that wont shovel.

Set your water depth so the surface of your grow media stays dry , so yes 10 inch deep and 8 inch water will be fine

I wouldn't muck around with "seed Starter" gizmos they cost $$$ just put your seed in a good home made mix . Prick them out soon after germination and grow out in single containers .

Advanced seedlings will give you more return from your growbeds .

Half the battle with AP systems is managing your plants / nitrate levels

Grow what is in season for your area , work backwards from plant maturity

So for example if your selected plants take 12 weeks to mature work back from maturity to seed planting

There are web sites for your area that give you planting guides

https://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-calendar/AZ

That site is just an example search until you find one you like that tells you when to plant seeds / transplant seedlings

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PostPosted: Apr 28th, '18, 18:54 
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I wouldn't muck around with "seed Starter" gizmos they cost $$$ just put your seed in a good home made mix . Prick them out soon after germination and grow out in single containers .

Advanced seedlings will give you more return from your growbeds .


+1 Terra (see this thread viewtopic.php?f=3&t=29082&p=558050&hilit=seedling+rack#p558050)

Yes you can grow from seed but it takes a fairly long time and that grow bed space is locked up.
Set up a simple seed raising area and just use the same plastic punnets and see raising mix that the nurseries use. Or if applicable in your area even consider buying advanced seedlings if you can get 6-10 for $2 etc, particularly when starting out.

Personally I find raising seed to seedlings in cells is much faster.
Sure you can cast some seed around but it does add that extra time to harvesting if you want a rotational system. Then you dont have to worry about grips/grow wool etc.


The main drawback with having too shallow a grow bed is that the water levels tend to be high and the plants saturate. Some plants don't mind others do. Keep in mind that water will often sit a bit higher than the outflow point of the beds - I have been caught like that before. Make sure the surface of your beds remain failry dry/moist and not too wet with algae etc - is a common issue we see around here in new system posts.
Personally I would go deeper 350mm better (around 14 inches). But it does depend on what you are trying to grow.

If you haven't had much success before then maybe look at the easier things - and focus on leafy greens, Asian veg etc as your climate suits. Arizona will presumably be a mix of dry heat in summer during day and maybe cool nights if you are in elevated areas. In a new setup stay away from strawberries and tomatoes.

up my homemade U-siphon > maybe that is not so efficient at circulating water (and nutrients) around the bed. Why not go for a standard overflow pipe through bottom or side ?

p.s. are you growing indoors, under shelter or out in open.

p.p.s why not try a couple of wicking beds as well - they may suit your situation better and provide some additional options.

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May the fish sh*t and the plants grow.....


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PostPosted: Apr 29th, '18, 05:06 
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Thank you guys for the input. My system is outdoors, and I definitely have seen that I want to keep water about 2 inches below the surface of the media.

I will have to check into the wicking beds dlf.

I will adjust my siphone for the proper depth and try that first. Started cycling my bed lastnight and hoping i can get a base water sample today (on duty at the ambulance).


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PostPosted: Apr 29th, '18, 14:52 
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1st water sample --> ph 7.8, ammonia 0-0.25, nitrates 8, nitrites 20
transplanted 2 lettuce (spinach, green leaf) from wife's soil garden


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