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About Jake

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    Nashville, TN

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    anything outdoors, home brewing, gardening
  1. My last planting got eaten up by something when they were seedlings. Bugs have been bad here this year. Anyone deal with this?
  2. Hey, neighbor. I think you would be best served to have 15-20 gal of grow beds for your 10 gal tank. If you buy gravel or lava rock at the hardware store, a cubic foot is about 7.5 gallons. Gravel (I like river rock) usually comes in 0.5 cf bags and is heavier than lava rock, which is usually the same price for a 1 cf bag. Any number of planters or plastic bins would work for grow beds, but avoid the transparent plastic. A small pond pump would work for you. I've used these in a couple of small indoor systems: http://www.lowes.com/pd_58695-60084-FP155_0__?productId=3036184 You can get black tubing and fittings in the same section of the store or in the yard irrigation section.
  3. I use 1" ribbed flexible tubing (usually found in the pond section of the big stores) in my system, but I've been warned that it isn't terribly UV stable. We'll see. It certainly isn't cheaper, though. I think 20 feet is $24 here, whereas 20 feet of rigid PVC would be less than $10.
  4. I put this together and it seems to be working quite well to reduce my ammonia levels. I'm still at the prototype level, so my FT is only 50 gal and I had a spare barrel, so I made that into the hybrid filter. I spread out the bird netting, folded it in half lengthwise, and wrapped quite a lot of it around the central bucket (which has about a 6 gal volume and is probably just over a foot wide), trying to keep it from wrapping too tightly. I secured it to the top and bottom of the bucket with zip ties so it can easily be removed with the bucket for cleaning. There is also a bottom drain on the barrel, of course. It occurs to me that a hybrid filter may increase its efficiency if it's the same volume as the FT...
  5. I absolutely believe that those plants were grown in-place, powered by that fish. Definitely.
  6. I actually came to the forum today to ask about exactly this type of filter, as my ammonia levels are creeping up as my fish get bigger and eat more due to the increasing temperatures (initial overstocking is the main problem, predictably). Great minds think alike, eh? I'm generally a big fan of lava rock and use it as the bottom 2/3 of my growbed medium. The netting just seems easier to secure and keep off the bottom of the barrel, simplifying the design. You could wrap the suspended bucket/tube in the netting to allow easy installation/removal. Gary and/or Paul, do you see any functional/operational problems with such a design? I'm planning on knocking something together this weekend to alleviate my current cycle of panicked ammonia readings followed by water changes. My pH is really low, so toxicity is a ways off but I noticed the fish "flashing" last time I fed them.
  7. I've noticed that bird netting is often used in AP biofilters. Might that be a better choice for your hybrid filter rather than solid media?
  8. This seems like a decent unit. Anyone have any experience with it? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000EYWNVQ/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
  9. Testing it as a one-loop system shouldn't be a problem and could simplify things. Has anyone had luck sourcing low-wattage DC pumps? I'd like to avoid introducing the inefficiency of an inverter.
  10. One thing that I forgot to mention is that maintaining a constant water level is probably more important here than in standard systems. So I plan to incorporate a top-up tank somewhere that's plumbed into a float valve. That would also be an accurate way to measure the water consumption (and who doesn't like having more data?).
  11. Numbers! Thanks, that's great. So it sounds like I'd be marginal, even on a good day. I suppose I don't mind keeping it tied into mains to supplement/backup if I can figure out the wiring. Half of the airlifted flow does dump back to the FT, the other half to the GBs. Given the subterraneanness of the gravel, I like the idea of keeping freshly oxygenated water heading that way. I'm planning the GBs to be an IBC cut in half, so the gravel media exposed to water will be similar in volume to a standard GB (i.e 12 inches of gravel). So unless I'm mistaken, the filtration capacity (both mechanical and biological) should be similar. That said, I'm not opposed to a dedicated biofilter, but as Vela suggested I don't plan to stock heavily at first. Truth be told, I'm more interested in the veggie growth than fish until I get more experience with the swimmers. Actually, my current system is bordering on overstocked so that's part of the motivation to expand.
  12. I sketched out the basic idea at: http://www.aquaponicshq.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8721&p=57731#post57731
  13. Several concepts discussed in this thread got me thinking about a low-energy system I'm planning. I'd like to experiment with the earthan bed (continuous flow wicking bed) style and was wondering whether it would work with an overall low head suitable for airlift use (preferably solar powered). I have a 30 W panel to play with, but wasn't sure how this would translate to volume moved by a suitably-sized and configured airlift. The basic design is sketched out here:
  14. I was tossing around some of the concepts from this thread combined with a desire to try out a low-energy airlift-driven system. If you kept the water levels close to even (thus keeping head to a minimum for the airlift to function) throughout a double-loop system such as Paul describes, could you have enough flow for a viable system? Keeping in mind that you'd want to minimize the wattage of the air pump as much as possible to fulfill the design goal.
  15. Yeah, the float valve is only for an "offline" mode. For continuous flow, I'd use a standpipe as many folks do for NFT runs.