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  1. Hello forum, For the past 6 months I have been planning a conversion of my home-scale hydroponic unit to an aquaponics unit. My introduction to aquaponics were Murray Hallam's videos, which led to my original design based on the CHOP 2 system layout with 100% gravel grow beds. I have limited resources for construction and in the gaps between construction of different system elements I continued to research aquaponics. I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to this forum and in particular to Gary, I stumbled on this page during the construction of what would have been the sump for my CHOP 2 system. The refreshingly honest, experience-based, and down-to-earth posts on this forum provoked a complete revolution in my understanding of aquaponics and subsequently in my system design. I now plan on building a system based on raft growbeds with multiple filtration steps incorporated. Roughly a home-scale UVI type setup. Here in Mexico brick and concrete are the cheapest options for building material, and fortunately this revolution ocurred just before I ended up with a huge concrete sump tank I wouldn't need. Right now I am planning the construction of my suspended solids filtration/biofiltration element. My current plan is to focus more on suspended solids removal than biofiltration - I have found it difficult to accurately calculate the size required because I don't plan on using materials with published surface area/volume ratios. Of course the suspended solids filter will provide some biofiltration, as will every other surface in the system. My contingency plan is to add gravel ebb and flow beds if it appears I don't have adequate biofiltration when my Tilapia get big. (Thanks to this forum these gravel beds would use the pre-filtered water in the raft beds.) We have really cheap volcanic gravel available in my area of Mexico that can provide a big boost in surface area if needed. I am planning to make my raft tanks out of brick or concrete blocks, rendered, and then lined with plastic. My main unresolved design concern is how to plumb the raft system. I see that some people use standpipes to control the water level, but my beds will be about 8 m long and 1-1.5 m wide, so I was thinking that the best way would be to stick a 4 inch PVC pipe through the wall at the desired height. I would love to hear opinions and advice from anyone with experience in this area. Also, in general I would be interested in hearing from others attempting aquaponics in developing countries. It would be great to hear how they have overcome some of the difficulties I have faced (example: I can't find bulkhead fittings anywhere). Of course I would be happy to share my own experiences with anyone interested as well. I have lots of photos I would love to post showing the construction process of my system, but they're stuck on the camera right now and I can't find the memory card reader. I will try to upload one of my FT (about 4500 liters). Thanks in advance for all your help, I hope I can make valuable contributions to this community.
  2. Aquarium Top floating raft System: <iframe width="640" height="510" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/efp5_5JG4ks" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  3. Hello All, Hi All Well my system is up and running well all water flows are synchronied. Will post pic and video when everything is running. Still need to figure out a cheaper more durable method of supporting plants in my water bed. Went out to Home Depot but couldnt find small styrofoam panels any thicker than 3/4" which seems too flimsy to me. To get it thicker I'd need to glue 2 sheets together. I was just too cheap to spend the money. As I see it, there are five requirements that the styrofoam fills, and any alternative method need to fulfill. 1. Plant support 2. Plant spacing 3. Light exclusion 4. Material needs to be waterproof, light, strong and UV redsistant. 5. Non-toxic Can anyone think of a better material/design for the styrofoam raft that is cheap. Preferable using recycled materials. I am considering using schedule 20 pvc pipe as framing and some other light excluding material over frame. Floating is easy with so many disposable plastic water bottles around. Another possibility is not to float the raft but suspend the frame just above the water and let the net pots hang down into water. Let's put our heads together and solve this one! Kingjam
  4. Hi, So I am looking for some input on system design. I am working to build a mid sized raft system. I have built a small hobby sized system before, a media filled bed with a small bio filter with a sump/pump type design. The new system can have a footprint of 30'x75' I have attached a 3d model of the design. Any help would be appreciated. I am not sure what size pump to use or the most efficient way to move water from the fish tanks to the swirl filters. I was thinking airlift pumps(?) In this image (left to right) 2 fry/brood tanks, (8) 300 gallon fish culture tanks (the site already had these) 2 swirl filters (I plan to make these out of blue food safe barrels, like the ones often used for rain barrels) into a separate solids separator and then into a bio-filter, which now will be built out of another 300 gallon container with some sort of bio media and taro. Then the water flows to the 2 deep water culture rafts, these tanks are 8'x40. They will be 24" deep, but I was figuring 16"-20" of water. (The small table on the left is the plant starter table. ) The water leaving the 2nd raft would flow to the sump/pump. Any ideas? I am happy for any constructive ideas, comments, or corrections.