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Hollani

Hi from Perth - any help appreciated

17 posts in this topic

G'day everyone. Been looking for a while, thought I'd post a thread.

I'm a 45 year old male who is a keen vegie gardener and have been wondering what I could do with a 2.2m diameter, 900mm deep concrete tank that is buried in the ground in my front yard.

The tank has power next to it with timers & water hooked up to it with a float valve. Not sure what the last owner used it for. A year ago I put some yabbies in it but they didnt last without any filtration which got me searching and I found out about aquaponics. Time to give it a go I reckon. What size grow beds could I use with a tank of this size? There is plenty of room around the tank. I have a spare pressure pump that was off a property that I had once that didnt have town water, I'm sure I could utilise this??

Any suggestions of where to source grow beds in perth would be appreciated, and any other suggestions as to grow bed sizes, types of fish and where to source in perth would be a help.

Thankyou.

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Hi Hollani,

Welcome to Aquaponics, you will enjoy the journey.

Grow bed to tank ratio can be up to 2 grow bed to 1 fish tank by volume, but a ratio of 1 to 1 is much more manageable.

In Perth, you can raise Silver Perch and I think you will find that Trout are a real good option.

Why not consider using a NFT setup for the pond. It's less expensive since you don't need the grow medium or the tubs for the medium. It's quicker to setup.

Perhaps you could plant some papyrus reeds in the concrete tank/pond to help balance the system.

Please start a thread for yourself and post some photos of the concrete tank, pump etc.

I am sure you must have some photos. Is the tank square or round ?

Keep us informed of your progress. We will be interested in your progress.

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Thanks Murray,

What is an NFT system that you mentioned ?, I searched the threads but didnt come up with anything. My tank is round by the way. I'll post some photos when I start. I asssume that I will need a layer of sand in the bottom of the concrete tank as you mentioned planting some reeds - is this correct?

Thanks

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Aren't papyrus reeds classified as an invasive weed?

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Hi Hollani,

NFT stands for Nutrient Film Technique and is a growing system that does not (usually) feature media. It usually comprises a series of small plastic troughs.......rectangular, oval or circular in section.....along which a trickle of nutrient travels.

Holes which accommodate seedlings are situated at predetermined intervals. The seedlings will be supported by net pots filled with gravel or expanded clay......and other times they will just be placed directly into the hole in the trough.

Either way, their roots will be in contact with the nutrient flowing along the trough.

This growing system is particularly well-suited to lettuce, basil and similar salad and herb crops.

For a picture of a small NFT system.......here.

GaryD

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Thanks for the replies guys. I will make it my project for the xmas break.

Thinking of running with a grow bed system. Theres a water tank place in midland on the corner of the roe hwy that had some rectangular ponds that were about 300 deep that looked suitable.

First I've just got to get my head around how these automatic syphons work. Had a read of some in the forum and still cant grasp it properly.

Because the tank is fully in the ground I was thinking of sitting the bed on the ground and overhanging it slightly over the tank so it can just drain straight back in to the tank. I dont particularly want it up high as I have a good back & my other vegie gardens are on the ground anyway. It will look more like a conventional garden bed this way also. I was thinking of eventually having 3 grow beds fanning out from the tank at 90 degrees apart.

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G’day Hollani

First of all what suburb do you live in? Is your front yard fenced?

If you answer something like Nollamara or Queens Park I would not even bother with setting up something the entire world can see and that someone will **** on you (I’m sure you can figure out the blank) because they will.

But on the other hand if you live in a good area it may be ok.

If you do decide to use a nutrient film technique, deep flow technique, Capillary Action Technique or something similar you will need a bio-filter in order to process the fish wastes to plant available nutrients otherwise you will need to do daily water changes to ensure your fish survive as the water will become enriched with nutrients and become toxic to your fish. Bio-filters can be expensive sorry I should say are very expensive ($300) unless you are able to make one yourself out of cheap materials and you will need to keep close eye on algae growth, some expensive bio-filters have UV lights in order to kill algae growth which is an added advantage but are expensive nether less.

Murray recommended Trout as an option to use in a system I will tell you now they are NOT and nor ever will be; trout are a cold water fish (south west WA), water temperatures over 25C will kill trout an ideal range is around 15-18C. Now if you are using a grow bed gravel/blue metal or whatever and growing trout the microbes found in the grow bed are very slow and may be even dormant in the winter to convert fish wastes and soon you will have a system completely out of balance. You know no one ever believes me but spend 1hr on the net and do further research and you may find that it will be the case.

You will get a few ideas if you go to The Watershed in Midland on GEHY just West of that tank place or The Watershed in Morley ask for Aaron and say Jon Dyer sent you he will look after you very well.

If you want as mentioned have your gravel bed just above the tank and run a pump continuous circulating through your bed and drain back into your fish tank will work great. Set it up so you are squirting water from the top of the bed so that it drains down and out back into your fish tank not a flood and drain technique.

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Thanks Jon, that all made sense to me. I'm lucky to live on 10 acres, so neighbours arent a problem and theyre good ones anyway. Trout were never an option for me because I've never liked the taste of them personally.

So its ok to continually pump water through a bed then I take it? I wasnt sure about that. This idea sounds very easy. If I had a 1500 long bed how far apart do you think I need to space the piping that is pumping the water in at the top? I guess it will just be pvc pipe with holes drilled in it at certain centres. Can you suggest hole sizes & spacings? I was thinking of putting in an inch or so of sand in the bottom of the water tank, is this worth doing?

Thanks for the help.

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Hi Jonathon,

Bio-filters can be expensive sorry I should say are very expensive ($300) unless you are able to make one yourself out of cheap materials and you will need to keep close eye on algae growth, some expensive bio-filters have UV lights in order to kill algae growth which is an added advantage but are expensive nether less.

I've been running two 65 litre bio-filters for over 18 months now. They cost me about $30.00 for the plastic drums and nothing for the oyster shells that I use as media. They currently support 87 Jade Perch of about 150mm in length in about 600 litres of water.....and last year, they grew out 44 Jade Perch to plate size.....in the same quantity of water.

I also have a small mechanical/biological/UV filter of the type you mentioned. I use this to clarify the water in either of my system as the need arises. I don't recommend prolonged use of the UV light because it removes some trace elements from the nutrient.

Murray recommended Trout as an option to use in a system I will tell you now they are NOT and nor ever will be; trout are a cold water fish (south west WA), water temperatures over 25C will kill trout an ideal range is around 15-18C.

I know someone who raised trout in Perth last year. I'm under the impression that fed and managed properly you can get trout to eating size in six months. If you do this in the winter months, there should be no issue.

Now if you are using a grow bed gravel/blue metal or whatever and growing trout the microbes found in the grow bed are very slow and may be even dormant in the winter to convert fish wastes and soon you will have a system completely out of balance. You know no one ever believes me but spend 1hr on the net and do further research and you may find that it will be the case.

While Nitrobacter and Nitrosomonas bacteria become much less active in cooler weather, they still function. The water temperature in my small system dropped to 13 degrees C last winter and while the fish stopped eating, the system continued to function biologically......to the point where the fish stayed alive.

Gary

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Hi Hollani,

So its ok to continually pump water through a bed then I take it? I wasnt sure about that. This idea sounds very easy. If I had a 1500 long bed how far apart do you think I need to space the piping that is pumping the water in at the top? I guess it will just be pvc pipe with holes drilled in it at certain centres. Can you suggest hole sizes & spacings? I was thinking of putting in an inch or so of sand in the bottom of the water tank, is this worth doing?

You'll get a better result if you use a flood and drain irrigation cycle than a continuous flow one. Channelling (where the water takes the line of least resistance through the media) can be a problem with continuous flow but is not an issue with flood and drain. Flood and drain will also provide for more even distribution of fish solids......and will better facilitate nitrification.

I use a single 50mm pipe with 10mm holes at 100mm intervals to flood my 2.1m long grow beds.

I wouldn't bother putting anything on the bottom of your fish tank. It will make it easier to keep it clean.......and sand and pumps are natural enemies.

Gary

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Hollani if you give me your email address I can explain this system in more detail or I can give you a call if you get stuck.

My system is going hard never had a problem to date and has over $500 worth of fish in it.

I have a degree in Aquaculture from Denmark Ag School and degrees in Production Horticulture from TAFE and still taking it further.

My old man and I have a farm in Kellerberrin 200km West along GEHY from Perth. We have diversified our farm from the traditional wheat and sheep to now grow horticulture crops such as pumpkins, rockmelons, zucchini, okra and a few other things as the way of farming currently has become difficult or is unlikely to be viable in the near future so a change was necessary. So I guess time will tell how it goes.

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Hi Jonathon,

Why don't you describe your system in greater detail for the benefit of us all......and some photos would be good, too.

Gary

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Hi,

If you'd like to see Rainbow Trout that were grown in WA in five months ....here.

I know of people who are growing them in Victoria and Tasmania produces hundreds of tons of them every year.

Gary

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Hi guys, my first post.

I have been involved with fish for a fair few years now though am still yet to set up an aquaponics system. Maybe start one up in the next few months.

On the topic of growing trout in Perth, Gary and Murray are right. You can definately grow them in Perth and I know of several farmers who are even 200 odd km north of Perth and successfully grow them out. Most guys buy them at around 9 months of age in May and by late to mid spring they should be 600gms + and ready for harvest before the hot weather comes in. I'm not that far out of Perth and mine are still doing fine even though the water temps hit 24c a couple of times in November. Luckily December has remained fairly mild so far this year.

Was wondering Jonathan how you managed to get a degree in Aquaculture from Denmark Ag school?? I have seen the one tank set up they have they have there and its only for kids who do aquaculture in yr 11 and 12!!!! I thought the only place you could get a degree in aquaculture in WA was at Curtain Uni.

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Hi oldtrout thanks for the comments.

First of all as with anything if you don’t properly attend and manage something it won’t work or work very poorly. And growing trout in Perth is no exception; yes I agree 110% if you are able to keep water temperatures, oxygen, ammonium, nitrates at optimum levels, clean water, carbon dioxide levels low with an adequate balanced diet trout will grow anywhere (even on mars for that matter) but you must understand if you are not at the forefront of maintaining these quality levels it simply wont nor ever will work successfully. As you said your friends who grow trout do not grow them all year around nor is it likely are they grown in one meter of water in the open as to what you would expect in a small aquaponics setup in the back yard for say. One nice long week of extreme hot weather like February this year (remember that 40C+) that heat driving straight into a small pond with little cover, the water will heat up very quickly, not to say the trout will die for certain but they will be very stressed. Its like having a car, there is more to the operation of the vehicle that just putting fuel in and off you go, you need to check the engine oil, diff, gearbox, break fluid, power steering fluid, maintain tyre presser, keep in order every aspect of the engine on a regular basis otherwise it will work poorly or blow up completely and in the long run costing you money. So if someone wanted to grow trout all year round in Perth including summer without the proper experience or precautions even an experienced person for that matter is likely to come to grief at some stage. Trout are very sensitive and for someone that doesn’t have the opportunity of purchasing everything that opens and shuts to keep the system in pristine order trout will be one of the first fish to throw it in; that’s all I was saying and look if anyone else is having success please let us know it would be good to hear it.

Well I don’t know oldtrout when you saw the setup at Denmark Ag but when I was there, there were many more recirculating aquaculture tanks we were growing out trout for that matter too but I did hear that it had died in the ass lately. Most of my course was obtained through correspondence were I went off and worked on a local fishing boat in order to complete the requirements for the degree I was the only student who completed the course. My horticulture course for that matter is all correspondence both written and practical, the assessor comes out every now and then and checks the physical side of things in order to pass and obtain the degree.

You can obtain a degree in aquaculture at the following institutions:

UWA – Bachelor of Science (Marine Science) (50110) Side courses available for those studying ‘Marine Science’

Curtin – Muresk Institute – Full Aquaculture courses available:

Aquaculture Major 303419

Master of Philosophy (Aquaculture) 308125

Master of Science (Aquaculture) 309848

Aquaculture Honours Major 310017

Bachelor of Science (Sustainable Aquaculture) 303383

TAFE – Various locations across the state. Full courses available in:

Seafood Industry (Aquaculture) (S413) Certificate II (this is what I have:))

Seafood Industry (Aquaculture) (S418) Certificate III

Seafood Industry (Aquaculture) (S426) Certificate IV

Seafood Industry (Aquaculture) (S432) Diploma

the Seafood Industry (Fishing Operations) (S173) Certificate II

Transport and Distribution (Maritime Operations) (S208) Certificate III

the Seafood Industry (Aquaculture) (S162) Certificate I

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