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Paul Dean

Greetings Aquaponicians

19 posts in this topic

Hi folks, I'm new to aquaponics but absolutely fascinated by the possibilities. I'm Paul from Northern California USA. I'm dreaming up a small-medium scale solar greenhouse with aquaponics, where I will raise (most likely) Tilapia and vegetables in some sort of flood and drain beds. Am investigating the possibility of doing something like the Speraneo system in one temperature- controlled greenhouse,(using mostly passive solar heating and cooling) and having a cooler-water fish in a second much smaller greenhouse that is connected to a biogas generator. If we can do this, the biogas will be used to supplement heat during extended cloudy weather in the climate controlled Tilapia greenhouse. I want to grow duckweed as a large component of the fish food, and raise black soldier-fly larvae and possibly some seed crop, in an effort to create a closed loop (as much as is practical) feed and food production system. Would appreciate any feedback by persons knowledgeable in these endeavors, about the overall concept, what major obstacles I might encounter, etc. Looking forward to participating here, glad to know there are a lot of smart dedicated people working on these problems......thanks!

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Welcome to Aquaponics HQ!! Glad you joined the fun. Sounds like you have a serious plan formed for your aquapoincs system.. I guess you will need to enlist the aid of google sketch-up. I am sure your endeavors into sustainable farming well be supported by the members of the forum, The members here are very helpful. Once again welcome to the forum..

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Hello Paul,

Welcome to APHQ! Great to have you on board. It sounds like you've got a very cool project ahead of you. We'll be here to help and support you along the way, so don't be shy. :)

Edited by kellenw (see edit history)

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Welcome to Aquaponics HQ!! Glad you joined the fun. Sounds like you have a serious plan formed for your aquapoincs system.. I guess you will need to enlist the aid of google sketch-up. I am sure your endeavors into sustainable farming well be supported by the members of the forum, The members here are very helpful. Once again welcome to the forum..

I'm sorry, I don't know about the "google sketch up." Maybe I should?

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Well it is a wonderful tool to use, it's a 3D software drawing system. Enables you to create models of anything you can think of.. Would be great for greenhouse design as well as aquaponic system design.. and it is free here is the link

http://sketchup.google.com/

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Pugo, thanks for the tip about the Google tool. I have a "green" architect friend who is helping/partnering with my project, and I will rely on him for design drawings and greenhouse design. At this point I am not sure whether to design a system sized to create a desired output, and then size the greenhouse accordingly, or whether to design and build a greenhouse of a desired size and then install the most productive system I can place in it. My goal is to do research, and to grow enough to feed my family, plus enough to perhaps have a few "subscribers" for a bit of extra income. I am trying to get a handle on stocking densities, so I can have a better idea what yields will be. The early calculations I did based solely on internet research, seem to be based on overly optimistic numbers, at least according to an impression I am getting from poking around here. Question: What does anyone think of the IBC tote systems? Are those totes good for reliable tanks, and capable of producing efficiently, or are they simply comparatively cheap and available?

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IBC systems can be very effective, and a lot of people use them. Have a little google for "The IBC of Aquaponics" its good thing to have a read through to get some ideas. The square shape of an IBC makes them very space efficient, however the ideal shape for most fish tanks would be round with a slight slope on the bottom. There are so very many ways you can put a sytsem together, and IBCs seem to be used well in quite a few systems, pair them up with blue plastic barrels and you have two of the most common (IMO) aquaponics components.

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Paul Dean

IBC's make excellent DIY Components as far as grow-beds and fish tanks, if you enlist them as components in your aquaponics system, make sure they were used in storing organic matter and not used to store petroleum by products as they will be contaminated, which makes them unsuitable for use in aquaponics. Barrels make wonderful units to create filter modules be sure to get barrels that have replaceable lids. In that way you can service you filter modules an then place the lid back on the barrel. Which keeps things a little quieter and keep contaminates out of your system. Good luck on the design phase of your system..

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Pugo, filter modules? A separate filter from the flood and drain beds? To remove solids? Was reading a little about this, but don't think I understand it yet. Is this the first place you pump water to out of the tank, then send it to grow/filtration beds? Is it needed for Tilapia production? I'm going to get some educational materials from the Speraneo farms, but haven't seen it yet. I don't think their system uses separate filter modules. As I said, I'm new to this, so just trying to understand the basics. Thanks both of you for feedback on IBC systems. It sounds like while they may not be perfectly ideal, there are no serious or fatal flaws associated with designs using them.

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Thanks for the link Ande. Been corresponding with Jim Rakocy about feed and other stuff, but this link is very helpful. Do most people use and consider essential, some kind of solids removal as a separate stage before grow beds? Rakocy makes it sound like it will enable a higher stocking density, but at what cost in setup and ongoing energy use? I was envisioning a flood and drain system without solids separation, but don't want to design a lame system. Maybe its just about how much fish I want to produce?

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The simplest way that I can put it is to say that an aquaponics system that is fitted with mechanical and supplementary biological filtration will be far more productive and resilient than one which is not.....period!

It will cost you very little in energy, As an example, all the power my system uses is no more than a 100 watt light bulb.. I run a continuous flow system, with a 6 inch deep gravel growbed. That means I have no siphons to deal with..:) no timers...:) no headaches:) the failure points in my system are minimal.. Filtration allows you the ability to have a high density fish system, but doesn't mean you have to have one..

Removal of suspended solids is important since suspended solids comprise the majority of the biological oxygen demand. The biological oxygen demand not removed by a solids filtration system must be removed by the biofilter before an effective nitrogen cycle can begin. So pumping solids into your growbed makes little to no sense whats so ever.. in my point of view. However many basic systems just use the growbeds as the bio filter and they do work, but it is kind of like sweeping dirt under the carpet.. sooner or later you will have to deal with them..:(

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Thanks everyone for the feedback. So does anyone have a link or manual or book describing or showing plans for a DIY small/medium aquaponic system solids removal method? I've seen it described in outline, or for big systems like Jim Rakocy's UVI system, but still not clear where to go for direct info on actually building the things for the scale that I intend. Btw, the link for The Urban Farming Guys is very helpful. Their interests are definitely related directly to mine in this.

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Well , Information is out there, you can look at my build thread.. Taiwan chronicles, my system is not that big and has a very simple, but effective filtration system. Honestly I don't know of any one article that gives you the whole ball of wax in it.. You can also search Aquaculture, there you will find lots of filter designs, there are many ways to remove solids, you will have to choose the one that is right for you and your pocket book

. examples are, bead filters, packed media filters, brush filters, swirl filters, settlement tanks, and each of those has different designs to review, the same will happen when you look at Bio filters.

Now I picked my filtration system for two reasons, The first reason is I don't have to buy new filter pads or replace any parts to maintain the filter system, the second is cleaning the system is as easy as I could possibly be, the only part that could be easier would have been a swirl filter but it is less effective than the brush filter. I could have placed a swirl filter before the brush filter but I did have the room for it..

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Thanks everyone for the feedback. So does anyone have a link or manual or book describing or showing plans for a DIY small/medium aquaponic system solids removal method? I've seen it described in outline, or for big systems like Jim Rakocy's UVI system, but still not clear where to go for direct info on actually building the things for the scale that I intend. Btw, the link for The Urban Farming Guys is very helpful. Their interests are definitely related directly to mine in this.

Hi again Paul

Here is a link that describes a variation of mecanical filter options

http://www.koi-bito.com/forum/pond-construction/7998-mechanical-filtration-options.html

Here is a link to nomeros diferente DIY filters both mecanical and biological (and more)

http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showthread.php?63850-DIY-amp-MODs-%28do-it-yourself-make-your-own%29-3rd-edition.&p=1056608#post1056608.

I think it is difficulte for anybody to point at a specific filter for you, atleast untill you have outlined the zize/volume of your fishtank/pond and the specific max bioload (fish specie/numbers) that needs filtering.

The differnce in need/no need for aditional filtering claims or viewpoint that might confuse you, is most often based on/in differente goals.

IMO you/any should read up on fishhusbandry,specie avilable/needs.......... when you have decided on type/number of fish, you/any should scale the filter (mec/bio) to be able to handle the max bioload it producec, independent of the growbeds.

The reason is the seasonal variation in the weggifilter (unstable around here) Temp C/F, light.................... I keep fish year around but there is a seasonal(natural) breake in growing crops.

I could grow all year around but then the cost ($) would be a pain instead of gain.

Hope this was of some help

cheers

edit

You should try get your plan (space available) outlined for us to see visual even iff it's still vague (hand drawing is fine) then post a new thread(s), in another section, that will most probably give you more spesific feedback

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Hi Paul,

So does anyone have a link or manual or book describing or showing plans for a DIY small/medium aquaponic system solids removal method? I've seen it described in outline, or for big systems like Jim Rakocy's UVI system, but still not clear where to go for direct info on actually building the things for the scale that I intend.

Sorry I missed your post at the time that you made it. You might like to consider my Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.....particularly since I advocate solids removal.

Gary

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Hey Paul,

I am also in Norhtern California and interested in getting a similar setup as you going.... Have you started? Are you near Sonoma county? I am in Healdsburg and would love to help or see your setup. Let me know.

Robert

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