Toga

'Jaws' - Toga's Aquaponic System

85 posts in this topic

Hello Fellow Aquapons !

I have finaly made time to start a documentation of this AP adventure, I just have to remember to take as many pics as I can during this DIY build.

With a fishy background & prior dabbling in AP I wanted to do another AP setup.

Peter the property owner, had a small but keen & growing interest in AP with no experience. He dabbles at a local market garden selling veggies produced from small conventional bed gardens.

Our mutual and instant merge of interests, individual life's knowledge & skill base has set the path for our DIY AP System Adventure... we now call Jaws, for no particular reason. lols

The property heaps of established food, health & fruit trees scattered about. With several springs and great run off feeding 3 dams total 150-200,000ltrs storage. Water is not a huge issue here.

One of our main goals was to use as much recycled & cheap DIY materials as we could including mixing and matching any 'left about bits-n-pieces' we had between us... we are lucky to have quite a fair bit including most of the fish equipment needs.

After heaps of research from all the great & informative AP sites like this one, combined with heaps of theory, custom design, layout, & config sessions... requiring much brain lubrication of the brewed nature... we came up with the conclusion we will build in stages. We will alter & scale up various aspects when fish growth require, combined with ongoing landscape, materials needs & construction time.. whilst trying to keep a realistic DIY budget... in most places.

Final systems specs will be -

Fish & Filter Systems

2 x 5000ltr (5mtr x 1w x 1.2h) fiberglass fish tanks

4 x 650ltr rearing tanks

gravity fed in order...

1 x 150ltr sieve solids filter into

1 x 1500ltr swirl pond into a dropping series of

4 x 200ltr reverse flow, top drain moving bed bio ball filters into

1 x 2000ltr sump

Air will be added through various points in fish tanks & filters @ 15,000ltrs p/h

Water is pumped from sump @ 16,000 ltrs per hour into a series of -

Crops Growing Systems

6 x 700ltr f&d media grow beds @ 3.5 x 1 x 200mm deep

2 x 1100ltr f&d media grow beds @ 3.5 x 1 x 400mm deep

1 x 15mtr hydro style tube system @ 100 holes

1 x 72mtr hydro style tube system @ 400 holes

8 x 45ltr f&d seed rearing trays

All water leaving crop growing systems is gravity fed back into fish tanks.

Fish tanks water volume turnover 1.6 times per hour.

11,300ltrs fish tanks

2450ltrs filtration

2000ltr sump

Total Fish System = 15,750ltrs

Total Crop System = 6,760ltrs media beds + 500 hole hydro style tube system

System will be powered completely off grid via DIY 1.5kw solar panel array including sun tracking unit, 20kw battery barrage & 6kw-240v power inverter system.

Excess power produced will be used for swimming pool pump, night lights, shed lights, power tools & computers and the most important piece of equipment in any serious AP system - the beer fridge :)

Well thats a quick intro & over view, with many other aspects not yet mentioned. Obviously even the best of plans get changed from time to time.. but those are the plans.

Heaps is done already, fish are in, crops going crazy and good harvests already ...

but unfortunately my pc is fried and awaiting parts, so Im relegated to a borrowed laptop and dont have pics on this, but dont dispare, i do have them and they are on the way.

Cheers

Toga

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i think i speak for everyone when i say .. PLEASE post pics, or make a online album, with pictures AND videos .. . :D

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I am interested in this off grid setup. I would love all the details you can share on that.. when the time comes...:)

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So, after saying all that - Let the Adventure Begin !!

Build Stage 1

After final review of our plans we begin with the 5000ltr fish tank formwork & grounds layout.

1.jpg

Then we install the firbeglass tanks, 2 x 200ltr static bed filters & 1500ltr swirl pond as a tempary Stage 1 sump, into position then add fish tank drain & filter plumbing.

We construct 2 x 700ltr media beds from treated pine planks & corrigated iron base and place directly on top of fish tanks.

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Then covered inside base with old carpet & underlay, followed by fitting the pond liner.

Fill with 20mm gravel, install flood & drain bell syphon's.

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Fill system with water while installing pump & water feed to above media beds, add 1000ltr p/h air pump to fish tanks... flick the switch and we have a circulating Build Stage 1 Completed on September 5th!

Day 4 of circulation added some eurea & seasol. Planted 3 tomatoe varieties, 1 eggplant, spring onions, 20 bok choi, 20 mixed chard, 12 lettuce, snow peas, green beans, 3 capsicum, 2 broccoli & a sole strawberry plant.

5.jpg

Ill try to bring this build up to date over next couple of days.

Cheers

Toga

Edited by Toga
Fixed broken pic links (see edit history)

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interesting :) . . keep it coming :D ...

waiting for the day i can settle down and get my own little piece of heaven ......for now.. im left to de-beautify the veranda vith my Dyi setup :P

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Moving along ...

9 September added 150 silver perch 5-8cm into 1 of the 5000ltr tanks. I noticed 1 fish had severe transport damage bashing its eye's to buldging, he was dead in the morning. It was a 5 hour train & bus trip to get them home and was after dark on arrival - sorry no pics.

The veggie progress has been very good for a new system, in my opinion.

14 September

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27 September

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3 October

8.jpg

16 October

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2 November

10.jpg

Cheers

Toga

Edited by Toga (see edit history)

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A couple shots of my bell siphon. I used the 'standard' 25mm drain pipes but increased the bell to 90mm and gravel strainer to 300mm - thinking the larger bell volume would increase siphon suction, 300mm ensures maximum drain from the gravel into the bell area. Beds now drain in 5min as apposed to 11min with only 50mm bell / 90mm gravel strainer.

11.jpg

Flow into fish tanks is a 'spray bar' style, continuing with the 25mm fittings from drain stand pipe.

12.jpg

Cheers

Toga

Edited by Toga (see edit history)

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I've finished the first Black Soldier Fly Harvestor. Will make a couple more when it is half full or so.

13.jpg

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15.jpg

Cheers

Toga

Edited by Toga (see edit history)

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This pic shows the 100 hole / 3 pipe hydro system in the back ground enclosure, the water from here gravity feeds the new f&d seedling trays, then into sump. (will get some better pics as im very happy with the seedling trays).

Ive done a simple log boarder and back filled with gravel to tidy things up a bit.

The second twin 700ltr grow bed is under way also.

16.jpg

Looking the other way you can see the first and second 700ltr twin grow beds & a raised bed, its full of butternut pumpkin at the moment, a third 700ltr twin grow bed will be placed there when it is harvested, just beyond that will be the twin 1100ltr grow beds. You can also see the solar panel array starting to take shape at the far end.

17.jpg

Just for you Pugo - A little teaser close up of the solar panels :D .. & yes, ill do a more comprehensive post & pics for this alone.

The solar system is up and running though less than half completed and has been powering the AP & some shed stuff for 10 days now - completely off grid.

18.jpg

I need to get some pics of the filter system as it stands for the moment. It will be one of the last upgrades done and will require the most landscaping.

Cheers

Toga

Edited by Toga
Fixed broken pic links (see edit history)

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Love those pictures, thanks for the teaser. As when I quit working here in Taiwan, and go back to the Philippines. I need to run my system solar as power in the Philippines is costly and very unreliable, every Saturday it is off all day and only comes back when the sun goes down.. So learning to run things off grid is something I really want to learn.. I know how to deal with control panels for machinery, but have never dealt with solar so I have a keen interest in your project.. how to do it.. thanks :)

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Hi APHQ,

Sorry for the delay in reply & lack of updates.

I have been in & out of hospital for multiple surgeries with a failing kidney disease for the past 3 months. I have made no further progress to my home system and as such, have no great pics / updates to post.

With absolute minimal input & maintenance, I have still managed an endless supply of salad lettuce greens, bok choy, silverbeet, spring onions, capsicum, eggplant, carrots, butternut pumpkin, tomatoes, basil, Vietnamese mint & others. Plus a rather handsome harvest of 2kgs of Red Claw Crayfish for X-mas lunch....

The silver perch have grown to 20-25cm, 10 caught & weighed approx January 14 with ave weight of 260grms.... all from the uncompleted system of my last post & in 4 months of operation. Gotta be stoked with that !!

Thanks for your interest & I do look forward to returning to and completing my project... and the pic updates of the progress as it happens.

Cheers

Toga

Edited by Toga (see edit history)

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Looks good mate,

Hope you get well soon..

I look forward to you recovering and being able to do AP again.

Cheers.

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Hi,

The BSF unit is running OK, but is very, very lightly populated. We really havnt had a summer this year, only rain & more rain. I suspect the lower than average temps combined with much higher rain / humidity has been the culprit for such a slow colonization. Though I did note Gary's post of his BSF going well and we are less than 2 hours apart, so.... will just take more time I suppose.

Cheers

Toga

Edited by Toga (see edit history)

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Hi,

The smaller nft system was finished back in January as a close up of a previous pic shows ...

19.jpg

Since then, 1 single 'mother' strawberry plant purchased in September, has multiplied through runners and now completely fills this system...

20.jpg

As I noticed new flowers on the mother plant I thought it time to prune. So a couple days ago I started removing any dead leaves and removed all the new growth runners. This will leave plenty of space and air flow for the flower stems to develop with much reduced chance of mold & rot. I counted over 200 new plant cuttings...

21.jpg

Today I started planting them out into 128 cell seedling trays. I filled 1 tray and have almost twice that many again to finish tomorrow. (ill grab pic of finished trays and emerging flower stems tomorrow).

Cheers

Toga

Edited by Toga (see edit history)

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Hi phri,

Sorry for the confusion, the system is nft as per 1st pic. The runners were layed out on an unfinished f&d just for the pic.

Cheers

Joe

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Hi,

Thanks Paul, ive been spraying liquid pot ash for several weeks now since the first flowers on the mother strawberry plant.

Here's the after prune shot.

22.JPG

New season flowers starting nicely. They will appreciate the extra space and air flow.

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Runners all tidied up and planted out, all 270 of them..

24.JPG

Chilli's & Lebanese Eggplant also been doing reasonably well.

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27.JPG

I definitely need to build a decent size worm compost, the worm tea will be a huge mineral and nutrient boost.

Cheers

Joe

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Hi,

Progress happens slowly here... and so do the updates, sorry.

We have encountered some problems along the way and have had to adjust some things, I will mention them as I go.

All 6 x 180w solar panels are now in place on the tracking frame. The purchased drive motor isn't strong enough and I rather like the DIY drill motor / driver, though it's clutch mechanism needs improvement & we havn't installed the sun tracking board yet, so tracking is still manual.

S001.JPG

The front of the electrical housing shows the top unit is a 2kw Photovoltaic Charger, the solar panels wire into here. This unit regulates the charge to the batteries and is the brains of the system.

The next unit down is a 600w 12/240v Inverter.

Bottom row right is the main isolator switch.

Bottom left & centre show the 20amp & 50amp circuit breakers that service the 600w & 1500w Inverters.

These are an Absolute Must !!!

S002.JPG

The rear of the unit houses the 1500w inverter.

On the timber post is the tracker motor on/off switch, below is the DIY drive motor.

S003.JPG

The last drama encountered forced a bit of major re-think resulting in the above configuration...

Batteries !

6 out of 8 train batteries we got at a 'cheap' price would not take a full charge, that left only 2 x 2kw batteries for storage. In hind sight, that is still 3 days & nights worth of power running our system.

Originally was planned & purchased a 6kw inverter but with only 25% of planned battery capacity it seemed a waste. The 600w inverter was wired up from day 1 and then added the 1500w inverter when the final 3 solar panels were finished.

The final config alteration is underway.

Underground wiring is being dug & laid directly from solar system to the shed. Separate underground wiring is done, from the shed to the aquaponics system. When complete, a separate power board in the shed will auto detect week/drained/failed battery power supply and switch to mains power from the house. Also wired in will be a mains charging system for the solar batteries. Mains power is virtually free due to a 20kw solar system on the house.

Finally, a rare sunny winters day.

June%25202012.JPG

Cheers

Joe

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Everything looks great.. you inspire me. thanks for your posts.

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