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cyberdelic

Cyberdelic's System

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Since a lot of people seem to have their own thread that's dedicate to their system, I guess I'll start my own :)

My main goal is to grow some blue tilapia here in Florida, with the plants mostly just for filtration and occasional snacking.

I've found a few fairly cheap food-grade 275-gallon IBC totes and I'll probably grab a couple food-grade 55-gallon blue barrels in the near future, too.

When I first started looking at various AP setups, I figured I'd do something along the lines of CHOP2. After reading about the limitations of it, I decided to take the advice of Gary and the rest and at least add a settlement tank to it to help filter out some of the solid waste.

As I understand it, I'd want the sump tank pump feeding the FT, the FT draining into the settlement tank, the settlement tank draining into the GBs, and then the GBs finally draining into the sump tank.

If I want to grow duckweed (as extra fish food, in addition to some extra O2 in the water during the day), could I just do that within the settlement tank? Or would I be better off having a separate tank for that, maybe between the settlement tank and the GBs? If I go with separate tanks, am I correct that the settlement tank would work best as a vertical barrel while the duckweed one is better in a horizontal (half) barrel for extra surface area?

I'd probably want sump tank at least halfway in the ground just to make things easier (and look nicer), but that's about as far as I've gotten as to where things should go...

Advice on how to arrange this all in the most efficient way is appreciated.

First and foremost, where/how should I be pulling water out of the FT for settlement tank? I assume I'd want it to be as close to the bottom as I can get, but then how does that water get up and out from there, an additional pump within the FT? Or does gravity make this work "automagically" in a way that I am not quite grasping just yet?

Lastly, would you recommend starting out with a dedicated fingerling tank? Or should I just use my sump tank for that?

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Duckweed is a wonder plant, however it does not add 02 to the water. Algae often grows in duckweed tanks and that does add o2 to the water during the day, but uses it at night.

If you haven't yet, check out the greenwater thread, I encourage you to look at it for fingerlings as a cost effective way to get many fingerlings. I am looking into plants I can grow without having to worry about hassles with the local barney fife's around my area. Duck potato and plants of ludwigia family (water primrose) seem to be promising.

One way to get the water from the bottom of the fish tank and out is the suckerupper and can be read about here

There are many ways to do things, you could also come straight out of the bottom of the ibc and bring a pipe up to where you wanted it, but this method tends to leave solids in the tank.

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Actually, Ravnis, I think reading the greenwater thread was what popped that into my mind for some reason.

Thanks for the Suckaruppa link. I had heard it mentioned in other posts, but wasn't quite sure what it was.

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First and foremost, where/how should I be pulling water out of the FT for settlement tank? I assume I'd want it to be as close to the bottom as I can get, but then how does that water get up and out from there, an additional pump within the FT? Or does gravity make this work "automagically" in a way that I am not quite grasping just yet?

It's actually pretty simple.

Your FT is going to overflow into your settling tank. The overflow happens because of the excess water flowing in from the pump from the sump. That overflow from FT to settling tank happens via a hole in the side of the FT with a pipe running through it. Following me so far?

So here's the part you were missing:

That pipe takes a 90 degree turn and runs down to the bottom of the FT. Because of this, the surface water of the FT can't flow out that hole into your settling tank. So where does the water come from that's flowing out? The bottom of the pipe, which is at the bottom of the FT. This is commonly referred to as a "stand pipe".

Note: you'll want some kind of screen to keep the fish from getting into that pipe and flowing out with your water. Me, I capped the bottom of the pipe and then drilled a ton of holes in the bottom foot of the pipe. So mine isn't pulling exactly from the bottom. But it's pulling from the lower foot of water.

My primitive understanding of hydrolics is that water in connected vessels will equalize their water levels because of water pressure. The stand pipe and the fish tank are essentially connected vessels. As the water level in the FT rises, water pressure forces water from the FT into the stand pipe until its water level matches the FT, equalizing the water pressure. (And since the stand pipe overflows into the settling tank, its water level won't ever match the water level of the FT until you stop pumping more water into the FT.) Since the only connection between the water in the FT and the water in the stand pipe is through the bottom of the stand pipe, that's where the water flows. So the water at the bottom of the FT is forced into the stand pipe... which is relatively narrow and flowing quickly, so rather than settle (as the FT water does) it is all forced out into the settling tank.

Forgive me if that's WAY more explanation than you wanted. I just think it's really cool stuff.

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Oh, I should also add that you'll want a hole in the top of your stand pipe. If it's fully sealed it can potentially turn into a siphon, sucking all the water out of your FT.

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Awesome. That's exactly what I was missing, Frydaze1. Is that related to "positive displacement"? I think I read a post mentioning it at some point.

But, yeah, I had a feeling that was how it was supposed to work, just wasn't sure why. lol

Also cleared up why diagrams/pictures I've seen of the stank pipe had a T-fitting up top. Makes sense now.

You're right about it being cool stuff. Any other concepts/techniques you can think of that are considered 'standard' on most systems yet might not be blatantly obvious to someone coming into this with no aquaponic/hydroponic/aquaculture background?

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post-7097-13795790243557_thumb.jpg

Tonight, my lack of abilities in SketchUp were offset by my ability to find pre-made components created by others... No sense reinventing the wheel, right?

So here's a very rough layout of what I'm looking to do, minus the pvc piping, cement blocks, etc. The components I have to work with are three 275-gallon fish tanks and two 55-gallon barrels.

It'll probably be arranged a bit differently, when all is said and done, but lining it up like this will -- hopefully -- make it easier to see what I'm aiming for.

For the filtration barrels, I honestly wasn't sure what's the easiest type to start out with. If I went with just a really basic settlement tank, does that mean it's just a barrel full of water with solids generally finding their way to the bottom? And would that use the same basic Venturi/SLO drain like in the fish tank?

Are there any special height considerations I need to take into consideration? In case you haven't noticed the trend yet, I have a very poor grasp on physics and gravity... lol

Also, is there any benefit to having two of the grow beds being deeper, since they'll be made from a tote cut in half? Or should I just stick to a more uniform 14" or so depth to allow for a standard 12" for grow media?

--Kevin

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Your grasp of physics is fine. We all learn better when something is actually explained to us!

I don't have any input into most of it. But here are a few thoughts from my own experience:

1) Deeper growbeds mean more media, higher surface, and more weight. These can all be problems. I don't know if there's any advantage to the depth that counters those. (I'm not saying there isn't, only that I'm ignorant.)

2) Watch the height of the surface. My primary growbed surface is mid-chest, because I had to put the sump under it and I'm working on a cement pad. That's not a convenient height At All. Granted, I don't have to stoop much. But I need a step stool to do any pruning or harvesting, and the tops of the tomato plants were 10 feet in the air (after trying to keep them pruned down)(and they weren't taller only because they were pressed against the top of the greenhouse, which is only 10 feet tall). Even working with short plants like lettuce gets tiring at chest height. Waist height is better if you can manage it.

3) Remember that the height of all the components is relative. You need water to flow down hill from some places to other places. From that drawing (yes I know the configuration will be different, but work with me) the water needs to flow from the FT into the filter. Okay... but the top of the water shouldn't be at the top of the FT, or the fish will jump out. Figure your overflow point is going to be at least 6" below that. From there it needs to go into the top of the filter. From the *bottom* of that it flows to no lower than the high water line of the GB (which is 1" below the to of the media, which is probably 1" below the top of the GB. From the *bottom* of the GB it will flow into the sump tank (no lower than its high water line). Following me? So with those downhill flows in mind, figure out what your highest or lowest points can/should be. If, for example, you start with the height of the growbed surface, does that put your sumps too low? Does it put the top of your FT too high for you to easily feed the fish? (And look at them, because they're fun to watch?) Take the time to plan this part out NOW. Or you'll end up standing on a ladder all the time like I do.

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Also, since you're in FL, you might want to see if you're anywhere near TCLynx. She has a *huge* system on her property, and is a very helpful, personable woman. If you're local (or can get local) she might let you come see her system and ask questions and such. That would be a great resource for you. There's nothing like actually touching a running system, to understand things.

http://www.aquaponiclynx.com/tclynx-blog

Fair warning: she does promote he-who-shall-not-be-named on her site. I know he isn't popular here and I completely understand the reasoning. Don't let that interfere with having a good, local contact.

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Thanks (again), Frydaze1. You rock :)

I just got all of the major pieces in today. As you said, I really need to take some time and plan out how this is going to work. Will follow up with TC, as well. She's a few hours away, but seems like it might be worth the trip.

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I'm happy to share my (limited) knowledge if it helps. :-)

Another solution to all the logistical water flow height issues is to add another pump somewhere. Don't forget to at least consider that in your setup plans. Most of us get away without it, but there are trade-offs. Also, consider the "head" (uphill pump power) of your main pump going from sump to FT. You have to pump water from the very bottom of the sump (pumping from the top only works for a moment, then you run out of water!), and get it up to the top of your FT. If that's 6', you need a pump with a 6' of head. If it's 10', you need 10' of head, obviously. A lot of pumps don't have enough head for the task you'll be giving them. Consider that both when buying the pump and when configuring your system.

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Coincidentally, a woman in FL who is also a few hours away from TCLynx commented on my blog a few days back. She is just barely in the planning stages of her system. Still doing research. I wonder if she's near you? You two might be able to give each other moral support and compare notes and such. Trial and error is more fun if you're not doing all of it yourself. lol

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Frydaze1, I did a tour of TCLynx's place about two weeks ago. She has some neat setups! And, thankfully, she was quite helpful and patient with my questions :) After talking with her and seeing some of her systems, I've decided to chop my IBC's in half and use them as grow-beds. I'm then going to look into ordering a large stock tank (1000gal or around there) to use for the fish.

It will cost me a bit more to purchase it and get it delivered, but it will hopefully be worth it in the long-run.

Also interesting was seeing design choices that seemed to run counter to advice on the forum. I guess a lot of things just come down to preference.

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For the fish tank, I've been going through threads on this forum and others, trying to figure out whether it's worth it to experiment with an above ground pool. For a few hundred bucks, it offers quite a lot of volume... Just a little concerned about its durability...

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For the fish tank, I've been going through threads on this forum and others, trying to figure out whether it's worth it to experiment with an above ground pool. For a few hundred bucks, it offers quite a lot of volume... Just a little concerned about its durability...

Give it a crack. Keep the kids and other animals away from it. It will be good for a few years provided you don't use any sharp nets or pipes in it. PS. I did not put animals and kids in the same group... lol

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My swimming pool is in its 4th year of use. If this is the last year I can use it and I have to replace it, it works out to $70 a year/5000 gallon tank space. I have an intex 15 ft metal frame. Make sure it is one with the metal frame, the one with the inflatable ring can deflate by itself sometimes and you will wind up with fish and water all over your yard.

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My swimming pool is in its 4th year of use. If this is the last year I can use it and I have to replace it, it works out to $70 a year/5000 gallon tank space. I have an intex 15 ft metal frame. Make sure it is one with the metal frame, the one with the inflatable ring can deflate by itself sometimes and you will wind up with fish and water all over your yard.

Do you have any pics of your setup, Ravnis? I assume you just pump from within the tank or do you somehow use the existing inlet/outlet connectors to gravity-feed your growbeds?

With the 5000-gallons you've got, how much/often are you cycling that?

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I'm working on something a little different than your normal aquaponic setup. Check out the greenwater thread. I'll be working on updating some pics soon. I'm in the middle of revamping the system at the moment. Since I use algae to filter the water , My turn over rate is probably around once a week, this keeps my power consumption down. I'm running the system with 200 tilapia at various sizes (mostly fingerlings at the moment) with around 200 watts of energy. I still have to construct some growbeds so have temps working at the moment.

And yes, I gravity feed from the lowest pool fitting.

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I'm working on something a little different than your normal aquaponic setup. Check out the greenwater thread. I'll be working on updating some pics soon. I'm in the middle of revamping the system at the moment. Since I use algae to filter the water , My turn over rate is probably around once a week, this keeps my power consumption down. I'm running the system with 200 tilapia at various sizes (mostly fingerlings at the moment) with around 200 watts of energy. I still have to construct some growbeds so have temps working at the moment.

And yes, I gravity feed from the lowest pool fitting.

The more I read about these larger Intex pools, the more I'm liking... The only warnings I can find about the liner getting spiked by fish seem to be from people who haven't actually used one of these pools. But even if I just get my feet wet, so to speak, with one of these pools and it ends up failing in a few years, I'm out a few hundred bucks, but should have a bit more experience under my belt, as well.

Have you seen any pro's/con's on the standard metal frame Intex vs the "ultra frame" Intex? Both seem to be steel, but I'm wondering if one's galvanized and the other is powder-coated or something. I'm currently leaning towards the ultra.

I think as long as I can get the pool level, I'll be in good shape. It just sounds like I'll need a fairly powerful pump if I'm going to be fully cycling the tank at least once per hour.

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I have no experience with the ultra frame, but I remember someone else looking into it and they thought the ultra used heavier gauge steel. I've been using the standard one. I would go with the 12' pool if I found a good deal on it. Easier to turn the volume over and can be found for ~100 - 150 bucks. If you want to go bigger then go for it. Remember you will need to protect them from freezing in the winter, but in your locale that won't be that difficult. A greenhouse or submergible heater may still be needed for a few weeks a year.

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Frydaze1, I did a tour of TCLynx's place about two weeks ago.

Cool! I'm glad you had a chance to get out there. I wish I lived closer so I could go.

Coincidentally, I finally got to tour a system. Fiance and I were in Hawaii and got to walk through Friendly Aquaponics. They also did some things entirely differently from anything I'd even thought of doing. I think that's one of the best parts of AP: since it's almost exclusively DIY, we all think differently and try different things so there's a ton more variation than in most projects/hobbies.

One of the things they did that I think I'll try to incorporate is a variation of a raft bed; instead of a raft with holes for pots, they had a plastic mesh (1/2" holes maybe?) over the container, just at the water surface. So their established plants just sit on the mesh instead of in individual pots. They also had traditional pots in rafts in other places. But they used the mesh for mint, oregano, and other creeping plants. And some ginger root.

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