Rosso Carne

ITT we discuss Decoupled / Open loop / Multi-circuit aquaponics systems

252 posts in this topic

OH HI EVERYBODY!!!

 

So let's restart this discussion about the newest "trend" hitting the aquaponics nation: DECOUPLING

 

Or maybe you mean open loop?  Multi-circuit? Multi-loop? 

 

Either way, in a nutshell, this style of aquaponics runs a total RAS loop, and transfers the polluted water to a hydroponic loop.  In this way, you're able to run the systems independently with different conditions so they can thrive. In addition, the majority of these systems process the solid waste in a separate system so that it can be run independently, so there is no risk to either production system.  Keep in mind, this can be as simple as spraying your garden whenever you do a water change, or it can be a complete traditional hydroponics with rafts, media, towers, etc. Each system can thrive, and it can be treated without ever affecting the other side.

 

This is NOT simply building your system so that either side can be isolated for maintenance.  In that case, once the block valves are lined back up, any treatment will begin affecting the other side.  You don't exhibit the precise control as in a true decoupled system. 

 

I'll grab up some references and throw them in the OP.  Anyone who posts a link I'll also add it to the list.  Please let me know if I forget something.

 

-------------------------

I'm going to start with something I said in the original thread:

 

The decoupling is so you can treat the separate systems optimally. The big thing you learn with single loop aqp is that it's about a compromise. People are concerned about the plants, so they run it optimally (eh almost) and compromise on the fish. Fish like a higher pH for example, and so do (especially important) the nitrifiers.

When you allow the hydro loop to run (even more) optimally, only letting some fishy water cross over sometimes, they'll run better. 

If you let the fish run optimally, as in a traditional ras, they'll be happier, less stressed, grow fatter, and nitrification will be supercharged. They say run a low pH so the ammonia is innocuous, but why do that when your nitrifiers are running full tilt? 

You can treat both separately. You can abandon one side easily if necessary. 

And what's the price? An additional pump that runs a couple hours a day. 

School 

 

-------------------------

 

REFERENCES

 

Original Thread:

http://aquaponicsnation.com/forums/topic/9261-flourish-farms-advocates-decoupled-system-yay/

 

Flourish Farms - PowerHouse Hydroponics

http://www.powerhousehydroponics.com/scalable-aquaponic-system-design/

 

Why Decoupled Aquaponics? - Aquaponics Association

http://www.aquaponicsassociation.org/why-decoupled-aquaponics/

 

Evolution of aquaponic designs continues – Macro Sapian - Earthan Edge

http://www.earthanedge.com/evolution-of-aquaponic-designs/

 

Decoupled Evolution of Aquaponics – New Iteration - Earthan Edge

http://www.earthanedge.com/decoupled-evolution-of-aquaponics-new-iteration/

 

Ponic Wars

Separation of Fish and Plant Systems

Edited by Rosso Carne (see edit history)
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Continuing from the other thread. Ryan's mineralization is not inline with the ras. The water that is cleaned from the swirl filters drains to the mineralization system which will eventually feed the plants. From what I know of Paul's dual loop, seems similar.

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TF, you live in Thailand, so have you been to Ryan's site?  it seems like an awesome place, he put a ton of work into it.

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Decoupled question. Why doesn't the plant water eventually go back to the fish?

Let's say the plant water was a PH 5.5 and it contained enough neem oil to be fatal to your fish.

Could you run the water through an RO system, adjust PH to match the RAS water and return to the fish?

I know very little about the RO process but doesn't it make green pond water drinkable?

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You probably RO it, but thats a ton of energy in the long run, plus it makes some pretty nasty waste water.

 

Think of RO like a REALLY REALLY FINE filter.  You squeeze the water through it, but you'll never get it all through, so you are left with incredibly concentrated water on the other side.  It can remove nearly every contaminant.

 

The main reason for not returning is the same reason you have to waste from a hydro system.  Some of the undesirable salts build up over time, and the excess must be dumped.  Although this water can be RO'd, I feel like it's better used to irrigate soil crops.  Some plants (eggplant for example) can take a high amount of salts like this.  Or, mix it into an irrigation stream (like a greywater line) and dump the same time you shower, or wash clothes.  Then youre using the water for irrigation, and not wasting vast amounts of energy to do so.

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Continuing from the other thread. Ryan's mineralization is not inline with the ras. The water that is cleaned from the swirl filters drains to the mineralization system which will eventually feed the plants. From what I know of Paul's dual loop, seems similar.

 

Yep, that's how I have understood it as well after watchign Ryan's youtube video explaining the mineralization tanks. Not for sure what was proprietary about it though, other than him saying it was.

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You probably RO it, but thats a ton of energy in the long run, plus it makes some pretty nasty waste water.

 

Think of RO like a REALLY REALLY FINE filter.  You squeeze the water through it, but you'll never get it all through, so you are left with incredibly concentrated water on the other side.  It can remove nearly every contaminant.

 

The main reason for not returning is the same reason you have to waste from a hydro system.  Some of the undesirable salts build up over time, and the excess must be dumped.  Although this water can be RO'd, I feel like it's better used to irrigate soil crops.  Some plants (eggplant for example) can take a high amount of salts like this.  Or, mix it into an irrigation stream (like a greywater line) and dump the same time you shower, or wash clothes.  Then youre using the water for irrigation, and not wasting vast amounts of energy to do so.

 

Yep, would be incredibly expensive to run it through a RO due to how fast the filters would get "used up".

 

The most cost effective RO would probably be an incredibly slow flow rate through a sand bed, that has to be properly innoculated sand treatments (i.e., Biosand Filter), since this was their original purpose to clean incredibly contiminated water.... dun Dun DUN!!!! Did someone just say "sand" ;)

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Continuing from the other thread. Ryan's mineralization is not inline with the ras. The water that is cleaned from the swirl filters drains to the mineralization system which will eventually feed the plants. From what I know of Paul's dual loop, seems similar.

 

In the current configuration... that's correct... as seen here...  from 19:15 onward..

 

 

In the original "Commercial Aquaponic System Build Part 1 - Final Design update" video...

 

He referred to the mineralisation component information available (in the notes)... as "in-line mineralisation".... obviously that was incorrect in terms of perhaps the "terminology"....

 

Most current "commercial"  systems employing "mineralisation".. ( I resist putting a figure on it to avoid statistical argument... :D )........ are configured as "in-line"... regardless of whether or not the the plant and fish loops can be isolated... not an optimal configuration...

 

So yes, the inclusion of a separated mineralisation loop is really a requirement for optimal commercial design.. and recognition of this concept is, and should be attributed to Paul accordingly...

 

The separation of a mineralisation loop is the next step in the evolution of commercial system design.. and kudos to the (few) who may be implementing it, or advising accordingly..

 

The question then.. is how is, and should it be implemented....

 

For some reason many have, for unknown reasons,....  incorporated an "anaerobic" component... can anyone give me reasons as to why?

 

If there are any reasons to do so... where should the "anaerobic component" be located.... surely NOT before any aerobic mineralisation processes?

Edited by RupertofOZ (see edit history)
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Perhaps the reason for incorporating anaerobic processes might be some elements in the waste can only be broken down by anaerobic bacteria.   

 

As to having it before the aerobic mineralization process, why not?  The aerobic process will kill the anaerobic pathogens and the breakdown process started in the anaerobic process can be finished by the aerobic process. 

 

This is done every day in large scale treatment plants.  It is also the basis of  Fixed film technology.

 

Also the decoupled loops is how Integrated aquaculture  was originally done, we have simply come full circle.  This was talked about on this forum way back 7 or 8 years ago, though the methods have changed from worm farm to basically a compost tea brewer. 

 

Aquaponics has a lot of reinventing the wheel it seems.  I guess the best thing is to find the right mix of components for the application.

Edited by Ravnis (see edit history)
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If the purpose of "mineralisation" is to optimise the nutrient availability for the plant cycle...

 

Why "denitrify" by anaerobic processes?.. as an initial step?

 

Most anaerobic processes... are end "decomposition" processes... extracting the last of anything "beneficai"... and leaving basically useless "refractory" solids...

 

Paul doesn't use any anaerobic processes in his UAE system....

 

And where I've seen anaerobic processes in peoples systems... by intent, or more usually by mismanagement... they have posed potential threats to the system...

Edited by RupertofOZ (see edit history)
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Paul doesn't use any anaerobic processes in his UAE system....

 

And here's a waste water treatment company that utilizes ALL aerobic processes through the accumulation of activated sludge... NewTerra MBR Water Pollution Control Plant...  activated sludge, for us, would be like when we dump worm castings into the mineralizer.

 

 

Most anaerobic processes... are end "decomposition" processes... extracting the last of anything "beneficai"... and leaving basically useless "refractory" solids...

 

Yep, and that's whats done with the excess sludge, whenever there is any, of the New Terra plant. That is it is done AFTER all of the aerobic processes.

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If the purpose of "mineralisation" is to optimise the nutrient availability for the plant cycle...

 

Why "denitrify" by anaerobic processes?.. as an initial step?

 

Most anaerobic processes... are end "decomposition" processes... extracting the last of anything "beneficai"... and leaving basically useless "refractory" solids...

 

And relatively little of that.  That's one one of the differences  between aerobic digestion and anaerobic digestion…..anaerobic digestion produces much less refractory solids.

 

Paul doesn't use any anaerobic processes in his UAE system....

 

Can you link to someplace that has a coherent explanation of how the UAE system actually worked?  

 

And where I've seen anaerobic processes in peoples systems... by intent, or more usually by mismanagement... they have posed potential threats to the system...

 

I can recall the "Really Smart Guy" thread on BYAP, years ago, where the discussion was around using denitrification filters that were fuelled by rusty nails……and their purpose was to reduce nitrate levels, if I recall correctly.

 

Years ago, I also heard about an aerobic/anaerobic digestion process that purported to optimise nutrient recovery in fish system outflows…..but I can't, for the life of me, find it anywhere.  I've googled the subject black and blue……with no useful outcome.

 

Everything else positive that I've ever seen on anaerobic digestion was to do with nutrient removal rather than recovery….in a wastewater treatment context.  It's harder to get things happening in an anaerobic digestion process and it produces some gases and substances that you really don't want anywhere near fish or plants….or aerobic bacteria…..or people, for that matter.

 

Gary

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The entire reason why anaerobic digestate becomes created is due to the fact that anaerobic digestion does NOT "produce much less refractory solids" than aerobic digestion, which is why anaerobic digestate requires to be further broken down aerobically. Think about it... ;)

Edited by crsublette (see edit history)
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And here's a waste water treatment company that utilizes ALL aerobic processes through the accumulation of activated sludge... NewTerra MBR Water Pollution Control Plant...  activated sludge, for us, would be like when we dump worm castings into the mineralizer.

 

 

 

Yep, and that's whats done with the excess sludge, whenever there is any, of the New Terra plant. That is it is done AFTER all of the aerobic processes.

 

Activated sludge is more like the basic aerobic digestion process we talk about…… and leaving some of the digested effluent (containing aerobic bacteria) in the digester - to accelerate the production of bacteria in the fresh batch of watery solids from the radial flow separator/packed media filter.

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The entire reason why anaerobic digestate becomes created is due to the fact that anaerobic digestion does NOT "produce much less refractory solids" than aerobic digestion, which is why anaerobic digestate requires to be further broken down aerobically. Think about it... ;)

 

But is there sufficient value in doing so???.. even if it's placed last in the loop... and the digestate re-introduced to the beginning of the loop.. perhaps?

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Activated sludge is more like the basic aerobic digestion process we talk about……

 

Yes, I am quite aware of that...

 

 

 and leaving some of the digested effluent (containing aerobic bacteria) in the digester - to accelerate the production of bacteria in the fresh batch of watery solids from the radial flow separator/packed media filter.

 

This is why I mentioned the bit about adding worm castings from the vermicompost bed. :)

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Lets say I have 2,000lt of rafts and a 1,000lt sump (large sump but I want to keep round numbers) set up as decoupled and I'm going to grow 48 tomatoes in that system. How often do I need to replenish with water from the RAS system? Let's say I need to replensish with 10% of the system capacity everyday, 300lt.

That would mean my normal filter cleaning in the RAS should give me 300lt daily. What is the size of the RAS system that can supply this without taking out more water from the system than is necessary for a proper filter cleaning? The reason I only want to take out what is necessary is because anything above that is just wasting water. 

My question is for the RAS experts. What % of water is supposed to be taken out of a correctly engineered system daily?

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But is there sufficient value in doing so???.. even if it's placed last in the loop... and the digestate re-introduced to the beginning of the loop.. perhaps?

 

Sorry, need clarification... Not following... Sufficient value in doing what? And placing what last in the loop?

 

I would think the digestate would still have significant microbrial benefts... so either back to the beginning or spinkled on top of the vermiculture compost heap.

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Lets say I have 2,000lt of rafts and a 1,000lt sump (large sump but I want to keep round numbers) set up as decoupled and I'm going to grow 48 tomatoes in that system. How often do I need to replenish with water from the RAS system? Let's say I need to replensish with 10% of the system capacity everyday, 300lt.

That would mean my normal filter cleaning in the RAS should give me 300lt daily. What is the size of the RAS system that can supply this without taking out more water from the system than is necessary for a proper filter cleaning? The reason I only want to take out what is necessary is because anything above that is just wasting water. 

My question is for the RAS experts. What % of water is supposed to be taken out of a correctly engineered system daily?

 

Ugh... yeah... Mr. Van der Werf answered this through helping Swede.... sec... need to find the hyperlinks.

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TF, you live in Thailand, so have you been to Ryan's site?  it seems like an awesome place, he put a ton of work into it.

 

Hi Rosso,

Ya I've been by for the odd beer and tomato purchase. The guy is working hard and his tomatoes are killer.

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Lets say I have 2,000lt of rafts and a 1,000lt sump (large sump but I want to keep round numbers) set up as decoupled and I'm going to grow 48 tomatoes in that system. How often do I need to replenish with water from the RAS system? Let's say I need to replensish with 10% of the system capacity everyday, 300lt.

That would mean my normal filter cleaning in the RAS should give me 300lt daily. What is the size of the RAS system that can supply this without taking out more water from the system than is necessary for a proper filter cleaning? The reason I only want to take out what is necessary is because anything above that is just wasting water. 

My question is for the RAS experts. What % of water is supposed to be taken out of a correctly engineered system daily?

Ugh... yeah... Mr. Van der Werf answered this through helping Swede.... sec... need to find the hyperlinks.

 

Here ya go...

 

You will find your answer in the threads:

1) System idea based on Pauls Dual Loop

2) Post#379 from Fellow APN member building the world's biggest commercial AP system

 

Think that's it... You'll find your answer there...

 

 

Also, keep in mind, as Ryan mentioned in his videos, the reason why he has so much excess water is due to his filter dumps... This is due to his filter dumps are very inefficient, that is high water to solids ratio... So you could do a dual inlet design that Swede talked about so to try to reduce by better concentrating the solids... Check out the thread... 5 Gallon Radial Flow Settler Dual Outlet and talked about in post#41 of thread media for static bed filter. So... increase your solids portion of your solids to water ratio in the filter dumps and you will significantly reduce your excess water discharge.

Edited by crsublette (see edit history)

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Sorry, need clarification... Not following... Sufficient value in doing what? And placing what last in the loop?

 

I would think the digestate would still have significant microbrial benefts... so either back to the beginning or spinkled on top of the vermiculture compost heap.

 

Would the resultant "digestate" from an anaerobic "mineralisation" ... have sufficient un-reclaimed value... to make it worthwhile processing further by an aerobic process...?

 

And you've basically answered the question.... perhaps... by returning it to the beginning... but what if the end and the beginning are the same... ie... first stage of the loop?

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 So... increase your solids portion of your solids to water ratio in the filter dumps and you will significantly reduce your excess water discharge.

 

Indeed... a properly engineered commercial RAS system minimises the water required for solids removal....

 

In a hot, huimd environment, your water loss will be from plant respiration... and tomatoes are like sponges...

 

You'll need to determine what water losses you will have in your plant loop... and figure out how you're going to replace it... and from where... or how to minimise your plant loop loses...

 

If you top your plant loop up from your RAS... you're robbing Peter to pay Paul... and will have to replenish your RAS...

Edited by RupertofOZ (see edit history)
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Would the resultant "digestate" from an anaerobic "mineralisation" ... have sufficient un-reclaimed value... to make it worthwhile processing further by an aerobic process...?

 

Beyond the microbrials that would be on it...

 

Sure possibly, due to adsorption of ionic nutrients attracted to the remaining solids, I bet there would be residual un-reclaimed value precipitated on the remaining particulates .... Would there sufficient amount to be wanted? Don't know...

 

Just spitballing here since there is likely information out there that I do not know yet...

 

Would be nice to know these mechanics better...

 

 

And you've basically answered the question.... perhaps... by returning it to the beginning... but what if the end and the beginning are the same... ie... first stage of the loop?

 

Makes sense due to the impressions I have...

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