Tkjones

[TPSP] Cheap, but Efficient Aquaponics Product (In-Progess)

13 posts in this topic

Hi, my name is Tristan Jones, and I am currently working on a project on Aquaponics for my TPSP class. TPSP is a year long class in which we research a topic of our choice and use that knowledge to make a product. My product for the project is a very cheap, but efficient aquaponics system that is for at-home use and I will be showing you how to build it and how to get it started.

Parts needed:
• Media Bed- You can use anything you want, I’m using a cat litter box/tub.
• Fish tank- 16 x 12in
• Fish food- Anything that matches with your fish
• PVC piping
• Pump
• Netted Cups
• Fish- You can have any fish but I will use goldfish because of their high export of ammonia and tolerance.
• Plant Seeds- You can have any plant seeds, but I will use cabbage.
• Media-You can use anything but I will use expanded clay balls, or lava rock.
Video:
[To Be Included]

Directions:
1. Place your Media Bed over the fish tank or have something to support it, and see where you want your in and out flow pipes. 
2. When you know where you want the pipes to go. 
3. Mark and cut holes with the correct size according to your pipes.
4. Place your pipes in and fill the bed with your media. 
5. Adjust the height to just level with the media.
6. Put water in the tank and in the media bed. Make sure to have the correct water level so that the water doesn’t overflow or be too little for the fish.
7. Put your fish and plant seeds in.
8. Feed fish a fixed amount every day.

Common Problems:
Plants aren’t growing-
In the beginning of an aquaponics system the bacteria that converts the ammonia into nitrite (nitrosomonas) and nitrite into nitrate (nitrobacters) haven’t been formed yet. They will naturally grow so you don’t have to worry about it.
Water isn’t flowing in or out-
Make sure that nothing is blocking the water. There might have been media that got into the pipes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Tkjones.  I think it's a great idea to start up and work on a project like this for your class.  I hope it becomes a fun learning experience for you.

 

This forum has a wealth of information by lots of experienced people.  Look around and use the search function, or ask any questions you might have.

Edited by craig1267 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Tristan,

 

If you're looking for a very simple aquaponics system, I'd recommend that you build a sand culture system.  It consists of a fish tank and a sand bed.  Ensure that the volume of sand is about double the volume of the fish tank.  You create furrows in the sand (this is important) and plant your seeds (or seedlings) on top of the furrow mounds.

 

A sand culture system is a perfect blend of simplicity, cost-effectiveness and ease of operation.

 

I can guide you through the construction of an integrated aqua-vegeculture system (iAVs) sand culture system if you decide that you want to go that route.  It is far more productive, resilient and versatile than a basic (gravel-based) flood and drain system.

 

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can guide you through the construction of an integrated aqua-vegeculture system (iAVs) sand culture system if you decide that you want to go that route. 

 

Kewl.. so you've built your one then Gary.... any pics?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the goal is low cost, lava rock is generally much cheaper than clay balls.

 

The sand bed Gary referred to will require  a timer for flooding and draining also referred to as ebb and flow.  Are you planning a continuous flow or flood and drain method with your growing system?

 

Is there a group of subjects/classes you need to show mastery of with this project?   For example, chemistry, algebra, English etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The sand bed Gary referred to will require  a timer for flooding and draining also referred to as ebb and flow. 

 

I thought sand beds (ala McMurtry) were flood irrigated from above (into the furrows).... this is then "flood & drain"... not "ebb & flow"... which floods from below rising into the media... (and then typically drains through the same pump inlet/outlet)

 

Ebb & flow is an old hydroponics technique seldom used these days except perhaps for seedling tray irrigation.... it has no place in a solids loaded system such as AP...

crsublette likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flood & drain  and ebb & flow have always been synonymous in all the information I have seen on it.   Flooding from beneath is  the way  ebb and flow beds are marketed to hobbyist now.  I thought that was more to simplify plumbing. This link is not definitive, but illustrates how ebb & flow and flood&drain are used interchangeably.   http://manatee.ifas.ufl.edu/sustainability/hydroponics/Basic%20Hydroponic%20Systems%20and%20How%20They%20Work.pdf

 

With sand culture it is imperative that water enter into the top.  With larger media, as the filtration ability is so much less with larger pore space it's not that critical as large pore media beds are relatively poor filters, filling from underneath or from the top has very little effect.  Tried both ways with no significant difference in plant growth.   The limited filtration ability is from the biofilm layer that clings to the rocks and the walls of the container/growbed as well as what adheres to the roots.

Edited by Ravnis (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many simple hydroponic blog sites portray them as the same... (like the AP blog sites)

 

But there's a distinct difference... primarily that the drain and flood are both delivered through a single line/pump in ebb & flow.... via a bottom feed....(not good dragging solids back down through the pump as in AP)...

 

Whereas flood & drain delivers the "flood" to the top of the media... and then drains via an entirely separate drain outlet back to the reservoir....

 

The distinction has been made in hydroponics for ages.... but the "unknowledgable" still blog with total confusion...

Edited by RupertofOZ (see edit history)
crsublette likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kewl.. so you've built your one then Gary.... any pics?

 

Not yet......but an iAVs is so simple to build and operate that the technology transfer is no difficult task.  The other thing is that I have almost daily contact with the principal subject expert for iAVs.

 

I thought sand beds (ala McMurtry) were flood irrigated from above (into the furrows).... this is then "flood & drain"... not "ebb & flow"... which floods from below rising into the media... (and then typically drains through the same pump inlet/outlet)

 

Ebb & flow is an old hydroponics technique seldom used these days except perhaps for seedling tray irrigation.... it has no place in a solids loaded system such as AP...

 

They are flood irrigated from above.

 

I see no issue with using "ebb and flow" in a decoupled aquaponics system since there should be no solids in the plant product loop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I see no issue with using "ebb and flow" in a decoupled aquaponics system since there should be no solids in the plant product loop.

 

But if you're replicating the iAVS methodology and design.... then the noted fact that the needs have to be scrapped periodically... (when flooded from above).... would suggest that ebb & flow could be potentially disastrous...

 

And I would suspect most likely alter the entire oxygenation profile.... potentially detrimentally.. especially around the root zone...  ;)

Edited by RupertofOZ (see edit history)
crsublette likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But if you're replicating the iAVS methodology and design.... then the noted fact that the needs have to be scrapped periodically... (when flooded from above).... would suggest that ebb & flow could be potentially disastrous...

 

And I would suspect most likely alter the entire oxygenation profile.... potentially detrimentally.. especially around the root zone...  ;)

 

There's no need/purpose in decoupling an iAVs.  In fact, it would be detrimental to say the least.  

 

I'm unclear about what "noted fact" you're speaking (there's a word missing in there somewhere).....but, if we're talking about the sand, we don't know that the sand has to be replaced as a matter of certainty.....and, even if it does, we're unsure of what intervals are involved and/or how much has to be replaced.

 

In any case, I certainly wouldn't advocate the use of "ebb and flow" with iAVs.....that would negate one of its several strengths - its filtration capacity.  There's also the mineralising effect of the interaction between the organic matter and contact with the air and the micro-organisms....that allows the system to operate generally without nutritional or pH-adjusting supplements.  That would be altered (and not in a useful way) if you attempted to flood a sand bed from below.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In any case, I certainly wouldn't advocate the use of "ebb and flow" with iAVs.....that would negate one of its several strengths - its filtration capacity.  There's also the mineralising effect of the interaction between the organic matter and contact with the air and the micro-organisms....that allows the system to operate generally without nutritional or pH-adjusting supplements.  That would be altered (and not in a useful way) if you attempted to flood a sand bed from below.

 

Yep.. what I said... in less words..  you suggested that you wouldn't "see an issue with using ebb & flow".... :D

 

You based that on "decoupled" with solids removal... but that means it's not a pure replication of the iAVS.. and one could then validly ask,,, if the results of sand beds could be reliable replicated.... or whether this would be a suck it and see experiment.. ;)

Edited by RupertofOZ (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I see no issue with using "ebb and flow" in a decoupled aquaponics system since there should be no solids in the plant product loop.

 

What I said appears above.  iAVs cannot be operated as a decoupled system……nor does it need to….it works exactly as it was designed to.   If it's anything other than a fish tank - and a sand bed - it's not iAVs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now