Jarrad

Cunning's outdoor system thread

24 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

 

I had a bit of info in my Intro thread but thought I'd move it to the system area for future updates/questions.

 

History:

Discovered AP in Sept 2014 after my partner and I watched one of Murray Hallam's DVDs. Having not kept fish before it was all very new to me and I'd planned on spending some time researching things further and building an IBC system.

 

Enter my partner who unlike me, usually jumps into things with both feet and surprised me with an indoor microponics system but also purchased one of Murray Hallams balcony kits..........She let the cat out of the bag just before Xmas and I started looking into the system she ordered and that's where the fun began as there was very little info on dimensions or spec's.

 

The system arrived and all was.... not well. They had changed the kit without notice with the main changes been less support for the grow bed and a MUCH deeper grow bed that pictured on the online store.

 

Never mind I thought and being so new to AP I really didn't think much about this until more recently where it was suggested that we add more media, obviously which requires a new syphon and pulling everything to bits ;(.

 

The location I chose for the setup

20141222_123327_zpsldw2owan.jpg

 

Unpacking everything

20141222_143409_zpsrd0mir8u.jpg

 

Day 1

20150128_170850_zpsp4pxcyt4.jpg

 

I've since made a few minor changes like replacing some of the corrugated iron roofing with clear sheets (although the system faces north so we always had full sun but plants were stretching out regardless).

 

In discussions with the company we purchased from things started to go.....a little south. It was suggested very soon after purchase, that we add filtration because we were going to run with trout.

 

Maybe I expected a bit much (?) but thought this company missed out on a prime upselling point of discussing this prior to purchase particularly since we were led to believe that the media bed was all the filtration we'd need. Again please forgive my ignorance as I just didn't have time to research before my partner jumped all in and then we were stuck with it........

 

Anyways, we fumbled around and I kept reading all the info I could. We ran with 10 Comets for cycling purposes all of which were rehomed once the system compelted cycling and we installed the trout.

 

It's not all bad - growth after around 4-6 weeks

20150215_084258_zpsybmrpgoh.jpg

 

Trout added:

20150215_152259_zpsrtliuufy.jpg

 

 

8-10 weeks in:

20150215_084258_zpsybmrpgoh.jpg

 

20150320_153724_zpsztryt9ed.jpg

 

(Very) late season Tommies

20150411_170941_zpsdd085fkr.jpg

 

During the past period I've noticed just how dirty the FT floor is getting. I understand trout require super clean water so have been vacuming this out and looking at RFF's and the like.

 

I have a 44 gal blue drum I'd planned on making into an RFF but something has recently crossed my mind.....

I should say that I have some pads in the grow bed beneath the water inlet which catches quite alot of waste and needs to be changed weekly.

 

The problem I think I'll have is that filter or not, the pump is not picking up all the solids from the FT. So even if I had an RFF/swirl filter it won't deal with what looks like 'dead area's' that the pump isn't collecting. I thought perhaps this might be (at least in part) due to being a rectangle shaped tank but then plenty of others run similar tanks.....

 

So for the time being I can keep vaccuming every other day, I can (try) and make an RFF but I really don't think it's going to help me deal with the majority of the solid waste that we need to.

 

I'm all ears on any solutions anyone may have for picking up the solids and I'll likely install the RFF regardless however as mentioned I don't think it will make much difference and I'll have to work something else out....

 

*edit* - please understand this is neither an endorsement nor a dig at Practical Aquaponics it's the facts how I see them. I have become aware of various threads/information regarding this kind of setup and am not interested in getting into politics as such (but wish we'd known about this info prior!). That said I would not be in a position to provide any recommendations for this particular company either.

 

peace!

Edited by Jarrad (see edit history)

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One possible solution that comes to mind is a circulation pump toward the bottom of the tank. There are very low energy requirement pumps. I believe they were called power heads in aquarium stores. This could circulate the solids toward the pump.

 

Another solution would be a stronger pump to create greater current, but you have to make sure your system will handle the extra flow.  Of course with the extra flow you could run it through a trickle filter or other filtration setup and then to the growbed.

 

Best of luck to you.

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One possible solution that comes to mind is a circulation pump toward the bottom of the tank. There are very low energy requirement pumps. I believe they were called power heads in aquarium stores. This could circulate the solids toward the pump.

 

Another solution would be a stronger pump to create greater current, but you have to make sure your system will handle the extra flow.  Of course with the extra flow you could run it through a trickle filter or other filtration setup and then to the growbed.

 

Best of luck to you.

 

Hi Ravnis,

 

Thanks for the advice mate, much appreciated.

 

I had thought about a 2nd pump but just a normal water pump and was worried about the electricity use. Glad to hear there's a low energy option available as this seems like a good way around the issue.\

 

/edit - holy cow they're expensive!

Edited by Jarrad (see edit history)

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I was wondering if redirecting some of the flow, around the bottom of the tank to stir things up a bit, would work. I have not done this, just something that popped in my head.

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Not sure whats available in you location, but might check the high end aquarium shops.

 

This is one of the larger ones available in my local.  You're basically fighting against 2 major design flaws.   http://www.amazon.com/Hydor-Koralia-Evolution-Aquarium-Circulation/dp/B0036RXO3O/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1429197303&sr=8-5&keywords=aquarium+circulation+pumps

 

1 -  square tank

 

2- no bottom drain.

 

A circular tank with a bottom drain would act like a big swirl filter and suck the solids into the outlet.     The tank configuration you have is a basically a sedimentation tank, thus the problem with solids collecting on the bottom.

 

It's a shame they don't make a automated pool vacuum scaled down to that size.

Edited by Ravnis (see edit history)

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Thanks everyone,

 

I was wondering if redirecting some of the flow, around the bottom of the tank to stir things up a bit, would work. I have not done this, just something that popped in my head.

 

I had wondered myself actually, there is an excess flow pipe (or at least that's what I'd call it) that directs water straight back into the FT but the flow isn't strong enough for such a large tank. I could get a much stronger pump I guess but I suspect a powerhead as mentioned by Ravnis above may be a better option but still....rectanglur tank isn't helping....

 

Not sure whats available in you location, but might check the high end aquarium shops.

 

This is one of the larger ones available in my local.  You're basically fighting against 2 major design flaws.   http://www.amazon.com/Hydor-Koralia-Evolution-Aquarium-Circulation/dp/B0036RXO3O/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1429197303&sr=8-5&keywords=aquarium+circulation+pumps

 

1 -  square tank

 

2- no bottom drain.

 

A circular tank with a bottom drain would act like a big swirl filter and suck the solids into the outlet.     The tank configuration you have is a basically a sedimentation tank, thus the problem with solids collecting on the bottom.

 

It's a shame they don't make a automated pool vacuum scaled down to that size.

 

I did think about the pool cleaner idea but yeah shame they don't make em smaller!

 

I really think I'm wasting my time making an RFF without changing something else....(powerhead, stronger pump and even then I wonder how efficient it will be).....I may just be better off using the vacum we bought and dealing with that every few days. I really just wanted to have the best water possible for the trout, with some automation (and so I don't accidently suck the yabbies up with the vacum lol) but hey I can think of worst ways to spend time in the 'garden'.....

 

Thanks all, I appreciate the input.

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Hi there. You could place a venturri tube in the side with a 90 degree bend so that it gets the water moving, of course you will need to run it off your existing pump or a new pump if your pump is not big enough. An air stone would also be nice but not really needed. The move the water moves either by air or current or both, the more solids will make it to your out pipe.

I use an IBC and have a venturri and an airstone and a small 70 gal / hr. fountain pump sucking up floating debree and sending it through a 100 micron filter sock. My tank stays very clean.

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Hi Jarrad,

 

Rectangular tanks are the worst of all possible options……even square tanks can be set up to deposit solids in the centre of the tank within reach of the pump or solids lifting outlet.   And it's not like the maker of that kit hasn't been told enough times.

 

What are the dimensions of the tank?

 

Here's an idea that I've applied on other rectangular tanks.

 

Take short length of PVC pipe…..a bit less that the depth of the tank……and push a 90o bend on one end.  Suspend this arrangement in the corner of the tank by an eyelet ( with the eyelet screwed into the fitting).  Hang a small air stone down into the pipe…..just short of the bottom…..with the horizontal outlet on the bend about half way out of the water.   What we have here is a simple air lift set up to discharge along one side of the fish tank.

 

Repeat this operation for the other three corners.  What you'll end up with is four little airlifts each taking water from deep in the tank and discharging (all facing in the same direction) at the surface.

 

This simple idea not only stirs the tank from the bottom to the top but also creates a stirring motion that will "swing" the tank in a circular motion (for as much as that's possible)…….while at the same time aerating the tank.  You'll know if it's been successful because the solids will start to accumulate in the centre of the tank…..within reach of the pump.  

 

It will still be good for your tank regardless of whether it focuses the solids simply for the fact that it will turn the water in your tank more effectively.

 

You can fine tune the placement of these airlifts…..up and down…….subject to to the build up of solids.

 

The same idea works very well on circular tanks and almost as well on square ones.

 

You can actually buy an air pump with four outlets (click here) or buy a splitter and drive the four airlines off of a single outlet pump (of sufficient capacity).

 

Gary

Edited by Gary Donaldson (see edit history)
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Hi Jarrad,

 

Rectangular tanks are the worst of all possible options……even square tanks can be set up to deposit solids in the centre of the tank within reach of the pump or solids lifting outlet.   And it's not like the maker of that kit hasn't been told enough times.

 

What are the dimensions of the tank?

 

Here's an idea that I've applied on other rectangular tanks.

 

Take short length of PVC pipe…..a bit less that the depth of the tank……and push a 90o bend on one end.  Suspend this arrangement in the corner of the tank by an eyelet ( with the eyelet screwed into the fitting).  Hang a small air stone down into the pipe…..just short of the bottom…..with the horizontal outlet on the bend about half way out of the water.   What we have here is a simple air lift set up to discharge along one side of the fish tank.

 

Repeat this operation for the other three corners.  What you'll end up with is four little airlifts each taking water from deep in the tank and discharging (all facing in the same direction) at the surface.

 

This simple idea not only stirs the tank from the bottom to the top but also creates a stirring motion that will "swing" the tank in a circular motion (for as much as that's possible)…….while at the same time aerating the tank.  You'll know if it's been successful because the solids will start to accumulate in the centre of the tank…..within reach of the pump.  

 

It will still be good for your tank regardless of whether it focuses the solids simply for the fact that it will turn the water in your tank more effectively.

 

You can fine tune the placement of these airlifts…..up and down…….subject to to the build up of solids.

 

The same idea works very well on circular tanks and almost as well on square ones.

 

You can actually buy an air pump with four outlets (click here) or buy a splitter and drive the four airlines off of a single outlet pump (of sufficient capacity).

 

Gary

Good idea Gary. Square tanks are not the best solution but often more avaliable and cheaper. There are many ways to set up cleaning designs and nearly all involve keeping the water moving. Airstones, venturi tubes jetting the water and adding O2, and good placement of discharge pipes are all things that need to be considered.

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Hi Jarrad,

 

Rectangular tanks are the worst of all possible options……even square tanks can be set up to deposit solids in the centre of the tank within reach of the pump or solids lifting outlet.   And it's not like the maker of that kit hasn't been told enough times.

 

What are the dimensions of the tank?

 

Here's an idea that I've applied on other rectangular tanks.

 

Take short length of PVC pipe…..a bit less that the depth of the tank……and push a 90o bend on one end.  Suspend this arrangement in the corner of the tank by an eyelet ( with the eyelet screwed into the fitting).  Hang a small air stone down into the pipe…..just short of the bottom…..with the horizontal outlet on the bend about half way out of the water.   What we have here is a simple air lift set up to discharge along one side of the fish tank.

 

Repeat this operation for the other three corners.  What you'll end up with is four little airlifts each taking water from deep in the tank and discharging (all facing in the same direction) at the surface.

 

This simple idea not only stirs the tank from the bottom to the top but also creates a stirring motion that will "swing" the tank in a circular motion (for as much as that's possible)…….while at the same time aerating the tank.  You'll know if it's been successful because the solids will start to accumulate in the centre of the tank…..within reach of the pump.  

 

It will still be good for your tank regardless of whether it focuses the solids simply for the fact that it will turn the water in your tank more effectively.

 

You can fine tune the placement of these airlifts…..up and down…….subject to to the build up of solids.

 

The same idea works very well on circular tanks and almost as well on square ones.

 

You can actually buy an air pump with four outlets (click here) or buy a splitter and drive the four airlines off of a single outlet pump (of sufficient capacity).

 

Gary

 

........don't get me started on the 'maker'.....I love the Mrs for supporting me in this too, if it hadn't been for her I wouldn't have any AP systems yet I'd still be too busy reading, but then I may have come across some information to steer us in another direction. Unfortunately the Mrs (god bless her) saw the PAP dvd and just went ahead and ordered so I wasn't aware it'd happened until it was too late......anyways, live and learn I won't lose sleep over it.

 

I don't have exact dimensions of the tank sorry, approx guess would be about 1800mm wide x 2600 long I guess....maybe 600-800 deep....

Pump is not in the middle of the tank either, the kit came with premade lengths of everything so I can't really move the pump around unless I change the pipes which I may look at doing.

 

Thanks for the advice > all sounds plasuible so I'll give it a go. The air pump I have is a dual out let so I may be able to run the 4 lines from that....

 

I don't suppose you have a basic diagram or a video or something to show me? The bit I'm pondering is

"with the horizontal outlet on the bend about half way out of the water"

 

Obviously the water level goes up/down so just wondering how critical the placement is....

 

Apologies for asking for clarification, it's probably obvious to everyone else here but it takes me a little time to understand the concept sometimes lol

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Thanks to Fresh By Nature for delivering the trout over the weekend. Everyone seems happy enough so I gotta get my rear into action and add the air lifts, think I understand better now after re-reading the instructions lol....too many racing crashes haha

 

Hopefully we won't have to live with the system for too long, once we move to the farm I'll look at a new system with a round tank instead.

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Quick update to my thread - new trout 'installed' in April doing very well. Growing a bit slow but I guess that's what you get with sub zero temps.

 

Had a neighbours cat get into my grow bed and destroy a bunch of plants as it was digging about > I haven't found any cat poop but am dubious and a little concerned. Nasty little buggers I can't express my disdain for cats enough, more so the ones that are allowed to roam around unsupervised!

 

I've bought some cat traps and have plans in that space.

 

In the meantime, here's a progress pic on my plants.

 

Down 5 snow pea plants due to said cat. Red cabbages totally destroyed.

The broccoli that I thought was doing well - is not. Discovered an aphid infestation and they love the broccoli and red cabbage but have been leaving everything else alone. My home concoction of garlic/onion/chilli spray has not helped at all. Might have to buy some Dipel or something. Had planned on using some Neem oil but I see it's not at all good for fish.

 

Left side looks a little bare after removing a bunch of Spinach and celery - going to have to remove the broccoli as the aphids have completely ruined it. :( sad.

 

Main reason for getting into AP for me is the fish side of things though so am happy to report they're going well.

Soil garden has loads of garlic, onions and radishs growing very well.

 

20150709_163915_zpsxz0vqxjh.jpg

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Glad to hear the trout are growing Jarrad... and apart from the other problems the system is kicking along...

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Hi everyone,

I had a bit of info in my Intro thread but thought I'd move it to the system area for future updates/questions.

History:

Discovered AP in Sept 2014 after my partner and I watched one of Murray Hallam's DVDs. Having not kept fish before it was all very new to me and I'd planned on spending some time researching things further and building an IBC system.

Enter my partner who unlike me, usually jumps into things with both feet and surprised me with an indoor microponics system but also purchased one of Murray Hallams balcony kits..........She let the cat out of the bag just before Xmas and I started looking into the system she ordered and that's where the fun began as there was very little info on dimensions or spec's.

The system arrived and all was.... not well. They had changed the kit without notice with the main changes been less support for the grow bed and a MUCH deeper grow bed that pictured on the online store.

Never mind I thought and being so new to AP I really didn't think much about this until more recently where it was suggested that we add more media, obviously which requires a new syphon and pulling everything to bits ;(.

The location I chose for the setup

20141222_123327_zpsldw2owan.jpg

Unpacking everything

20141222_143409_zpsrd0mir8u.jpg

Day 1

20150128_170850_zpsp4pxcyt4.jpg

I've since made a few minor changes like replacing some of the corrugated iron roofing with clear sheets (although the system faces north so we always had full sun but plants were stretching out regardless).

In discussions with the company we purchased from things started to go.....a little south. It was suggested very soon after purchase, that we add filtration because we were going to run with trout.

Maybe I expected a bit much (?) but thought this company missed out on a prime upselling point of discussing this prior to purchase particularly since we were led to believe that the media bed was all the filtration we'd need. Again please forgive my ignorance as I just didn't have time to research before my partner jumped all in and then we were stuck with it........

Anyways, we fumbled around and I kept reading all the info I could. We ran with 10 Comets for cycling purposes all of which were rehomed once the system compelted cycling and we installed the trout.

It's not all bad - growth after around 4-6 weeks

20150215_084258_zpsybmrpgoh.jpg

Trout added:

20150215_152259_zpsrtliuufy.jpg

8-10 weeks in:

20150215_084258_zpsybmrpgoh.jpg

20150320_153724_zpsztryt9ed.jpg

(Very) late season Tommies

20150411_170941_zpsdd085fkr.jpg

During the past period I've noticed just how dirty the FT floor is getting. I understand trout require super clean water so have been vacuming this out and looking at RFF's and the like.

I have a 44 gal blue drum I'd planned on making into an RFF but something has recently crossed my mind.....

I should say that I have some pads in the grow bed beneath the water inlet which catches quite alot of waste and needs to be changed weekly.

The problem I think I'll have is that filter or not, the pump is not picking up all the solids from the FT. So even if I had an RFF/swirl filter it won't deal with what looks like 'dead area's' that the pump isn't collecting. I thought perhaps this might be (at least in part) due to being a rectangle shaped tank but then plenty of others run similar tanks.....

So for the time being I can keep vaccuming every other day, I can (try) and make an RFF but I really don't think it's going to help me deal with the majority of the solid waste that we need to.

I'm all ears on any solutions anyone may have for picking up the solids and I'll likely install the RFF regardless however as mentioned I don't think it will make much difference and I'll have to work something else out....

*edit* - please understand this is neither an endorsement nor a dig at Practical Aquaponics it's the facts how I see them. I have become aware of various threads/information regarding this kind of setup and am not interested in getting into politics as such (but wish we'd known about this info prior!). That said I would not be in a position to provide any recommendations for this particular company either.

peace!

Hi Jarrad! I hate wild cats or roaming pet cats too. Lol. Clean water, yes, that's the ticket. Get the water in the FT moving. You can use a small pump that simplly pushes the water in some circular motion to the drain and an airstone will also move solids to the surface where a skimmer to the drain will remove more.

In the GBs you could hang a 100 micron felt sock inside a 2" pvc pipe with holes that would catch all the solids. Then just remove the sock from the pioe and clean.

Good luck

Edited by Strider (see edit history)

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Hi Jarrad! I hate wild cats or roaming pet cats too. Lol. Clean water, yes, that's the ticket. Get the water in the FT moving. You can use a small pump that simplly pushes the water in some circular motion to the drain and an airstone will also move solids to the surface where a skimmer to the drain will remove more.

In the GBs you could hang a 100 micron felt sock inside a 2" pvc pipe with holes that would catch all the solids. Then just remove the sock from the pioe and clean.

Good luck

 

hi Strider, thanks mate. I'm using old stockings on the water outlet to grow bed as well as the return to the fishtank. Also using some wool laying in the grow bed directly under the outlet for growbed..working quite well, the wool turns black after 1 week.

 

I understand we're you're going with the extra pump etc but I honestly think the rectangle tank is just a waste of time really. I'm using the small indoor setup + larger outdoor one to gain some experience and once we move house I'll likely move to a round tank and a different setup so I don't have to deal with extra pumps etc just to get a circular water motion which I'm never really going to get working properly in the wrong shaped tank. Why this guy sells systems like this is beyond me but hey to stop me going nuts about it I'll take it as a learning experience and move on.

 

I'll just be happy to get this first lot of fish/plants under my belt, take the lessons learnt for my next system........but thanks for the advice nonetheless it's been helpful no doubt!;)

 

Glad to hear the trout are growing Jarrad... and apart from the other problems the system is kicking along...

 

Thanks Rupe - fairly minor problems at this stage I guess...aphids are my biggest headache atm.

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Been while since I updated this one..........

 

Things have moved along quite a way's from the pics above.

 

Firstly I have to thank Mr ROZ for all his help/support. 

 

What we had was terribly small and pretty useless really. The Hallam "KIT" grow bed was way too deep (600mm - only half filled to 300mm). The rectangle fish tank was/is hopeless. I have added a powerhead as well as utilising an old pump - and only with these 2 additions do I get some kind of rotational water flow to help take the solids away. Before I added the extra pumps it was WOEFUL - solids mess everywhere and the pump just didn't seem to pick up 90% of it.

 

I was using a piece of wool filter under the grow bed inlet - it would take about 2 weeks to get dirty all the while the fish tank water was full of crud.

As soon as I added the powerhead + extra pump I was having to replace the filter piece daily. What a difference!

 

Anyways, that's all old history now and as they say - once bitten, twice shy.

 

Where we are up to...........

 

Well as of 31 December we had a hand to expand our system for approx EIGHT times the amount of grow space we had. The list of plants we now have growing to feed our small army of kids is impressive or at least I think so!

 

Soon we will be adding a largeish 2000-3000L round tank to run 2 different species to help with our climatic conditions (or at least those for the fish/plants)

 

Last pic of the Hallam Kit......am glad to be rid of it that's for sure - we will re-use some bits after buying it all

 

20151221_112354_zpsjtln31fb.jpg

 

First pic of expanded grow space

20151230_081149_zpsph7yowqi.jpg

 

Some of the plants from the original grow bed transplanted - they bounced back but being so large they didn't like being moved (esp the grape tomato)

I've also taken out large portions of the hedge to the left of this bed to let in more light (western sun though) and have also added many clear panels to the roof.

20151230_181701_zpsugznsahl.jpg

 

Day 1 after finishing setup

20151230_174535_zps728jgntq.jpg

 

Approx a week later I added some more - in this one grow bed there's approx 12 Celery, 50 lettuces and 2 Rhubarb

20160118_192707_zpsycynvln1.jpg

 

Another few days later

20160118_192707_zpsycynvln1.jpg

 

A week on

20160121_165039_zpstbvpjna2.jpg

 

Another week

20160121_165039_zpsh1h72fw0.jpg

 

Sh1t is outta control! haha - why did I not get this kinda growth with the original kit?!

 

20160208_193404_zpssub49we4.jpg

 

20160210_201010_zpstitnhkmi.jpg

 

I'll concede I may have planted a little too heavily but no plants seem unhappy or aren't growing well - in fact the growth has just been incredible.

 

I will keep using the rectangle tank for now - for Silver perch (currently 50 added a few weeks back - thanks Rupe ;))

 

With the additional tank maybe another 50 rainbows come April?

 

The current plant list seems pretty good to me......we've just planted a bunch more seeds of our Autumn crops but we have quite advanced:

 

Tomatoes x 3
Rosemary x 1
Lemongrass x 1

Spring onions x at least 20
Strawberry x only 1 - not sure we'll keep it in the AP TBH
Pumpkins various species x 6
Various Basil x 12
Chilli's x 3
Marigold x 10
Capsicum x 2
Bush beans x 6
Garlic chives - LOTS~
Celery x 12
Lettuce x 50 (all Cos variety)

Spinach (25 baby + 25 rainbow chard)
Rhubarb x 2
1 corn for shts and giggles
Red cabbage x 6
Passion fruit x 1 (doesn't look very happy mind you)

 

More updates once the extra tank is added!

 

Most of all - can't recommend our own Rupe from FreshByNature enough - he really has been terrific and has left the others in his wake with his customer service. His help and knowledge certainly helped soothe us after our experiences elsewhere and we now have a system to be proud of!

ande, Rotaco, RupertofOZ and 1 other like this

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Hi Jarrad,

 

I didn't realise the extent to which your original 'system' was dysfunctional.....and I understand your unhappiness with its vendors.

 

Your new system is clearly more of what you should have had all along.  Congratulation to you and kudos to Rupert.

 

Don't be concerned about the planting density.  As you've observed, since the plants are getting everything they need, all should be OK.

 

Incidentally, those original tanks and beds would make great wicking beds.

 

One more thing....if you add a radial flow separator, a packed media filter and a moving bed bio-filter to your new system it will be even more productive, resilient and versatile......particularly when you graduate to your bigger tank.

 

 

Gary

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Great looking system you've got growing there Jarrad.... :D

 

Hahaha thanks Rupe - yes - yes it is a great looking system :D

Reasonably happy - being so new to this AP venture I can't help but feel I overlook things - or perhaps more importantly how best to set everything up.

Thank god for FreshByNature and giving us some directions and help!

 

 

Doing well , great job.

 

Thanks Rav - certainly has come along way since day 1 of the kit

 

Hi Jarrad,

 

I didn't realise the extent to which your original 'system' was dysfunctional.....and I understand your unhappiness with its vendors.

 

Your new system is clearly more of what you should have had all along.  Congratulation to you and kudos to Rupert.

 

Don't be concerned about the planting density.  As you've observed, since the plants are getting everything they need, all should be OK.

 

Incidentally, those original tanks and beds would make great wicking beds.

 

One more thing....if you add a radial flow separator, a packed media filter and a moving bed bio-filter to your new system it will be even more productive, resilient and versatile......particularly when you graduate to your bigger tank.

 

 

Gary

 

Hi Gary,

 

I've barely scratched on the details of my experience with the previous 'vendor' (to take the higher path so to speak I have really held back over the past 18 months) but yes it's plain to see (even to me now) that it's not right.

 

What annoyed me the most was the pictures of the system on the vendors online shop showed many differences compared to what was sent to us. Then after that all emails/requests fell on deaf ears.

 

The vendor has his side of the story and brushes these concerns away with some pretty funny statements 'no matter what I say you won't be happy' kind of tact - when all we really wanted was to support any business in AP - even more so the vendor we had started with.

 

Now that we've been set straight by a few APN/BYAP and other forum members - and have had help from Rupe we are far happier with the result.

The fish are happier

The plants are happier.....

 

I'm still left with a rectangle fish tank that requires 2 pumps AND a powerhead to try and direct solids out of the tank but will live with it for time being.

 

Rupe is also helping with some plans for a new system to include the 2 fish tanks. Perhaps I have requested the wrong thing I'm not so sure but thought of having 2 separate 'loops' while still being able to direct water flow through RFFs for each loop as well as being able to direct water to the grow beds.

 

Seems to my novice brain to be a mix of RAS and AP pending on which loop is directed through the grow beds and which is turned off and directed through filtration

 

The idea being that the silvers take much longer to grow and won't provide much in the way of waste in the winter (in  Canberra I had water temps as low as 7degrees last winter) so being able to turn off a valve and run it as a RAS while then switching on the 'trout' loop I thought might help - and obviously provide more waste/nutrients in winter for the plants.....

 

So from what my basic head says in warmer months the silver perch is AP and the trout tank will be RAS (up until water temps hit 22-23)

Then in cooler months, silver perch tank becomes RAS and the trout tank is run through the grow beds....

 

I could be looking at it all wrong - and obviously there's no 'set' ways of doing these things so am largely relying on the knowledge and experience of others.

Not opposed to only having the one fish tank of course - wicking beds will be all new to me so trying to wrap my head around all these things.

 

Perhaps in a few years I might be able to make the call myself but at this stage I'm willing to take the good advice and just get the plants/fish going as best we can - to feed our family of SEVEN! 5 boys between ages 5-10 means we go through SO much food it's crazy!!

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Yeah.....if you have a system that grows beer, I'll take it - sight unseen - regardless of who made it.

 

Poor treatment at the hands of vendors - and accounts of such in places like this - do reach other people and influence their buying decisions.  In the Internet age, things have never been better for consumers when it comes to voicing their dissatisfactions.  While we'll never know the full price to be paid, we can take solace in the fact that it happens.  One person's bad experience may not attract much antipathy - but when the numbers of disaffected clients run into the dozens (and hundreds) you can only marvel at the lost business that must be happening.

 

You're on the right track now....and you'll soon be feeding the rug rats the bounty that will ensue.   Please extend my sympathy to their mother.....eight men in the one household....she must be a saint.

 

Do you keep laying chickens?  They're a shortcut to putting very good food on the table.  We have six and they are currently giving us between 35 and 40 eggs a week.....and the good thing is that the cost of feeding them can be offset by kitchen scraps (and the plant residues from your AP garden).

 

Gary

Edited by Gary Donaldson (see edit history)

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Haha yes the Beeraponics has really taken off hey. The 'plants' do quite well and the produce is often hailed as cure all - unfortunately the fish don't like the hangovers.

As it stands we have learnt some lessons along the way and mistakes never come cheap. Nothing to lose any sleep over and I hope the information allows google land to make an informed decision if nothing else.

Onwards and upwards as they say as there's almost always a silver lining to any problem to overcome.

The Mrs is a gem no doubt about that. It's her supportive and generous nature that saw her take a leap into AP while I was still researching (and once she told me what she had ordered the price put me off a little) I doubt I'd have started so soon if it wasn't for her.

Luckily (?) for her there's 'only' 6 males in the house and we run a tight boat for the 5 youngster. We have a female Rotti to try and help even out the testosterone ;)

The kids are enjoying learning about AP and vegies in general, we often have them picking their own plants planting seeds, weeding in the soil and of course harvesting time.

Some of them have gone from not enjoying their greens/barely touching them, to eating them straight from the garden. I think the ownership and pride they feel in successfully raising their own food helps them enjoy it more than (not to mention the quality difference) when it's just bought from the shops.

We have had some plant failures, the look on my 7 yr olds face when everyone's seeds had germinated and taken off but his beans hadn't sprouted was heartbreaking. At the very same time outweighed by the triumphant look from my 5 yr old, who after choosing corn to plant, had the biggest plants of all (for 5 young boys, everything is a competition as you know!). Lessons in that for kids and parents alike.

Oh and how they love telling us how much we saved each day as we harvest each nights dinner items vs if we'd bought from the shops - all of which makes us very happy parents!

Chooks are on the cards as well as fruit trees. Once the AP system is 'finished' or at least finished for now I'll know how much to reduce the soil vegie patch by to try and fit everything in. There's a shade house to fix in there too..... All while trying to fit family and work in.

After growing up on a property with as much space as required for anything you wanted to do I am finding the suburban block sizes..... Challenging. AP has certainly made that a little easier. The area I was using for the soil patch is so much bigger and produced so much less not counting the fish we also ate.

Just an amazingly awesome way to grow food really! If only I had the room for an orchard, some bee hives, chooks, bigger worm farm, a few lambs and the biggest Beeraponics system in the southern hemisphere - we'd be set!

mhaigh and ande like this

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