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scaled down iAVs resource/ideas request

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Hi all, many wishes for a bountiful new year!

 

In previous posts I've admitted to my utter lack of experience with aquaponics/iAVs and though I'm quite a ways off from building anything, I am still intrigued by iAVs. 

 

I find, though, that I have a hard time following some of the technical details (here on the forums or on the iAVs site) BECAUSE I'm not starting from a place grounded in AP experience. Seriously, I have a betta in a one-gallong jar and a guppy (soon to be plural) in a planted six-gallon tank (filterless, I'm aiming for biological/ecosystem help). I use tank water on my houseplants, which is "half-aquaponics" but not in the way most people conceive of it.

 

That's neither here nor there, I suppose… my point being:

 

  • Is it recommended that I research and try out typical AP systems first so I can get a handle on the specifics of iAVs (esp. the tech involved - I know nothing about tanks and pumps for example)? That seems counterintuitive to me (learning what I don't necessarily want to learn so I can learn what I think I want to learn).
  • Would any of you kind APN folk be able to recommend a direction for me to start with? I'm ultimately aiming for low-tech, resilient systems but I have to start small due to financial constraints. I'd be fine starting with, say, goldfish or guppies and enough space for 2-4 plants. Conversely, I don't even know where to look to find out the smallest workable system that can support edible fish - as maybe it's more cost effective to start there (unless I can sell goldfish or guppies…)

After being waylaid in some of my efforts in the last quarter of 2015, I'm still at a point where mealworms and quail are in the planning phase, so I'm not sure I'll get to iAVs soon --- just still poking about trying to figure out how I can do this.

 

Many thanks!

Edited by neighbor (see edit history)

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Hi, neighbor,  I started on this journey in '08 and started to think I knew something about aquaponics and then Dr. McMurtry comes along and shows how little I really knew.

 

Personally I think making a learning system similar to what Mark described in his initial system will teach you more and save you more heartache and headache, than years of messing around with whats now called AP.  The information described by Yahoo appies to any method of intergrated fish keeping and thats a good place to start.  After trying a sand bed, even with less than Ideal sand, I can't imagine going back to gravel.  One thing to consider, Sand is heavy as compared to lava rock or clay balls, so plan accordingly.

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Like you, yahoo2, I tend to research things a fair bit (on and on and…) and where hardware like this is involved haven't been courageous enough to experiment. I probably need to get over that :)

 

Thanks, Dr. McMurtry, for chiming in with your early small-scale version. This gives me something to picture, which is helpful. I assume this was an outdoor setup (correct me if I'm wrong, please), which means you were able to use sunlight rather than grow lights? Was your 80 gallon tank glass?

 

Yahoo2 wrote:

 things like correctly priming and joining pvc pipe and using pipe fittings (thanks for the tip)

how to water test and what it means (I have very basic aquarium experience)

what chemicals when and how (I have no clue here)

the basic nutrient cycle (hazy and in need of refreshing)

calculations on how big things should be to do the job (and thanks for this tip too)

 

 

 

Thanks Ravnis for confirming what I suspected about which path to take. 

 

These replies give me somewhere to start and I really appreciate your (all's) help.

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IMO, iAVs is 'about' horticulture (with fish 'wastes') and not 'about' aquaculture with tertiary water quality maintenance provided by plants.  If the plants are doing fine, then the fish will be fine too.  In most markets, the vegetables represent 90% or more of the potential revenue stream.  If what one is 'after' is fish production per unit volume/time, then consider recirculatory aquaculture instead.

 

Dr. McMurtry, thanks for this comment (over on vkn's thread). This is a great navigating aid - and reaffirms that yes, small is ok - I don't have to aspire to giant tanks and edible fish.

 

Question to anyone with iAVs experience (not just you, Dr. M) - I've seen reference to the main iAVs vegetable crops being "fruiting plants" - do greens/leafy vegies not do as well? Anyone having success with those?

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Hi, neighbor,  I started on this journey in '08 and started to think I knew something about aquaponics and then Dr. McMurtry comes along and shows how little I really knew.

 

Almost similar thoughts I have.  

 

I started on the Aquaponics journey in June 2012 when a big mango tree in my backyard toppled over on my tiled house breaking half of it, leaving a large hole in the ground of my backyard.  I wondered how the pit could be put to use, searching the Internet and reading up material for months, I eventually hit upon Aquaponics.  It took me an year and a half of research to converting the pit into a commercial aquaponics farm that we (my wife is the main operator and the kids support her) are still operating on, part of which we were running on some of the iAVs principles but not using "the sand".  We are now converting our DWC and gravel beds to iAVs one at a time during the second half of 2015.  NFTs are still there as is.

 

In brief, here is a secret to success to a tried and true system called "STRIVE" by Rev. Robert Schuller..  I hope you all like it.

 

S - Start small

T - Think possibilities

R - Reach a little beyond your grasp

I - invest all you have in the dream (pride, purpose, power, dollars)

V - Visualize victory (to keep you going through dark times)

E - Expect success (to expand as you build your base strong and solid) 

 

So my Neighbor friend, yes, starting small is the first step!  Baby steps to sustainable food production!

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VKN,

 

You might share with Neighbor (and the rest of us--again) some of the photos and details on your Easy System.  I bet the layout/setup would be real similar to what Neighbor is looking for.

 

Happy New Year to all.......mh

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Almost similar thoughts I have.  

 

I started on the Aquaponics journey in June 2012 when a big mango tree in my backyard toppled over on my tiled house breaking half of it, leaving a large hole in the ground of my backyard.  I wondered how the pit could be put to use, searching the Internet and reading up material for months, I eventually hit upon Aquaponics.  It took me an year and a half of research to converting the pit into a commercial aquaponics farm that we (my wife is the main operator and the kids support her) are still operating on, part of which we were running on some of the iAVs principles but not using "the sand".  We are now converting our DWC and gravel beds to iAVs one at a time during the second half of 2015.  NFTs are still there as is.

 

In brief, here is a secret to success to a tried and true system called "STRIVE" by Rev. Robert Schuller..  I hope you all like it.

 

S - Start small

T - Think possibilities

R - Reach a little beyond your grasp

I - invest all you have in the dream (pride, purpose, power, dollars)

V - Visualize victory (to keep you going through dark times)

E - Expect success (to expand as you build your base strong and solid) 

 

So my Neighbor friend, yes, starting small is the first step!  Baby steps to sustainable food production!

Thank you vkn!

 

Embarrassing but true, it seems I just needed a little encouragement and evidence that small is possible. :) I appreciate the "give 'er a try" attitude and the brainstorming promoted here.

 

I'll keep reading up on this - but in the meantime I think I should get started with something!! Real world application here I come :D

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Fabulous!

 

I'm a huge fan of asian greens, mustards, turnip greens, celtuce and chard (or beet greens, as you mention). I agree, lettuce is kind of pointless (though it's a nice, light addition to a summer meal but it doesn't grow here in the summer so, meh). But if it's a good starter, that's relevant - at least there will be lettuce in sandwiches :)

 

But pole beans! and herbs! and squashes (luffa! opo!) and snap peas, that's exciting!

 

Can't wait to get started… 

Edited by neighbor (see edit history)

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](narrative detour as I talk through my design decisions so far)

 

When I did a search for small aquaponics systems (image search, I was looking for design inspiration), I came across the following ikea hack: http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-and-Cheap-IKEA-Indoor-Aquaponics-System/ (original source: http://www.japan-aquaponics.com/micro-aquaponics-plans.html)

 

post-4279-0-51381500-1452388042_thumb.jp

 

 

 

 

 

post-4279-0-92955400-1452396191_thumb.jp

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  Drawbacks are aesthetic (though not having it in the living room gives me more leeway… I can at least cover it with wicker or something as my husband is worried I'm going to make the backyard look like a factory), and cost.

 

Hi neighbor

I think a IBC Ian style http://aquaponicsnation.com/forums/topic/2001-ians-outdoor-system/ can sort out the aesthetics

 

cheers

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I've taken the plunge! Purchased 4 IBCs last week. Two will become rainwater storage tanks catching runoff from a section of the roof where larger tanks aren't feasible and the other two will become an iAVs system (and out of which I'll make a fish tank, two grow beds and probably a sump as I've not solved the problems of concrete and tree roots in order to sink the fish tank). The stored rainwater will be available for the fish (as opposed to our groundwater which is quite hard).

 

… little by little, I'm just pleased I got one IBC online before this current round of rain - if I'm lucky I'll get the second one installed before too long. Without pressuring Gary, I'm looking forward to the 5 gallon sand test so I can sort that piece of the puzzle out. :)

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What do you all think of using the sand bend component in an existing outdoor hydroponic system already using gravel that sources nutrients both from the fish side, mineralized quail manure, as well as commercial fertilizer?

 

Perhaps putting a send bed in operation based on a flood and drain cycle, leaving the existing gravel beds alone?

 

I hear lots of discussion about the development of a more complex microorganism colony in the bed, so would not the organic components in the source water and manure-based fertilizers contribute to this?

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What do you all think of using the sand bend component in an existing outdoor hydroponic system already using gravel that sources nutrients both from the fish side, mineralized quail manure, as well as commercial fertilizer?

 

Perhaps putting a send bed in operation based on a flood and drain cycle, leaving the existing gravel beds alone?

 

I hear lots of discussion about the development of a more complex microorganism colony in the bed, so would not the organic components in the source water and manure-based fertilizers contribute to this?

Well considering that I already did this and the results were that growth improved  in the gravel beds after doing so , I think it's a good idea if unable or unwilling to fully convert.  I did this by just trying to add a sand bed. Ideally the sandbed should have its own pump and timer to make sure you don't overflow the sand bed.  I have to admit I was skeptical, the question of if it was so great, why didn't it get more adopted, but I could see the plus sides.  I was not disappointed in the results.   I really don't understand as yet why it could not work with DWC or NFT either.

Edited by Ravnis (see edit history)

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Gary please guide with following Q's :
*Can we use mineral rocks with sand in bed for nutrient supply for plants?
*What if we use mulching film to cover and avoid algae formation.
*Is there any relation between flooding and draining duration of growing bed ?(As Dr.Mark McMurtry takes 120min for flooding and draining ,is there any logic behind it ?) 
*What Nutrient do i need in iAVS system.(We need to supplement P,K,Fe in gravel system or UVI.)

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Hi,

 

Welcome to APN.  Sorry 'bout the delay in responding to this post.

 

Gary please guide with following Q's :
*Can we use mineral rocks with sand in bed for nutrient supply for plants?

 

There is no need to use rock dust.

 

*What if we use mulching film to cover and avoid algae formation.

 

The algae is part of the micro-biology that is iAVs.  When the algae breaks down, it becomes part of the nutrient cycle.

 

*Is there any relation between flooding and draining duration of growing bed ?(As Dr.Mark McMurtry takes 120min for flooding and draining ,is there any logic behind it ?) 

 

The flood cycle can be varied to suit specific circumstances but the extended drain cycle is an important part of the process.

 

*What Nutrient do i need in iAVS system.(We need to supplement P,K,Fe in gravel system or UVI.)

 

There is no need to supplement iAVs with anything.  That's just one of the things that separates it from gravel or raft systems.

 

 

Edited by Gary Donaldson (see edit history)

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Without pressuring Gary, I'm looking forward to the 5 gallon sand test so I can sort that piece of the puzzle out. :)

W, here it is.
 
"RE "5-gallon bucket test"
 
 Use a 5 gallon bucket (or any plastic container about 14-15" tall - or 35 to 40 cm)
- at the bottom perimeter (sides, not in the bottom itself) place 6 to 8 equally spaced holes about 1/4 to 3/8" (0.6 to 1.0 cm diameter.  
- placing some scape insect screen or pea gravel interior (inside) to cover the drain holes will help retain the sand particles
fill the container with your sand source (being questioned) to within an inch or so of the top lip and flood it with water and time how long it takes to stop draining
- while your at it, measure how much water it takes to saturate it (to fill all the pore spaces)
- and also capture/measure the drainage volume exiting to estimate the retained (hydrostatically bound) fraction (this with be greatest in the very first cycle)
- suggest repeating this process several times at 2 hour intervals for a day and record the results (volume in, volume out, duration of observable drainage)
- there will be an initial settling (compaction) occurring - the vast majority of which will occur in the first few flood and drain cycles 
You want to get the sand particles all settled into their positions and then establish the drainage interval and retention volume of that sand material. 
Sand types/sources can/will vary over a extremely wide range.  What you do not want is a large percentage of fines that can/will fill the void spaces created by the larger particles
Sharp (angular) grains are better than smooth rounded grains and flat, flaky particles are worst of all.
 
If you have access to multiple sand sources, try them all,  - compare pore volume, retained volume and drainage intervals."
Content source is Dr. Mark R. McMurtry.  Hope this helps.

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W, here it is.
 
"RE "5-gallon bucket test"
 
 Use a 5 gallon bucket (or any plastic container about 14-15" tall - or 35 to 40 cm)
- at the bottom perimeter (sides, not in the bottom itself) place 6 to 8 equally spaced holes about 1/4 to 3/8" (0.6 to 1.0 cm diameter.  
- placing some scape insect screen or pea gravel interior (inside) to cover the drain holes will help retain the sand particles
fill the container with your sand source (being questioned) to within an inch or so of the top lip and flood it with water and time how long it takes to stop draining
- while your at it, measure how much water it takes to saturate it (to fill all the pore spaces)
- and also capture/measure the drainage volume exiting to estimate the retained (hydrostatically bound) fraction (this with be greatest in the very first cycle)
- suggest repeating this process several times at 2 hour intervals for a day and record the results (volume in, volume out, duration of observable drainage)
- there will be an initial settling (compaction) occurring - the vast majority of which will occur in the first few flood and drain cycles 
You want to get the sand particles all settled into their positions and then establish the drainage interval and retention volume of that sand material. 
Sand types/sources can/will vary over a extremely wide range.  What you do not want is a large percentage of fines that can/will fill the void spaces created by the larger particles
Sharp (angular) grains are better than smooth rounded grains and flat, flaky particles are worst of all.
 
If you have access to multiple sand sources, try them all,  - compare pore volume, retained volume and drainage intervals."
Content source is Dr. Mark R. McMurtry.  Hope this helps.

 

 

Thanks VKN.

 

Arguably among the most important of the tests are the vinegar test and the pH test.

 

By the way, how are things going out at Bangalore?  Things should be going full tilt about now.

 

Gary

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Thanks VKN.

 

Arguably among the most important of the tests are the vinegar test and the pH test.

 

By the way, how are things going out at Bangalore?  Things should be going full tilt about now.

 

Gary

Gary, no much data to report as of now from Project C (Bangalore).  I have some pictures of the vegetative growth but nothing worth showing off for now. 

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