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bcotton

Bcotton's EPIC backyard conversion , Aquaponic Cowboy!

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yah things are going good but spending all my free time working on the garden and not documenting it or updating progress.. but i am certain things will slow down when it temps hit a hundred in a couple months and i will have time to catch up on updates

 

not aquaponics  but this weekend i   built a couple of kratky hydroponic beds using junk i had laying in my back yard (leftovers from other projects)

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This weekend's project is digging trenches. I am having an electrician come out next week to wire a couple of power drops out in my back yard so i dont have to run extension chords to the aquaponics anymore.

I got a bit of a startle,. I let him go, i recognize the benefits of good snakes.. especially if this is in fact a king snake.. but i dont like being around them.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyydLMZr6FA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTxNtaIkxLA

 

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The cleanup is going good and almost done.. I am still getting stuff planted.. maybe next year i can start my plants on time and be on schedule.. but the stuff in the ground seems happy.

 

I also built a small demo system out of a 200 gallon acrylic aquarium someone was remodeling their office building and throwing it away.. I am still working on the water chemistry before adding feed trained black crappie to the system.. Currently its running with minnows and the water is amber because of the iron i added.. the eddha iron seems to affect water color the most of the chelates.. but i had to use it here because of the high PH buffering in the expanded shale substrate i am using.

 

 

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Temperatures are starting to creep up to where it's very uncomfortable to work outside. We are in the m ind 90's right now and we will start hitting 100 degrees F this week with increasing frequency for the next ~3 months.

My fish tank and DWC water was already in the upper 80's so it motivated me to try to wire up and plumb in this old pool swamp cooler. It dropped water temps about 3-4 degrees the first 24 hours.. hopefully it will keep water under 80 for the whole summer.. i think high water temps was the reason for poor aquaponic plant performance last summer.

 

The other picture is showing a power drop.. i had a circuit run to each of the two pump boxes i use in the back yard.. One runs two large air pumps and the water pump that drives the whole system. This picture is of a smaller pump box that only had 2 air pumps but now its also running the swamp cooler.

 

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Hi bcotton

2 hours ago, bcotton said:

My fish tank and DWC water was already in the upper 80's so it motivated me to try to wire up and plumb in this old pool swamp cooler. It dropped water temps about 3-4 degrees the first 24 hours.. hopefully it will keep water under 80 for the whole summer.. 

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How much power does it consume ?

cheers

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ande,

 

i am not 100% certain. I got this cooler second hand and i am not the type of person to look up manuals online.. i just wired the cable to a 120V plug and connected 2" pvc to the in and outlets... I really had no idea how it would work or if it would work... The fan on top has a label and appears to pull about 3 amps on a 120V plug so thats about 400 watts/hr. I dont know what the sump pump draws , and it only runs a few seconds out of every minute... but i could definately save power if i redesigned it to drain back into the systrem instead of needing to be pumped out of the pan.

The aquaponic pump (the pump in my aquaponics sump) pumps the water into the chiller and then it just drips the water over the surface area and a fan blows on it.

then the water drips into the chiller catch pan and when the catch pan fills up the sump pump in the bottom pumps the cooled water back into the system.

now that its online i realize i need a catch pan underneath the catch pan   because if/when the sump pump fails i am going to have a huge mess and probably dead fish... it would have been easy to set it up so it just drains back into the system and doesnt use the chiller pump at all (which i will probably redo it in the fall for next summer so that it works that way.

 

 

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I posted a few 1 minute underwater videos from each of the tanks on my youtube.. there;s no talking or context.. just the videos of fish swimming.. I am planning to harvest a few of the channel cats this weekend so i will get some weights and pictures of that. right now i estimate the channel cats to be about 3-4lb each on average. The crappie are 5-7" i estimate and the bluegill are around 3/4lb

 

Channel Cats

 

 

bluegill

 

 

crappie

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This past weekend i also cleaned up my soil beds and did some winter planting..

I broadcast the seeds so its not very organized... carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, several kinds of onions, kales, lettuce cabbage. I still need to go back and plant some garlic bulbs and brassicas

 

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We technically had our first frost back in late nov/early december which is when my peppers, tomatoes and sweet potatos died back to the ground... but today was really the first real frost that i am worried about damaging my more cold hardy warm weather plants like my cirtus and bananas. and tomorrow morning will be in the high 20's, then warm up to into the 40;s. so i am only needed to keep these plants  above 32F for a few hours.. not days or weeks.

The citrus is all potted and i brought it indoors.. for the bananas, last year they died back to the ground then grew back... But in hopes of getting bananas next year i am trying to help these plants make it through the winter.. So here's the plan. 

 

basically the blue barrel is full of water, to absorb hear during the day. The front of my house also faces south so there should be warmth emitting from the barrel and the brick. I also have a low watt aquarium heater adding a little warmth. The hope is that the tarp keeps the frost off and traps in just a little bit of the heat emitting from the barrel.

 

 

 

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Had a couple of coworkers and a friend over today and we fished out some fish for them to take home.. this is a little over 4 lbs. Of the 7 fish we fished out of the 1200 gallon catfish tank they ranged from 2-4 lbs.. From some underwater video footage i took last week i think the biggest in the tank will be in the 6+ lb area but it feels good to start reaping some benefits of the system after 2 years.

 

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cleaned more fish this weekend.

12 fish ranging from about 4lbs to 7.5

About 80 left in that 1000 gallon tank.. so i cant let up.. the fish load is too high

we fried some last night with friends. and i sent about a lb of meat home with anyone that wanted it.. send about 3 lbs of meat with one guest that will cook it for his mom and family today.. and i am taking 7 lb to my moms for the extended family gathering there.

 

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Edited by bcotton (see edit history)

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Great Job Brian! 

Not to take away from this site, but I have over 50 active members and growing at the below link if you're interested -- including Gary McDonald and Kellen Weissebach from this site. Sure would love to have you.  Very easy to post pictures on my site. One step process right from your browser.

Sadly not much activity here anymore. :(

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/648955648871374/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

 

 

Edited by Cecil (see edit history)

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so in may, i had my air pumps come unplugged and i lost all the catfish and bluegill i had left... which was around 600 lbs of fish.. you know.. over a quarter ton of fish growing in a suburban back yard ,, about 70 catfish from 4-7lbs and 300ish bluegill and red eared sunfish averaging 1 lb (.75-1.3 lbs) so 600 lbs is honestly a conservative estimate,

 

I am not gonna dig up my raw pictures to repost but if you scroll through this multipost instagram post you can see all the death and destruction and the mound i built to hot compost the fish

 

I think forums in general are maybe not the prefered method of knowledge transfer by the mass population anymore.. which is disappointing because facebook and instagram and youtube arent collaborative in nature and they are very difficult to browse through history of an author.. and follow a person's build for 6 years or more like i have done on backyard aquaponics and apn and are crucial to my learning and how i got to where i am today in aquaponics..

for now i dont plan to to keep this thread updated but i am posting semi regularly on that instagram pictures of my build.. if someone sees something they want to talk about we can still talk about it here. I have abandoned backyard aquaponics forum .. noone reads anything anymore, its just nonsense and its like reading aquaponics forum that perpetually stuck in aquaponics 101 because anyone with the maturity to read  whole build thread or use the search function have left that place for dead like i have.

 

I have for a long time planned to start posting content as a youtube creator.. It was never meant to be future career or second income , just a way to share what i have learned and what i have built in a more visual and personalized setting.. i am still planning to do this even though i feel that youtube content creation has passed as a fad as well, but i still find it really easy to convey ideas to people i am talking with in real life by pasting a video.. so it still has value to me

 

for instance, last summer i made this unlisted walkaround video of my fish system for optimal fish food (my fish food supplier) because they asked for pictures, and since i have pasted t to a dozen people i know (irl) because they were asking about my system.

 

 

I plan for my youtube content to be more instructional and focus mostly on "how much food can someone grow in a suburban backyard". I am still learning. i had a setback on my aquaculture but i feel like i have a lot i can share in that space and now i am really focusing more on growing the vegetable and sharing what i am learning in that side of my aquaponics journey

and i am working on some additional projects. Some of it is in the home automation, sensor, monitoring  and automated response space catered to gardening.  All of which i currently plan to open source (if it works and has value to people). And i have another project that is somewhat related but  i am not ready to announce any details about it at this time.

anyway, consider that my state of the union speech. I am not dead, i am still working on my dream when i have time.. and we can still talk about here but i am not gonna try to instigate conversations with pictures and updates anymore.. so if you wanna know whats going on, just ask..

peace.

brian

aquaponic cowboy

 

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Quote

so in may, i had my air pumps come unplugged and i lost all the catfish and bluegill i had left... which was around 600 lbs of fish.. you know.. over a quarter ton of fish growing in a suburban back yard ,, about 70 catfish from 4-7lbs and 300ish bluegill and red eared sunfish averaging 1 lb (.75-1.3 lbs) so 600 lbs is honestly a conservative estimate,

You don't do anything by halves do you, Brian.  I've had fish kills before but nothing as painful as you've suffered.  

Quote

I think forums in general are maybe not the prefered method of knowledge transfer by the mass population anymore.. which is disappointing because facebook and instagram and youtube arent collaborative in nature and they are very difficult to browse through history of an author.. and follow a person's build for 6 years or more like i have done on backyard aquaponics and apn and are crucial to my learning and how i got to where i am today in aquaponics..

Discussion forums have declined...certainly all of the aquaponics ones...and the proclivities of Facebook users are probably to blame.   There is nothing about Facebook that is better than the discussion forum...except perhaps the 24/7 availability of users...and I'm far from certain that's actually an advantage.    The truth is that many of those that you encounter on Facebook are people that you would rather never deal with. 

There is no regard for facts or evidence.  You can watch page after page of absolute garbage get trotted out and the person who asked the question is left none the wiser.

Facebook sites are a pig to retrieve information from...the Search capabilities being close to useless.  

Contrary to the trend, I opened up another forum...www.havemoreforless.com...but, while I've put a lot of work into it, I'm uncertain about what to do with it.   One thing I do know is that I'm not interested in replicating what I did here at APN.

I had thought of a private club sort of space...where I host discussions for a handful of friends and collaborators...but it's still unresolved.

The question of how to deal with content is a difficult one...and I can empathise with your dilemma about what to do with your stories.

Regardless of what happens, I wish you better luck than you experienced this week.

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