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DaveOponic last won the day on April 3 2017

DaveOponic had the most liked content!

About DaveOponic

  • Rank
  • Birthday 08/05/1955

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  • Biography
    ESL teacher just returned home from 11 years in Brunei
    Have taught in Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong
    Married with 2 kids
    Love motorcycles (BMWR850RT) organic gardening, AP, music, books, learning, lots of stuff
    I own a 3 bedroom home on an acre on Macleay Island.
  • Interests
    Aquaponics, Sustainable lifestyle, Politics (progressive left)

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  • Location
    Macleay Island, Brisbane QLD.

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  1. Hi all. My name is Dave - (DaveOponic) and I've been an Aquaponicholic for over ten years now. I started AP in Brunei where I have been teaching since 2005. I've grown Tilapia mainly and some success with Barramundi. 1000 litre tanks, gravel grow beds, radial filters, occasional success with NFT. I've just returned to my home on Macleay Island in Brisbane's Moreton Bay where we own a nice home on an acre with a mini orchard and irrigated water supply, big tanks and a whole lot more. Ive been on and off AP forums including this one for a decade, so not really a newbie. Not an expert either by any means and always ready to learn about new ideas. I've brought back one and a half tonnes of rooftop solar panels from Asia and plan to utilise them in my retirement in as many ways as I can to save money and the planet. I'm hoping to set up a new AP system this year and I will be seeking counsel and advice from my friend and mentor Gary. I'm thinking of growing freshwater crayfish, so if anyone has any experience I would love to get some ideas. I won't be on this forum much for a while as I am always busy with new projects and have trees, dirt garden, and now a dog to look after.....
  2. Hi Gary I've just had a quick look at the iAVS website. It looks interesting. It's probably oversimplifying to say it's Aquaponics using sand as the grow bed medium. I had thought of using sand many years ago in my grow beds after filling them up with gravel and giving myself an inguinal hernia in the process of lifting bags of road gravel into the back of my station wagon and onto a wheelbarrow. Are there any photographs of the actual grow beds or a video of a system in operation? What stopped me ever trying sand in the grow beds was the difficulties involved in keeping sand from returning to the fish tank. I am assuming there must be some kind of mesh or filter to prevent the sand returning to the tank. Is there a particular grade of sand that would be recommended? I imagine that sand also can become water logged easily and might not anchor the larger plants well. It should be possible to grow root vegetables in the sand medium though. I tried carrots once in my gravel beds but they ended up twisted, hard and inedible. I have decommissioned two out of three of my AP systems here in Brunei. Ive been cleaning up my two 1000 litre blue plastic tanks and I will use them to pack my 80 (85 watt) solar panels to ship home to Brisbane in November. Some of these solar panels I plan to use to power my next AP system at Nunkeri Drive. iAVS sounds interesting and surely a lot easier to set up than a continuous flow gravel bed system. My remaining system is based on a concrete fish pond on the front verandah, a 55 litre plastic drum radial filter and three horizontal storm water pipes using styrofoam cups to grow capsicum and leafy greens. Looking forward to learning more about the iAVS Dave
  3. Greetings from Borneo. I've been away from the forum for a while. Just too busy with backyard projects as well as that four letter word, WORK. This post caught my attention as I have followed the story of the Flow hive with interest and I hope to visit the inventor in December when I visit Byron Bay, or at least get to see one working and get an idea on price or whether I could make one DIY. I have an acre of fruit trees on Macleay Island, Qld. and will be busy in my retirement getting a permaculture setup that will provide me and my wife with fresh organic fruit, veggies and eggs. There are already a few beekeepers in the neighbourhood and usually plenty of bees in the fruit trees, but I would love to have fresh honey "on tap". Dave
  4. The ALP win in Qld was no surprise. The LNP is a corrupt organisation. I don't think it can even be called a political party any more. They will sell public assets to the highest bidder and try to privatise everything including schools, hospitals and the welfare system. While I partly agree with Gary about political parties, without becoming involved, it's easy to stand back and complain. I think the role of social media is becoming a huge rallying point for people's frustrations with the present Abbott governement and I'm sure it had a big influence in the recent Qld. elections, especially among the young. Personally I'm very happy that a Labor government has been elected in Qld. We will start to see the focus back on building our community again, supporting schools, hospitals and renewable energy.
  5. Hi Gary Good to hear the cyclone only brought rain and not wind to Macleay Island. My tanks should be full. They were full when we were home over Xmas. My fruit trees should have got a good soaking too. I'm home again in March - April for a couple of weeks. We had a busy time over December but hope to catch up with you in March. I'll be looking for a mulcher and maybe even a new ride on mower if the budget allows. Cheers Dave
  6. Hi Gary Hope the big storm yesterday didn't do too much damage on the island. We fly home next Monday and probably back on the island by Thursday or Friday. Should be home until 30 dec. Save some eggs for me please..... Dave
  7. That trampoline fence makes a nice chicken coop Gary. Can't wait to have free range eggs again one day. Our repatriation plan is that much closer as I have now been granted Qld. teacher registration after being away from Home since 1993. Now to find a job within commuting distance of the island.
  8. Hi Gary On leave in Sydney as my mum passed away last week. Will be flying up to Qld on Saturday arvo. I'll be home on the island this weekend so would like to call in if you are home. Look forward to meeting you in person after all these years. Best wishes, Dave
  9. That looks like the swimming enclosure and Pat's Park. We enjoyed a swim there when we were home at Xmas. Very nice at high tide. Our place is only 200 metres from the water but the access is difficult as the track is overgrown. When I am living on the island I'll probably take my ride on down there and clear a track again as when we first bought the house, the beach was accesible. There's also a B & B adjacent and they have quite a nice little sandy beach and offer kayaks etc to guests. Our guests just get free fruit from the trees. Good to see you are exploring the island Gary. I bought two old bicycles to do this but every time I'm home I'm so busy with gardening and maintenance, I don't have much time to go walking or cycling. Have you done any fishing yet?
  10. Good news Gary. We are hoping to sell our Sunshine Coast property one day too and be relieved of all the maintenance, lawn mowing, tree lopping, tenancy and property agent issues. Oh, and being debt free would be nice too! Good luck with the sale. dave
  11. No popcorn I'm afraid Gary but I do have a Guinea chestnut tree and a couple of Macadamia trees at my place. You are welcome to drop by and help yourself! Dave
  12. The "fundamentalist school of aquaponics thought..." Yes, a good description Gary. Haven't visited BYAP for quite a long time. I think the forums are a good way for people to learn more about Aquaponics. A pity some of them seem to be run by business types more interested in expanding their influence and selling their product than they are in fish or plants. PA also seemed to attract a lot of right wing loonies encouraged by Murray and his gang of sycophants. He seems to be a magnet for gun lobbyists, climate change deniers, knife loving survivalists, peeheads and racists. Doesn't pay to speak openly in that forum as Rupert I'm sure will testify. Sounds like BYAP may have gone the same way.
  13. Hey BD, Yes, still doing AP after all these years in Brunei. Ready to return to my acre and grow veges, fish and harvest exotic fruit from my trees. Maybe the end of this year I will give up the expat life. My radial filters are humming along nicely and require minimal cleaning and maintenance. Still using mainly gravel beds but systems are a few years old and pretty well balanced. Never have pH swings or catastrophes, clean water mostly, dead fish are a rare event. Looking forward to the more temperate of Brisbane to grow my own and live the good life. Oh, and my BMW now lives on a small island too so have a nice little ride around every time I am home. Fishly yours Dave
  14. Wow! Thanks for posting this Gary. Technical and scientific evidence is always better than hearsay or some self appointed "expert" opinion. While this was heavy reading, it backs up my own experience with radial filters and that previously stated by others in this thread. Over nearly ten years playing with AP systems I have always tried to adopt the low tech and low cost solutions where possible as my limited budget dictates. I also prefer to recycle materials where possible. The radial filter has certainly done the job in my AP systems. I am presently giving some thought to what type of setup I will construct once I return to Australia. I have an acre of very fertile land with a lot of mature fruit trees but also plenty of space for a dirt garden. I will be definitely growing organic vegetables and possibly ding some kind of permaculture area. I have two very large water tanks so no shortage of water. I am hoping to grow some freshwater crayfish and perhaps a combination of wicking beds and floating raft. Lettuce is something I have always wanted to grow but here in Brunei it has been impossible due to heat and humidity it can be only grown indoors in a cooled environment.
  15. Buying into the discussion late here but I agree with Gary and Paul on the use of the radial filter. I made three radial filters a few years ago after seeing Paul's design and photos on his Earthan Group site. The filter design looked just too simple to be effective but now, years later, two of these filters are still working beautifully. One is pretty much outside my bedroom window on a hardwood stand and filters a concrete pond on the front verandah. The water is always crystal clear and I open the tap every two weeks or so for a few seconds to dump the sludge onto the lawn. Every few months I empty and hose out the filter, so easy to clean! I think if I needed more filtration I would add a separate filter with media. I have experimented with these kinds of filters and ones containing foam but they seem to need a lot more regular cleaning. By the way, a belated thank you and best wishes to Gary and thanks to Kellen for maintaining this forum. I have been a member of APHQ for many years and while I may have had differences of opinion in the past with Gary, he has run an independent forum and introduced many people to Aquaponics and sustainable backyard farming practices. I am honoured that he will be my neighbour on an island where there is a strong community and many like minded people. As a fellow Tilapia grower, I welcome Kellen's stewardship of the forum. He has given great support to this forum as a moderator over the years. May the fish be with you! Dave O ponic
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