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Everything posted by WillroyGreenhand

  1. Thanks ande, was a ruff job in the heat of Thailand but at the end it was worth every Thai Baht spent. My wife called me today and gave me an update. This new system is not that labor intensive anymore, the system is working well balanced and the new 'baby station' gets already stocked with berried females who start producing confirming that we did all right. One negative issue: The clay pebbles we bought are fully soaked but will not sink and create a small void between the river gravel and clay pebbles. She got more river gravel and reduced the layer of clay pebbles to about 3 inches which stops them slewing around.
  2. Hello all, after we had collected with our 1st backyard system (and also many info from members here and other forums) all oops, mistakes, do's and don't dos, I spent these 2 1/2 month off-time to overhaul and change the entire system as already pre-announced. The test system is completed today with the last task, a so by my wife called 'baby station' 1. The continuously overheating pipes which should simulate for my wife to learn the idea of deep-water grow beds, have been exchanged to some bada** backyard deep water grow beds and two ebb flood gravel beds. Have mercy with the height on frames. In my commercial system I will move a lot of dirt to reach the desired levels but in our backyard is this not make-able without pushing the wall into neighbor's garden. 2. the Filters have a bigger size and a sump tank was added. The pump has all capacity from 12000 L (actual size) to 48000 L adjustable by remote control. Also we have inserted 2 stainless steel filter buckets 500 micron that catches almost every dust and poop particle. The poop is pure Gold and our entire Village is just turning into a jungle. We give every week an around 5 Kg bag to our neighbors and all confirm that the cray and tilapia poop mix is the best all-round fertilizer they ever had hands on. 3. Six Breeding stock buckets 400 L, four 800 L grow out Tanks, eight containers as baby station and off cause our two grow beds each 5000 ltr is now considered as a home for our red claw crayfish stock (about 2500 ea) plus three ibc cubes each 1000 ltr for our tilapia provide the fertilizer. The 'expoxy liner' over smart boards approved as most useful, very strong and durable. After completion of each layer I was flying 50cm above the ground and we decided later to give this job in some local hands. The 'baby station' 8 containers, simple and efficient. Thumb up from my wife. 6 breeding stock tanks (5-8 females and one male) and the grow out tanks below. A (not suitable for Offshore working) Davit Crane helps my wife every morning to change the filter buckets. And there is no better place for me and my wife sitting on the bench and listening the sounds of splashing water, slurping Bell siphons and watching the crayfishes searching for food. Rafts, funny feeder funnel and the first vitamins on the grow. A backyard packed with ideas. Btw, we got heaps of offers for floating rafts worldwide with prizes that went through the roof. Then we found a supplier just 120 Km away who offered us 50 holes and 15 holes rafts for 120 Thai baht a go which is equal to 2.50 EUR a piece. Hard foam plates with pre-drilled holes and air pockets underneath = money well spent. Job is calling, in two days I have to go offshore again leaving back a happy and proud wife and a new improved system. The water test results, the growth of the first veggies and the boosted hunger of the Tilapia and Crayfish have already proven that my little wife and I are on the right path. 2 weeks ago we bought some crayfish food that was lowest quality and started floating after 1-2 hrs with the result, that ugly slime was covering the roots and root rot started. As experienced before didn't the crayfish take long and took over their duty. They clipped the bad roots out and boosted the growth of new white roots. A stunted growth could not be observed as the mud-bugs had their job well under control and gave us a lot of optimism that red claw crayfish do very well under the floating rafts. Our expectations that the Crays will going berserk on the Veggies turned the opposite and they approved that they are well educated gardeners with love for any decaying matter in roots and plants. The trap housings working best and only thing is how to feed them as at the moment. We equipped some raft holes with funnels which is ok for here but sure impossible in the commercial size grow beds we are planning for our commercial system, but that is future music for now. As I said, offshore is calling again... Cheers Will
  3. I have made some updated drawing after a previous meeting with my Companion. I had to get the one Pump idea cleared. I apologize that the Trap Housings for the harvest, and how how contain the Red Claw Crayfish fry I am not posting here. It took 5 years to develop these until 95% catch rate and success for breeding/feeding in tanks for marketable sizes. The size of the grow beds was one issue, the food a another one and how the get them harvested when there are 1300 Floating rafts full of Greens above them was a biggest question. You grow one size and can make a $$ but If you have no control as you can't reach them, then the stock goes low in a few month, here the mechanics are asked and that is well done from Holland and a Crayfish farmer here in Thailand, my nephew ;-).. All this was about 20000 EUR of literally building and destroying work, sweat and tears.
  4. I forgot to tell that I germinate all plants in Rockwool or Sponges before planting them in my rafts and grow beds. With Salad and Lettuce I had a loss of almost 99% when directly seeded into the grow beds. The reason I found out is that many plants love light to germinate and in your gravel they simply falling too deep into the media and rotting away. Try first to put the seeds on top of any media, Lettuce for example comes within 3 days if they are surface seeded.. 'Underground' it takes 3 week till never..
  5. Hi all, Last Time at home my wife had brought some Duckweed (wolffia arrhiza my best guess) out of the northeast of Thailand and was very happy. She told me excited its hard to get and expensive. I have tried the soup she made even it was looking more than disgusting and had also 'some' smell that suits not really an European nose.. But surprisingly it was pretty tasteful and as I took a spoonful purged the broth off it even did remind me a bit like watercress (kind off) but it actually didn't taste that bad. A small amount we tried to introduce into our system but was gone. It seems a bit sensible to changes even its considered a weed. May be out crays and Tilapias also did a good job and took whatever came in reach. Does anyone agree that Duckweed might be having a potential to become a new top range food supply for humans around the world. In Thailand it is definitively considered a luxury and almost not available anymore. A pest that gets extinguished over there how strange that sounds.
  6. Hello, we just faced the same problem. We never had within 5 years much trouble with smell but as we extended our system and the fact that crayfish demand too much space we introduced tilapia to boost our Nitrate need. Our experience is that Tilapia is much more dirty than crays and they were smelling until we battered the tanks with Oxygen. (Using an air blower) As we experienced sufficient oxygen supply was the A&O the smell disappeared as fast it came. There are options with pure oxygen (from Bottles) supply but they are in Thailand (one of the main producer of Tilapia) not recommended. The Farmers told me the fish gets "brown Blood" but also they told me that you can be gentle with normal air supply as it doesn't harm the fish.
  7. Hello Mohamed, I am living in Thailand so we have a bit the same Temperatures to deal with. First I had the same problem and the plants were looking all other than healthy. Leaves were yellow due to nutrient deficiencies, PH level was also quite a struggle. It took me about 1 year that all sorted itself so as above from other members stated is the main factor the age of the system. The bacteria need to grow and plants that have a high demand like Tomatoes and Aubergines for example need systems that are at least 2 years old or even older according to my experience. Then the issue you have a huge pond that feeds your system. I would suggest to make some separated tanks with tilapia that feeds the system 1:1 till max 2:1 water rate did it for me. In your pond are algae and most likely there is no or little fertilizer left for your plants. Also you never have the density of fish in your pond to run an aquaponics system proper and controlled. Also Duckweed (a Delicatess in Thailand and food supplements for ours fishes) use surprisingly much Nitrate which isn't then anymore available for your plants. But first of all give it time, this is the most important thing of all. You might remember your pond as you built it, how long did it go up and down, how much fish died before it starting to balance itself. My mistake was at the begin that I tried all and everything to have some influence in the balance and it made actually things worse. Mother nature does this by herself but she decides when the time is due and the up and downs getting slower until the values stay at a certain level. In your new system you will experience a rapid increasing of ammonia and somehow it will start going down after weeks, that is the moment when your bacteria starting to spread all over the system. I am now almost 6 years with my backyard system and from time to time the balance goes out when we for example harvest too much, a fish has died and we haven't seen it or we took too much Crayfish (they taste so good that you always want one more) for our Sunday barbecues.. To the other members, please correct me if I am wrong at some point but that was what I experienced with my system in Thailand. (Check my other treads, there are some photos and a story)
  8. Hi Toga, cheers for you time here the answers of your questions. Hi Willroy, I am looking specifically at your layout plan, and reading your verbal plans... and I am having some confusions. I do not exactly comprehend - a) What each different size grow area is designed for, so many areas and sizes ? 12 Gravel beds 5.2m x 2m x 70cm. We have developed an idea to get the inertia better under control so even a big size grow bed will empty complete before the suction in the bell siphon breaks off. As 2nd effect it will pull the dust to the bell siphon and keeps the grow bed longer active. Murray H. had some issue with that. Deepwater Grow beds: 50m x 15m x 80cm deep because there will be Red Claw Crayfish under the floating rafts. As I said they have never damaged any plants since we introduced the idea in our test system. We experienced a faster and better grow especially for mustard, water spinach and lettuces. b) Which areas for the Tilapia ? The Octagon tanks have each 50 cbm water is for tilapia c) Which areas for the Red Claws ? The outside 57 x 8 x 0.8m deepwater growdeds with duckweed will also used for red Claw Craysfish. And if we have cleared all doubts we also will have Red Claws inside under the floating rafts. d) I do not see a water flow diagram - Inlets / outlets / sumps / pumps ? Diagrams are by an engineer in the Netherlands because we thought already big but somehow it seems we still didn't think big enough ;-) he will sort that. Also he get the one pump idea out of our mind and made it min 6 and max 12 pumps. safes half of the calculated energy. Big is obviously not always efficient.. e) I do not see any filtration ? Filtration: The heart piece is a 4 x 2.5 m 50 micron self rotating drum filter. But also that is in planning and awaiting approval from holland. 80- 100 kg Poop per day is a number that could create an side market nicely packed in 5 Kg boxes.. (the Lad in Indonesia sells all to Parks and gardens in Jakarta) d) Do you plan additional aeration ? After the water left the ebb flood grow beds all deep water grow beds, fish tanks, sumps will be aerated by using blower and also a special system for the duckweed tanks has been developed to give the crays oxygen but doesn't disturb the on water movements sensible Duckweed, which has a potential market here in Thailand but more will be used to split the expenses for fish food to over a half.. I have to say thanks you for any question you have and doubt you raise.. Also Aufin's suggestions are much appreciated, here in the forum we can sort things that might lead into a disaster if overlooked or ignored.. I am happy that a few are interested and bring up some good points..
  9. Would't an iAV taking too much space and as far I can see the amount of solids we produce will be better caught out by using a pure mechanical Filter like a self driven drum filter like our friends in Malayisa do?
  10. Yes mate, its still another 2 years to go and we are by now in a medium paper and pencil stage for the planning. Also my family needs to get off their rice farmers thinking and we are due to modify our test system. We also have modified our drawing after did a visit to a same size farms in Indonesia and Malaysia. From the fish tanks the first filter will be a 4m x 2.5m, 50micron drum filter. The amount of solids is about 80Kg per day hence a side market for bio fertilizer. from the drum filter it goes to the sump and from there to the 25 x 5 cbm gravel beds.. The guy in Indonesia did some smart designs to assure that the gravel beds this size will run off proper. Also we have dropped the idea with one pump as a beast that size is hard to control, we use them offshore for jetting things into the ground. 12 small pumps will use less energy and each grow bed can be individually switched off. From the gravel beds we use gravity to get through the deep water grow beds. You are right, the piping is pretty huge but we split them into a suitable size. 5x 150 mm from the grow beds to the fish tanks. the outside grow beds are doubled now, hence instead of 12 they are 6 of 8 x 57m (they will only be for Duckweed production and Crayfish below) We also have the plans to put red claws into the deepwater beds as they do an outstanding job maintaining the roots. We experienced that the salads grow much better and faster when the black roots are clipped out. But still this is a test stage and we will see which plants they will may be eat in whole.. Here a quick made shematic how we see our plumping.. The originals are in the Netherlands for check and too big to attach all.. Just don't mind the one pump and air blower beside the drum filter. There will be about 6-12 in each system.
  11. Hi all since 4 weeks i do my math about a bell siphon (I know there are posts but it's about size and mathematics here) Anyone can help? This was till now my best shot regarding gravel bed volume, pump capacity, flow rate by pipe diameter Cheers to anyone who knows the stuff.. Will
  12. Cheers ande, I have put a lot of work already into it and the challenge is still on. But the maintenance and the fruits are by now mainly in my wife's hand. I am spending a lot of time working offshore to cover the financial side for my for 2020 planned commercial systems (see my post under commercial aquaponics). So I do not touch my pension savings. 10000 sqm is a lot of investment to do and I want to be prepared. But since start of our backyard system my Thai wife is loving this and I am barely allowed to touch HER plants and veggies. But when it comes to engineering its my call, she googles and I build. Therefore I gets sometime treated by some nice dinner like Thai Style Red Claw Crayfish.. But also these gourmet treats are mostly cooked and eaten with her friends and family when I enjoy some usual food on the ship.
  13. Hi Joe I hope all is good and you recover well. This post is not meaning to this form but its in general in all forums related to aquaponics the same phenomenon. They are silent and almost any news comes up. I had the feeling that many did not continue after they might have some downfall, invested for nothing and so on. Aquaponics is serious work and it is often mentioned it demands almost no time. It demands as much time as your common house garden and also you need to upkeep your equipment and livestock. Pumps are not made forever and off cause all 2-3 years the old one is worn out and needs a new one while a shuffle and spade does with for 10 years and longer. I don't see much enthusiasm anymore in the forums, people are not posting anymore about their systems. I have just made the plan to knock down my pipe system and build a 9m long deep-water grow bed. That was also a lesson learned, the pump fails over night and not when you stand aside of it and your salad is dead in 2-3 hrs. We had some restarts with plants and came now to the conclusion, that can better. For many might such experiences have been the end of the path but a word to all. New things need development before they work and sometimes it is just better to give something up and start all over again. That was before and when I return from my offshore job it will be taken apart and... see below this will be the new step after our lessons are learned. ..and there were Crayfish all over the place, another lesson learned so my wife went to the hydraulic shop and made a first idea to stop these little Bastrds escaping through every filter an pump. 50 micron catcher will do it ;-). That is the idea of a 6 years Thai school and her growing love to the aquaponics. A little rice farmer's daughter doesn't give up and I am proud of her. (Using paintbox was my idea as auto-cad would nobody understand in my family) Last word: Don't give up, the future is in your backyard, needs just a bit more development. Cheers Will
  14. Hello all, I have experienced that the replies on all forums are very limited (not only here) and this gives me the feeling that many enthusiasts have given up their systems or running it on low fuel meaning that its just there behind the house, equipment broke down, worn out or the system has never been started as it supposed to be. Is this only my opinion or do others experience the same thing. May be other forums are still active but this and another one is in my eyes the biggest and most informative in the www. So why its getting everywhere quiet?
  15. Thanks Toga, here we go, at least one reply and negative experiences were made. I will not stop experimenting and see If I was only lucky because they didn't like the plants I put in and preferred their home cooked pellets from Duckweed, Soy, Carrots and Tilapia (head, scales, bones guts). As long I do it in my test farm in my backyard it isn't a disaster. And when I go commercial I always keep them contained in the Duckweed grow beds where I want to produce their food. May be safes me producing the food at all ;-) btw, I have made with Duckweed the experience that Tilapia grows much faster than without Duckweed in the mix. Lucky here in Thailand Duckweed grows like mad and I can keep up with the production I need (40% in my Fish Food, the rest Eggs, low quality veggies and Tilapia parts added with some fish garbage from the local fish market, (cooked off cause)
  16. they are looking great and sure juicy, please let us know how they taste compared to soil grown ones. I gave some imported peppers a try but most of my 'immigrated' chilies (beside the Thai ones) had no fire at all, the taste was blunt and waterish.
  17. Hi Johnny, I have started over 5 years ago with a trial system and also learned a lot of lessons. Check my post. I have still 2 years more before I am going fully commercial and still there are many questions like. Growing fish is "just" breaking even,, waste management,,, Deepwater Grow beds, making them deeper as usual and grow red claw crayfish in them... fruit trees in huge dutch buckets... swapping tropical seeds from other countries might create a market niece... and so on and on... Also I am looking for more answers which I think to know, but may be they are just not right..
  18. Hi all, I am a newbie here and can feel what happened to Dr Mark R McMurtry recently. I had made the same experience 15 years ago as I left Germany. I was stripped to the bone and left my home country with about 2300$ in my pocket to Thailand to build up a new life. And I was lucky to meet the best wife in the world (for me). She took me aside, gave me shelter and rigged me up by changing me from a jobless and divorced mechanic to a successful offshore consultant. She was teaching me that i should not look at my low education but use my full by mother nature given potential. But she also thought me that the luck comes to you only for the reason to give a little bit forward to others who need luck. In Thailand its a meal for the day, a helping hand, medicine or a smile to people in need. BUT, as an expat I have only a debit card to use at ATMs and pay pal I not use for the reason that I am working every year as much possible in the offshore industry to get a solid pension together and more of that I am since 5 years turning every coin to build up a commercial Aquaponics Farm as my days in the offshore are counted in a few years. The bones are asking to retire. Hence the Satellite connections on Vessels do not allow any bank transfers or transfers via pay pal. My favorite way of transfer is Western Union when I am onshore. Are there any other options to give my share to it, even it is only a little amount I can spare? Please provide details because it looks my job here is completed after over 300 days nonstop. In the coming days I can fly back to my lovely wife. Cheers Will
  19. The answer is: "think big" I made a lots of mistakes in the beginning choosing too small pipes and finally had to change them. If you have cut a hole in your bucket or tank with a hole saw, that is a real struggle to change a small hole to a bigger one.. Here a flow rate chart I use and then still I add a number up.
  20. Hi all, I had in my test system the idea to throw some rafts in the fish tank and see if the red claw crayfish is really eating the plants and roots. The opposite was the case. The rotten roots were accurately clipped and the white roots have been stimulated as the leafy green were growing faster than in the pipe system. Has anyone tried to grow red claws in his/her raft system? Or are there commercial growers doing it? I think it wouldn't matter to make for my planned Deep water beds a change and instead making them 30 cm raise them to 60cm. More water should even benefit the balance, doesn't it?
  21. Hello, we are planning after more than 5 years of trials, ups and downs, lessons learned , buffalo stomping through the greenhouse and developing a taste bud for red claw crayfish plus investing above 20.000 USD for the trial system (was well worth it, just to mention we had made a commercial system without this) to go commercial building a 10000 sqm greenhouse incl 12000 sqm outside area. Still there have been a few things answered by doing, but still the "i believe that is the right thing to do" is covered in doubts like "why nobody did this before. First I think you want to see pictures? here you go: That was early 2015, I tried to explain my wife and her family whats all about modern farming. Lots of laughing, not believing faces and the Palm Tree !!! NO WAY that thing should be cut off !! So I had to engineer (I am one with a hydroponic farming history in the Netherlands) my pipes around that bloody tree... 2 Buckets with Red Claw Crayfish were waiting that the water get filtered. Hence, wrong start at all. middle 2015 a lightning struck that bloody Palm tree and killed it instantly.. The first redesign was made because the static around the palm tree was just always going out of shape.. Here we end up with almost not controllable values, was it ammonium or nitrate, ph level and algae growth and clogged filters, pipes, pumps and and and.. name it we been there. end 2015 til mid 2016. My wife and her Auntie became addicted and Google is also in Thailand a good thing to burn money when you have Aquaponics questions. Both challenged me to make this and that In total 4 Upgrades: Ebb flood grow beds, a 4 filter system, grow up buckets, 2 more fish tanks as the crayfish population started to increase drastically. Meanwhile I started to let the Crays join our monthly BBQ Party and also Salad and Co were growing as mad. So beside my wife and her Auntie also some Nephews and Nieces joined that game and Google brought in more suggestions. End 2016: The crayfish made not enough dirt to get all plants fed and they were so lonely on the BBQ. We needed Tilapia to add more variety on the Grill. IBC Cubes for 20$ a go were just the most budget friendly investment since a long time. 2017 Thailands sun is a killer and so the shading roofs had to be implemented for a better harvest and because of the fact that Chilies and Tomatoes are a main dish in Thailand which kept hopping out of the pipes and ebb flow beds filled with clay pellets, a Dutch bucket system had to be built. Done end of 2017: Just to find out that.... Black tomatoes are only on the seed pack black... But the crayfish did well and a set of 20 aquariums had to be built and because the backyard was stuffed my office desk had to be moved and a part of the living room became a Sea-world. Last Picture: Where to go with all the poo? We tried our Bananas and a Vine called in Thailand Chicken Flower. Bang on. People looking for Lucky Lottery Numbers in the HUGE Banana Trees and wedding couples making Photos under the Flowers for good luck.. Enough is enough: Auntie showed us her land and after we realized she has a huge plot that plan continues: The Commercial System is now a daily part of my engineering tasks when bad weather days keep me off my real job. That will be 2020 the target. 100m x 80m greenhouse and also a copious outside grow area with all the family loves to have.. Bangkok is close and there is a good market for BIO products. Now my first question built on an experience we made by accident: The Red Claw Crays are everywhere and for the commercial System we want to raise them beside Tilapia right into the grow beds. The reason is we had some rafts floating in the fish tanks and against our fear they will rampage the roots of the plants they did well as free labor. They maintained the roots by clipping out every rotten piece and stimulated the growth of any plant. So why nobody ever tried to grow the Red Claws directly in the deep water grow beds? It will be a cheap labor, more harvest of Crays and bigger sizes as well. The poo has to be removed to avoid root rot. This will be the next step in our Trial System: First we scrap the Pipes as they are just trouble makers prone to clog and when we have a power cut the plants get "sad" with hanging leaves in minutes. The pipes will be exchanged by grow beds (with crayfish under the rafts) and in the center of the sloped grow bed we will make a pipe with holes to suck form time to time the poo (and small fry) off. I am looking forward for comments: bad or good all are helpful. Cheers all for reading.. Willroy
  22. Hey Hooo! I am Willroy from Thailand, Eastern Seaboard.. I am since more than 5 years working and upgrading (destroying and rebuilding ;-) on a trial System to get my Thai Family (I am Dutch) out of rural farming into the modern world. After a lot of laughing they are now well into it and I made the decision after giving them a hard time with a test system to plan a commercial system on our land. By the time going they start loving it.. I have found out many things, some by learning some the hard way and still there are questions that I will raise in the commercial forum.. May be there are some people here that can help.. here we go..
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