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Mistakes I made in my build.

aquaponics aquaponics mistakes things i would change

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#1 Paul

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 09:29 AM

Those of you who have been following my "The Aquaponics Build" thread, know I have been working on my build for about one month, now. In fact, I should have my grow beds completed and attached to the system by month's end - if all goes well. 

 

However, this early on, I already know two mistakes I have made.

 

Mistake 1: Not setting the level of the water high enough. At the moment, it is set at 800 liters. As shown in the image, I could have set the level higher, simply by drilling the hole higher. 

 

IMG_2532_r - c1.jpg

 

The main reason for setting the water level higher, by placing the Solids Lifting Overflow (SLO) higher, is to increase the volume of water pressure / volume flowing from the SLO, into the Radial Flow Filter (RFF). By not doing that, the top of the input in the RFF was very close to the height of the outflow point from the SLO in the fish tank. To help this a bit, I cut the vertical tube inside the RFF down a bit, about 10 cm. It appears to be functioning fine. But, I think it would perform better, if I were to lower the input tube a bit more. I will just cut another piece of 2" (55mm) PVC to test it with. If it doesn't make any difference, I can always put the existing tube back in place.

 

 

Mistake 2: Not going with a proper fish tank, one that I could cut holes in and add windows to, in order to view the fish swimming inside the tank. The way my system is currently set up, I have to stand and look into the tank in order to view the fish while they eat or swim. This is taking a big part of what I love about fish, away from me. 

 

So, on my next system set up, I will pay the extra monies in order to buy proper fish tanks. 


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#2 andy

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 10:44 AM

I am sure you will sort it out Paul. But remember the advice I gave you in the past! Get it right first time! If not it could be costly. But if nothing else "frustrating".
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#3 Paul

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 04:42 PM

I am sure you will sort it out Paul. But remember the advice I gave you in the past! Get it right first time! If not it could be costly. But if nothing else "frustrating".

 

Well, the "first mistake" was just a bad decision, honestly. I figured I would just keep the tank water level a bit lower. I can remedy this tank, by adding more PVC and fittings. This would raise the tank water level.

 

Alternatively, I could plug the current hole with a nipple and caps, drill a new one above it, then modify the external plumbing.

 

The former would be the best choice, though, by far.

 

The "second mistake" cannot be fixed, as far as IBC totes go, apparently. Well, I have yet to find a solution that doesn't involve leaks afterward. (The wall of the tote is too thin, unlike the wall of a proper fish tank.)

 

So, for future reference, if anyone wishes to be able to "view" the fish in their system, do not go with IBC totes for fish tanks.

 

Heck, I'm not even sure I could find a piece of 6mm - 7mm polycarbonate to use as a window, locally anyway. 

 

I did find some good images, even one showing where I could add windows to my filter tanks (drums). That would be great if I were to build an educational system. 

 

tanks_windows (2).jpg

 

tanks_windows (1).jpg

 

tanks_windows (3).jpg


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#4 andy

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 08:42 PM

The end result is that the fish are doing the job for your system! After that when the fish are the appropriate size they are food. If you want pets! Keep some in the fish tank you bought. Buy a net to check the growth of your aquaponics stock.
I have learnt in the commercial side of farming you need to be a little harder.
Here in the countryside Paul your eyes would be closed. There is no time and gain to be petting.
Even the dogs out here serve two purposes! One they guard the property. Two if the owner falls on bad times he/she has food.

#5 Paul

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 12:36 AM

The end result is that the fish are doing the job for your system! After that when the fish are the appropriate size they are food. If you want pets! Keep some in the fish tank you bought. Buy a net to check the growth of your aquaponics stock.
I have learnt in the commercial side of farming you need to be a little harder.
Here in the countryside Paul your eyes would be closed. There is no time and gain to be petting.
Even the dogs out here serve two purposes! One they guard the property. Two if the owner falls on bad times he/she has food.

 

Well, to be perfectly honest, when raising chickens, I can feed them and pet them. I don't do the culling of them, though. I also don't ask questions, either, regarding such practices. Say what you will about me. I like the nicer side of farming. Others can deal with the "dark side". They don't mind. So, that is a win-win situation. 

 

Regarding the windows in the tanks, there is more than one reason for doing that. You can use your system as an educational tool, by providing others a view, quite literally, inside your system. Not to mention, children love to watch fish swim. Personally, I enjoy doing the same. It doesn't matter if they will be eaten down the road, or not. They still can provide enjoyment by watching them swim and interact with other fish in the tank. 

 

To go back a bit here, I decided to go ahead and address the water level issue late this afternoon, after I wrote my previous reply. I began thinking about it, and decided to check to see if I had enough fittings and pipe left over from the job. I did. So, Chan and I worked together and sorted it in just a few minutes flat, actually. This raised the level of the tank two-hundred liters, making it an even 1000 liters capacity. Dang near ran the sump dry in the process. (I really should add a low water cut off switch to the sump.) Fortunately, I caught it just in time, before the pump lost suction. (Not 100% certain if these pumps can run dry, or not. I don't want to find out.) I'll post a photo of the modified fish tank SLO, in the morning. 


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#6 Paul

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 12:43 AM

On a side note, working on issues / problems / mistakes one may make in the process, often leads to ideas for modifications / changes to the system. One particular idea I have, is to add a low water cut out switch, which will cut the sump pump off prior to the water level in the sump dropping too low.

 

Another idea, one I thought about earlier today as well, is an automatic water filling valve - a float valve, for the sump. Let that feed from the 1000 liters tote I have not used, which can store dechlorinated water from the water mains, or rainwater, depending on what is available at the time.


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#7 andy

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 02:23 AM

Paul the key to the system is to maintain a continuous regular circulation of water flow throughout all components. Have you set up everything that the system will be using? When the full system is in order you will be able and need to make your adjustments.

#8 Paul

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 10:27 AM

Paul the key to the system is to maintain a continuous regular circulation of water flow throughout all components. Have you set up everything that the system will be using? When the full system is in order you will be able and need to make your adjustments.

 

I have everything but my grow beds completed. I will finish them the last week of this month. Running low on fundage. 

 

IMG_2525_r.jpg

 

IMG_2526_r.jpg

 

 

By the way, below is what I did to increase the water volume in the fish tank. I added fittings only. No glue.

 

Before, at 800 liters:

IMG_2486_r.jpg

 

Now, at 1000 liters:
IMG_2542_r.jpg

 

The SLO (Solids Lifting Overflow) seems to be working great. It is pulling everything from the bottom of the fish tank, and sending it on to the RFF (Radial Flow Filter). 


Edited by Paul, 10 July 2016 - 10:29 AM.

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#9 andy

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 10:35 AM

Looking good! I see you are going for the rustic design! Very Cambodian.
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#10 Paul

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Posted 10 July 2016 - 10:39 AM

Looking good! I see you are going for the rustic design! Very Cambodian.

 

Going "Cambodian" was solely to keep costs down and to construct a temporary system. This will not be a long term set up.

 

Once I have spent enough time learning what I need to know, I will have to transfer to the farm and build a larger, more permanent system there. This one was constructed for a specific purpose - learning. 

By the way, I lost one fish - and on the day I transferred them from the aquarium to the fish tank. This is them dining, this morning.

 

IMG_2535_r.jpg

 

IMG_2536_r.jpg

 

IMG_2538_r.jpg


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