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In this post I will try to answer questions if I can? Help with the best of my knowledge if possible. Firstly I am not a full time 'Farmer'. In the 60s and 70s I worked as a kid on local farms to earn a little money. I came from a poor background. I have always worked hard and craved knowledge and learning.
Like Kenny in the late 70s I was interested, and studied Hydroponics. But in later (self taught years). I saw the advantages, and challenging disadvantages of Aquaponics.
Firstly. We must understand the basic needs of what a plant needs to live and grow. Water, Nutrients, Air, light, Temperature, space, and time.
Water - To feed (just the same way, we need to drink) and used to carry the nutrients. Too little or too much water or nutrients can also be harmful.
Nutrients - The most important nutrients for plants growing needs are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen is necessary for making green leaves, phosphorus is needed for making big flowers and strong roots, and potassium helps the plants fight off disease.
Temperature - Most plants prefer cooler nighttime temps and warmer daytime temperatures.
Air and Light - Fresh, clean air and light are essential for healthy growth. Plants are the greatest consumer of solar energy, using power from the sun to mix up an energy rich meal. The process where plants make their own food is known as photosynthesis.
Space and Time - Plants need room to grow. Without enough room, plants can become stunted or too small. Overcrowded plants are also more likely to suffer from diseases since airflow may be limited. Finally, plants require time and care.
To go back and answer a question? Most seeds will be required to germinate in darkness.
Paul mentioned lighting? Back in the early days, and still mostly now! The lights used for hydroponic growing would be very expensive 600w.
With the new technology of LCD lights on the market, and now very good growing media available via the internet. I had returned some years ago to experiment with Hydroponic indoor growing again. The following photo's are of working prototypes. Drip feed and Flood and drain systems.
This is a drip feed system to accommodate four young plants. When the plants grow too large they are moved into their own single unit.
The pipes can be placed freely and water flow can be regulated via the taps. The pump works with a timer. The built in temperature gauge is nice useful feature.
This is a Flood and drain system (without a Bell Syphon). Again the pump is on the timer! When the pump stops, the water flows back via the pump.
Same concept, just slower return flow (use for large plant).
Just some of the components needed to build. I use the air-stone in the grow bed to give more oxygen to the plants roots. This all works on the watering cycles, when the timer ends the pump and air stop too.
Flower used to illustrate.
LCD Light can be adjusted accordingly.
All the parts I used to make the above prototypes are storage components, from a well known European furniture outlet! Now very well established in Thailand.
I was noticing Chan using a small fish net while looking into the fish tank, fairly often. I didn't realize that, for a while, she had been doing this to clean fish and food waste from the top of the water column. I looked at the tank after the next feeding. I noticed a large amount floating on and just under the surface of the water.
I had been considering going with a skimmer for some time. But, at that time, I had not yet transferred the junior Tilapia to the tank with the larger fish. So, only ten fish were creating this massive amount of waste. I could only imagine what it would look like after I had over 50 fish in the tank.
So, Tha came by and off to the hardware and plumbing stores he went.
I decided to go with 25mm (1") PVC system, mainly due to the fact that I had a drain that wasn't really being used in the RFF (Radial Flow Filter). This would also prevent me from having to pop another hole in the RFF, AND would save me from having to use another 25mm (1") Uniseal. So, it was convenient - very convenient.
To be perfectly honest, I waited to open the skimmer valve up until after a feeding, just so viewers can see how well it actually works. Take a peak now:
A view of the pipe routing from the outside of the fish tank:
What a new, unmodified 75mm to 25mm (3" to 1") PVC bell reducer looks like.
The modified bell reducer we are using for the skimmer. It was taken from the bottom of the RFF, since we never used that to drain the filter anyway.
Parts / Tools Required:
1 - drill motor
1 - file to smooth edges of PVC after cutting
1 - hack saw or PVC cutters
1 - 1 3/4" (44mm) hole saw with pilot bit
2 - 25mm (1") Uniseals
1 - 25mm (1") ball valve
1 - can of PVC glue. (Some folks use primer. I never have. As long as it is glued properly in the first place, PVC will not leak.)
1 - 75mm to 25mm (3" to 1") PVC bell reducer. I modified mine as you can see in the video. However, that isn't necessary for it to work. I feel it does function better, though, notched at the top (on the 75mm (3") end.)
Several (I used 4, but depends on your tank / filter locations) 90Â° - 25mm (1") PVC elbows.
A length of 25mm (1") PVC pipe. (This length, again, will depend on the distance between your tank and your filter.
Stay tuned. Another addition-to-the-system write up coming in the morning.