This is the first post in part 2 - running our system. You can read from the top now. Wow - we have now moved to videos!!!
Aquaponics: Part 4 Video. The new growbed.
Apquaponics: Part 3 Video. Sudden need for change.
So I can hear Elaine and Lissa already... it is too damn technical!!! LOL. Well, my amonia level spiked this week. As a result, I had to "bite the bullet" and work out a way to increase filter rates - hopefully without changing the entire grow bed system. It had to happen. I also noticed the plants were starting to burn under the hot sun. So, I did have to add that shade cloth after all.
So what happend? Here is the video answer:
Aquaponics Part 2 Video. Bits and Bobs.
The Amazing Video Production!
Inspired by our very helpful Rob Bob, I have started a Youtube channel. One of the many things that will be featured is the aquaponics set up.
Seems to be a Success:
The 20 Jades (sorry Jake) seem to be surviving. At least some of them have lasted 4 days now. They went in on Thursday morning. I had to make a radical PH adjustment just after I added them using PH regulator (I used that rather than PH down). I've also seen at least 4 of the little starter Gudgeons still in there. Folks - make sure you test the water properly before you add fish - that was a stupid gamble by my good self.
There is not so much as a single mozzie near the tank now. They apparently made good tucker.
It's a bugger to see the fish, but I've managed to see at least 10 of the Jades as I feed them. Damn, the difference between the excited way Jades feed compared to the Silvers is amazing! I feed slowly so don't have unconsumed food in the tank.
The beds are now completely planted (even though I will need to change the grow bed system completely - it's way too shallow). The lettuce love it, as do the basil. Cherry toms are going pretty well and actually have a few fruit. The pak choi don't like the lack of iron - I'm going to move them into planters and replace them with basil that I grew from my own seeds.
All in all, we have a successful system (albeit with a badly implemented grow bed). No, I am not going to change the grow bed just yet. I want a return from this baby first. (I have harvested the basil twice in the last week and I could give them another hit now).
Testing the System and Final Additions for Real Use:
Fish stocks are planned to arrive soon. So, I want to give the tank a fair test to make sure all is well. I lashed out and bought 10 native fish for $3 as test fish. They were intended to be "feeder fish" in the store, so they have more hope with me than most people. If they survive the next few days, then all should be well in the tank.
I also bought charcoal to add to my post grow bed filter. I'll shove it in the leg of one of My Rozie's old pairs of stockings and put it under the sponge.
I also bought an aerator. I spent $30 for a bigger one with two outlets. I want to use the second to make compost tea for my garden. I actually resent having to have bought this. If I had have done a better job on the grow bed (faster flow) and the tank (much more surface area), it wouldn't be required. Live and learn folks.
I guess the coming week is where "the rubber hits the road."
Good luck Andy...you seem to have prepared well. Fingers crossed you can keep all those expensive fishy alive and thriving.
They're normally only $2.50 each Lissa. My view is the fish are really just an annual lucky by-product. I've already had 2 small harvests from my basil. What I didn't realise, is that it is all about the plants.
I'm finding the whole thing is beyond me financially and technically. My desire to have a set up was all about the fish. I can grow the plants better in my raised beds.
What's the egg shell meant to leach Christine? I've not heard of it being used in aquaponics before.
The eggshells adds Calcium which most systems lack. I also add compost worms in the growbed and feed them constantly with banana peels which adds potassium to system as well. Poor plants can't just live off Nitrates junkfood, they need their vitamins and minerals too hehe.
Don't know if anybody else ever does this but I also sprinkle the tiniest bit of himilayan and epsom salt once in a blue moon ;-)
My secret concoction!
Sounds like a sensible idea, especially the compost worms. If the plants get pests and diseases, that is a sign that their nutrients are not sufficient for their needs. In an ideal situation, pests and diseases should be a minimum-to-none. Although how that affects the fish, who knows?
Thanks Jake. I might try adding both to my filter box. It'll avoid risk of solids but still put the benefits through.
Awww bugga! My off grid test was an epic fail!
The battery lasted only 5 hours. I'm going to have to fork out from a proper big deep cycle one. And, I think I need two (in order to rotate while the other is recharging by solar). Well, I guess it was good that I found out before the next black out. I'll use the little battery for when I go camping so I don't have to drain the car.
I'm gunna extend the grow beds - add an extra one which is bigger than the current undersized one. Still learning as I go, but it's a lot of fun.
Another epic fail. Tried to put in a pre-bed solids filter. Tried two different systems but neither worked. The pressure just blows the lid off the top of the filter. I think I'll add the new grow bed next and come back to this. I have a cunning plan that uses a fermenter. The lid is designed to work under pressure.
Here is the latest addition which is a brand new grow bed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oX_tHPq2iQ