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."
The new grow bed has now been completed. Thank goodness. Youtube video link in the original group post and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uroFyF8EedI
Well what could change in just 3 or 4 weeks in the aquaponics system? Heaps! Here's a video:
12 months down the track:
Well it's been just over a year now and time for an update on this sad old thread.
Current: The fish are around 20 cm long. I originally bought 20 but a year later am down to about 12. Honestly, from my tropical fish keeping days, that's an okay average for over a year. I also originally planned to harvest them around now. However, after seeing RobBob's 2 year olds, I'm going to leave them for another 12 months. The pay-off in the size of the fish is huge. Those that survive should be around $30 worth of fish each.
Future: I'm all too aware that the bulk of edible food from aquaponics comes from the vege/greens, not the fish. I therefore need to add more fish to ensure I have a decent stock left when I start to harvest the big boys. I intend to net one third of the tank off for some new fingerlings. I'll put them up the cleanest end of the tank where the water returns from the big bed. It will be a good opportunity to clean out the little beds and change the last one of the three from gravel to clay balls. Clay balls are just so much easier and lighter to work with.
Judgement: So, 12 months later, am I happy with the results, bearing in mind the cost? Too damn right. By far the most productive beds in the yard, not even thinking about the fish. The main changes I'd make if I did it again would be to make the tank lower and wider to increase surface area (and air to fish) and decrease the height the pumps need to push water up (and so use smaller cheaper pumps). I'd also make a frame so the little beds could be slid aside more easily (the wider fish tank would have made that easy) letting me get easier access to the fish.