• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

$75 10 watt Aquaponic system  RSS feed

 
Rob Compsen
Posts: 11
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's the AP system I recently built.

It's a 25" diameter 7" deep gravel bed. (Bought from Lowe's garden dept. for $12). A 1/2" diameter drain pipe and 1" bell siphon. The pump is an Eco 185 gallon per hour pump, which uses 10 watts per hour. It uses much less as it is on a timer. 30 minutes every 3 hours.) I'm surprised how little water flow is needed because the gravel takes up so much space. I have a small clamp on the plastic tube from the water pump to slow its flow rate, so a lower wattage or solar pump could be used) The gravel was collected from a local stream with a plastic collander, by hand . The wooden frame is constructed out of 2"x3"s, with zebra print burlap and purple ribbon stapled to the outside. The frame houses the 55 gallon drum which I got from a friend who's a cheese maker. The drum contained acetic acid, so I had to add some lime to raise the pH a bit, regardless the tilapia have adjusted well to the drum and love all the room. There are 5 mixed sex Blue Tilapia.

Growing in the gravel bed is thyme, oregano, rosemary, spinach (sprout), romaine lettuce (sprout), Yugoslavian red lettuce (sprout), and cayenne pepper (sprout). And just outside of the gravel bed are oyster mushrooms.

I added a fan to strengthen the stalks of the plants, but it's not absolutely necessary. I'm also adding mirrors to the wall to reflect sunlight. (My stems are too long and leaves too small; they need more light!) I also plan to add a simple lid to hide the 55 gallon drum. (This seems slightly pointless as it's going to be open most of the time as I enjoy watching the fish.

This took about $75 and a weekend to build and it's a great source of herbs, mushrooms, veggies and fish (eventually) as well as entertainment.























 
Amedean Messan
pollinator
Posts: 928
Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
34
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Like!
 
Rob Young
Posts: 32
Location: Washington DC Metro (VA) Fairfax zone 7b
8
bee forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nice Pictures and all! Thanks for posting as it may motivate me to do a similar one this winter during down time! Shalom
 
Rob Compsen
Posts: 11
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Aquaponic system update 2/14/14

It's now a 44 watt system. I added two 17 watt grow lights and built a frame to hold the lights. I also added a Zebra print curtain with a reflective mylar backing. The plants and Tilapia are doing very well.











 
Jeremiah Robinson
Posts: 92
Location: Madison, WI
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That's awesome - I love the zebra print!

You should know that over time as the nitrogen builds up you'll need a lot more grow bed space. It's recommended to have as much grow bed volume as fish tank volume. Otherwise the nitrogen will build up to very high levels and harm your fish.

You can do water changes though, if that's your preference.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jeremiah Robinson wrote:It's recommended to have as much grow bed volume as fish tank volume. Otherwise the nitrogen will build up to very high levels and harm your fish.

You can do water changes though, if that's your preference.


Actually, you're supposed to have 2x the GB volume as FT volume! I currently have much less than that but I hope to move my tilapia outside for the summer. I also use FT water for my plants.

I don't think it's nitrogen that is the problem. As far as I know, only ammonia or nitrites are toxic. You'd have to get to insanely high levels of nitrates to cause trouble & I doubt 5 tilapia would do that (unless you grossly overfed).
 
Jeremiah Robinson
Posts: 92
Location: Madison, WI
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey CJ,

You bring up an interesting debate in the aquaponics world

Some might disagree, but mostly I've heard the two-to-one ratio recommended for Deep Water Culture (DWC) without media. My experience is that for media beds 1x1 is fine, even in winter with trout. 2x1 is certainly an option though, even in media beds.

Jer...
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think nothing is written in stone yet, AP is so new. I have not done DWC - only beds filled with media but that was the ratio stuck in my head.

BackyardAquaponics.com did some interesting experiments comparing different ways to flood and drain. It was constant flood, timed flood (probably 15 minutes per hour) and the last one... maybe bell siphon? I don't remember which system won - I think it was constant flood though it was the laggard for a few months.
 
Jeremiah Robinson
Posts: 92
Location: Madison, WI
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'd love to see that comparison. Do you know where I could find it?
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3734
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jeremiah Robinson wrote:I'd love to see that comparison. Do you know where I could find it?


It took some searching but I found it!

Pour yourself a tall one - the thread is 40 pages long!!!
http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8621
 
Jeremiah Robinson
Posts: 92
Location: Madison, WI
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow - that thread is awesome. Thanks!
 
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work - Edison. Tiny ad:
Rocket mass heaters in greenhouses can be tricky - these plans make them easy: Wet Tolerant Rocket Mass Heater in a Greenhouse Plans
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!