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Discussion in 'New Aquaponics Systems USA & Canada' started by Wendy in BC, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    I am very pleased with my new little indoor system.

    120 litre FT
    100 litre GB
    1.25 hour cycle 24/7
    25-30 gold fish eating and swimming fast

    ammonia 1 ppm
    nitrite: trace - just showed up today
    pH 7.4 - 8.0
    temp 17 - 20C

    I'm controlling ammonia toxicity by tweaking the PH down with Hydrochloric acid. Yesterday I brought it down from 8.0 to 7.4 over 12 hours. This morning it's back up to 7.8, and I plan to bring it down under 7.4 over 12 hours. Nitrites are showing up so hopefully the pH comes down naturally over the next few days. Plants (tomato clones) look healthy but not necessarily happy ...... they don't like the high pH.

    If anyone comes across a source of either tilapia or trout in Canada or the NW US please post loudly.

    Wendy
     
  2. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    Thought I would post a couple of pics, It's not nearly as great as the systems I've seen here, but it's a start.

    Next project is to set up lights and fan.

    1) 2x50 litre GB
    2) 120 litre FT
    3) 4 week old clone with a little tomato
     

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  3. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    Nothing wrong with that as a start Wendy... most of us started with small systems...

    They just kind of got..... bigger...
     
  4. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    John,

    I suspect the "got bigger" was exponential growth...... I only heard the word aquaponics for the first time about a month ago, and yesterday I was in a plastics place asking them to prepare a quote for a 500 litre FT and 250 litre GB. YIKES :eek:

    Wendy
     
  5. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    You see what I mean.... :(
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  6. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    update

    I have been cycling for about 10 days now

    Ammonia .5 ppm
    nitrite 2.0 ppm
    nitrate approx 3 ppm
    pH 6.8 - 7.0
    temp 16 -17 C

    lights and fan are set up

    brought some cherry tomatos in as they were suffering from low temps and shorter days outside. Also I've put an egg shell under the inlet flow which I will replace every couple of days. I've always crushed egg shells into my tomato's soil to prevent blossom end rot, maybe this will add the calcium the plants need to the AQ system.

    Issues encountered: initially installed a valve to control the flow from the GB to the FT. Although it works fine for on/off, it didn't maintain a constant flow rate, and over time the flow rate turned down resulting in GB flooding overnight (thank god I installed an overflow line at the top of the beds). Removed the valves and drilled a small hole in a cap to control flow. So far, so good.

    I'm having trouble with the reliability of my timer. I returned one, and replaced it with a different model but occasionally have had the program automatically reset, resulting in reprogramming. This is ok for now, as I've been off work for the last few weeks, but I'll have to call the manufacturer and figure out what's happening. I haven't found a timer from another manufacturer that allows for at least 20 on/off cycles per day.

    I started with 30 fish, lost one right away and another about a week ago. The rest look healthy enough.

    I've chemically reduced the pH from 8.0 to 6.8 ish and will continue to add acid to support plant growth until the system becomes stable.

    So far it's been a relatively painless experience. Thanks to all who have contributed to this forum for the priceless information and sharing of experiences.

    Next goal: bigger system and havestable fish. My pump will allow for quadrupling the system eventually. :rockette:

    Wendy
     

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  7. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    Time for an update:

    I've been cycling for about a month now, and the system is just about cycled:

    ammonia .25 ppm - peaked at about 2 ppm
    nitrite .25 ppm - peaked at about 7 ppm (off the chart)
    nitrate 5 ppm - peaked at about 30 ppm

    fish are happy and getting bigger, time to find some harvestable ones now.

    I'm trying, with some success to grow some compost worms, the weather is getting cold so that presents some difficulty.

    plants are growing like weeds. Cherry tomatos I rescued from outside a couple of weeks ago continue to flower and set fruit inside (so far)

    I've decided to see if the number of plants that I can grow in the grow bed is only limited to surface area, so I'm planting very densely. So far growing tomatos, beans, lettuce, carrots, chard, cukes, green pepper, spinach, broccolli ..... should be interesting to see what develops. The odd insect that comes around seems to drown quickly.
     

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  8. pletby

    pletby New Member

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    That looks great Wendy! It's a festive look.

    I take it your windows face south. I wish I had nice windows like that facing south! I have great windows facing north...
     
  9. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    Thanks pletby, yes the windows are south facing, and it's the brightest room in the house. Although UV does not, all visable light is transmitted through glass. I intend to add 4 more bulbs soon which should bring my light intensity to about 65000 lumens/1000 watt, while using only 300 watts. I hope that this will be enough. I grew vegetables over last winter (not AP), and learned alot. I'm hoping to get better yeilds this winter.

    The following link has some good basic information on indoor lighting, as well as the link at the end of the page is an excellent article for those that have an interest.

    http://homeharvest.com/whichgrowlightisrightforme.htm

    Wendy
     
  10. Timber

    Timber New Member

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    I'de hate to be paying your power bill.
     
  11. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    Timber,

    fortunately electricity in Canada is relatively inexpensive, 300 watts of electricity is no big deal here.
     
  12. bnew63

    bnew63 Member

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    Wendy
    I'm using LED's at the moment about 170 watts.
    My system is about 14 days old,no nitrates as of yet.
    If you search under CFL grow lights in Craigslist Vancouver,there is someone selling 125 & 250 watt CFLs.The 250 goes for 85 plus shipping.He also has 300 watt induction lighting that is apparently the most efficient and longest lasting light on the market,but it is pricey.
    I plan on increasing my LED wattage.I built the light myself,so I payed less than 50% of retail.
    LED's are quite easy to build,your only dealing with 12 volt or less and an old computer power supply works great as a power source.
    I still want to try one of the 250 watt CFLs for comparison.
    I've read good and bad about both depends on what the person is selling and how old the article is since LED is advancing every day.
    My system is in a 14 x 6 room next to my shop.I had an old fiberglass 230 gallon tank that's layed on it's side with two holes cut in it.My grow bed is 12' x 3'6" and I will be adding more grow area soon.

    Brian
     
  13. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    Sounds like quite an undertaking Brian, particularly building your own light system. I did have a 150 watt CF last year. Broke it of course, and it wasn't cheap, but I didn't like it, more light than necessary in the ligh radius, and too hot to get really close to the plants. I used 23 watt CF last winter to grow plants in pots, in the same room, but not close to the window as I do now. I managed to grow tomatos, green pepper, carrots, green beans, but all with poor yeilds. This year I'm adding another 100 watts of light plus take advantage of the light that comes through the window and of course the nutrition provided by the fish poop.

    Without a don't the biggest challenge to growing indoors is adaquate light, in terms of intensity, color, and length of day-like conditions.

    It'll be interesting. It would be great if you could post some pictures of your system.

    Wendy
     
  14. BillAU

    BillAU New Member

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    G'day From Australia

    G'day Wendy,

    I too am new to AP but I see nothing wrong with your set-up, it's pretty tidy all round...Like the man says...Work with what you have.
    In the past I tried growing vegies under lights, a small test set-up under 3,000W of light and my electric bill gave me one hell of a shock...Big enough to make me forget about growing anything under lights ;) My wife had an even bigger shock...She paid all the bills back then but all bills come to me these days...What she don't know won't harm her :D

    Having lived in Canada, (Sunset Beach, on Lake Simco, close to Sutton, ON) I know what your winters are like...To cold for this little Aussie ;) (I've also lived and worked all over the States)

    Anyway, I've been thinking about AP followers in the Northern States of the US of A and Canada. I know you folk have your homes central heated throughout, that includes the garage, so I believe it would be quite a simple matter to extend your central heating, via lagged/insulated copper pipe, out to a concrete slab of whatever size you want/need, to house your full AP system. You would run the heating system pipes through the slab during construction of the slab, that way you would have a solar heated greenhouse and the central heating would assist in heating the greenhouse in winter.

    Some of our American AP buddies residing in the Northern States, have built “what I call” hanger type greenhouses...I don't think they extended their central heating into the slab of the greenhouse but, from what I've read, the plastic sheet covered greenhouses do a good job...Even with all the snow they get hit with. This may be something you could investigate further.

    About fish for your AP system, when I lived in ON, I spent a fair amount of time fishing Lake Simco for local Catfish...From memory, American visitors called them “Mountain Trout” but I can't swear to that, (it was a long time ago) whatever...I do know the catfish made good eating. You may be able to easily source local Catfish in BC, it would be worth a try...I think. ;)

    Keep us informed of your progress Wendy, it's always good to read how others are doing with their AP systems. :)

    Cheers Wendy,

    Bill
    Victoria, Australia.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  15. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts Bill, I have also been following your remarkable progress. Very impressive I must say. Australians certainly do AP in a big way.

    I don't see myself extending to an outside system for now. My house is heated with electric baseboard heat as well as a wood stove (that I use less and less with each year that goes by). The snow pack here is a huge factor as the winter temp will often go above freezing (very heavy snow), but we'll also have a few week stretch of -20C.

    I happy with the indoor approach for now.

    Regards,
    Wendy
     
  16. bnew63

    bnew63 Member

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    Wendy
    I talked to a local fish and aquarium store,she mentioned that Tilapia just appeared on her buying list.
    I'm going to investigate this further.
    I've got my fingers crossed,sure would be easier than the other options Ive had so far.
    My system is almost cycled so it's time.

    ph 6.3
    ammonia .1
    nitrites .1
    nitrates 40

    Brian
     
  17. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    Brian, It sound like everything is going well. I would ask more questions regarding the tilapia. i was in Vancouver last month and called everywhere asking for tilapia, when I finally found a place that said they had some, it turned out to be an ordamental tilapa .
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>not the eating kind.
     
  18. bnew63

    bnew63 Member

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    I talked to her today and asked for the name of the breed of the tilapia.
    Shes going to let me know
    I've still got my fingers crossed.

    Brian
     
  19. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    Best of luck with the fish Brian, let me know how it goes.

    Wendy
     
  20. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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