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Build/monitoring/results thread - 'Black Beauty'

Discussion in 'New Aquaponics systems - off-the-shelf ready to go' started by Jarrad, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. Jarrad

    Jarrad Member

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    Hi all,

    I am slowly getting my head around this AP business so please bear with me. This thread is to show the results/ask for advice etc.

    My partner surprised me with the most amazing Xmas present ever this year in one of Murray's kits:
    http://www.aquaponics.net.au/store/contents/en-us/p122_Black_Beauty_1.1.html

    I have a few pics but nothing above what Murray has pictured on the above link.

    We are waiting on an electrician to come over to give us power and in the meantime I've been using an extension lead (shhh don't tell anyone) to start cycling.

    I spent the last few days of my holidays fishing locally for....well just about anything really but the fishing in the local area's has been extremely slow/non existent due to holiday period and everyone hitting the spots up hard. I either need to catch a few carp to throw in there temporarily or buy some Urea and start fishless cycling.

    We've planted a bunch of seedlings in there anyway and have added a decent amount of seasol.

    I have a small indoor setup that has finished cycling and is now requiring regular water changes.
    I've been taking out dechlorinated water from Black Beauty and adding it into the small indoor system - water removed from the indoor system with high Ni/Na levels (only trace Am levels which is good) has been added back into Black Beauty to help speed things up a little.

    I am currently tossing up between SP and trout - considering the water temps currently sit at 23 degree's I will have to wait until around end Feb/march to introduce trout as we're just getting into the hot summer months in Canberra.

    The system is currently setup under an old carport. I need to remove some of the corrugated iron roof and replace with clear/opaque sheets to get more sun for the plants but it does provide great protection for the FT. Despite this water temps are still too high for trout.

    Ideally I'd remove the carport and put in a proper green house however I am going to perservere with the carport since it's there and essentially free. We may modify it slightly to try and make it more of a green house but my partner also wants the AP system and everything to do with it 'looking' good - basically no shanty town looks.

    We are considering making a deck under the carport (which was moved from the front of the house to the backyard) and making the AP/garden a real feature of the back yard and when we sell this year, selling the whole lot as part of the house. This kit from Murray is such a good looking piece that it'd look great intergrated into a nice deck/BBQ area....

    Anyway, not much to post at this stage obviously but I will keep updating this as things progress....

    Peace out!
    jarrad
     
  2. Mickbott

    Mickbott New Member

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    There is a canberra aquaponics group and we are putting in a group order to pick up some fingerlings in February if you are interested
     
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  3. Jarrad

    Jarrad Member

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    Hi Mick,

    Good to know there's a local AP group - how do I get in touch/join up? I'm really new to AP and I'd LOOOOOOVE LOOOOOOVE LOOOOOOVE to see what others have been doing, pick some brains etc ;)

    I tried to get in touch with a Gundaroo BYAP member but I don't think he's active on that site. I particularly liked the fact he's incorporated vermiculture with his AP system too.

    I assume this is a group order for trout? I'm a little unsure of any filter requirements for trout I seem to remember reading they love clean water and that a filter is a good idea for them. I was hoping to keep it simple at this point thus why I was tossing up getting SP and leaving the system how it is or whether I bite the bullet, get the trout and the extra filtration....

    Thoughts?
     
  4. Mickbott

    Mickbott New Member

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    The group buy is for trout fingerlings from a local hatchery. Its through a bloke from Capital Aquaponics, he's linked or works at one of the nurseries in Pialligo. The trout like it cool and plenty of oxygen, they jump so you'll need a lid etc. They taste sensational smoked etc
    I have plenty of wigglers in my set up - just thought it was a good idea because i had three worm farms going and did not think they would drown. seems to be going well. I had a few small setups that went great guns and now halfway building one of Murrays 11.5 setup.
    My email is mick1bott@gmail.com and i will flick u the email of the capital aquaponic bloke that is taking the orders. theres suprsingly a few around here in Canberra that are into aquaponics or some sort of hydro stuff.

    Cheers
    Mick
     
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  5. Jarrad

    Jarrad Member

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    Thanks Mick. I've joined the Aquatucker group as well........

    I have read a bit about the trout. The kit I have has a very solid lid so there'll be no issues there.

    I have read that trout do like very clean water so are peeps running extra filtration? My GB is my filttration for nowe but if trout need better then I'll investigate some filters.

    Excellent news about the worms, I've added a handful of worms as well and they seem fairly happy.

    Good to hear that you're building the 11.5 I'll be keen to check it out if you're up for visitors!

    My email is j-rad@cunningstunts.com and I'll await the contact details for Capital Aqua (or I'll just call direct I think I found him on the web)
     
  6. ColinW

    ColinW Member

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    Hi Jarrad - Welcome to the world of Aquaponics. That Kit looks terrific!!! Murray certainly keeps aesthetics and practicality in mind when designing his kits. I cannot believe that it will be 6 years come April that our Balcony Kit was initiated. My wife and I took the conservative approach with our choice of fish - Silver Perch and Eel Tailed Catfish. These fish can tolerate wider variations in water quality and temperatures than many others. I wish you well in your AP adventure - and remember... DO NOT overfeed your fish. That was the most important advice I received in the beginning of my AP experience. Regards - Colin
     
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  7. Jarrad

    Jarrad Member

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    Thanks Colin, the kit is great I must say. Glad to hear you've had success over the years too that's fantastic.

    Yes overstocking/feeding seems to be a very common problem. It also seems like alot (not all but quite a few) issues can be simply solved by stopping feeding and/or reducing stocking levels (and obviously water changes but we all want to avoid that esp in our dry environment).

    Bit of an update (and I need to update my 'small' system thread too).....

    I wanted to avoid spending any $$ on starter fish so tried catching some carp to throw in there for a little while to get it all cycled before the arrival of our trout.

    Finally caught a decent sized fish this week but he didn't like being put in the esky for an hour and was looking unwell by the time I got him home. I tried to revive him but alas he ended up dying :( Anyways, sick of spending so much time for so little reward I went to the local aquarium and picked up 10 comets to get things started.

    As I'd built the system, planted it out and was pumping water for a few weeks without fish, we have just recently been infested with mozzies so I really needed to do something about it asap.

    The new fish went nuts for the mozzie larvae, I didn't really want to feed them and when I did I wanted it to be controlled so I may end up with a bit of a problem because the new fish are devouring the mozzie larvae but in a bit of a catch 22 with that one. I really should've added fish before we got infested but oh well, whaddya do hey.

    The small system has finally settled down, Ph is around 7.5, Am 0, Ni 0 and Na 0......my only limiting factor now is sunlight for the plants but looking at lighting or even moving to to a different area.

    Slowly slowly as they say...!
     
  8. yoodles

    yoodles VIP Supporter

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    if you're going to run trout make sure you do the calcs on fish/growbed size (Yabbies will tell you as well) for trout 25L WET gravel per fish as they are dirty.
    but they grow really quick!
     
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  9. Jarrad

    Jarrad Member

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    Must be why they also like extra filtration??

    Sounds like a very low stocking rate. I'm not too fussed, I'd prefer to have too few than too many, at that 25L rate I'm guessing I'd be lucky to run 10 where as I though 20-30 would be the number. ...

    So stupid question time (I'm good at these) how do I calculate my gravel in litres? As a guestimate If I think of a 25L bucket I'd have around 120-150L of gravel.... (pure guess, maths not my strong suite clearly)

    Edit - ok so I received 6 x 45L bags of Hydroton with the kit but that puts me around 10 trout by that calculation....
     
  10. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    That wet media formula is very, very conservative. These very conservative formulas are published for a reason. There are lots of folk (men mostly) who will push the limits and get themselves into heaps of trouble.
    It all gets down to management.
    Silver Perch will be fine in Canberra.
    Trout require a much, much higher level of filtration and water purity than native fish.
    If you intend to raise trout, then be very, very conservative in your stocking levels. Follow the wet media recommendations.
    The Black Beauty is in reality a very small system, and you cannot reasonably expect to feed a large family of such a small system.
    It is a starter system which will deliver good results.
    As soon as you get the feel of it, add an extra grow bed or two, and maybe a small swirl filter or a radial flow filter. If you are inclined maybe even an off-the-shelf canister filter to keep water quality good.
     
  11. Jarrad

    Jarrad Member

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    Thanks Murray, I might try and run SP instead in that case.

    Plan is to expand for more GBs as soon as the budget allows it - wasn't expecting the system as it stands to feed us all but hopefully I can get those extra GBs quick smart....perhaps before Spring this year.
     
  12. Jarrad

    Jarrad Member

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    Update time…

    Cycling is in full swing with quite high Na's & Ni's > Am around 1.2

    1/3 water change done, Am now zero, Na > 50 (was 110), Ni - 1.6 (was 3.3).

    Will continue to monitor over next few days and keep changing water out as required.

    We've had one fish death….occured within 4-5 days which was the same with the indoor setup when we lost 1.
    However in this larger system I introduced 10 comets so 1 death is…well acceptable I guess (never nice obviously but that's why I put in some cheap goldies rather than the trout or perch we want to run.

    I've gone a bit nuts with planting out the GB. We have seen some significant growth over the last 3-4 days too (now that we have some Na's) so I've gone ahead and planted a bunch of seedlings we had as well as direct seed straight in.
    There's approx 25 seedlings/plants going and about 15 seeds….as things grow I'll remove some of, really just planted as much as I could to help level things out.

    About the only thing that isn't doing great is the Spinach, very poor growth. Looks like something's been at the leaves too even though the seedlings are quite small. I've removed them all and replaced with other things and I'll see how the Spinach goes in garden. Funnily enough even in the soil they aren't doing great and nor is my red cabbage.
     
  13. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Bit hot for spinach, even in Canberra I would have thought. I can't get it to do well even in winter here. I guess it depends on the variety planted.
     
  14. Jarrad

    Jarrad Member

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    Fothergills Perpetual leaf, according to the packet good for Canberra region Spring through Autumn... And it's been quite a mild summer down here too...

    In fact looking at the whole table it's good for most places all year bar winter. QLD shows as all year round...
     
  15. Jarrad

    Jarrad Member

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    Small update and finally some pics.

    Please excuse the messiness but this was taken on first day of install and we'd removed a pool and some other bits and pieces which I'm yet to fix. Partly because I'd like to make the old carport into a green house....

    Collection day! Package JUST fitted into the tray of my ute.

    [​IMG]


    Setup in final location:
    [​IMG]

    The mess left after removing the old pool - soil vegie patch can be seen in the back corner and we're going to expand basically the whole area pending how we go with AP as well.
    [​IMG]

    So here it is.....where the GB is located is north facing. So far in Summer the GB get's about 90% sun (there's a small strip that doesn't get full sun) so I'm hoping in winter this will mean we'll get full sun no worries.
    [​IMG]

    Looking a bit sad on start up, threw some tomato seedlings that I didn't end up planting in our soil vegie patch plus some lettuce, spinach and red cabbage.
    [​IMG]

    Bit closer up front
    [​IMG]

    one of the Beefsteaks we've pulled out of the soil patch
    [​IMG]

    Typical daily harvest from the soil patch although nearing the end of the season we're getting more and more every day to the point I've swapped from collecting in a shopping bag to a large box lol
    [​IMG]

    This lettuce pic was taken about a week ago and we've seen more development across all plants now that the system has completed initial cycling
    [​IMG]

    Significant growth update - see how the summer sun is pretty much perfectly covering the whole GB...! And yet the FT is very well protected under the carpport.

    [​IMG]



    I've no pics but I planted out some beans and broccli - inside 4 days we had shoots appear.

    Now, I'm not a particularly experienced gardener - and an outright beginner at all things AP so bear with me. What I'd like is some input from the good folk here on what I can do to enclose the old carport to make it more into a green house.

    My preference would be to pull it down and start from scratch but being that the structure is there we'd like to try and utilise it. That said it's going to be problematic as it's been dodged together from the previous house owner so I have 2 options - leave it how it is and enclose somehow, or pull the flat roofed parts off which would likely make it easier to put some UV plastic or something over it - but reduces my useable space significantly.

    If anyone has some idea's via CAD or perhaps even better - if YOU had this in your backyard what would you do to turn it into a green/hot house without too much expense?

    Current thinking is to remove the hickly-pickly metal support beams, replaced by fewer timber supports, remove some of the iron roof sheets and replace with opaque/clear options for more sun light and then. . . . .how to enclose it.....

    I'm not too fussed if it's not an all out green house with proper venting and the like, I'm thinking more along the lines of a cheaper option that extends my season by a little either side - really just to try and retain some heat in our very cold winters, get my seedlings going earlier etc etc....

    So again, I'll throw down the challenge, if you were to keep this structure how would you change it??

    Thanks for any input on anything you see!
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  16. Jarrad

    Jarrad Member

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    Another quick update....

    Plants have really taken off this week. Spinach (Perpetual leaf) and lettuces are going the best.
    Celery seedlings weren't as healthy as I'd have liked when I put them in but they're making a come back.

    Broccli seedlings are showing fast growth too.......

    Trout are on order and will be collecting 14/2.....nervous and excited at the same time! Really going to have to get more GB space soon so I can increase my stocking rates a little but 10 for this year will do me while I'm learning I guess. Might even grow the trout out until it's too hot and then try some silvers instead.

    Hmmmm what else.....the Minister for War and Finance has been quite supportive of this new hobby. I only discovered AP in Sept last year and figured it'd be 6-12mths before I had a chance to do anything with it. So for her to go ahead and order a kit from Murray allowing me to start much earlier I was very impressed.

    So I have complete approval to manage the back yard how I see fit. I am dead keen on turning this old carport into some kind of hot house......if anyone has any ideas on the best approach I'm ALL ears!
     
  17. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Thanks for the pix Jarrad,
    Love seeing them. Glad to hear things are taking off.
     
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  18. Jarrad

    Jarrad Member

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    My pleasure, thanks for making such an outstanding kit! We are keen to expand...!

    It's fast becoming a (healthy) obsession.
     
  19. Jarrad

    Jarrad Member

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    Goldies re-homed to make way for the trout... Much larger than I expected, I was thinking around an inch but these are much much bigger! Thanks to Simon for sorting out the group order...
     
  20. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Any pix of the trout going in?

    Remember trout need really good water conditions so you may need to add some kind of additional filtration in the near future.
     

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