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Aqua-pini? Wali-ponics? Looking for comments on my design.

Discussion in 'Greenhouse - Shade house.' started by seanadams, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. seanadams

    seanadams New Member

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    I have no hands-on experience yet with AP so I'm hoping somebody can offer me some feedback on my greenhouse concept before I break ground.

    I have a gently sloping, south-facing hillside that I think would be ideal for a Walipini greenhouse. But I am trying to figure out how to optimize the concept for aquaponics, and have not been able to find much guidance.

    The idea that I came up with is that since I would like to have retaining walls anyway, perhaps I will hire a pool builder to dig the hole for me and shoot the walls and floor with concrete. Then I could use the entire floor space as a giant "sump tank", and build a raised floor to walk over the top of it.

    The idea with the large water volume is that it could be used to grow duckweed, but also it would serve as a huge thermal mass to increase the efficacy of the walipini design. Also the high water/fish ratio would improve chemical stability I hope. I might have a small area partitioned off for fish, or the fish could be in a raised tank for easier accessibility and visual inspection.

    The sump space would be partitioned into a long "river" so that a single pump could circulate the entire volume of water. Maybe the fish area would have fast circulation and the duckweed area would have slow circulation - that could be regulated with ball vales.

    PS I am aware of the gardenpool.org project but that's not necessarily when I'm trying to do here. I have no intention at this point of trying to integrate chickens or algae.

    Anyway here are a couple rough drawings of my concept. thanks

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. oceansgreen

    oceansgreen New Member

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    first off, AWESOME IDEA, i have been brainstorming an aquaponics in a walipini as i think it'd be the ideal set up to have.
    i was thinking to have tanks that were about 7ft tall, four feet wide and however long i needed, i was planning on having some of my tanks buried partway to help regulate temps while still having them high enough to be at a comfortable height for working with the plants

    i love the idea of using the floor as a sump tank though, as this leaves any space for the tanks available for fish tanks and talapia or whatever you plant to have in there

    the only problem i see with it is in the winter if you plan on reducing heating costs via thermophillic compost piles against the tanks, well too bad:) it doesn't seem that this design would work with this
    it also seems a little more expensive then a traditional design but it may help solve the potential issue of water penetration
    and you would have to spend money on the decking, composite decking is hella expensive but it wouldn't have an issue as far as rotting

    what i would do personally, use fish tanks to use up the space right underneath of the growbeds, then simply allow the tanks to overflow for the sump tank, which would be underneath your walkway
    prawn and mussels are kept in the sump under your walkway and duckweed is grown where there is light
    fish are kept in the tanks
    the pump pumps water from the sump to the growbeds continuously
    the grow beds ahve siphons with a venturi attached to the end of them for better aeration than an airstone can provide and makes the siphons silent or close to it
    when the water is siphoned back into the fish tanks it aerate the water and overflow goes to the sump tank and it starts all over



    if you go with concrete, go with a food safe seal that will last for as long as you can get ahold of, this design is nice but i see it costing quite a bit of money, and i would pick maybe some moldable plastic or something because concrete can be high maintainence to keep 100% waterproof

    if you're interested in concrete soemwhere, you could use ICF's on the upper part of your wall to help insulate things real well

    once again, nice idea and let us knwo if you make any improvements or move forward with it at all:D
     
  3. seanadams

    seanadams New Member

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    Alright good, I will keep working on it and maybe do some google sketchups. I'm not entirely set on the floor-as-sump idea, as I'm not yet sure the practicality of the raised walkway. What I may do instead is a deep trough along the downhill side of the structure, and/or build elevated tanks there.

    Yes the concrete work is expensive but on the other hand, by the time you dig the hole and do the walls, the incremental cost to add other concrete features is not too bad. We'll see, I might scale back my plan depending on the price tag.
     
  4. oceansgreen

    oceansgreen New Member

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    yeah, as i thought a bit i got to thinking that the concrete might not be a bad idea, after all they have pools that are good for over ten years without any cracks or leaks so it should be good

    to me, the floor as a sump has a pretty good benefit or two,
    1) you don't have to buy or build another structure for the sump and you don't have to run plumbing from the tank to the sump because you can simply let the water overflow the fish tanks
    2)rain water overflow doesn't pose as much of a problem with a large sump, especially if the walkway floats rather than being attached, if you use the idea of capturing rain water with the walipini, you can simply run the water into a corner and let it drop from the pipe, aerating the water even further in the process, there is not any 55gal drums to run it to
    3)really it'd be kinda cool and serene to have a pond like sump right along your walkways


    either way let us know what you end up doing, i sure am looking forward to this as i have been wanting to do both a walipini and aquaponics for quite soem time, so i am excited to see these two ideas merge and create something wonderful:)
     
  5. seanadams

    seanadams New Member

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    I just remembered where I saw something like this before. It was on a rainforest tour in Costa Rica. Here is our intrepid guide Humberto, standing in the water. Of course the tides vary - depending on the time of day this walkway might be submerged.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. GreenValley

    GreenValley New Member

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    You may find that an unlined concrete tank will affect your water's pH to the alkaline. Just a thought... interesting design though.
     
  7. seanadams

    seanadams New Member

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    I agree that some kind of seal will be needed. I am aware of several types of products but I suspect an epoxy is probably going to be the most cost effective while also chemically inert enough to be safe for the system. Also it could be made smooth so it's easy to clean. Maybe something like this: http://www.pondarmor.com/pondpictures.htm
     
  8. oceansgreen

    oceansgreen New Member

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    yeah, i was assuming that you were using some sort of sealant on the concrete, my dad and i almost started a custom concrete business a while back, some unfortuante events took place and we had to abandon the idea, but i will ask him if he knows of a cheap sealent that will be chemically inert and easy to clean, let you know if he does:)
     
  9. oceansgreen

    oceansgreen New Member

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  10. kellenw

    kellenw Member

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    I'm a big fan of earth sheltered greenhouses. They are awesome.

    I would probably make the front (south) side of the glazing a more upright angle. You want to focus on capturing maximum sunlight in the winter months (when the sun is low) to gain maximum heat, and conversely relatively minimal sunlight in the summer (when the sun is high) to gain minimal heat. I would consider putting a regular "roof" on the top and insulating it to reduce heat loss in the winter and to deflect the hot sun in the summer.
     
  11. oceansgreen

    oceansgreen New Member

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  12. oceansgreen

    oceansgreen New Member

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    if you're interested, look into Subterranean Heating and Cooling systems such as the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute is using to grow tropicals in a USDA zone 4 climate
     

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