Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Aquaponics Experimentation

I have set up an Aquaponics system based on the concept of growing fish and using their by products to grow plants in a closed loop system.

I am using a 30 gallon plastic drum modified to hold fish in the bottom (12 comet type goldfish) and grow plants in the top (5 gallon appx).

From 100309 photos

So far so good. The fish have been in there for about a week and now I have the system cycling including a few houseplants that I had on hand. The guinea pigs are wormwood and patchouli at this point. I am going to get some other plants rooted out an installed soon.

From 100309 photos

The fish tank is aerated and has a pump that runs water up to the top reservoir. The "growbed" as I have seen it termed on youtube videos, contains red lava rock that has been washed extensively to remove particulate matter. I will use expanded clay balls in my future configurations for weight and cleanliness concerns.

From 100309 photos

Feed the fish> Fish Poop> Poop water is cycle up to rock growbed> plants uptake N rich water substrate> Clean water drains out and so on.

The magic of this set up is that it is self contained and not an over-elaborated Dr. Seuss contraption. There is only one pump and no valves other than a control valve on that water stream.

There is an automatic siphon that fills the bed up to a certain point and then the tube fills up with water and starts the siphon. The outflow is greater than inflow so there is a natural ebb and flow cycle that takes about 30 minutes to complete. (I am timing this as I type).

From 100309 photos

Siphon hose just before filling and draining. Look at the air line mark in the line. That crosses over the top a few seconds later and starts the drain.

From 100309 photos

Siphon started.

From 100309 photos

Low quality shot of siphon drain in action...

From 100309 photos

Water Level Dropping.

Plants are rooted out in coco coir and also just a nursery pot with some nursery media that is pretty much devoid of nutrients.

More to come...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A few Photos

One of our most ambitious shallots standing tall! This is my first experience growing this guys and they are looking promising so far. They were planted like garlic and now look like onion meets octopus emerging from the ground.

Purple Peruvian Potato Seeds. So purdy, So tasty!

Miniature Donkeys/ Fertilizer Factories in the background! For being so small, their "deposits" of organic matter are substantial!