Sunday, June 1, 2014

A few more Aquaponics updates!

Many trips to Lowe's and Home Depot.  On this specific occasion we brought the Troops with us for the shopping.  That in itself is a Great Adventure. Our kids know how to have fun anywhere we go.  

Remember the lettuce that wasn't looking so good in the first photos?   Well look at it here.  It took off like crazy! This is twelve days after the other photo.  
Yep we added worms!!  And we had to move all of the rocks into a different grow bed not to long ago and the worms were still alive and working!!!!   Water, fish, worms, & sunlight that's what these plants survive on.  :) 
So we started out with smaller grow beds made from small concrete mixing tubs but they drained and filled up to fast because they were too shallow.  So we upgraded on this side of the greenhouse to large concrete mixing tubs for our grow beds.  I love how green things started to fill up the beds and my greenhouse.  Here I am planting all those beautiful things in the grow beds so the fish can start benefiting from the plants. 
I started out with a lot of lettuce, kale and cilantro.  Everything did really well.  The growth was so amazing.  In that Styrofoam cup is a lemon tree someone gave us to try to grow in the system as well.  

 The Sump tank is the barrel that is half burried in the ground at the bottom right of this photo above.  
This is inside the tank Sorry I forgot to flip it.  the water from the fish tanks were flowing into this small filter then the sump pump pulled the water up into the swirl filter.  The water that's gushing in this photo is the overflow on the swirl filter tank.  

It took us a while to adjust the levels of the water and realize everything needed an overflow.  Also the pipes we started with were a little too small.  We ended up going with 1 1/2 inch pipe.  In the photo above you will notice a drain on the top of the pipe to keep the fish out because they were still pretty small, however that drain slowed down the natural vacuum that was keeping the water level at a good place,  once we removed that the flow was better but adding the larger pipe solved a lot of problems and we now have overflow pipes on there too all leading back to the sump.  I did find that your pipe really needs to be as low in the water as you can get it without touching the bottom of the tank.  We lost about 6 fish due to them getting into the sump tank through this pipe and getting beat up in the process, the filter was made with an air filter for your furnace and it scratched them up beyond repair.  
This is the breeding tank.  I have added some pvc since we placed the fish in this tank.  There is one male and 4 females.  I started with 6 females one male but we took a smaller one out, and lost one.

 I started carrots from seeds and they started popping up.  I really didn't think about the seeds coming up.  I imagined they would get washed down in between the rocks but I was wrong  they must have seated themselves in and stayed close because they are there and I have a recent photo to show later of how well they are doing.
This photo shows the breeding tank with the pvc pipe and a bucket for the males nest.  He likes to try to get the females to lay eggs in his nest so he can fertilize the eggs.  It's an interesting process.  Loads of youtube videos on it.
 May 15th, 2014

May 15th 2014
We swiched the pipes coming from the swirl filter into the grow beds for larger ones that would give us a better flow.  We also had to empty one of the grow beds and work on the siphon because were were having problems.  
 A tomato and a pepper plant are taking off well in here too. 
 The cilantro started to bolt the greek basil started to flower and seed out.  The lettuce is all going to seed. 
 Aquaponics life is going well in this greenhouse. 

The jalapenos are getting blooms on them.  May 13th, 2014

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