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InvisibleZombi3
Greenhouse Technician
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Registered: 01/15/13
Posts: 1,222
Loc: Bat Country Flag
Aquaponic / Vermiponic Flood and Drain Bed!
    #752860 - 10/13/14 09:34 PM (2 years, 1 month ago)



I built this with a partner at school for a grow system report.

It is a basic flood and drain hydroton aquaponics bed with added worms.

I put the worms in the hydroton planting bed and they thrive happily on solids from the fish tank.

The theory here is the fish in the big blue bin at the bottom soils the water and it gets pumped up the the PVC piping. The PVC piping is a makeshift NFT tower where the roots are exposed to cascading water within the pipes and feed therin.

All the excess water and fish waste solids are then deposited into the hydroton bed which fills to the top and starts an auto-siphon which then imediatly starts the drain process back through a swirl filter and finally once again into the fish tank. This provides ample moisture for the worms and plant roots. The flood and drain cycle occured 24 times daily.

The hydroton catches all the solids from the water and the worms eat them. The worms then produce castings which are very good for the plant roots and provide additional benefits to the fish once dissolved into the water.

There also exists in the PVC pipes and the hydroton bed nitrifying bacteria that effectively convert ammonia exhaled by the fish into nitrites and finally into nitrates, which make an excellent plant fertilizer! Especially paired with the worm castings!

With only 3 mature Tillapia I was able to maintain very good water quality;I was able to consistently maintain an EC of roughly 2000us/cm2 and with a stable pH of 6.6-6.8 (bacteria prefers higher pH).

Anyway had tons of making this and wanted to share!!


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* Die For Your Government *


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Offlinedelta9hippie
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Registered: 09/01/14
Posts: 51
Last seen: 2 years, 5 days
Re: Aquaponic / Vermiponic Flood and Drain Bed! [Re: Zombi3]
    #753594 - 10/17/14 10:28 AM (2 years, 1 month ago)

Awesome! What resources did you consult for building and running the system? I have a hard time finding good sources on aquaponics systems.


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InvisibleZombi3
Greenhouse Technician
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Registered: 01/15/13
Posts: 1,222
Loc: Bat Country Flag
Re: Aquaponic / Vermiponic Flood and Drain Bed! [Re: delta9hippie]
    #754212 - 10/21/14 07:44 PM (2 years, 1 month ago)

I have been studying aquaponics for many years online and via books. One I recommend the most is;

Excellent book, its my go to book for problem solving.

Aside from that I have been working with various aquaponic/hydroponic systems and crops for near 3 years with my job.

:headbang3:


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* Die For Your Government *


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Invisibleskippy
Stoner

Registered: 09/22/14
Posts: 81
Loc: Oz
Re: Aquaponic / Vermiponic Flood and Drain Bed! [Re: Zombi3]
    #754226 - 10/21/14 09:14 PM (2 years, 1 month ago)

Nice work. I'm in the middle of planning an aquaponics set up out the back. I was thinking of using 2 ibc crates, 1 for the tank and cut the other one in half for 2 growbeds. The only concern I have is the sun killing the fish in summer, If I do go that route I'd probably bury the crate so it gets some sort of insulation.


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Offlinedelta9hippie
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Re: Aquaponic / Vermiponic Flood and Drain Bed! [Re: Zombi3]
    #754370 - 10/23/14 07:47 AM (2 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

Zombi3 said:
I have been studying aquaponics for many years online and via books. One I recommend the most is;

Excellent book, its my go to book for problem solving.

Aside from that I have been working with various aquaponic/hydroponic systems and crops for near 3 years with my job.

:headbang3:





Thanks! Checking that book out shortly! How did you get such an awesome job?! :cool:


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InvisibleZombi3
Greenhouse Technician
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Registered: 01/15/13
Posts: 1,222
Loc: Bat Country Flag
Re: Aquaponic / Vermiponic Flood and Drain Bed! [Re: delta9hippie]
    #754939 - 10/28/14 06:02 PM (2 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

delta9hippie said:
How did you get such an awesome job?! :cool:




I went to school, payed attention, studied/read A LOT, applied myself, and got 2 horticulture diplomas. :thumbup:

Now I can choose where I work. :thumbup:


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Invisiblecaptain.koons
Failed Botanist
Registered: 06/25/08
Posts: 6,163
Re: Aquaponic / Vermiponic Flood and Drain Bed! [Re: Zombi3] * 1
    #756312 - 11/07/14 10:02 AM (2 years, 1 month ago)

Is this your first system? I like it a lot.

Very fucking cool, I especially like the addition of the worms and the NFT tower, with some tweaking that could be used to go vertical in an indoor room, which would be great for the crazy hobby-ist. I'm going to include some information about my system in case anyone cares/ is interested. I'd also love to help spin the wheels and get more people using aquaponics as I seriously think it's the future of this industry.

I'd suspect your lack of mechanical separation allows you to maintain a higher EC. My tank is fed quite plentifully I have 3 axillary fish tanks of shell dwellers, guppies, and sword tails, snails, plants, and shrimp are also introduced when I have an abundance along with veggies, fish fillets, "frozen" shrimp, beef heart, and daily pellet feedings. Since no food is lost in your system it's just a matter of time until the worms reclaim the food. Absolutely brilliant, I hate you slightly as I wish I tried it myself. I'd be very scared to not mechanically filter my water as much as possible though due to the sediment ending up in the root zone and killing my plants. I suppose you could approach it slowly as you should, and just increase the fish counts and feeding slowly until you reach an equilibrium, but who has time for that? My very stocked 90 gal tank (less when you consider flourite, drift wood, and slate rock) maintains a EC of 1.1 or less.

The addition of worms is a very clever idea, I learned most of my technical information regarding aquaponics from Breeder Steve and 10k on forums, those bastards didn't mention anything about adding worms to the clay! I already had a background in fish keeping and hydroponics so I just dove into it and I found out very quickly there were problems with design as you need a very large biofilter and I also ran into issues with not removing enough solids from the water. I imagine the worms would help greatly for removing the solids from the water. I'm sure they don't have to eat much, so you could do both. Have you tracked how much you're feeding your tilapia or what your worm population is? Tilapia are supposed to excrete 1/8 of the food given as waste, the rest is turned into flesh. I think a balance could be made between the two. I might have to experiment with this with my hobby garden.

I'd love to see more pictures of the NFT  tower btw, I really like that design, it adds excitement to a sometimes dull hobby.

I wonder if worms would be able to live in my system, for my mother plants I have a similar system Breeder Steve wrote about, it's essentially a sump fed siphon action (I didn't drill this tank, 1 of 3) the sump is divided into 2 sections the section to the left is fed via the siphon from the tank which is poured through sponges/mechanical filter material, I have a few of these built so I can just hot swap them as needed. Below is the actual sump tank which is approx 65 gal but has much of the bio filtration (bioballs, clay, sponges) and additional aeration. The left side overflows into the right side which has a pump, float valve, a grate to hold more balls over top it's sectioned as 1/3 so it holds 20 gal when empty but returns about 7 gals whenever the float valve kicks on. Sump side 1 has a pump that feeds my hydroponic systems.

For mother's I just have a normal tray that feeds back into the reservoir. The part that I stole from Breeder Steve is the bucket design, I made mine far more simple and just have a 9 buckets, all with netpots filled with clay, which are drip fed there's also airstones in the bottoms of each bucket which lets the roots below live in a DWC environment. The buckets have an overflow around the bottom of the netpot to keep the clay not submerged, but it's always wet due to the wicking action. The overflows just pour out into the tray which drains into the reservoir.

My flowering is a system I stole from 10k, it's a recirculating shallow DWC, it's a tray with a cover with netpots in it, with clay in the netpots, constantly filling and draining. I've experimented with wet/dry cycles but couldn't find anything that worked out to be better.... so far.

Do you have plans to adapt this to an indoor system?

Do you think worms could survive in my system? I think it would be great to pull them out once in a while and feed them as I'm rather lazy keeping my worm bins and often let them "finish" where the worm castings end up like mud but all my worms are dead. So I order a few lbs of worms a couple times a year.

Have you tried mixed medium? Breeder Steve would use an inch of worm casting rich potting medium ontop of his clay which he could start seeds in, I believe he had his drip lines inside the clay so this would end up bottom fed. I only do this when I want to start seeds in my mother farm. I'm scared that the worm castings would pollute my water too much and I don't want to lose some of my fish. In a 90 gal I keep around a dozen tilapia, 1 oscar, 2 green terrors, 1 fire mouth cichlid, 1 green severum, 2 red sevrums, 3 gold severums, 2 red jewels, a pictus catfish, 6 bichirs, 6+ silver dollars (these guys get killed off but I love them), 16 clown loaches, maybe about a dozen other various loaches, 1 common pleco, 1 pineapple pleco, 1 vampire pleco, I constantly introduce snails, shrimp, plants, guppies, and replace fish that die (due to aggression, not pollution). Many of my fish are sensitive to N, I had 22 clown loaches originally but some died early on. I've also killed all the inverts in my system by a suspected copper overdose. 

I have 2 hobby aquaponic systems that are essentially my veg system, I filter a 110 gal with 16 piranha and a 55 gal exclusively tilapia, I've kept as many as 80 adult tilapia in this one, and removed countless babies. Yeah that's right, fish counts exceeding 6"/gal didn't disrupt breeding. Right now both of these have been moved and need to be setup again, but I don't know if I have the room. Most of the tilapia are now fillets.

I've pretty much settled on these 2 designs as they offer a biofilter, re circulation, and a balance of plants at different stages of growth to avoid treating the water. Now I want a cool ebb and flow system with a NFT tower. Damn you!


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