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Old 11-27-2005, 01:13 AM   #1
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Backyard aquaponics

I recently stumbled across this site while looking up info on hydroponics. http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/ Basically, It's about a guy in Australia who's really into aquaponics and he's built a couple systems in his backyard. For those who don't know, aquaponics is a combonation of aqua culture and hydroponics. Nutrient rich water is pumped from the fish "tank" to the plants where the plants soak up the nutrients from the water and is finally drained back into the fish "tank". The water keeps re-circulating throughout the system. Essientally, you're getting fresh organic greens and captive raised fish, that you can eat, at the same time. If you do a quick search on google you'll find a lot more info on the subject.

All of this reminded me of a plant filter, and that's what really sparked my interest in it. I'd like to try this on a smaller scale, indoors, and not eat my fish

I'd hope to grow lettuce and possibly some herbs. I don't know whether I'd be able to add this system onto an existing tank or construct a whole new tank that would accomdate the plant "section". And then there's the issue of light. I wouldn't want to invest in a grow light because they're fairly expensive. I *could* have a couple shoplights that served as both the lighting for the aquarium and the plants.

The way I'm looking at it is it would be like a "fuge" but for a freshwater enviroment. Not only would the plant "section" act as a natural filter but one would be able to grow a couple simple vegatables and herbs. Even if it didn't work out I still think it be a really neat experiment.

Anyone have thoughts or opinions on this?
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Old 11-27-2005, 12:21 PM   #2
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I'm enthused! I don't have money to invest in this, but I've been wanting to try it as well. My current 75 gallon is 90% plant filtered, with the plants growing right in the aquarium. (Small sponge filter clears up dust from the sand that I didn't wash properly to start with.)

I'm curious how you're intending to use the same lights for plants and aquarium. Will the tanks be side-by-side with one long light over them, or are you planning on the light shining through the plants down to the aquarium?

Shoplights should work great. I've heard recomended an even mix of "warm" and "cool" bulbs if you don't want to pay the extra for plant bulbs.
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Old 11-27-2005, 08:03 PM   #3
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Can you elaborate a little more on your setup? Are the plants above the aquarium with the roots hanging down? How do you light the tank?

I guess I could have the plants and tank side by side, then use a long shoplight covering both. Or maybe I would have seperate lights, a set for the tank and a set for the plants so that the light for the tank would be concentrated into the tank.

The way I would do it is that I'd have a rubbermaid bin with a couple circular holes drilled into the lid. The net pots would go there. Then I'd drill 2 holes into the rubbermaid bin, one at each end. One would be the inlet and one would be the outlet. I'd have a couple of airstones in the bottom hooked up to air pumps to provide oxygen to the roots. One of the holes would be plumed back to the tank and a water pump would move the water there. The other hole would recieve water from the tank. In order for water to get from the tank I'd have to mod my HOB filter so that the water was dirverted into the rubbermaid bin with the plants instead of the tank.
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Old 11-27-2005, 10:40 PM   #4
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I use aquatic plants, as in a planted aquarium. I currently have 2x40W florecent lights (shop lights), planing to upgrade to 4x40W after Christmas budget settles out.. Since the plants are in the aquarium, the same light serves both.

If the plants are below the aquarium, I'd recomend you use an overflow box to get the water down from the aquarium, rather than a pump or a siphon. Getting the water flow to balance between a pump and anything but an overflow can be difficult.

If the plants are even with the aquarium, a siphon would work to keep the two water levels the same, with the return pump causing a current.

Might look on the saltwater forums for refugium design ideas.
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Old 11-27-2005, 11:01 PM   #5
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all he's doing is hydroponics without adding extra light and using the resevoir as a fish pond. after all, hydroP is just growing without soil.
Hmmm wonder if he has a license for all those australian native species?
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Old 11-27-2005, 11:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeFeKt
all he's doing is hydroponics without adding extra light
Don't need extra light if it's outdoors. The sun is better than most of what we can rig up.
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Old 12-05-2005, 04:06 AM   #7
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Howdy peoples ,

I found this site indirectly because I'm the one doing the aquaponics that were mentioned here, so I thought I'd pop in and say g'day..

DeFeKt, it's not really just hydroponics, as no nutrients are added to the system at all, it is as the name suggests, the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. The system only works as a whole and to try and remove either the fish or plants or bacteria growing on the gravel would cause the whole system to collapse and not work...

Todd2, the system your talking about setting up sounds very similar to some I have heard of before, deep water culture. If you pump enough water through the system you don't even need the bubblers in the rubbermaid containers if the water in your tank is well aerated. I've read a couple of very long threads about similar DWC aquaponic systems on a different discussion board that related to growing a questionable plant ....

DeFeKt, do I require a licence to have any of the fish in my systems, murray cod, silver perch, black bream, barramundi, marron and yabbies? I was under the impression that I didn't need a license of any sort for these...

Intersting to read all your comments, if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask... Theres a few questions I will be posting in the near future about natural methods of disease control in fish, but I'll check through the archives first...

Thanks all...
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:07 PM   #8
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You may want to check with department of fisheries about the murray cod, also it is illegal to remove any living thing from it's natural habitat. Marron farming does require a license if the intent is commercial purposes. Of course I'm always open for correction.

Quote:
If you pump enough water through the system you don't even need the bubblers in the rubbermaid containers if the water in your tank is well aerated. I've read a couple of very long threads about similar DWC aquaponic systems on a different discussion board that related to growing a questionable plant
LOL!!!
Works well to

Where in perth are you based, N or S of river? would love to see your setup sometime.
Have often thought about doing this, on a much smaller scale and with the added benefit of HPS lighting.

Matt.
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