Aquaponics 101 – Soaking up the nutes Part #2

The additional 6 grow beds are now complete and working. A last minute modification that I have made was to add a filter between the grow bed drains and the main drain. This consists of a plastic box with a lid, measuring about 60cm x 30cm and about 25cm high. I just used an ordinary kids toybox and drilled an inlet where water enters through the top, and an outlet where the crystal clear water leaves through the bottom, side.

myfilter.jpg

Inside the box (from the bottom)

  • Coral, to act as a biofilter
  • Shadecloth, to trap solids
  • Aquarium filter material, to trap small solids
  • Charcoal, the ultimate filter material.
  • More aquarium filter material, to trap the first solids ie. at the top.

Here is what the charcoal layer looks like. I have put the charcoal inside of 4 ladies stockings. This makes it easier to handle and rinse.

charcoal_pantyhose.jpg

After running this filter for 4 days, the water in the ponds is so clear, that you can now, for the first time, see right to the bottom.

This time around, it was easier to get the bacteria started in the new grow beds (remember last time we used the urine kick-start?) As we have 12 existing grow beds with both types of nitrifying bacteria colonies already established, all that it requires after that, is to collect some of the water from right at the bottom of one of the old grow beds and introduce it to each of the new grow beds as follows.

bottom_gb.jpg

the_stuff.jpg

I have also filled the 6 new grow beds with gravel and planted seeds in all of them. I have planted beans, tomatoes, baby marrow, broccoli, spinach and lettuce. I have also added some strawberry, tomato and gem squash seedlings. With the seeds, you just sprinkle them directly onto the gravel, and they fall through the gaps. One has to be very careful in the early stages to keep them moist, but not too waterlogged. When the seeds start sprouting, the little seedlings have got to be protected from the direct sun with shadecloth.

Here is an image of the 6 new grow beds all ready with gravel. Remember this photo, as I will post another in exactly one months time so that you can see the growth achieved.

topviewnewgb.jpg

Enough for now.

Synaptoman

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