Aquaponics 101 – The talkers and the do’ers

Yes, yes, I know, I’m getting slacker and slacker keeping you updated on our progress, but now the pressure’s on and we are pushing hard to get the latest commercial site operational before summer.

What really takes time is the plumbing.  Every spraybar and drain takes numerous elbows, t-pieces, pipe, clamps and valves.  We’ve painted the solids filter and drain with a waterproof (fish-friendly) paint and it all looks nice and neat.  Here’s a shot of the painted solids filter.

The strawberry towers (all 110 of them) also need to be hung and plumbed with 20mm pipe and one valve per row (ie. 3 towers). Here’s the growing forest.

I also did some pressure tests on the fish pond drains and unfortunately the press-on joins didn’t hold up very well. I haven’t worked out what kind of pressure in bars 4 x tanks of 46000L through a 80mm pipe exerts, but clearly more than a PVC press-on join can handle. So everything had to be dug up again and the joints replaced with proper glue-on PVC joiners, which tested fine.

The two pumps arrive next week. We will be running the whole system on 1 x 750W pool pump and because we are totally reliant on wind and solar power, we will switch over to a smaller 200W pump to keep the plants irrigated at night. The blowers will run 24/7 which hopefully will be sufficient aeration for the fish.

The 9m mast for the wind turbine is almost ready, so this week we placed the re-inforcing foot in position and concreted it in. The hole is 1m x 1m and 1m deep, so the mast should be able to hold up to any wind. Here’s what it looks like in the hole before the concrete was poured.

We’ve had a lot of little mice and shrews that have fallen into the pool (aka sump) and they provide a nice midday snack (wink).

Oh well enough for now. I’ll try and post more regularly. Promise.



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