ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission

Growing plants using nutrient solutions, without soil.

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ChilliJez
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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: "Grow fish! Grow!"

Post by ChilliJez » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:08 pm

ronniedeb wrote:Great post Jeremy. Must be great to see your fish grow. When will they reach dinner plate size? :lol:
I'll be buying their first birthday presents about the time they're plate size. :lol:

Seriously, optimal growth at 29C and they should be ready in 9 months but Mine are at an average 24C. That should mean it takes longer as they're less hungry. Mine seem to go crazy about food all the time so I'm not sure. Oh and their birthday treats will be a dip in the iced plunge pool! :lol:

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: "Grow fish! Grow!"

Post by ChilliJez » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:14 pm

trident wrote:Jeremy as Ronan said great post glad your mission .. Grow fish grow is starting to reap rewards ..
Thanks John. I think you may be right. :P

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by ChilliJez » Sat Jul 26, 2014 12:17 am

The first cull. Not a fishy cull but a growbed. :cry:

Greenhouse number 2 isn't working. The plants in the growbed haven't thrived and I think generally it was too much too soon for the fish output. Also I didn't construct the ends well enough and they've sagged allowing the clay pebbles to sag. And in some way I've yet to determine clay pebbles are getting into the pipes reducing flow meaning the sumptank gets low and it needs more topping up and...

Yawn!

Also Slyboy's generosity means I've some big, healthy plants and I'd like to give them a proper expression for their vitality rather than cramming them into the space remaining.

And finally i brushed against one of my vertical growing tubes and the end cap parted company from the tube depositing the pebbles on the floor and leaving the lower plants dangling.

So tomorrow I'm going tosemi dismantle the greenhouse and get everything out. Dispose of some and free up the rest. Wish me luck!

This isn't the place but I'll mention it anyway; Ive had 5 chinenses in hempy pots that have really struggled. Recently there was a discussion about DWC and someone mentioned my beer barrel Fatalii in 2012. I dug out the beer barrel and washed the roots of one of the hempy plants. A foodarama Scoch bonnet. It's now been in the barrel for 3 weeks and I would say it's 5 times the size of it's siblings.

So it's a reminder of how badly wrong some things have been going in my greenhouse but that 1 plant brings a lift to my heart each time I see it.

Yes I know it deserves a picture. Hopefully tomorrow.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by JezzerBell » Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:54 am

I'm very pleased to hear that your luck is turning. I'm fairly sure my SB Foodarama seed was supplied by your good self (thanks again Jez) & I'm really happy with how that plant has performed especially so given its late start. Your SBF in that big barrel is bound to be a belter!

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by Heefy » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:15 am

I agree concerning DWC. One of my speed grow plants is in DWC and it is totally awesome. The growth is massive in comparison to soil or Hempy Pots. Anyway good luck with your semi deconstruction.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by ChilliJez » Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:20 am

Image

Image

Image

Just a couple of pics of the Foodarama Scotch Bonnet in the Beer barrel and he main growbed now cleared of sorrel, mustard greens, lettuce, coriander but more celery, Femspot F1 cuke, ginger and tucked in the back there Urfa Biber, Tucurrique Yellow and somborka. And French marigolds to deter pests.

I emptied the 2nd growbed as planned and while doing it I realised I should be making holiday plans. Slyboy's donated quadgrow is superb but the reservoir emptied to wilting point in about 4 days last week so something had to happen. I hoiked out the 2 smallest plants so the quadgrow now has to support the 3yo 7 pod and a massive Lucy. I left about 10cm of pebbleds in the emptied growbed and sat the evicted Son of Hulk and Shabu Shabu on it as a massive extra reservoir. So those 2 are in the pic behind the Beer barrel plant.

The vertical grow tubes shared the same circuit as growbed 2. Well I damaged 1 tube while moving stuff around so those 5 plants have joined 2 others in a "hospital NFT" I'm so soft and stupid. Compost heap! Oh well!

The other 2 tubes are being supplied byy a pump /res combo that is circulating Hydro nutes. It'll show me if the fault is with the tubes or the nutrient they've received.

That's all for now. Back to the commonwealth games in a bar in \cyprus. Bummer! :lol:

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by ronniedeb » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:41 pm

Looking good Jeremy. Enjoy Cyprus!

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by ChilliJez » Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:06 pm

ronniedeb wrote:Looking good Jeremy. Enjoy Cyprus!
thanks Ronan. Cyprus was very hot and chilled out. a good combo.

I got to go straight from he airport to work but swmbo texted to say she'd fed the fish and "lots of hungry mouths and no obvious floaters" so it sounds like we've got through unscathed! :P

We rented a house and I'm sitting by the (small) pool drinking a beer which is fine. But I'm thinking what a great climate it is and wondering how many fish I could stock the pool with and how I'd organise the planting... :roll:

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by ronniedeb » Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:14 pm

ChilliJez wrote: thanks Ronan. Cyprus was very hot and chilled out. a good combo.

I got to go straight from he airport to work but swmbo texted to say she'd fed the fish and "lots of hungry mouths and no obvious floaters" so it sounds like we've got through unscathed! :P

We rented a house and I'm sitting by the (small) pool drinking a beer which is fine. But I'm thinking what a great climate it is and wondering how many fish I could stock the pool with and how I'd organise the planting... :roll:
:lol: :lol: . Stop. I can't drive past a skip without seeing something that could be used for a hydroponic system. I need to acquire a few acres.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by Heefy » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:27 pm

:lol: :lol: . Stop. I can't drive past a skip without seeing something that could be used for a hydroponic system. I need to acquire a few acres.
Snap. I have had some good 'stig of the dump' finds.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by ChilliJez » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:10 pm

Heefy wrote:
:lol: :lol: . Stop. I can't drive past a skip without seeing something that could be used for a hydroponic system. I need to acquire a few acres.
Snap. I have had some good 'stig of the dump' finds.
We were read Stig of the Dump in primary school and it's stuck with me. I hadn't realised I'd turn out to be Stig. :lol:

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by Heefy » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:52 pm

I know. We are all chilli stigs now.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by Smilesbetter » Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:07 pm

Just read through all this and I'm so inspired. Sounds like it's been a lot of hard work for you but I bet it'll improve every year and get easier to maintain too. I'm quite jealous haha, it's maybe a good thing I don't have a garden right now with all the things I have planned for when I finally get one. I've already been wondering if I'd get away with an aquaponic system in an allotment after reading this haha.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by ChilliJez » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:39 pm

Smilesbetter wrote:Just read through all this and I'm so inspired. Sounds like it's been a lot of hard work for you but I bet it'll improve every year and get easier to maintain too. I'm quite jealous haha, it's maybe a good thing I don't have a garden right now with all the things I have planned for when I finally get one. I've already been wondering if I'd get away with an aquaponic system in an allotment after reading this haha.
Glad if it inspires you Erika!I still have some issues to sort out to keep the plants happy but I am raising some plants and the fish are getting bigger.

If you do some googling I'm sure you will find stuff about off grid aquaponics. I'm assuming your allotment doesn't have power.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWq6WJ5TDic

In the meantime you could have a fish tank in your living room and a growbed on the balcony! :idea:

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by Smilesbetter » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:41 pm

Thanks! The fish tank thing is a great idea, would be a good way to get a handle on how aquaponics works, plus my cats would LOVE a fish tank - cat TV!

The allotments here (I'm in Germany) usually have water and electricity, it's easy to get it hooked up anyway. I've not got one yet but looking to get one in a year or two. I think I'll save the aquaponics thing till I get my own house and garden, but the fish tank idea I might give a go next year if I can figure it out!

Haha,really hope you were being serious :P


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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by ChilliJez » Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:18 pm


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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by Smilesbetter » Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:44 pm

Thanks!! I've sent this to my folks back in Scotland. They have a pet terrapin and my mum is constantly forgetting to water the (ornamental) plants there haha. We were planning on building the terrapin a new tank anyway so may as well turn it aquaponics.

I've also just found out today that there is a hydroponic supermarket in just up the road from me in Berlin which grows all it's stuff in store, I'm gonna pop along tomorrow and check it out!

ChilliJez you have got me fascinated in the world of aquaponics! I have been avidly reading up on them since I saw this post.



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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by ChilliJez » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:04 pm

Erika, I love your enthusiasm!

I'd certainly encourage you to have a go at aquaponics and I think you're wise to wait until you're in a settled place to do it. I'm not out of the woods yet with exactly what I'm doing right and what I should do better. There's quite a lot of enthusiastic people out there but nowhere near the number that are active on chilli forums or 420 type forums with hydro information.

The 2 forums I visit are Aquaponic Source and Backyard Aquaponics, sited in America and Australia respectively. The guys there have a lot more experience but generally it's warm climate focussed. The most useful resource I've found is Sylvia Bernstein's book. It's very practical and informative at the right level.

I've played around with hydro projects in the past so when my second growbed and the vertical tube things weren't working I switched the remaining two tubes to conventional (ish) hydro. The plants have taken off and that shows me that it's the fish water being circulated that was wrong not the grow method.

Given that aquaponics is bringing together hydroponics and aquaculture, I'd suggest getting into the hydro side of things first. A little flood and drain set up on your balcony could be great and super productive. IMHO. :P

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: The first cull

Post by Smilesbetter » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:12 am

Thanks! I've come across the Backyard Aquaponics site a couple times in my searches for things about this and it's been very useful, and I'll definitely check out the book!

That's a good idea sticking with hydro to begin with. I have a yearly problem on my balcony because the super sunny summers dry out all my plants in no time and even when I water them heartily twice a day they still suffer, not to mention what happens if, god forbid, I go on holiday for a week haha. I went back to Scotland for a month this year (broken ankle!) and when I came back all my plants were in a state of extreme drought. My man even managed to kill the desert plants. I'm amazed he even managed to keep the cats alive, although one of them has a very loud and stompy way of reminding him that it's coming up for feeding time, if only the plants could do that... My main growing problem is the frequent droughts caused by the long very hot sunny days I think.

But yeah, I think I'll piddle around with both this coming year, it will give me something gardeny to occupy myself with over winter. I've been looking up raising small prawns in a home aquarium, which I've not raised before, and if I also do a hyrdoponic system on the balcony then I can eventually figure out how to link the two when they are stable, or set up an indoor hydroponic system separately to go with the prawns if they work out.

Have you been keeping a check on the ph of the fish tank? I read that it needs to be 7.0 and even 0.2 higher or lower can be a big problem. Hope you manage to get the fish tank part sorted out in any case! Looking forward to hearing your progress :)


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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: Bubblewrap city!

Post by ChilliJez » Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:18 pm

I haven't posted in a while, not because it's not happening, simply that there's nothing new to report.

That's not quite true. I've been spending some time trying to winterise the greenhouse and now it looks like this.

Image

Image

Not good pictures. Essentially bubble wrap on the surfaces that admit light and reflective insulating wrap on the surfaces that don't!
The copper cylinder has been there without clear purpose. Right now it's a failsafe so if temps drop too low I can warm it to balance things out.

To be honest I really want the fish and bacteria to survive the winter and I don't see how that's going to happen.

Cross your fingers for me guys.

Thank you.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: Bubblewrap city!

Post by ChilliJez » Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:19 pm

I realise there are so many gaps! I will update better! Promise! :roll: :lol:

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: Bubblewrap city!

Post by ronniedeb » Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:44 pm

Fingers Crossed

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ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: Bubblewrap city!

Post by Slyboy » Sun Nov 09, 2014 5:46 am

Jeremy, hopefully it will survive the winter. I don't see how you could do much more apart from heat the entire space which would be expensive. Do you have heaters on your reservoir as they can be quite cheap?

Fingers firmly crossed for you!

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: Bubblewrap city!

Post by ChilliJez » Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:10 am

Slyboy wrote:Jeremy, hopefully it will survive the winter. I don't see how you could do much more apart from heat the entire space which would be expensive. Do you have heaters on your reservoir as they can be quite cheap?

Fingers firmly crossed for you!
Thanks guys. I have a 300W heater in there and have just ordered 2 more. 900W will certainly put a hike on the electricity bill but I'm hoping we're through the worst by the time that shows up! :oops: The hot water cylinder in the pic is hooked up to the mains and will act as a radiator in an emergency.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: A fatality.

Post by ChilliJez » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:44 am

I was thinking it time to update as I travelled down to London on Sunday.

I panicked 2 weeks ago and put a couple of extra 300w heaters into the fishtank. They're on thermostats but realistically they're working full time. That's 900w. Ouch! The memsahib is aware and we'll live with it for this winter but I'm guessing I do need a new strategy for next! :lol:

The plus is that the tank water has been hovvering around 19C - 20C which is good to keep the fish alive and the bacteria working. Phew. That's with a couple of nights dipping to -5C outside.

One thing I probably haven't made clear is that I don't know how many fish I have. :roll: I'm sure ish it's not more than 12. I doubt it's less than 8. Fact is I can't see to the depths in the back of the tank and the b*gg*rs won't stop moving long enough for me to count. What I do know is that I had an escapee sometime in the early summer that got from the main tank into the sump tank where it has lived ever since. The maverick.

I shouldn't recount the hours I've spent draped over that sump tank with a net attempting to catch the little sh*t. Suffice to say it remained way quicker than I was. Sadly on Tuesday it got it's come uppance. It rained overnight and the valve connecting the water butt to the sump tank was left open. Too much cold water for even the most feisty tilapia so sadly on in the morning it was a floater. It'll help me to remember to close that valve.

Plants wise I'm keeping a bunch of celery in the growbed as it's green and happy and I want to be sure something is soaking up the nitrates. I'd have hoped the spinach and beets I'd put in a couple of months ago now would have taken over but they got to about 2cm tall and have done nothing.

A couple of plants that are starting to thrive however are pubescens! Yay! There's a Rocoto Red and Rocoto Yellow that are shooting and looking quite green and healthy... good stuff.. except for...

Aphids! What a pain! I've been fortunate to be greenfly free for the summer but not now! I need to work out a strategy. Murray Hallam's treacle treatment? soft soap? SB plant invigorator? I need to be sure I don't hurt fish or bacteria.

That's where I'm at. Advice gratefully received! :P

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