ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission

Growing plants using nutrient solutions, without soil.

Moderators: Wilf, chilliman64, Kathy

Post Reply
User avatar
ChilliJez
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:06 pm
Location: Peckham, London

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by ChilliJez » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:50 am

Image
Image
The growbed with some sorrel, onions and Urfa Biber and Hungarian Hot Wax to get things going.
Image
Image
Image
The vertical grow thing in a temporary spot to check that it works.

User avatar
ronniedeb
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:31 am
Location: Galway, Ireland

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by ronniedeb » Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:22 pm

ChilliJez wrote:
ronniedeb wrote:Excellent. Really looking forward to seeing this work...especially the crayfish!
Ronan, you can rest assured that when Mr and Mrs crayfish are in for the night and doing their thing, you'll receive some progeny to turn your flood and drain hydro into a crustacean farm. :shock: :lol:
Thanks! I'd love to. Unfortunately that would mean they would compete for space with the chilli peppers! If I get a bigger garden/greenhouse in the future maybe. :lol:

User avatar
ronniedeb
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:31 am
Location: Galway, Ireland

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by ronniedeb » Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:23 pm

It looks great by the way. Love the vertical thing. I can see it being swamped in chillis later in the year.

User avatar
padale
Hot Head
Hot Head
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:55 pm
Location: Haworth

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by padale » Sat Apr 12, 2014 5:41 pm

Epic project Chillijez! Fascinating too. I'm looking forward to seeing it progress. Paul.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

User avatar
ChilliJez
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:06 pm
Location: Peckham, London

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by ChilliJez » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:18 pm

padale wrote:Epic project Chillijez! Fascinating too. I'm looking forward to seeing it progress. Paul.
Thanks Paul. Looks like I will be able to progress after all!

I posted yesterday about not being able to find Tilapia. I was hoping to get them this weekend. I'm down in London and the guy who was my best hope is in Barking. I got a call end of the afternoon. He'd been away on holiday but is back and I should be geting some fish tomorrow morning. Yeehah!

User avatar
Slyboy
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:09 am
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by Slyboy » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:44 am

Fantastic Jez, it will be great to see it with fish in. Such a cool idea and quite a major project.

I look forwards to seeing the pictures.

User avatar
ChilliJez
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:06 pm
Location: Peckham, London

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by ChilliJez » Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:02 pm

Well I've got some fish! Hurrah! However it'll be some time till they give much oomph to the system. They're tiny. Like 1cm long!
I got them home this afternoon and perforated a builders bucket with tiny holes and set it into a sheet of polystyrene that's floating on the surface of the fishtank. A mini tank within a tank if you get my drift. Fish are in there and fed. Fingers crossed. :lol:

TheOzricle
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 426
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:50 pm

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by TheOzricle » Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:27 pm

Glad you got your fish sorted Jeremy. I read they are supposedly fast growing just how fast are they? Look forward to seeing this system in its full flowing glory.

User avatar
ronniedeb
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:31 am
Location: Galway, Ireland

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by ronniedeb » Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:13 pm

Great that you got the fish Jeremy! Look forward to seeing the photos.

User avatar
ChilliJez
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:06 pm
Location: Peckham, London

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by ChilliJez » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:14 am

TheOzricle wrote:Glad you got your fish sorted Jeremy. I read they are supposedly fast growing just how fast are they? Look forward to seeing this system in its full flowing glory.
Thanks Oz. My fish are Nile Tilapia which is possibly the most popular Tilapia. From the 1cm they are now to 30cm would take about 12 months. There as a fish that size in an adjacent tank. TBH it seemed impossibly huge in that time. If you think that's a 30x increase in 3 dimensions thats 30x30x30=27,000 fold increase in bodymass. I was told the real quick growers are Red Tilapia that can make that growth in 5 or 6 months. Gimmee! He's had a major business setback and had very limited quantities of fish now but I'll try and get some reds from him in the future.

Ronan, thanks for the support.

2buykoiser

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by 2buykoiser » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:05 am

I am the tilapia man from Barking. Better known as kawthar(miah) for all your tilapia needs do contact me 1st I have 5 types of tilapia so a good variety for different taste. I have been keeping fish for over 20 years breeding and growing tilapia for 5 years for food. Have helped many people all over uk set up Hydroponics, Aquaponics and it is my promise to make the tilapia's available for people who would like to make their won food for the table. Also working on prawn and other testy fish good for us. To purchase tilapia just google 2buykoiser you will find links.
once again thanks to Jeremy who gave me the links to this wonderful forum.
and good luck with your project for many years to come.
look after the fish and they will look after your veg for the table.

User avatar
trident
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 764
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:24 pm
Location: Tadley, North Hampshire

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by trident » Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:06 pm

What a very nice man so passionate about his fish ... naturally they should breed will you being having a nursery tank which will allow you to re supply the trade ... fascinated can't wait for the new photos of this different approach to Eco Growing vegetables

User avatar
ChilliJez
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:06 pm
Location: Peckham, London

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by ChilliJez » Sun May 04, 2014 12:48 am

How things change in a short space of time. I'm now working in London 4 days a week (in principle though this week 6). So on the one hand I've little time to give to this project and it's barely up and running. On the other hand if I relied on family support for conventional watering I may as well have not started!.

The fish side has been pretty dire the last couple of weeks and I haven't been around a lot to observe. Quite a few fishy skeletons. I don't know if that's the remains of cannibalism (which Tilapia do) or poor water management or stocking too early. Ammonia is up a little and pH creeps up over days. I keep adding phosphoric acid to nudge it down and look forward to the days when the whole thing is mature and a bit more stable.

The plants are looking HAPPY. Overwintered chillies in the main growbed have started to put out vibrant green new leaves. Sorrel plants put in from pots last season have taken off and threaten to swamp the onions, lettuces, chard, coriander, leeks that all look a lush, healthy green.

So I'm thinking that there's a bunch of ammonia, possibly from dead fish, being turned into nitrates that the plants are loving. The fish are still tiny and there are less than I started with!

I posted pics earlier of a vertical growing tube. Initially that looked promising and the idea may still be sound. But. I had used collars of rubber (cut from gloves) to surround the plants where they came out from the growing tube. By degrees the plants started to die off, becoming waisted at the point they crossed the rubber. In a conventional stem it would look like die back. Then the other matter...

I decided the tubes needed to be shorter. I installed another 2. To cut a long story short, In moving stuff around I knocked the bottom off my original growtube and dumped the contents of the tube, plants and all, on the floor of the greenhouse. B****r! I resuscitated some ans added in others and now have 3 tubes, each with 5 plants. So my grow is getting scaled down and I knew this would probably happen. I'm not too demoralised and I'm going to have about 45 plants on the go overall and I think they'll do ok.

TheOzricle
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 426
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:50 pm

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by TheOzricle » Sun May 04, 2014 11:29 am

Nice to have another update Jez.
Sorry to hear of a few of the fish, but glad to hear the plants seem to be doing well in the system. I am already looking forward to the next update 8)

User avatar
Heefy
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2187
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:37 pm
Location: Lincolnshire, England.
Contact:

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by Heefy » Sun May 04, 2014 6:27 pm

It's sounds fascinating. I still need to see an overview photo, so I can fully understand the system. I am very jealous

User avatar
ChilliJez
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:06 pm
Location: Peckham, London

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by ChilliJez » Sun May 04, 2014 10:45 pm

TheOzricle wrote:Nice to have another update Jez.
Sorry to hear of a few of the fish, but glad to hear the plants seem to be doing well in the system. I am already looking forward to the next update 8)
Thanks Oz! I need to clear all the construction detritus and get in there with a proper camera. If I can get the fish a little larger and able to survive my mishaps I'll be happier!

User avatar
phillyb86
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 1107
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 2:21 pm
Location: Durham

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by phillyb86 » Sun May 04, 2014 11:06 pm

What an interesting read Jeremy. I'm sure it'll all be up and running properly soon. Hopefully you'll not kill anymore fish Lol

User avatar
ChilliJez
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:06 pm
Location: Peckham, London

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by ChilliJez » Mon May 05, 2014 12:04 am

Heefy wrote:It's sounds fascinating. I still need to see an overview photo, so I can fully understand the system. I am very jealous
Heefy, to paraphrese,

" It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in posession of a good greenhouse, must be in want of a fish tank."

You know you want to!!! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Here's a rough sketch;
Image

Sorry the size is all wrong. I'm not familiar with photobucket mobile on a browser to resize. Do the ctrl +/- thingy to view all.

Essentially it's a mini ecosystem. Bacteria process fish waste and turn it into nitrates to feed the plants. The bacteria live on all the surfaces of the system, the most of which is all the pebbles in the grow beds. The small amounts of solids are filtered out by the grow beds and are consumed by composting worms, yet to be introduced to my growbed. My input to the system (apart from cash! :shock: ) is food to feed the fish.

In the diagram there is a sump tank next to the grow bed. The purpose of that is to keep the fish tank full of water. Instead of pumping water from the fish tank to the grow beds I pump from the sump tank. Water from the grow beds drains back to the fish tank causing it to overflow, into the sump tank.

There are several ways in which I'm doing it wrong but I've got excess pump capacity which I'm using to move water around to address those issues. The drain from the growbed to the fish tank is simply a tube with a small hole in the side at the bottom and a bunch of holes at the top. The pump delivers water to a rectangular loop of 15mm pipe with holes every 6 inches or so, just under the surface of the pebbles so the surface of the growbed is always dry, reducing water loss and inhibiting flies. As soon as the growbed starts filling it starts draining too but the water is flowing in faster than it can drain out. The pump can deliver 3500 litres an hour though in practise it can fill th 470 litre growbed in about 10 minutes. It takes roughly 1/2 an hour to drain back into the fish tank, overflowing into the sump. The bunch of holes at the top of the drain tube are just below the surface of the edge of the growbed to work as an overflow if the pump didn't shut off. The pump is controlled by a timer.

The vertical grow tubes have been modded a bit. They now hold 5 plants each. The supply from the pump is split to deliver water to the top of the tubes. As they're higher than the growbed they only get a trickle of water but this seems to be sufficient for the plants to survive. I fear they will become rootbound before the summer is over and I don't have a plan for that at the moment. Hey Ho! I plan on having 5 chinenses in hempy pots placed on the ground in front of these growing tubes. That would bring my total of plants on 1 side of the 8 x 6 greenhouse = 20. that's a lot of plants but if you take the height into account I hink it might work.

The arrangement is an interim one. There is a second growbed in the second greenhouse along with the vertical tubes. It's 380 litres. With tiny fish it's redundant at the moment and I'm considering setting it up a s flood and drain hydro for the moment, to be introduced to the AP system when the fish output is bigger.

Each growtube is about 65 litres and the first bed is 470litres. All together adds up to about the 1000 litres I need to match the size of the fish tank. Apparently a 1:1 ratio is the minimum starting point. I have no idea where I'd fit any more.

When it's finalised, a second pump (5000 litres/hour will be delivering to the 2nd greenhouse grow tubes and grow bed. It too will be on a timed pump. Where the first pump runs from the hour to 10 past, the second will run from 30 past to 40 past the hour so they share the same sump but are running at different times.

That's the plan so far. I will get decent pics sometime. Honest!

I am so profoundly sold on this idea it's hard to put into words. Big time. :shock: :lol: :idea: :roll:

User avatar
Heefy
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2187
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:37 pm
Location: Lincolnshire, England.
Contact:

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by Heefy » Mon May 05, 2014 5:03 am

The makes sense now. Thanks for the walk through. Looking forward to the photos. The whole thing sounds incredible. You clearly have some DIY skills.

User avatar
ChilliJez
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:06 pm
Location: Peckham, London

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by ChilliJez » Wed May 07, 2014 10:32 pm

Heefy wrote:You clearly have some DIY skills.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: If only! :lol:

Kind of you to say so though.

I have severed thumbs and black nails to prove otherwise. It appears I have more perseverance than I'd ever have given myself credit for though.

DIY skills! Nothing lines up. I have the DIY skills of an Orangutan. :lol:

User avatar
Heefy
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2187
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:37 pm
Location: Lincolnshire, England.
Contact:

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by Heefy » Thu May 08, 2014 6:17 am

I just like the fact that you researched it and thought, I know what. I can do that.

I would have looked into it and thought, nice idea, but for someone else. It's just too complicated. Sometimes I wish I had listened at school!

User avatar
ChilliJez
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:06 pm
Location: Peckham, London

Re: ChilliJez Little Shop of Horrors

Post by ChilliJez » Sat May 10, 2014 2:35 am

Heefy, I appreciate your positive words.

Right now, to be honest I feel I may have bitten off a bigger chunk than I can chew.

I will do some photos this weekend, honest. :roll: and berhaps be a bit more up when I take stock.

User avatar
ChilliJez
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:06 pm
Location: Peckham, London

Re: ChilliJez "Tranquility Base here..."

Post by ChilliJez » Mon May 19, 2014 12:20 am

Well (touch wood) I feel like this project is moving towards stable. I finished plumbing in the last growbed and put in it 4 pubescens across the far side that I plan on training on wires. I stuck in a Padron that was sitting there looking at me with "please plant me!" eyes. Other than that I've sown beetroot, root parsley, leaf celery, dill, a melon and a watermelon. And some celery plug plants.

So the thing is up and cycled, pH rising more slowly, ammonia and nitrite zero (for the fishy people) no idea on the nitrates but the plants are green (!) and my growbeds roughly match the size of the fishtank.

I was concerned that the fish output wouldn't be enough as they're tiny so I went and bought 15 White Cloud Mountain Minnows. They'll help to boost output for now 'till the tipalia catch up. Then they'll go into a separate blue drum set up like this;

http://api.ning.com/files/m8h4UPpTcp*iA ... arrel3.jpg

So it's a family food AP set up not a chilli grow but I have managed to squeeze in 26 plants without attracting too much attention.

I feel I've got to where I wanted to for summer, albeit a little bit late. My continuing project is to get it prepared for winter. Now there's a challenge!

User avatar
ronniedeb
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:31 am
Location: Galway, Ireland

Re: ChilliJez "Tranquility Base here..."

Post by ronniedeb » Wed May 21, 2014 11:27 pm

ChilliJez wrote: So it's a family food AP set up not a chilli grow but I have managed to squeeze in 26 plants without attracting too much attention.
:lol: :lol:

Excellent work Jeremy!

User avatar
ChilliJez
Chilli Guru
Chilli Guru
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:06 pm
Location: Peckham, London

Re: ChilliJez "Tranquility Base here..."

Post by ChilliJez » Tue May 27, 2014 1:11 am

You have to smile...

...or tear your hair out, or bury your head in your hands.

From proudly posting that it all seemed to be working, well it couldn't last...

I have 2 separate cycles; pump 1 to growbed 1 and pump 2 to vertical tubes and growbed 2.

So since posting about tranquility pump 1 died and growbed 2 spilled it's guts onto the floor. Otherwise it's peachy,

The guys who supplied the pump are sending a replacement and I hope that will be sorted. I relevelled growbed 2 and cleared out the drain pipes. Off back to work chewing my fingernails.

Overall it seems behind what a lot of folks here are achieving but I have healthy plants and I'm quite happy. The pay off of this project comes if I keep productive through the winter and that's what I'm pondering now.

Post Reply