ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission

Growing plants using nutrient solutions, without soil.

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ronniedeb
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Re: ChilliJez "Tranquility Base here..."

Post by ronniedeb » Tue May 27, 2014 9:14 am

Not to worry Jeremy. A big project like this will always have some teething problems. I'm sure, like you said, that these minor problems will lead to more long term productivity.

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Re: ChilliJez "Tranquility Base here..."

Post by ChilliJez » Tue May 27, 2014 11:27 pm

I'm sure you're right Ronan.

Actually I'm not worried. Though I posted "head in hands" etc, in fact I'm quite cathartic. What will be will be. My other half does her best to look after stuff while I'm away but It's not her thing. I reckon there may be a problem that gets serious before I'm back but if it were plants in soil or compost there would definitely be a problem!

As it stands the main, established growbed is connected to a pump that works and gets cycled each hour. The vertical tubes and the second growbed are the areas that may suffer in the next few days. The vertical tubes are my babies. 3 tubes each with 5 plants. They were fine with no wilting with 1 watering cycle per day. Swmbo is keeping an eye and if they wilt she can pour water from the top with a jug.

As I understand it, in the early days pH levels will rise gradually and as the fish population matures it will swing slightly the other way. Well my pH rise is starting to slow down; another indication that the system is coming into balance.

And the fish are getting fatter! They've been released into the main tank from their nursery container and it feels like they're liberated. Feeding much more hungrily and getting appreciably bigger. There's one fella (or gal) that's turning into a proper porker! It remains to be seen but he/she will probably be on the breeding programme rather than the menu.

Anyway, the AP thing is teething but basically working. The fish are getting fatter and the plants are green and look happy, albeit a bit behind. It's a mixed family grow with spinach and chard and sorrel and celery and beetroot and celery leaf and dill and cabbage and coriander and onions and leeks and lettuces and a cucumber. But I've also managed to sneak in 26 chilli plants without them detracting from the main project.

Oh and I added some worms to my growbeds. Unsung heroes to be. Dendrobaena composting type worms. I could point you to some links about which worms to use in aquaponic growbeds but I realise I may be held responsible for folks quitting the forum or other drastic measures so I'll keep schtumm.

More to follow.

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Re: ChilliJez "Tranquility Base here..."

Post by ronniedeb » Tue May 27, 2014 11:30 pm

Sounds great. Your talk of fish fattening is making me hungry. :lol:

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Re: ChilliJez "Tranquility Base here..."

Post by ChilliJez » Fri May 30, 2014 12:12 am

ronniedeb wrote:Sounds great. Your talk of fish fattening is making me hungry. :lol:
If we get there.. A knob of butter... a splash of white wine...

It'll beat ...360ppm... 4ml pH down...

You know it yourself. You're doing flood and drain hydro. Change the hydro nutes for fish and fishfood. And then you can have a fishy on a little dishy... Think about it.

Actually just lodge it in the back of your mind. If I succeed and now I believe I will, I'll be posting what I've put in and got back. Then there may be a persuasive argument.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: "Houston, we have a problem

Post by ChilliJez » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:37 pm

We have a problem indeed.

I got a phone call from the mrs about an hour ago. The sump tank is empty. :shock: Obviously I have a major leak. Hard to tell where from at a distance. She's looking after the fish while I work away but she didn't sign up for this.

I talked her through transferring one of the pumps from the sump to the fish tank. That will at least get the fish water pumped through a growbed helping them to survive. That part is most critical. I'll have to hope stuff in the second bed and the vertical tubes survives till I get home on thursday night.

Bummer. :cry:

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: "Houston, we have a problem

Post by mrprogress » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:44 pm

Ouch..Good luck mate.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: "Houston, we have a problem

Post by Ben123 » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:45 pm

:s fingers crossed for you Jez.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: "Houston, we have a problem

Post by ronniedeb » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:44 pm

ChilliJez wrote:We have a problem indeed.

I got a phone call from the mrs about an hour ago. The sump tank is empty. :shock: Obviously I have a major leak. Hard to tell where from at a distance. She's looking after the fish while I work away but she didn't sign up for this.

I talked her through transferring one of the pumps from the sump to the fish tank. That will at least get the fish water pumped through a growbed helping them to survive. That part is most critical. I'll have to hope stuff in the second bed and the vertical tubes survives till I get home on thursday night.

Bummer. :cry:
Nooooooo! Hope they survive.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: "Houston, we have a problem

Post by JezzerBell » Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:40 pm

Hope all turns out well for you Jez

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: "Houston, we have a problem

Post by TheOzricle » Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:24 pm

Hope you get things back to normal soon Jez. I am not surprised to see some teething probs with a project your size.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: "Houston, we have a problem

Post by Heefy » Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:43 pm

Fingers crossed for you.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: "Houston, we have a problem

Post by ChilliJez » Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:56 pm

Thanks for kind words guys. I'm feeling pretty stoical really. My biggest concern is causing distress to the fish. Not a nice thing to do.

I'm lucky in a way that the plants in the secondary circulation that's shut down are small. I think the clay pebbles have a capacity to hold on to quite a lot of water so I'm not giving up hope.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: "Houston, we have a problem

Post by Heefy » Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:57 pm

I think I've got it! I found this which made sense to me.

Image

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission: "Houston, we have a problem

Post by ChilliJez » Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:31 pm

Heefy wrote:I think I've got it! I found this which made sense to me.

Image
Exactly like that Heefy except that your picture doesn't show the leaks.

The water that was gone from the sump tank has miraculously reappeared. Now the Mrs doesn't exactly get the whole process but was sure no water was moving when the sump was empty so it wasn't a timing issue. Baffled.

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

Post by ChilliJez » Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:47 pm

All chilled out on the aquaponic front. No news is average news.

On the positive side of things the fish are getting bigger and are very hungry. Not quite the piranha frenzy at feeding times but quite eager. However they're a tiny fraction of maximum capacity for the system and plants are really starting to suffer. The yellowing of leaves over the last week is striking.

So I took out the sorrel and mustard greens to reduce demand, and I'll give a nitrogen foliar feed tomorrow.

It's not going badly but It's going to be the entire season to be established and in balance. Yawn.

I must say that going out in the morning to feed the fish has a certain therapeutic, chill out effect.

"Here am I, sitting in a tin can. Far above the world..."

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

Post by ronniedeb » Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:33 pm

Good to hear the Fish are doing well Jeremy. Post some photos if you can!

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

Post by Heefy » Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:29 pm

Dude. Where are the pics you promised?

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

Post by trident » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:02 am

Jeremy is everything ok in the world of aquaponics ... looking forward to an update and some pictures please

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

Post by ChilliJez » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:23 am

John Thank you for asking. I do appreciate it.

My world of aquaponics has taken somthing of a knock really and I've not posted because it doesn't look overly cheery. When I posted my grow fish grow thing I was feeling that the plants looked pale and a bit lacking. That has got worse despite applying foliar feed sprays.

The plants suffering the most are the chillies. Lots of small yellow leaves and not much growth. Celery and brassicas are doing fine. I have a Femspot F1 cuke that's marching on and looking healthy. Ginger is producing shoots. Coriander looked awful and so I pulled it out. Sorrel was a thug and started seeding as did mustard greens so they have gone too.

It was only on the train today that I thought about nutes getting locked out. I've tested pH with a compare with the colour chart thing and it's seemed to be in range but if I'm reading that incorrectly that could explain a lot. David (Slyboy) gave me amongst other things a pH meter so now I want to put that to use!

I work a fairly punishing 60+ hour week Monday to Thursday in London so I get a couple of days only to check on my plants. One regular thing is to top up the water. I reckon I add about 150 litres each week to the system. Does that sound reasonable? Transpiration + evaporation?

My greenhouse does look particularly full of lush green growth. That's largely down to Slyboy giving me a quadgrow and an nft and lots of plants with them! :lol: I have been wondering if I should do updates on his growlog! Probably pride of place in that is a "Son of Hulk" Choc Bhut Jolokia. Hulk you may remember is/was Experiment Dave's super productive growtent plant. Also a ShabuShabu, A Lucy (Thanks Nick) and Slyboy's 3yo 7 Pod which feels like a responsibility.

Otherwise in hydro, I put 5 chinenses into hempy buckets and they have done dreadfully and I don't know why. They've stayed green and small and shed a few leaves and still stayed small and got a bit munched by slugs and done nothing. So I've not posted shameful pics of them too.

A couple of years ago I put a scrawny, overwintered Fatalii in an old beer barrel and it took off. I was reminded of it from someone's post here and dug it out and washed the perlite off the roots of one of my hempy pot victims and set it underway. It's doing the same thing. The plant is taking off. In 2 weeks it's double the size and you know when a plant is just telling you how healthy and happy it is... It's doing that.
FoodaramaSB by the way.

Otherwise, I ended up planting 15 paprika and Ajvar varieties in my Dad's greenhouse and they're being given tomato feed and watering by him so we'll see what turns out. Sadly they're in the shade of the tomato plants which won't help.

I don't feel totally glum about the aquaponics and I am going to master/ get an understanding of it. I need to manage it over winter and get more feel for it but it's certainly my main mission. The beer barrel foodarama plant is lifting my soul and David's generosity has brought instant green abundance and quite a few hot pods.

So not without joy but a steep learning curve.

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

Post by Heefy » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:09 am

I think it's sometimes easy to loose sight of how far you have come. You researched, learned and understood the principles. Then sourced and built the entire system, totally bespoke. You managed to source the fish, fix the leaks, grow some plants and tell us all about it in the 5 minutes a week you get to yourself.

It sounds like your frustrated with yourself more than anything. I get the impression that if it was easy we would have all done it, but it's not. You did it though!

I like the idea of keeping up Slyboys glog. Not sure what he thinks.

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

Post by ronniedeb » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:42 am

I have been wondering if I should do updates on his growlog! :lol: :lol:

No worries Jeremy. As you said before, the aquaponics will provide long term rewards, that's for sure.

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Re: ChilliJez Aquaponic Mission:

Post by Slyboy » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:55 pm

Heefy wrote:I like the idea of keeping up Slyboys glog. Not sure what he thinks.
Ha ha - made me laugh! You can if you want, however they are yours now and I'm happy for you to post here as I'm sure everyone is watching this thread for news. I certainly do.

As for your aquaponics - keep the faith and I'm sure it will come good. Its definitely worth checking the PH and adjusting using the PH up and down to suit the fish and plants. If you are adding 150 litres of water (which for me has tap water with PH of about 7.0) then this could be raising your overall PH above levels good for the plants. I normally aim for between 5.8 and 6.1.

Its always the way doing something new for the first time, a bit of a challenge, learn from some mistakes then reap massive rewards and satisfaction when you get some progress. That day I can tell is coming. How are the fish getting on? You didnt say too much about their progress.

Cheers

David

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

Post by ChilliJez » Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:53 am

Loads of replys. That's fantastic.

Heefy, thank you for your perspective, It can be easy to get fixated on a short term negative and lose sight of how much has got done.

The fish are doing well. How well I don't know 'cos my great build obscures quite a lot where they hide of course. Several weeks ago the tilapia just started to take off. In particular one big fat f**ker (excuse me) that was suddenly twice the size of the others and definitely first in the dinner queue. He (or she) will definitely be kept for breeding stock.

I don't recall what I've posted now but I started with 40 "fingerlings" that were perhaps 1cm long max. I had the tank cycled and these tiny fish contained in a bucket that I'd perforated with hundreds of tiny holes to allow water exchange. the bucket was floating in the main tank.

The fish grew slowly and died off one by one slowly. I guess I picked out 6 or 8 floating corpses over time. But there seemed to be less fish and repeatedly ther were floating "skeletons". That's too generous. Vague shadowy fishy shapes floating on the surface.

I came to the conclusion that what I was doing would end up with them all dying so I let them loose in the tank. We estimated that there were about 7 fish left at that time. That was conservative. I think there are about 12 - 15 Tilapia about 3"-4" (7.5cm-10cm). To that I added I think 15 White Cloud Mountain Minnows. Have they helped? I don't care. What a cool name. They're dwarfed by the tilapia now but they're quick and get to steal food before being bullied.

And the one that got away. I think I posted about this. I have the fish tank that's always full and a sump tank that should always have enough to feed the growbeds but from time to time gets a bit "empty!" :roll:

There's a sneaky Tilapia that made a bid for freedom (Anyone remember Monty Python's Harold the clever sheep?). Anyway I spent a couple of weekends definitely finding it in the sump tank and not catching it. We gave up on it but today swmbo saw and fed it and found what she believes is a small tilapia fry. ! Yay!

Cheshire Tilapia Love Machine!

We can use some of that population building.

Yes more generally, If we were forced to move house for whatever reason, one of the very first things I'd put in is my aquaponics plan.It would be quite different from the one I've built now but that was always going to be the way. But I wouldn't consider not doing it which is the point I guess.

Thanks all for the kind words. It definitely takes the edge off when you do something that makes you feel like a dick. :P

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

Post by ronniedeb » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:02 am

Great post Jeremy. Must be great to see your fish grow. When will they reach dinner plate size? :lol:

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

Post by trident » Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:17 pm

Jeremy as Ronan said great post glad your mission .. Grow fish grow is starting to reap rewards ..

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