• You are losing out on amazing benefits because you are not a member. Join for free. Register now.
  • Samsung Pay Giveaway - Win a Samsung Connect & Control Speaker and other prizes. Enter Here.
  • Audi e-tron Giveaway - Win prizes worth R3,000 Enter Here.

My Aquaponics Project

Datura

Captain Faptastic
Staff member
Joined
Oct 12, 2006
Messages
45,245
#1
I am starting an aquaponics project here at home in Moz.

I don't really know what I am doing yet but I will learn as I go along.

I worked with Hydroponics for 2 years (2001-2002) to grow beans to test spiders on but other than that have no experience.

So, I have started small with what I do have a little experience with and that is the hydroponics part on a small scale.

This thread is just to document the progress and perhaps share knowledge with other people that are interested.

Last weekend I cut holes into Styrofoam and made nests for the seeds out of the fibrous bark of coconut trees, put seeds in the nests and the nests into the Styrofoam sheet that floats on water.

Some of the seeds started sprouting yesterday already.

I also cleared a space for when the project gets bigger and the fish get incorporated into the mix (I will be using Mozambique Tilapias).

Some pics of the small setup:
I have planted sweet-pepper, cabbage, micro herbs mix, celery, kale, basil and lettuce in the first batch.

The container that the water and plants sit in.

20181017_110054.jpg

The styrofoam sheet that houses the seed nests. The nests stick out a bit underneath the sheet to absorb water.

20181017_110018.jpg 20181017_105944.jpg



20181017_124353.jpg

The sheet floats on the water and the nests stay wet. The only thing I need to do is give the water a good whisk with my hands to aerate the water (once a day) and just check that the seeds aren't submerged in water.

It gets a couple hours direct sunlight in the afternoon (I don't know what is recommended but that's the most sheltered place I can use at the moment).

I will be transferring the plants to pipes when they get bigger and by that stage will have a water filter and a pump to circulate the water.

I will also check pH levels in the water. I want to keep it organic so don't want to have to add anything to the water.
 

Datura

Captain Faptastic
Staff member
Joined
Oct 12, 2006
Messages
45,245
#4
Bloody hell, great view!!!
For me tomatoes worked the best.
I will stock up on everything in December when I am in SA again. I am far from anywhere here so will just buy seeds for all sorts then.

The little plants need a good view :). It was a coinflip between a tranquil view or playing death metal for them...
 

Datura

Captain Faptastic
Staff member
Joined
Oct 12, 2006
Messages
45,245
#6
Good luck.

Don't the plants get too much water like that?
I don't think so. If you mean the seeds, perhaps but I check them to make sure that they aren't too wet. When the plants are bigger the roots will stay submerged in the water. It is important to keep the water aerated.
 

schuits

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
914
#7
I don't think so. If you mean the seeds, perhaps but I check them to make sure that they aren't too wet. When the plants are bigger the roots will stay submerged in the water. It is important to keep the water aerated.
Ah ok. I have a flood drain system, didn't know you could keep plants in well aerated water.
 

Batista

Executive Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
7,678
#8
Ah ok. I have a flood drain system, didn't know you could keep plants in well aerated water.

Research Kratky method.

Datura you are going to have to water them from the top for a few days until the roots hit the water.Also make sure that the water level is not too high in the container.Roots need air, I would suggest you jsut put a small airstone with pump in there,then you can forget about it for 3-4 days at a time.
 

Datura

Captain Faptastic
Staff member
Joined
Oct 12, 2006
Messages
45,245
#9
Research Kratky method.

Datura you are going to have to water them from the top for a few days until the roots hit the water.Also make sure that the water level is not too high in the container.Roots need air, I would suggest you jsut put a small airstone with pump in there,then you can forget about it for 3-4 days at a time.
The nests absorb the water from below and stay wet. I am keeping my eye on things and will water if needed. Styrofoam floats on the water so I made sure that the seeds sit about a third of the depth of the nests from the top to get a balanced combination of air and water.

I wish I had a small pump but I don't unfortunately so will just aerate by hand. It is also relaxing :)
 

Batista

Executive Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
7,678
#10
I dont think that space in the nest between water level and styrafoam is large enough, but see how it goes. :)
 

Datura

Captain Faptastic
Staff member
Joined
Oct 12, 2006
Messages
45,245
#11
Ideally the seeds should have been planted in a substrate first and then moved to the floating bed once roots develop nicely but I am experimenting to see if it can all be done using the floating bed without adverse effects.
 

Datura

Captain Faptastic
Staff member
Joined
Oct 12, 2006
Messages
45,245
#12
I dont think that space in the nest between water level and styrafoam is large enough, but see how it goes. :)
It looks something like this cross section diagram that I spent the last few minutes slaving over.

The seeds do have a fibrous blanket over them but I forgot to add that.

Nests.PNG
 

Batista

Executive Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
7,678
#13
It would be fine for the first few weeks but afterwards they are going to drown in there if there isnt constant airation.

Just monitor and see how it goes. :)
 

Datura

Captain Faptastic
Staff member
Joined
Oct 12, 2006
Messages
45,245
#14
It would be fine for the first few weeks but afterwards they are going to drown in there if there isnt constant airation.

Just monitor and see how it goes. :)
Ah I am with you. The idea is to move them to a pipe system after a week or two. I have 150mm piping that I will drill holes into the top of. The piping will run horizontally at a very slight downward angle. I will separate the plants, put them in new nests that hug the plant between the root and stems and will fit comfortably in the holes so that the roots are in the pipe. The water in the pipes will be constantly circulated with a pump (will go pick one up early next week I hope).
 

Batista

Executive Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
7,678
#15
Yup that is a good veg setup!
Word of warning though.Do you have the fish and everything setup because that will need to cycle properly before you can pump that water into the pipes.So get the fish sorted asap and make sure you take a few litres of water where ever you got the fish from to speed up cycling.
 

schuits

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
914
#16
Also one of my biggest lessons. Don't expose the fish tank to sunlight. Algae bloom is friggin difficult to get rid of.
 

Datura

Captain Faptastic
Staff member
Joined
Oct 12, 2006
Messages
45,245
#17
Yup that is a good veg setup!
Word of warning though.Do you have the fish and everything setup because that will need to cycle properly before you can pump that water into the pipes.So get the fish sorted asap and make sure you take a few litres of water where ever you got the fish from to speed up cycling.
Have not incorporated the fish yet and don't plan to until I have the hydroponic system up and running properly. I do, however, want to start drawing up plans for the fish tank and the feeder tank (where algae, bacteria, detritus, duckweed, other plants and stuffs will be incorporated into the cycle). The fish part will be a sperate project that I will also document here. I will only marry the fish and plants once I am comfortable with both setups.
 

Datura

Captain Faptastic
Staff member
Joined
Oct 12, 2006
Messages
45,245
#18
Also one of my biggest lessons. Don't expose the fish tank to sunlight. Algae bloom is friggin difficult to get rid of.
Thanks! I was speaking to a marine biologist here who has a good friend that had a tilapia farm nearby (government shut it down for reasons) and she gave me some very helpful tips and that was one of the things she did stress more than once saying that it can wreck the system...
 

Datura

Captain Faptastic
Staff member
Joined
Oct 12, 2006
Messages
45,245
#19
Quick update. I have decided to use soil in the seed nests. Only managed to get half of the plants growing in the styrofoam bed. They should be ready to transfer to the pipe in about a weeks time. Out of all the seeds everything but the peppers and celery sprouted.

Planted more yesterday morning so should see sprouts in a day or two...

Trial and error :)
 
Top