PDA

View Full Version : The farm



davidstcldfl
05-28-2011, 05:11 AM
Jumping into the tilapia tank with both feet.... :D

We found a defunct greenhouse to set up a commercial aquaponics system. It hasn't been used, since the 3 hurricanes blew through ('03 ?) They use to raise boston ferns in it. It's located just out side of town by a few miles.

Here's a shot before we started...
http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/greenhouseintherough51811.jpg

The size is 70 x 165. The length runs east to west. We are starting in the south half, on the west end....
http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/startcleanup51911.jpg
If you look close, you can see my little truck and trailer hiding in the weeds. We thought we would need to replace the ground cloth, but once we cleaned things up, we realized we could just patch a few spots.

We are going with a raft system. I'll be setting up a couple swirl filters to remove some of the solids...then we will have 3 - 4' x 8' media beds. In this picture you can see the concrete blocks, each bed has 16 piers. That's more then enough for the weight, I'm more concerned with settling....
http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/baseformediabeds52311.jpg

With that many blocks, were just using PT 2x4's for a frame with 3/4 inch PT ply on top...
http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/gravelbedbase52411.jpg
In the picture , to the left, you can see the ply, it has a coat of the white rubber mobile home roof coating. The sides will be made from corral boards, which are also PT. They too, will be coated on the inside. That might be a little over kill, coating the wood. But if it adds a little more life, it's worth it. Once built, we will line it with 20mm dura-skrim.

We plan on covering the arch of the green house...I guess it's actually a 'shade house'....with 50% alumi-net. The ends and sides will be screen. For cooling...Were trying to keep as much natural airflow as possible. The alumi-net is supposed to be 20% cooler underneath then traditional shade cloth.
For heating (the water) as we build, we will be installing some 'pex' under the troughs.

Once we have the rafts/troughs, fish tanks and filters up and running, we will build more troughs in the east end, and then tie them into the west end.
To start off with, the fish tanks will be 4 or 5 IBC's. That will give us the ability to grade the fish. Plus, adding more tanks will be pretty easy.

Hope to be posting more soon.......

samtheman
05-28-2011, 05:28 AM
Wow that's going to look awesome! 8-)

cedarswamp
05-28-2011, 06:29 AM
Congratulations and good luck in your endeavor.

JCO
05-28-2011, 06:56 AM
You Devil you.... so did you buy this property or are you renting....what luck.... I envy you.. :cry: :mrgreen:

rfeiller
05-28-2011, 07:08 AM
fantastic!

urbanfarmer
05-28-2011, 08:18 AM
That's great David, reminds me of my system, LOL! Can I stop by at look? :twisted:

davidstcldfl
05-28-2011, 09:22 AM
Thanks for the words of encouragement and compliments guys.... :D

We worked a deal, long term lease....where the land owner will get a percentage of the profits. This way, we don't have any 'rent', at first.....and it leaves more cash for materials, lots and lots of materials... :roll: ...and did I mention lots and lots of work ?
Once this 1st stage is installed, what I have in my backyard will become 'a part of' the 2nd stage.


@UF.....there isn't much to look at right now, just what's in the pictures..... but your welcome to have a look....and anyone else in the central fl area. I just have to keep the amount of people, at one time, to a minimum, out of respect for the owner's privacy.

davidstcldfl
05-30-2011, 02:49 PM
I took a few days off from working at the farm. My grass was getting pretty high...I think my neighbors had already cut theirs twice, before I cut mine. Man, I hate to waste fossil fuels... :lol:
The home system needed some maintenance too... :roll:

Well, I did finish installing the sides of the media beds. You can't see it in the picture...I also roughed in some of the drains.

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/readyforliner53011.jpg

Now I need some duraskrim, a couple bulkheads and about 4 yards of river rock.

urbanfarmer
05-30-2011, 03:37 PM
Looks great David! I will PM you when you get a little further down the road ;)

davidstcldfl
07-02-2011, 04:14 AM
Here's a little update....Well, things are slowly happining. We did get a load of sand in, which we are spreading some in the troughs. It's doing two things...one, it will help protect the liner. Second, the liner is only 6 ft wide. The bed is 4 ft wide and a foot deep. The sand will give us a little more material, to secure to the 'top' edge of the troughs.
In the 1st picture, you can see the screed board, used to level the sand...

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/screeboard.jpg

One of the rows with sand....

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/growbedJun24111stsand.jpg

Picked up some river rock for the media beds. It's 3 yards, but by the time I'm moving it in the summer heat, I might be singing the song about ..16 tons, what'd ya get ? Another day older and... :roll: ... :lol:
http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/3yardsofrock.jpg

Let's see....the 1st batch of duraskrim should be here in a few days. The bell reducers are on their way to make the Affnan type bell siphons. Making aragements for 10 IBC's to be picked up. Got the pex tube ordered to put under the troughs (for heating). The electric panel is being replaced today....'if' I turn off this computer.. :roll:

FYI...We recieved lots of help from Chanel Gomez @ Global plastic sheeting on our purchase of Dura Skrim. He was able to figure out a way to save some $ on the shipping... :D
Hope everyone has a great day... :D

rfeiller
07-02-2011, 08:18 AM
awesome!

davidstcldfl
07-02-2011, 02:00 PM
Thanks rfeiller... :D

kneedeepinwater
07-04-2011, 05:46 PM
Looking really good! I have been checking back and checking back for updates and finally :D The beds look great. I am about to take on large project myself soon, well large to me, not as big as yours though, only 26x48. Thanks for the inspiration.

urbanfarmer
07-07-2011, 09:42 AM
Whew David looking GREAT! That sand is a brilliant innovation!

davidstcldfl
07-07-2011, 06:48 PM
Thanks UF. In my backyard, we just lowerd the wood into the dirt a few inches.
Here, we didn't want to cut into the ground cloth, so we went the other way...and raised the dirt (sand) inside the troughs.
Besides, we only paid like 4 or 5 $ a sq yard for the sand. It cost more for the delivery, then the sand.

davidstcldfl
07-08-2011, 05:25 PM
Cool, the liner came today. Which is right on time....we just finished putting the sand base in the troughs.
I took the picture while standing on the pile of sand. You can see we removed part of the end of the green house. It was a lot easier to do that, then try to get through the doorway. We also removed the end of the troughs, so we could push the wheelburrows, down the length of them.

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/Justbeforetheliner.jpg

Hope to have the liner installed in the troughs and the media beds over the weekend. Plus, maybe we can make a dent in the rock pile... :roll:

stucco
07-08-2011, 05:32 PM
:shock:

JCO
07-08-2011, 08:25 PM
So David, tell me what you've been doing in your spare time :shock: :o :lol: :mrgreen:

urbanfarmer
07-09-2011, 08:54 AM
:shock:

davidstcldfl
07-09-2011, 05:26 PM
So David, tell me what you've been doing in your spare time :shock: :o :lol: :mrgreen:
Oh yeah....I remember having spare time ... :roll:

Today, we worked on the electric some more. Planing on making all the outlets 20 amps, on several circuits..... just in case, we have to plug in lots of heaters this winter.

Also, we started to cut the rolls of liner.... we just laid it into the troughs. Still waiting on the pex, need it before we can actually install the liner.

Hope to have a few new picts in a day or two... :D

davidstcldfl
07-12-2011, 05:28 AM
Looking ahead.....I started aprox 500 asst. bell peppers for our 'cool season' garden. Some of the seeds sprouted in as little as 3 days. We plan on building raised beds, that's where these will end up. I'll use the water from the swirl filters to water and help feed them.
I love those horti-cubes. Just drop the seeds in, wet the media, and stick them in the dark for a few days. I started the seeds July 1st...this pict. is from the morning of the 12th.

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/aprox500bellpeppersStartedjuly1stpictjuly12th.jpg

We have all the dura-scrim cut and laying in the beds. Here's the last 70 foot section...

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/CuttinglastlinerJuly10th11.jpg

We started working on the media beds....got the holes drilled for the drain, the liner in and installed the bulkheads. Now to wash and move 3 yards of river rock... :roll:

samtheman
07-12-2011, 06:09 AM
Nice !!!! 8-) 8-) 8-)

rfeiller
07-12-2011, 03:42 PM
How many drains per? Are you planning on using bell siphons?

urbanfarmer
07-12-2011, 05:13 PM
We are jealous! :-D

davidstcldfl
07-13-2011, 07:17 AM
Thanks Sam - UF... :)


How many drains per? Are you planning on using bell siphons?
1 (one) drain per bed....'yes', they will be bell siphons. Actually "affnan bells".
I'm trying to keep the water flow low, to save on electric. I'm basing the flow rate on 'Friendly's .
I'm counting on Mr. Affnan's design to overcome the slower flow.

The drain and (lower section of the) stand pipe will be 1". The upper part of the (affnan) stand pipe will either be ...1 x 1 1/2" or 1 x 2". I ordered both size bell reducers, like Affnan uses....from FlexPvc.
The 'bell', will either be 2" or 3", depending on the reducer being used. The gravel guard will be oversized....hopefully, that will aid in the draining.
The media beds should have aprox 100 gals of water, due to the displacement of the media. Worst case...I'll have to make the drains and stand pipes larger.... :roll:

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/bellreducers.jpg

kneedeepinwater
07-13-2011, 08:25 AM
Are you doing flood and drain? Will your pump(s) be on a timer?

Not sure how much flow you are looking for compared to your watt usage but I saw a 10500gph @ 5' head pump that uses 540W.

rfeiller
07-13-2011, 06:19 PM
you might find that a straight through 1-1/4" to 1-1/2" straight pipe would carry more water then one that has been reduced down to 1" the diameter of the pipe determines what can gravity feed through it doesn't it.

i have one of the 2x8x1 ft 120gal GB's that i am now using as a raft and will soon change to a bell siphon. i had put a 1-1/2" bell siphon on to test it. it dumps like a fire hose. 3" bell, 1-1/2" standpipe, 1-1/2 bulkhead fiting. unless a 1" pipe has a pump behind i don't think it can move anywhere near as much as an 1/1/2". i would sure like to see the flow comparisons.

how slow can you dump with a reducer and without a reducer i don't know this friendlie's calcs. is this the HI people. i do understand that a reducer somehow is supposed to increase the vacuum in the bell. when i turn the flow down i have no problems with the cycling. how many times are you planning on the bell cycling the GB in an hour? sure interested in what you are doing.

davidstcldfl
07-14-2011, 08:00 PM
kneedeepinwater........ Yes- flood and drain...no timer. The 'main' system is 'troughs with rafts'. The media beds are 'just' filters. They happen to be 'filters' that I can grow more lettuce in.... :P The water in the rafts need to be pretty clean, so the roots stay clean.

Kneedeep and rfeiller...Yes, 'Friendly's" are the folks in HI. In some of their news letters, they have shared how they have reduced the water flow in their raft systems, and increased the air to the troughs. They believe this is using less electric, and still having great results with the plants.

We'll be using 2 pumps for a redundancy safety factor. Each pump, will pump aprox 600 gph @ 7ft, while using 50 watts 'each'. That's not a lot of flow, for 16,000 gals of water.
I wish the regenitive blower would use 50 watts... :roll:
The blower will be for the troughs only. We have a few diaphragm pumps for the fish tanks, since we need to pump deeper for them.

Your right rfeiller, I would move 'a lot more' water with a bigger stand pipe/drain. I just don't know if 400 gals (at best) going into each media bed, would kick in a typical bell set up with a large stand pipe. That's why I'm using affnan's design....counting on it kicking in easier.
I hope the water 'blasts out' of the 1", while going into the troughs. This may help to add some air to the water. I may need to go up to 1 1/4" or 1 1/2 " on the drain/stand pipe base.

This is a test....Worst case, I may need to go larger with the stand pipe/ drains....and possibly add a third pump (?)

rfeiller
07-14-2011, 08:54 PM
my little 281gph pumps work fine with the 1-1/2" standpipe. so you may have some play room i think. anyway you are building one heck of an impressive system :o :)

i did read one of their articles on their blog, come to think of it, and the level of nitrates at the end of the trough was the same as it was going in at the beginning.

davidstcldfl
07-21-2011, 12:40 PM
Picked up the first load of fish tanks....... :D

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/Fishtanks.jpg

davidstcldfl
08-05-2011, 06:19 PM
Since the IBC fish tanks will have just over a ton of water in them, we decided to build a base to set them on.
We partially burried some concrete blocks into the ground and filled them with some concrete.



It's too hot out to be mixing that stuff by hand....

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/easymixing.jpg

It makes me feel good, seeing my buddy do some work..... :D

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/IBCbaseAug511.jpg

urbanfarmer
08-06-2011, 07:44 AM
Looking good my friend! :-D

davidstcldfl
08-06-2011, 08:04 AM
Thanks UF.
I guess I thought the IBC's would have more of a 'base' to them, like a wooden pallet. They only have a round pipe, that's been somewhat flattened. ( aprox 1 inch dia). I guess it doesn't matter when they are sitting on concrete. But, they don't have a chance, sitting on our 'soil' aka...sand... :roll:

soffy
08-24-2011, 07:02 PM
David, the place is awesome. its really cool....Good luck!!!

davidstcldfl
08-25-2011, 03:58 AM
Thanks Soffy......... :D

davidstcldfl
09-07-2011, 06:20 PM
Finally, it seems to be comming together... :D

We have the IBC's set and plumbed in. The air pump(s) and lines for the fish are installed, for the most part. And the media beds are finished.
We've been adding fish slowly. I added 10 tilapia about a week ago. They were the guinea pigs, well, actually the Fl mollies and the skeeter fish were. They've been in there...?...maybe 3 weeks ? As of today, we have 33 adult fish.
We also have been transporting water from my backyard system. So far, we added 500 gals of that. Between the fish and the water, we hope, that will give a jump start on the bacteria growing.
I also took a 5 gallon bucket of gravel out of my home system, and buried some, in each of the 3 media beds at the farm.

I'm trying something a little different. I'm adding air into the water lines, near the pumps..
EDIT: changed picture, these are a little more clear...
http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/pic080911_3.jpg
Note to self: add the unions to the discharge lines of the pumps...I knew I was forgetting something... :roll:

The two, 1 inch water lines run underground, to a 4 inch vertical pipe. They run up the outside of it, turn and go inside...then run all most, all the way to the bottom. The 4 inch pipe is about 4 1/2 feet in the ground, and a little over 4 feet tall. I 'wish' the 4 inch pipe was about 20 feet in the ground.. :D
The idea is, that the air being injected into the water lines, have a longer contact time, with the water, before entering the fish tanks....

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/pic080911_4.jpg

Now that I have both water pumps on-line, I'll have to time the 'drain and fill' on the media beds. I may have to increase the size of the drains... :roll:

This picture, is on the other side of the fish tanks. The water comming in, is hitting a tee, before splashing into the tanks. We made air diffusers out of soaker hose. Each tank has a 3 foot section controlled by a small valve. They seem to make a nice wall of bubbles....

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/pic080911_5.jpg

I've been starting seeds at home, planting some every week. Over 2,000 so far....

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/FirstlettucesfortheFARM.jpg

kneedeepinwater
09-08-2011, 07:33 PM
Looking good david!! Thanks for the motivation :)

Are the IBC's being used as your fish tank?

What made you opt for the 2 water pumps? What are they plumbed to?

I like the idea of the air line plumbed into the water lines. I would imagine you might get more air without an air stone causing restriction. Maybe just a little :D

urbanfarmer
09-09-2011, 07:18 AM
Livin' the dream :-D

davidstcldfl
09-09-2011, 07:20 AM
Thanks Kneedeep.... :)
Yes, the IBC's are fish tanks. We now have 4. We will be setting up 8 more.

What made you opt for the 2 water pumps? What are they plumbed to ?
Two water pumps are on separate electrical circuits. This is in case on pump breaks, or one of the GFI's trips.

The water is pumped to a 4 inch vertical pipe.
Look at the 2nd picture in the above post. ....In the center of the picture...the 2 - 1 inch water lines (clear check valves at the bottom) go up and 'into' the 'open' top of the 4 inch pipe. The 1 inch pipes go to the bottom of the 4 inch. Then the water and the air bubbles 'perks' up the 4 inch and goes into the horizontal 2 inch lines. ( once inside the bottom of the 4 inch, the water is no longer under pressure from the pumps)
The horizontal 2 inch pvc lines have valves feeding each tank.
Maybe, this will help.. I only drew one water line, to make it more clear...

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/addingairto4inchline.jpg


I like the idea of the air line plumbed into the water lines. I would imagine you might get more air without an air stone causing restriction. Maybe just a little
Your right Kneedeep...There are 'no' air stones involved. The air just goes through the valave, and into the pvc...the turbulence at the fitting, helps to mix the air and water.


I want as much DO in the water 'before' it reaches the fish. So yesterday, I made a 'coil' of soaker hose. I placed this in the DWC/troughs, about 4 feet from the pumps.

http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/pic080911_1.jpg

Between this, the air going into the water lines, and the water splashing into the tanks....It should be pretty good. Of course, I also have air stones in each fish tank.

davidstcldfl
09-09-2011, 07:21 AM
Livin' the dream :-D
I'm dreaming all the work is done..... :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol:

JCO
09-09-2011, 11:30 AM
David, is that a big leafed duck weed I see in the pictures above? If so and it is free of nasty "TERROR OF THE DEEP" critters and you have some to spare, I would be more than happy to pay you for some plus the UPSP box shipping if you are interested. Let me know :mrgreen:

davidstcldfl
09-09-2011, 05:01 PM
JCO....Sent you a PM ... :)

stucco
09-14-2011, 12:17 PM
i sure would like to see this in person ;) :?: :mrgreen:

davidstcldfl
09-14-2011, 12:33 PM
i sure would like to see this in person ;) :?: :mrgreen:
Not too much to see yet...no plants, They are still at my house. Found out, some changes need to be made to a few things... :roll: , still working on covers for the fish tanks....and lots of clean up, needs to be done.
But you can come check it out whenever you like... :D It's right near Harmony....that's a little closer to you then Saint Cloud.
Let me know, I can send a map/directions... :D

urbanfarmer
09-14-2011, 01:49 PM
i sure would like to see this in person ;) :?: :mrgreen:
Not too much to see yet...no plants, They are still at my house. Found out, some changes need to be made to a few things... :roll: , still working on covers for the fish tanks....and lots of clean up, needs to be done.
But you can come check it out whenever you like... :D It's right near Harmony....that's a little closer to you then Saint Cloud.
Let me know, I can send a map/directions... :D
Maybe we should schedule a tour. Finally have all the FL folks meet up! :lol:

stucco
09-14-2011, 01:57 PM
Iíve heard that before :P ill bring the beer 8-)

urbanfarmer
09-14-2011, 02:09 PM
Iíve heard that before :P ill bring the beer 8-)
I knew I liked you for a reason! :mrgreen:

davidstcldfl
09-14-2011, 03:10 PM
It would be nice to get together.. :D
I'd have to get an OK from the land owner. We'd have to keep it small...get him use to people comming there.

samtheman
09-14-2011, 03:53 PM
you can count me in.... :D

JCO
09-14-2011, 06:54 PM
I just took a job driving an 18 wheeler. Back on the road again after all these years. Had to do something to keep a roof over my families head.

Get this, I have to pay $30. bucks a week for Workmen's Comp Ins. even though, if I get permanently injured on the job, I can't draw anything because I would have to have been 65 or younger when the accident happened and even then, they wouldn't pay me anything past the age of 70.

Either way, I'm 68 now so, even though I have to pay for it, it would never pay me anything if I'm permanently disabled. :?

Anyway, if you decide to get together and I'm in town where I can make it, I'll be there. :mrgreen:

urbanfarmer
09-15-2011, 03:04 AM
I just took a job driving an 18 wheeler. Back on the road again after all these years. Had to do something to keep a roof over my families head.

Get this, I have to pay $30. bucks a week for Workmen's Comp Ins. even though, if I get permanently injured on the job, I can't draw anything because I would have to have been 65 or younger when the accident happened and even then, they wouldn't pay me anything past the age of 70.

Either way, I'm 68 now so, even though I have to pay for it, it would never pay me anything if I'm permanently disabled. :?

Anyway, if you decide to get together and I'm in town where I can make it, I'll be there. :mrgreen:
I guess you're in a union because typically you should be able to opt out of such things!

I guess at this point we're waiting on David to tell us when he's ready to "show" the place! :mrgreen: Then we can try to pick a date!

JCO
09-15-2011, 06:13 AM
Nope, no union...just company policy for independent contractors. :mrgreen:

davidstcldfl
10-14-2011, 06:57 PM
These are some pimento peppers...'apples'. I started them in 4 inch pots....some got a little azomite and some didn't...can you tell which ones did ?

A few weeks ago...I rinsed off as much dirt as I could before putting them into the media beds. They didn't seem to miss a beat. They were growing more within 2 days....I love, that there is almost no transplant shock in an aquaponic system.. :D


http://i931.photobucket.com/albums/ad157/davidstcldfl/applepeppersIplantedatthefarmstartofOct.jpg