Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 24
  1. #1
    Aquaponics 101 Oliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Show Low, AZ USA
    Posts
    251

    New Micro Farm System

    Its been some time since I have given an update as we have been hard at work re-configuring our whole system, including adding a new fish room, ripping out both the old fish room/grow room and the greenhouse to make way for our new system. The new fish room and grow room are 95% finished and the greenhouse is only about 50% finished but enough to grow plants.

    As I mentioned in a previous post we are converting to a water based growing system with only a few media filled grow beds; my better half (Grace) wants them, I don't, so we get them. The grow room is all horizontal DWC in ducts Grace calls Duffy Ducts, with mostly T5s doing the growing. We had some left over LEDs so we are using them for the first 4 inches of growth before transplanting into the larger spaced ducts.

    First are some pictures of the fish room we are now calling the "Engine Room" or "ER". Some things are not being shown as we have a patent in the works and don't want to show it until that is further along. That would mostly be the Bio-Filtration system. As can be seen in the picture looking directly into one of the fish tanks, the water is crystal clear. The chemistry is as good as it gets and we need to add more veggies as we increase the fish food towards its maximum. We currently have 75 fish at an average weight of 2 pounds. We know this because we weighed a sample of them as we moved them from the older system tanks. The largest one we weighed was 4 pounds 10 ounces.

    You can click on any of these for a larger view.

    This next one is a closeup of some fish. Mainly wanted to show how clear the water is.

    Here is the Grow Room one week after renovation, 24 February 2014


    12 days later, 8 March 2014



    There are Nine 8-tube T5s covering 27 Ducts each with 6 holes. We rotate the timing on these lights so only 5 of them are lite at any one time in order to keep the heat to a manageable level. Each light is on for a total of 8 hours every 24 hours.

    There are four 150 Watt fully adjustable LEDs covering 12 smaller ducts, each with 9 holes.

    All the ducts are 4 feet in length.

    The Greenhouse after renovation:
    In addition, we have water plumbed to and from the greenhouse where we are doing vertical growing.
    There we have an array of 7 vertical ducts each with 8 wide spaced holes, similar to the horizontal ducts in the grow room, except longer.
    We have 4 of these arrays for a total of 224 positions currently full of Romaine lettuce which are just about ready for harvest after only a few weeks of growth.

    Here is a picture taken two days ago of one of these arrays. Today, you cannot see the ducts for the leaves.

    There are two of these arrays back-to-back setting over a 120 gallon sump tank. There are two sump tanks and two back-to-back arrays. The greenhouse has an East-West orientation and we have added additional diffuser plastic over the top of the almost clear polycarbonate windows.

    Micro Farm
    The above system is a proof-of-concept that we call a micro farm. It is fully scalable and we are currently tuning it and taking measurements as we adjust the food given to the fish. This will tell us how much food will grow how many plants. It will also tell us how to scale the various components in a larger system.

    As we slowly increase the food we will start to push the filters, but we have already learned we don't have nearly enough plants for the nitrates we are generating. We have plans for this spring to add a hoop house with some more vertical growing systems in it in order to absorb the nitrates being generated. We will also be experimenting with growing tomatoes and peppers in water.

    By knowing the total amount of fish weight and the exact amount of fish food we are giving the fish each day we know the percentage of food to fish weight. With that, the nitrate count and the square footage along with the number of plants, we have a metric for how many plants (leafy greens) we can grow with a given poundage of fish if fed at full daily dose of 1% to 1.5% of their body weight.

    I don't want to turn this into a Commercial Aquaponics 101 so I will end here and await your comments.

    Oliver
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Fish Room 1.jpg 
Views:	172 
Size:	247.4 KB 
ID:	4466   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Tilapia in Tank 3-10-2014.jpg 
Views:	161 
Size:	373.2 KB 
ID:	4467   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Grow Room 2-24-2014-1.jpg 
Views:	173 
Size:	212.0 KB 
ID:	4468   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Grow Room 2-24-2014-2.jpg 
Views:	166 
Size:	207.9 KB 
ID:	4469   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Grow Room 3-8-2014-2.jpg 
Views:	169 
Size:	222.4 KB 
ID:	4470  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Grow Room 3-8-2014-3.jpg 
Views:	160 
Size:	199.8 KB 
ID:	4471   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Grow Room 3-8-2014-5.jpg 
Views:	162 
Size:	263.7 KB 
ID:	4472   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Romaine in Vertical Duffy Duct™ 3-8-2014.jpg 
Views:	172 
Size:	337.2 KB 
ID:	4473  
    To measure is to know

  2. #2
    Members dead_sled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    197

    Re: New Micro Farm System

    Very nice system! The water clarity is excellent. Will it stay this clear as you increase the feed rate?
    The vertical array system is a great idea. Oliver, would you explain the purpose of the sump in the vertical arrays? Is it extra biofilter area? Is there a pump in there, or does it use gravity to return to the FT?

    Thanks.
    Less irritating avatar since 02/27/14.

  3. #3
    Aquaponics 101 Oliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Show Low, AZ USA
    Posts
    251

    Re: New Micro Farm System

    The greenhouse is several feet lower on the property than the grow room and fish room and over 100 feet away. There are insulated pipes running underground between them and water is pumped both ways. The sump tanks are there as a supply of water for the vertical system and other systems yet to be installed in the greenhouse. The water is pumped from the sump tanks to the vertical system and is gravity flowed back into the sump tanks. Some water is also sent by the same pump system from the greenhouse to the fish room. Some water is pumped from the fish room to the greenhouse sump tanks. There are float valves in the sump tanks connected to the lines coming from the fish room to keep the level constant in the sump tanks. As water is pumped out of the sump tanks to the fish room and the level in the sump tanks starts to lower, the float valves allow water from the fish room to replace the pumped out water. That way there is a constant flow of water between the fish room and the greenhouse sump tanks keeping the water in the sump tanks refreshed with nutrient rich water.

    Oliver
    To measure is to know

  4. #4
    Members dead_sled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    197

    Re: New Micro Farm System

    Wow, what a system! Thanks for the explanation.
    How will the water clarity be affected by maximum feeding rate?
    Less irritating avatar since 02/27/14.

  5. #5
    Aquaponics 101 Oliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Show Low, AZ USA
    Posts
    251

    Re: New Micro Farm System

    Quote Originally Posted by dead_sled
    How will the water clarity be affected by maximum feeding rate?
    That is part of what we will find out. Unfortunately, that will have to wait for more plants, coming soon. The good news is that we have enough fish so we probably won't be over feeding them. We have a ways to go to get to the 1% per day number.

    We have outside growing areas next to the greenhouse so we will be discharging some water there as soon as it gets a little warmer. This has been the warmest winter we have experienced since we moved here 7 years ago, as this is our 8th winter here. I am hoping that it does not carry over to this summer.

    Oliver
    To measure is to know

  6. #6
    Members
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    18

    Re: New Micro Farm System

    Wow! That is super cool.

    What kind of fish are you raising?

  7. #7
    Members
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Jasper, IN United States
    Posts
    14

    Re: New Micro Farm System

    What a fantastic looking system!! And ya for clear water!!! Keep us posted!!

  8. #8
    Members
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    10

    Re: New Micro Farm System

    I feel so humble. Been at AP for about 9 months and still can't grow anything but fish.

  9. #9
    Members Apollo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    364

    Re: New Micro Farm System

    Everything looks awesome. Where do you keep your Nitrates and PH levels at?

  10. #10
    Aquaponics 101 Oliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Show Low, AZ USA
    Posts
    251

    Re: New Micro Farm System

    Quote Originally Posted by Apollo
    Everything looks awesome. Where do you keep your Nitrates and PH levels at?
    Thanks. The pH is right at 7.3 and that is where I want to to stay.

    The nitrates are over 80 ppm and I need to do a dilution test to bring them into a measurable range with the API test kit.

    We have already cut back on the fish food as we harvested some of the Romaine in the greenhouse and delivered it to a local restaurant this morning along with a bunch of plants in the grow room we removed last Saturday. So now we have even fewer fully grown plants sucking up the nitrates. We replaced the harvested plants with some smaller ones that were waiting to go into the holes. But they take less nitrates than did the larger ones so the fish food reduction was and will be necessary until we can create more planting space.

    At least we are getting an idea of how much fish food will grow how many plants once we achieve a balance between fish food and nitrates. From that we can calculate everything else.

    Oliver
    To measure is to know

Similar Threads

  1. Cycling new micro-system and pH
    By mbmixon in forum Want To Know HOW TO..?
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 12-31-2014, 04:25 PM
  2. Micro Greens
    By Eleven11 in forum SUMP
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-19-2012, 06:52 AM
  3. The farm
    By davidstcldfl in forum Commercial Systems
    Replies: 52
    Last Post: 10-14-2011, 06:57 PM
  4. Around the farm
    By swamp creek farms in forum SUMP
    Replies: 50
    Last Post: 05-09-2011, 02:32 PM
  5. micro setup
    By dwaller in forum General Hardware
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 04-19-2010, 03:07 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •