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Thread: Checking in.

  1. #1
    Aquaponics 101 Oliver's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
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    Show Low, AZ USA
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    251

    Checking in.

    Hi folks. Its been a while but I thought I would check in to see what is happening here. Looks like not much.

    I'll be looking in off and on to see if there is any way I can help or advise the newcomers.

    Oliver
    To measure is to know

  2. #2
    Aquaponics 101 Oliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Show Low, AZ USA
    Posts
    251
    Since back when I was regularly posting, we moved (June 2016) from the California high desert to the Arizona White Mountains. We now live on a simi-rural 10 acres at 6030 feet altitude with a 400 foot deep well into the Coconino Aquifer, with some of the best water in the US. Our 100 foot long East-West house had a 15 foot open and covered porch along its South side. For the West 45 feet of the porch, we pealed back about 12 feet of the porch roof and used clear bubble film from SolaWrap to cover the top, West end and South side. The original porch ran 75 ft in length but the Eastern 30 feet is covered by a connector roof between the house and garage. That area, now walled in, will become our fish and Bioponics filter and digester room (more on that later).

    For now, we are using the 310 gallon sump tank on the West end of the now greenhouse to hold the fish. The sump/fish tank is hydronically heated by using 100 feet of 3/4 inch PEX tubing coiled into the bottom of the 6 foot diameter tank. Water is circulated via a hot small hot water pump through the PEX tubing

    We built six 1 x 4 x 8 foot media filled grow beds (180 Sq ft of planting space) in the Western two thirds of the full height portion of the greenhouse and have computer controlled electric flood valves and loop siphon drains on each. We needed to control the flood and drain in order to be able to keep the sump/fish tank water level stable, considering we have a lot more grow bed gallons (1,346) than sump/fish tank gallons (310). The sump/fish tank has two 1110 GPH submersible pumps, each feeding 3 grow beds with a cross link between the pumps. It takes about 8 minutes to fill a single grow bed before it starts siphoning but we leave the valves on for 10 minutes to insure they are siphoning and then shut them off and turn on the next grow bed valve in the series. We fill one left and one right grow bed at the same time and cycle through all three on each side in 30 minutes.

    The control system uses a Mac Mini running Indigo software with a Phidget plugin module that controls a Phidget relay module via USB to operate the hard wired valves attached to the water inlet of each grow bed. The nice thing about Indigo software is that it can be accessed anywhere on the internet (as long as the router is port forwarded) from a remote Mac computer running the same software, and that is the way we monitor and modify the timing actions. It can also be accessed via a web browser, either on a computer or smart phone to see what is happening and to manually control actions, but not make changes.

    We also have USB connected Phidget temperature modules (with adjustable sensitivity) that measure temperatures in the greenhouse and the house. Indigo controls the two swamp coolers at the West end of the greenhouse, each set for a slightly different temperature range, currently via Insteon remote modules (supported by the Indigo software). We will be changing those to more reliable hard wired controllers using another Phidget relay module and remote power relays. The software also controls, via a dimmer/speed controller, the speed of the swamp cooler in the house with different speeds set to correspond to different temperatures. The hotter it gets in the house the more air the fan blows.

    Due to the fact that when the sun shines we have about a 40F to 50F temperature midday rise in the greenhouse (as compared to the outside temperature) and a common wall with the open kitchen, dining and living room, we plan on installing a speed controlled large fan in that wall to bring warm air from the greenhouse into the house during times it is needed, again all under software control. This will reduce our Winter heating bill.

    As explained in Aquaponics 101, the quantity of fish in the sump/fish tank is not enough to support the number of media filled grow beds we currently have. In addition, we will be building a vertical system in the greenhouse for leafy greens and have set aside space for that. The vertical system will pull water from the drain-back of the media filled grow beds, as it is the cleanest water currently in the system. This addition will require even more plant nutrients.

    In order to supply enough plant nutrients, we plan on building out our fish room, mentioned above, having two 310 gallon fish tanks and incorporating a Bioponic system of our own design. This will insure we will have enough nutrients for the completed system.

    Thank you for staying with me this far. Here is a link to an auto-refreshed (every 10 seconds) picture of the current sump/fish tank and a one minute refreshed picture of the greenhouse from the West end. Both cameras are located directly above the fish tank, thanks to a sloped West end wall.

    Oliver
    To measure is to know

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