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  1. #11
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    Re: Vermiponics School Project

    looking forward to seeing your set-up.
    i am playing with vermiponics although it really isn't vermiponics. i have (29) 5-gal plastic buckets, each is a worm bed, each has a plant in the bucket. once a day it receives water from the 600gal bio-vat, and the excess runoff goes back into the bio-vat. the bio-vat contains 150 feeder size goldfish. there are 3-100 gal grow beds and two 120 gal grow beds are under construction to add to it, with a probable another 100 gal grow bed coming later.

    i don't see how the run-off can be recirculated contineously. i do not know yet how much of the nutrient rich run-off will be utilized by the grow beds. this system of course is outside.

    i'm interested in how your project is going to go.

  2. #12
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    Re: Vermiponics School Project

    Finally got updates and pics- had to do a full redesign on the system due to space constraints.
    I instead opted for a 'worm tea' production center, which pumps worm tea to 6 large potted plants. Basically, one 200L barrel is cut in 6/10s and 4/10s- the smaller barrel, with a bunch of holes drilled inside is flipped upside down and added on top of the larger barrel. The larger barrel will be a water tank that will store the worm tea (run off from the smaller bin on top). The top bin will be filled with gravel + cardboard 3/4 of the way. 3 yogurt containers drilled with holes will be buried on top. Water will be pumped from the bottom to the top of the bin with a single pump hooked onto 1 timer and a water control switch, the water level rising until it barely passes the buried yogurt container level. The moisture from the compost waste will provide the rest of the needed moisture to the top part of the bin. The water will pull a small portion of the ground veggies to the rocks where the worms will have a field day.

    If space allows (I will have 3 yogurt containers in the top part for compost), I may have one or two plants with high drainage requirements (blueberries).

    Water will be added every 6 hours on 15 minute intervals. There is a larger "safety" hole in the bottom to prevent overflow in case the wire mesh gets clogged, although I may need to add a few more, just for the piece of mind. I may even add a pseudo "bell siphon", where the water will flow over the pipe and into the tank in case the system starts to overflow, giving me enough time to regulate the water level (ie. 2 weeks later when I feed the worms).

    The water tank in the bottom meanwhile will collect the 'worm tea' and distribute it to the plants.
    The 'worm tea' that collects to the bottom of the bin will be distributed to the plants via a second pump, hooked onto two timers (to bypass the 15 minute minimum 'on time' digital dollarshop timers have- I need to pump water to the plants in 4-5 minute intervals- and since sediments will be pumped, I can't use the water control switch, since it may get clogged.
    The water level will obviously decrease as a result, so I have a pump in a rain barrel connected to a float switch inside the tank, that will pump water into the tank when the water level gets too low.

    I posted 2 pics of the system in progress. Gonna take a few more once everything is done.
    I just finished everything today at 3AM, except for adding gravel + worms. Sanding holes for yogurt containers is really tedious. The system overflowed too due to water transfer from the rainbarrel to the bottom tank, even though the pump was off. Two holes drilled to the pipe nearest to the rain barrel fixed the problem. I gotta add more of these 'pressure relieving holes to the other pipes.

    Also, working with the water made me realize one thing- the importance of a water heater.

    Tis pricy to be Epimethius. You figure out your ideal system AFTER you spend so much $$ on things you never really needed after all.
    Ie. 840gph pumps for $65 as opposed to the 240gph pumps for $25 which works perfectly.

    Quote Originally Posted by rfeiller
    looking forward to seeing your set-up.
    i am playing with vermiponics although it really isn't vermiponics. i have (29) 5-gal plastic buckets, each is a worm bed, each has a plant in the bucket. once a day it receives water from the 600gal bio-vat, and the excess runoff goes back into the bio-vat. the bio-vat contains 150 feeder size goldfish. there are 3-100 gal grow beds and two 120 gal grow beds are under construction to add to it, with a probable another 100 gal grow bed coming later.
    i don't see how the run-off can be recirculated contineously. i do not know yet how much of the nutrient rich run-off will be utilized by the grow beds. this system of course is outside.
    i'm interested in how your project is going to go.
    I believe the water shouldn't be recirculated continuously. Worms like it damp, but too much water and they drown. My water recirculation cycle is therefore once every 6 hours or longer. As long as the rocks are damp for the most part, they will be fine.

    So the worms will work in tandem with the plants to remove the fish waste, and the worm castings produced from the worms eating the fish poop will fertilize the plants. Sweet.

    Again, you can try routing the run off from the worm waste bin to one or two plant growbeds before moving it to the biovat, to ensure that the fish gets clean water (or is that what you're already doing). Malnourished plants are a lot better than dying fish, no?

    It should work really well, keep us updated on the progress.
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  3. #13
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    Re: Vermiponics School Project

    I'm new to Aqua / VermiPonics.
    Have one worm bin started and hope to move the worms / contents over to a vermiponic system.
    I have IBC Totes, as well as 2 wooded rectangular "box" style grow beds. Only have a liner for 1 so far.
    Plan on cleaning up the tanks ( totes ) and cutting them up to hold the water and perhaps to hold fish.
    I've got my eye on this thread, awaiting more information / success stories.
    Could any of the worm tea be used to feed fish ?
    I've learned it CAN be used to spray on any garden plants, to fend off other insects.

  4. #14
    Moderator urbanfarmer's Avatar
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    Re: Vermiponics School Project

    Quote Originally Posted by larsmith217
    I'm new to Aqua / VermiPonics.
    Have one worm bin started and hope to move the worms / contents over to a vermiponic system.
    I have IBC Totes, as well as 2 wooded rectangular "box" style grow beds. Only have a liner for 1 so far.
    Plan on cleaning up the tanks ( totes ) and cutting them up to hold the water and perhaps to hold fish.
    I've got my eye on this thread, awaiting more information / success stories.
    Could any of the worm tea be used to feed fish ?
    I've learned it CAN be used to spray on any garden plants, to fend off other insects.
    Fish don't eat the same things plants do (excluding insectivores); so, the worm tea would do nothing to the fish. The worms however make great fish food!

  5. #15
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    Re: Vermiponics School Project

    The heart of the project is finally done! All that's left is to let the worms reproduce and let the worm castings accumulate into the system. Filled up the bed halfway with gravel, added half my wormbin material with worms, and topped it off with more gravel.
    I'll have more pics once I get a hold of my cameraman.

    Problems I'm seeing from the get go is the infestation of white mites. 8 or so visible mites on the yogurt containers isn't much of an infestation, but as to what direction it goes from there, who knows? Of course, these mites merely act as competitors for bacteria for the worms- they don't harm em directly, so if I'm overfeeding the worms, well, the white mites will be a sign. Either that, or the worms haven't even accessed the food yet (they accessed one container so far- the second remains untouched except by white mites).

    The system also drains out a little too fast, despite the two layers of wire mesh. I believe this will be remedied after a while, through the accumulation of worm castings and other debris in the bottom.

    The worms are alive and well, and its been 4 days, so that's something to celebrate, no?
    On another note, I probably will have to add more worms- I think I added less than 100 into the system.

  6. #16
    Moderator urbanfarmer's Avatar
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    Re: Vermiponics School Project

    100 worms isn't a lot, but if you have time, they will reproduce. I threw in barely a dozen worms in my worm bin and several months later it is full of thousands and thousands of worms. If you want to speed things up, you can always add more worms, of course.

    The white mites should not be a problem. I have noticed that outdoors in the gravel beds the white mites just are not present. I have snails in my worm bed and many other critters. Perhaps one of them eats these mites or the conditions are not favorable to the white mites?

    You sound like you are off to a great start. Keep it up, and keep us posted!

  7. #17
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    Re: Vermiponics School Project

    Alright... I finally finished the project. Actually, I finished up a while back, but so many changes to the protocol made it not a true aquaponics or vermiponics project in the end at all- its now much more like a worm tea manufacturing system- a proper one, not one that just uses leachate that amplifies anaerobic bacteria.

    The old design will work. Magnificiently actually. The worms convert the kitchen scraps within a few days, and the worms were sure multiplying fast! Well, I dunno how fast is fast, because I have yet to see how well they grow in the regular bins. Problem is... What am I going to do in the winter? A water heater may sustain the little guys, but it will cost extra power...
    By separating the worms into regular worm composting bins, the system can be placed outside indefinitely (so that it can automatically water and fertilize a backyard garden- and I don't have to do anything special during the winter except remove the water pumps).
    The worms will be producing their worm castings in a regular vermicomposting container- 2 for now, but excepted to grow to 5- I find that very little kitchen wastes can sustain these little guys to full capacity, so this can be easily upscaled. There is also the added benefits of not having to grind the kitchen wastes (it helps though- but I'm lazy)... so no need for a garburator or anything special like that.

    The worm castings gets dumped on the top portion of the worm tea production center, and aquarium pumps will pump water to the top bin, which has wire mesh and 3/4 inch gravel to filter the solid chunks of worm castings to the bottom of the container. Molassas can be added to the system to multiply the beneficial aerobic bacteria, because it doesn't matter if the system gets overheated- there aren't any worms in the system anymore- they're separated to the vermicomposting bins. The bottom tank holds the main reservoir of water, and several pumps are in the system- one to pump water to the top portion, and the other to pump water to the plants. A float switch is connected to a pump in a rain barrel, which will top up the water in the bottom portion of the worm tea facility when water levels get too low (when 'worm tea' is used up for watering the plants). The environment is aerobic, due to the trickle effect of the top portion of the bin to the bottom portion, and its a small facility so it holds a comparatively small amount of water (100 liters).

    The main step right now is to prep the land for planting crops, so that I can test the efficacy of this facility. Worm tea has the added benefits of acting not only as a potent fertilizer, but also as an insect repellent. I will test the efficacy of this system... after July 22, when exams are finally done.

    Bottom line- the old system will work if you live in a warm climate, and you protect the facility from rain, which may add excess water to the system. But I live in Canada, so the cold winter weather must be considered when implementing my design.

    Right now, I'm focused on multiplying the worm bins to produce enough castings, and prepping some land to test out the worm tea facility.

    Here is a link to my video for more info- its a megaupload file though. I need a youtube account...

    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=PN910ALF

    I hope I can get a lot done after the 22nd- I dunno if this is acceptable for the DIYaquaponics magazine. Its not an aquaponics system persae...

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