Saturday, March 31, 2012

Progress (or lack of)

Since I started on the whole aquaponics deal I have done quite lot of research and I have built a fantastic system (in my mind). Unfortunately I have a number of other unrelated projects that I need to finish before I can start on my Aquaponics system. Hopefully I will have it up and running by September just in time for spring planting. I am also told that it is anout the time Perch fingerlings become available in this part of the world. Perch take about 2 years to get to plate size but unfortunately it is the only thing I can grow all year round. Other options include Trout and Barramundi. The problem is that summer is too hot for trout and winter is too cold for barra. I think when I get a bit more experienced I might try some trout in winter and Barramundi in summer.My little experimental system is coming along nicely. I have 4 small tomatoes on the plant with another 7 or at potential tomatoes (ie flowers)

I'not sure how this plant will continue because it as starting to get cooler the average temperature for March was a min of 10degC and a max of 22degC. We even had one night where it dropped down to 2degC.

Stay truned.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Rethinking my fish tank

I have been planning my new system around a tank made from a small portable swimming pool. Just recently I heard that the blue swimming pool liner is not good for fish and fish in such pools have a tendency to float rather than swim.

For the last couple of weeks my son has been telling me that I should just dig a hole and put sleepers down and cover it with pond liner. Well, Josh, I think you are right. After a bit of research I have found that a pond made of sleepers and liner will come in at 75% of the budget I had for a potable pool.

I figure I could probably manage a decent size tank by digging a 300mm hole and sitting a box like structure made from 2 layers of 200mm sleepers around the top. This would give me a total depth of 600 to 700mm. If I use 2.4mt sleeper for the sides and 1.8mt sleepers for the end I would end up with 2.8cubic mts. Assuming I wont fill it to the top and that some space may be taken up by the pond liner and underlay Then it should easily hold 2,500lt.

I'm glad I didn't start this project when I first thought about doing it because my plans have changed so many times over the last couple of months. I think I am pretty close now to the final draft. I just need to get up of my backside and start working.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My first Aquaponics System

At the end of 2011 I decided to have a go at building my own aquaponics system. The pictures below show the simple system I built. I already had the half wine barrel as a water feature. I have 10 small goldfish in the half wine barrel. Water containing fish effluent is pumped up into the black pot on top of the wine barrel. The water is fed into the bottom of the pot. As the water rises up through though stones the fish waste solids are filtered out. Bacteria forms around the stones and converts the ammonia from the fish waste into nutrients that feed the tomato plant I have growing in the pot.

These two photos were taken 4 weeks apart. During that time the plant has tripled in size. Having never grown tomatoes before I am not sure if that is a good growth rate. I started this experiment with a few petunias in a floating raft in a pot but I soon discovered that petunias originate from the desserts of South America and don't do to well in too much water. I also found out that Tomatoes need potassium so I have been squirting them with a bit of Seasol. So far I have 3 tiny flowers which will hopefully turn into 3 tomatoes. 

Because it is already March and we are heading into a Canberra winter, I don't know if I will see much fruit this year. I have, however, learned quite a bit with just this little system