AQUAPONICS UK - If I knew then what I know now

This page is as the title suggest how I would do it now. Or as a friend once said to me, “If I was going to there!” I wouldn’t start from here.

I will update regularly as I make mistakes that can be avoided.
Trust me. I make a lot of mistakes!

A. Start saving  plastic bottle tops NOW. They can be used in grow beds and bio-filters.

B I have a standard collection of DIY tools. The main additions for aquaponics have been a ‘hole saw’ set. Indispensable for joining pipes to tanks etc. The other was an angle grinder. Used this to chop up the IBC. I bought a cheap one but it did the job. I could have hired but I don’t think the difference was worth worrying about.

C Water. Probably the key component of any aquaponics system. Most people will have two sources. Rain water and tap water. If you are going to use rainwater then you need to think about some sort of harvesting system and storage. It could be a simple water butt connected to a downspout or as elaborate as you choose.
Tap water. If you are using tap water then ideally it needs to stand for twenty fours hours to allow the chlorine gas to disperse. In an emergency you can add up to ten percent straight from the tap.  However for regular additions think about some storage capacity.
The PH of my tap water is 7.4 I live in a hard water area and the calcium carbonates in the water buffer up the PH once it is in the fish tank. GH is general hardness a measurement of metal ions in the water primarily calcium and magnesium
My rainwater is a similar PH but lower in Calcium Carbonates
On balance use rainwater.

D     Just finishing up the construction of the NFT tubes.  I had a, DOH moment!
These tubes can act as heat exchangers. I made them in black. White would have been better.

E  I made a conscious decision at the beginning to use standard parts, whenever possible. In my case 22mm push fit pipes for water supply and 40mm push fit for return. This really paid off during the recent re-jig. I only had to buy one or two extra bits. Most were simply reused.

F   Light will encourage the growth of algae. So paint the outside of any translucent container.

  G   At some point unless you have massive rain water storage you are going to have to turn on the tap. I keep two 25 liter plastic  cans full for top ups. 24 hours should allow the chlorine to gas off.
What if you need more?
I put a ‘T” joint with tap into the main supply from the pump ( in the sump)
Normally it off.
When switched on however the water splashes back into the sump. Creating oxygenated water!
Switch pump to constant flow. Splash return to sump for 45 mins. Manually switch tap off 15 mins flow to grow beds etc.

Repeat as required

H Hi
It’s almost so obvious I hesitate to post. As part of my weekly cleaning routine I now run a bottle brush down the open ‘T’ end of the SLO pipes.  Apart from cleaning the initial  30 cm or so the plunger action releases detritus stuck lower down the pipe.
Strangely satisfying to watch the sh**** rising to the top!

No comments: