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starting DIY recycled goods aquaponics


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#1 benderislord

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 04:23 AM

well in my on going quest to remove myself from the grid i will be starting a small homebrewed aquaponics system using recycled 2L soda pop bottles...i have used a soldering gun to "cut" holes into the middle of the caps and into the center bottom big enough to insert the threaded mouth of one bottle into the bottom of the next...these are hung up side down from a pvc pipe that will run the nute water down through the growing cells and end up in a sump tank via a line at the bottom...since i am trying to do this for next to nothing using as many recycled goods as possible what would be a decent choice of sub? i have clean course creek sand in mind but would love to hear from others....keep in mind that not only will this unit be used to grow food plants it will also be hooked to a fish tank...

#2 wildedibles

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 06:38 AM

Love the idea I like the fishy idea myself and found materials is great. River sand would be nice I'm thinking it should not be the only sub tho..... fishtank rocks work and some clay as long as its been heated high enough temperatures used to fire the clay. I am thinking of using hard bark, gravel and sand, and nut shells which are mostly found materials..... I have bought some per lite to try too.

#3 benderislord

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 09:30 AM

yeah i didnt think a pure sand sub would be all that great...currently trying to figure out what else im gonna use...i want it to be in the same recycled fashion as the rest of it all... murcury really inspired me on this one with what all he has managed to get going in such a short time...i have no plans currently to go as large of a holding/sump tank as he did but only because of my lifestyle...being a nomad means i will have to make everything so that if not completely broken down it would have to be as compact as possible with the ability to up and move on the drop of a dime..my fungal interests are easy enough...just some plastic totes to move and nothing too heavy...dont think i would want to try lugging a 2,000gal sump tank around though lol thats too much for even me to pull off...i was thinking after i get the system "broken in" with some cheapo goldfish *which will be given to a friend that is a goldfish nut after cycling*..i would want to stock with a couple cat fish...try my hand at fresh water talapia...and maybe some crayfish just to be sure all the solid wastes are taken care of..i have also been looking into doing a system like this but with a salt water rig...dunno exactly wtf i would grow with a saline water...pretty sure it is damn near impossible without evaporation to remove salts enough not to kill the plants..so ive been toying with the idea of a portable high oil output algae for biodiesel use and keeping all the oceanic animals i find tasty but too expensive to buy ...maybe the bottom feeders such as oyster/crab/lobster with a stiff thick screen between them and some top feeders like perch/stripped bass/trout....with some shrimp in a separate rig that would be used for final particle feeding before its off to the algae tubes..i have found some work done by some guys that uploaded their project to youtube where they used large flexible plastic tubing to grow the algae in..i think that would be good for a saltwater set up like this...but ehh i get ahead of myself...need to get this simple rig up an running smoothly first! lol

#4 wildedibles

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 01:22 PM

lol that hardly seems portable but it gets ideas flowing
catfish bottom feeders is great idea
I wanna try guppies they are really cheap pretty and reproduce like crazy :)
oysters and clams are a great idea too there is fresh water mussels too bottom waste from the fish tank sometimes is too big so it needs to be eaten down even more then to the plants
I want a couple of small tanks 15g for the babies of the fish so parents don't eat them ....feed their parents with duck weed and worms ? still thinking about it
and the another tank for growing the duck weed :)
cant remember if guppy's eat it or not the duckweed and never tried to feed them worms either

#5 Garden

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:04 PM

got any pics?

#6 benderislord

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 02:24 PM

not as of yet garden still working out a framing issue and lack of a "worth'turd" camera for those pics...will be getting one rather soon though and i will be doing a coverage of this project...there will be a general pictorial walk through of fitting the bottles,extra inline filter pads,pump and sump set up and what all i get my hands on to plant in it...i have bags of seed stock packed away that i intend to use on this one to test range parameters for this rig and find the sweetspot plants for it after having done around 90+hours total research and from a few past experiences at rigging self reliant tanks i think this will pull off nicely...though i must admit one thing i will defiantly be growing is seed from the only 1 orange habernaro i got off a plant grown in super rich organic soil...the meat of it was a hell'alot hotter than the store bought it came from

*all plants grown in this are legal vegetable and possibly fruit plants...and is for alternative food resource testing...stay tuned folks :headbang:bender

Edited by benderislord, 18 December 2011 - 02:30 PM.


#7 MurCurY

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 03:09 PM

check out my fish thread.....guys use crushed shale as a sub. as well as many many many other things...basically if it holds the plant upright you can use it....I personally love hydroton...as expensive as it is...it has loads of surface area for bacteria growth and displaces water 1:1 so a gallon of hydroton displaces approx 1 gallon of water.

#8 wildedibles

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 04:34 PM

Whats hydroton?
I has a thought using plastic cut up thinking it may have too many negatives to use it
looking for a good sub out of things we would throw out containers are found that way how about a sub

#9 benderislord

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 09:27 AM

hydroton is an expanded clay pellet ...im sur eyou have seen them before they are the round terra cotta looking clay BB's many use in aquaculture....i think what im gonna do is grade my own sand and use the coarsest grade as sub...might pick up some verm and pearlite to mix in .....good to know the displacement ratios for hydroton but im pretty sure whatever i end up with as my sub will displace quite a bit as well lol

#10 benderislord

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 07:23 AM

with the new camera on it's way i got to work and after a few minor burns i have 3 rows for my new project done they are 6 bottles tall...i will be doing 10 rows at 6 bottles in each row giving 60 chamber cells for growth...pretty good space use so far i think this might be a winner.....gonna go shopping around for an extra pump as well the one i have may not be able to handle the gal per minute this will need

#11 wildedibles

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 07:39 AM

cool I was soposed to do some work on mine yesterday maybe today I have been trying to find time to organize but it is not working yet hopefully to day

#12 benderislord

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 11:37 PM

well i did a trial run on a bottle that i had cut holes into but not yet hooked into the rig...i filled it up to level with my graded sand but it just took way too long to empty into the next bottle...so i got to thinking about it a bit more and i think maybe polyfill would suit my needs for this project..it is light weight non bio reactive does not degrade quickly and will hold the needed water without drowning the roots ...we did a project in early grade school where we planted beans in cups filled with it and they did ok what do you folks think? also should i really paint the areas where root growth will happen or not? i know the roots should not be exposed to direct light but algae will grow at the surface level on the polyfill blocking light and absorbing most of it...also it would release oxygen which root systems need for health and vigor...tell me if im going in the right direction here folks

#13 wildedibles

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 05:43 AM

sounds like you are :) I would use the poly fill at the bottom like a filter and use your rock .. over the poly

#14 Ilia

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 06:52 AM

You can get great pics with one megapixel - you just have to learn how to focus the camera and take many shots so you can pick out the ones that worked. I've seen people get blurry pics with their 10 MGP cameras while the wall behind the grow is crispy clear :P

#15 wildedibles

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 06:58 AM

This set up sounds close to the one on you tube it looks pretty cool on there can I post the you tube video bender? It sounds close to yours sounds like you are putting more thought into it tho :)

#16 benderislord

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:09 AM

yes by all means post the vid....well i am thinking just polyfill with maybe some small graded gravel on the very top mostly to give the plants a snug feeling and to keep them from moving around and damaging their root system...now getting my hands on the polyfill !!! lol and after having consulted with a friend who has done many fish tank set ups i have decided to leave the containers clear but i till insert green plastic bottles into the rig as a control group wich will be planted with a comparison plant of the same species next to it to see what,if any,advantages of encouraged algae growth have on the plants ability to use the oxygen made by the algae in the root system.....got my cam just waiting on a dc adapter and time to finish work on the columns/framing

#17 benderislord

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:16 AM

i am thinking this may change some of the notions of aquaponics as being an elaborate and expensive set up to start from scratch...if this works out then folks every where will be able to cheaply take advantage of vertical space to grow and give more room to their water tanks giving a wider variety of system configurations for folks around the world...after i get it tweaked and going i have been giving thought to using some as fungi cells to fruit edibles seeing as how a closeable flap can be cut into the plastic an taped closed giving you a mini FC....if i do those i will use the 3L bottles to give the fruits more room.....but that is on down the line ;)

#18 wildedibles

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:57 AM

Ok here is a video that sounds close to yours :) I think anyway in my imagination maybe you can explain the differences
B3663&lf=plpp_video :) Its a great way to fill a large window with a living wall growing food you can eat :)

#19 benderislord

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 06:03 PM

well for starters the main difference between that rig and mine is mine being a different style of bottle will have more cubic space inside giving more room for roots second mine have one opening for the plant growth to exit from slightly smaller and set a lil higher...also they are more cave mouth shaped instead of circles giving more strength to the bottle and increasing yet again how high of a sub level i will be able to use...bigger root systems = healthier,happier plants...mine is also going to be affixed into a framing rig with a water pump inlet via pvc pipe at the top and a larger pvc bas along the bottom as a drip tray and sump inlet i am thinking i will have to go with wood side framing on this project being that is the only thing i can get my hands on at the moment and am eager to get this set up going so my bacteria will have stabilized come spring when i can plant it up and get this rig outside....for those who can not put one outside or do not wish to due to worries over theft this rig in the vid is an awesome choice of a set up i really liked how he used bottles at the bottom os a non-active sump system...pretty clever there IMHO and makes it more suited for his window....after going over my design i can say so far after 50days that i have yet to hit any real hurdles with modds to it or tweaking to suit different locals this would work for anyone with any level of experience in DIY aquaponics....i would like to see urban schools getting the kids onto this one...as many bottles as they come across in their day im sure they have food crops to help in areas stricken in these times of low income...my dream is to have a no till vertical aquaponic system set up so when things are ready it will be just like a stores shelving...mix sweet pepper down this aisle ....tomatoes and squash down that one.... :)

#20 wildedibles

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 08:04 AM

Great ideas and ya the schools would benefit a lot by teaching the kids this reusing garbage to grow veggies and fruit in :) my kids are excited we are getting fish again they don't understand they are going to be feeding my plants too lol when it is all set up proper they will get it lol and I'm shure they will help me make modifications too :)




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