Monday, August 9, 2010

Small System Upgraded

Well, I moved my portable system inside to see how we'd like it indoors, given that my plan was to raise tilapia fry/fingerlings over the winter. All in all, it was working out OK, except that the sawhorse/2X4 support for the grow bed was taking up a lot of unnecessary space. I thought more about it, and it dawned on me that if I ever had to give a workshop in the winter, I would need an extra fish tank, since I wouldn't want to expose the little tilapia to cold temperatures.

So, I decided to build my own fish tank, with built in structure for the grow bed right above it. I thought something made of wood would look a lot nicer, so I did it.

Cost a little less than $200 including all the lumber, screws, and liner. I had extra liner from my pond, but not enough. I needed about a 10' X 10' piece. The inside dimensions on this tank are 36" X 30" X 21" tall. It's about 100 gallons, which is comparable to the fish tank I was using before.

I still plan on sanding this thing and staining it. I'm thinking it might live inside from now on, but if I ever move it outside, I'll put some coats of clearcoat on it, and it should be fine in the weather. All in all, I'm pleased with how it looks - much nicer than the black oval tub!

As you can see, the seeds are coming up nicely, though I need to provide more light. I've been avoiding purchasing a grow light, just 'cause I don't want to spend too much money, so I might find some lower cost grow lights - like the bulbs you can put into a normal light socket.

I've got about 20 small goldfish in there, at least until I get my tilapia permit and get ahold of some little tilapias.

PS - the biggest problem with the system indoors is how loud it is when the siphon kicks on! It's pretty close to our TV, and whenever it comes on, it completely drowns all other sounds out! But, I also bought a timer to flood less frequently (the pump is now on 1 hour for every 4 and off at night except for 2 30 minute sections just to aerate for the fishies), and the pump is basically off in the evening when we might be watching TV.


Affnan said...

Hi Brian,

You could reduce the noise by having outlet straight downward with a threaded adapter as a restrictor, instead of elbow. Recommended 6 inch PVC tube then the adapter.

Brian Naess said...

Affnan, wouldn't that mean that it would take longer for the system to drain? I'm using a timer now to activate the flood/drain at times when I'm not likely around, so the noise isn't as much of an issue. But, I do like how quickly the current set-up drains. I feel like the faster the drain, the quicker oxygen would get pulled into the roots. Am I wrong?

Affnan said...

Brian, The elbow and straight down tube draining in my installation don't differ in term of time for the draining. Restrictor use not that small to cause any noticeable change in flow.

On how fast the oxygen need to e drawn is not critical, those that use timer flood and drain dribble their drain slowly and you can't get any slower than than.

So I think base on the timed flood and drain method, how fast oxygen drawn to the roots is not that critical.

Currently I'm embarking on making the Aquaponics as quiet as possible, so I am checking out all possibilities.


Brian Naess said...

Thanks for your insight! I consider you to be the expert on this, so I'll definitely give a restrictor a try. It makes sense to me. I'll be following your progress on your blog in your quest for a quieter system!

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