Post-ponics 55g tank under construction (some prep photos added) - Page 4
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:59 PM   #46
AquaAurora
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Originally Posted by Positron View Post
Very cool way of using unwanted nitrates! That sailfin pleco is awesome. Pretty cute.

Grow some lettuce with his poop water and then feed the lettuce to him again!
Thank you^^. Already planning 2 lettuces and a spinach in here. If I'm lucky I'll get him to eat the lettuce. Lately he seems to only love zucchini (green squash). But if this goes well I will add to he setup and grow his own food later on. From what I've read leafy and herby plants are good for noobs to start with (where you eat the leaf and or stem), flowering or "fruit" producing plants take more nutrients (that sometimes need added) like tomatoes, squash, and such. They also need differ t light spectrum to flower and fruit.


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Originally Posted by dubels View Post
Yeah the ph drop with ascorbic acid was too much. I stopped doing that and now that I know my tap doesn't have chloramines in it I might just age the tap water or use my RO waste water. The difference between my tap and RO waste appears to be TDS of 47 and GH of 2, both have nitrates at 5ppm.

Fish are happy but the shrimp all became snacks for the fish. Plants a growing fine now besides the high winds, I just want to switch to NFT because I feel like I can utilize the my space better and it would be a little quieter. I can hear the burp (gargle) of my siphon breaking if my house is silent. Trying not to annoy neighbors too much. The kale is sprouting new growth, radishes are growing good roots and the spinach seems to be doing decently.

I didn't know you were supposed to waterlog the clay. I only had two floaters since setup, but I guess that is because with my setup it's all weighed down by dry clay on top.
Well at least the fish are still alive and happy ^^. Glad to hear the plants are growing too, can you put up a glass or clear plastic as a sort of wind buffer for your plants? The nose from videos of bell siphons made me want to go with a constant flow system so it no start and stop noises, that would wake me up at night x.x

I will say if you do NFT get real PVC, we ended up getting drainage 4 inch piping (which is NOT sturdy enough to hold the system and water weight). And "T"s that fit on them (which are very firm but forced up to glue everything together instead of keeping them..adjustable). Real PVC "T"s cost a bit more so getting the PVC cutting drill attachment would be a cheaper option especially for a larger system.
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:50 PM   #47
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Default Medicine and Media

So not really medicine, but got my Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate powder) today... which is surprising, I thought it would take until next week to arrive. I currently have 2.5g put into a 5 gallon bucket of tap water (warm water to dissolve it better) and waiting to see how it effects pH, will update with the results shortly.


Also got around to rinsing about 1/4 the grow media and putting it in one of the 4x4 planters and weighing it (wet). For 6 planters of media it will be just a little under 5 lbs of weight, the NFT tubing system is just a bit under 7 lbs (empty). Have to figure out max weight of plants and how much water will be in the tubing to get overall weight to find appropriate supports for it. My husband suggested we use brackets, "u"s that are used to pin PVC to walls (x2 to make an "O" wrapped around the tube and hang it off of (stainless steel coated) chains.

I ordered the lights yesterday on ebay, got 4foot long 2 bulb (6500k for both) t5 lights for about $55, not a bad price, hope they make it here intact and functional ^^ We'll also hand the lights from chains so they can be adjusted if anything gets a bit big, i think the herbs are most likely to get the largest from our initial seed list.

When we start growing flowering/"fruiting" plants I'll get a warmer spectrum bulb, I think 300k is the suggested kelvin for those. In overall price the lights are definitely the most expensive aprt of this so far (ignoring the cost of the canister filter since it was pre-exsisting).

I also ordered Seachem Prime as a de-chlorinator back up and some coarse filter pads for the canister filter as the flimsy filter floss pads are pretty mush useless now and need replaced. I may also use 1 pad at the beginning of the NFT tube to keep any missed organics from getting on roots.

Ok so its been a bit since I started typing this lets see how the Vitamin C water pH is....
Was kind of hard to tell if the low ph test had a slightly different blue hue so I did a tap water test too (used warm water like in the bucket).. compared both tests side by side... I can't tell which is which! My gh/kh is so high sodium ascorbate had no effect on my pH at all! It is wonderful as it allows me to start using this immediately without fear of stressing the fish.
Here's a photo of them side by side I think the left is treated, right is tap.. but i can't tell now >.< (sorry quick blurred photo)


I decided to put in a bit more vitamin C (maybe 0.5-1g extra) to see if going slightly over the dosage would effect pH lets see how that goes (so I would know if I had to be super anal about exact dosing amounts or could safely go over). After letting the added powder dissolve and sit a bit the pH....blue-ish-green -7.2 range (next color on pH chart) so it will drop with excess amounts but its not bad. I'm going to let this over dosed batch sit a day and check again just to see if pH fluxes.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:39 PM   #48
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The vitamin C was too unstable to use. After setting up a new bucket of water and dosing the original (not over done) amount and watching for several days, the PH dropped by 1.2 in 2-3 days, which is too fast for the fish to handle. So I will be sticking with Prime as my de-chlorinator for now. I'd ordered a bottle on amazon.. apparently I botched and got 100 ml instead of 1 liter so will have to order a larger bottle.

So this past Sunday me and my husband worked to put the bypass hose under the pvc, turns out the hose was so rigid, it put enough tension on one of the glued pipe attachments/hose adapters that it came loose. Evidently my husband originally used naval goop on it, but he re-glued using the pvc glue to see if it holds better. If not he will probably make a threaded fitting.
I will add photos once its done.

The light fixture/bulbs I ordered should be in today, and I'm very excited to see if they (hopefully) survived transit. I also got some blue coarse foam filter pads to replace the filter floss pads. Will change them out at next water change (wed). Hopefully they do a good job catching all the food and poop particles.
I also got a seedling starter .. thing-y to get seeds growing some roots before transferring t the aquaponics system.

On another note I also got a new tank, canister filter, and heater which I am starting to cycle (sans the substrate/light/plants for now) and also getting my husband a new tank for his desk soon (the 3 gallon suuuucks can't wait to chuck that out!). I'll make a new thread for these tanks (will share same canister filter) once they're more put together.
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:52 PM   #49
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Seed starter kit:


Coarse foam pads all used in canister filter (going to order another 2-1 to stuff in pvc to keep any missed organics out).

Also got lights in but they're not hung yet so photos later on ^^

Should be doing more meddling with the system this weekend.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:51 PM   #50
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This is a great idea. I honestly just scrolled through glancing at pictures, I'll read through it later today or tomorrow as I gotta go take an exam. I originally had planned to use a 55 to build my first aquaponics system. Found out I'm going to have room to set up a system using ibc totes at my new house. I'm pretty stoked. Subscribed.
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Old 03-26-2014, 03:41 PM   #51
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This is a great idea. I honestly just scrolled through glancing at pictures, I'll read through it later today or tomorrow as I gotta go take an exam. I originally had planned to use a 55 to build my first aquaponics system. Found out I'm going to have room to set up a system using ibc totes at my new house. I'm pretty stoked. Subscribed.
I'm excited to get this up and going too, always fun to work on a project ^^. Look forward to seeing a journal on your future setup. Do you have any ideas on what you'll grow in the new system?
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:16 PM   #52
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I'm excited to get this up and going too, always fun to work on a project ^^. Look forward to seeing a journal on your future setup. Do you have any ideas on what you'll grow in the new system?
At this point the plan is to rotate veggie crops seasonally. My guess is that Tilapia will be the fish. I'm also tempted to use an air pump vs a water pump, like they do at Olomana Gardens in HI.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:50 PM   #53
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SO I decided to put the seeds in the Burpee seed start try and get them going in the window... I gotta say that seed starter kit is a real piece of [censor] that freaking lid is made of such horribly cheap plastic it perpetual bows inward and refuses to stay properly sealed over the try. I suspect my seeds/tray will dry out quite quickly. Extremely displeased with this...

Edit:after a bit of rangeling I managed to get the lid to stay down with the use of two large candles on each side. Looks rather stupid but at least it's sealed now. Still pissed the lid is so crapily made =.=
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Last edited by AquaAurora; 03-26-2014 at 10:24 PM.. Reason: Update
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:25 PM   #54
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Default Its up!



Few tweaks made, had to enlarge the output to 2inch pvc "L", pipe, and shut off valve. Took a little bit of back and forth adjusting how shut off it was to get a good flow. Hung lights today, got them at a great price from a good group that cent a replacement immediately (overnight shipping...and free!) when I informed them that one of the two bulbs was non-function after shipping. Had to boogie rig the lights a bit or they hung down right on the planters, but handy hubby knows great ways to boogie rigs things to be functional and safe ^^ couldn't have gotten this done without him, huge help through the whole process!
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Old 04-29-2014, 07:34 PM   #55
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Will update with photos soon but this is no longer 'under construction' its fully functioning (yay)!
Added a quick simple light shield and the 6500k t5s are so bright we never use the room lights anymore.
Also added a simple cut up piece of pvc scrap to act as a dam to get wanted water height instead of dickin' with the shut off valve.
Originally planted (from left to right) cilantro cilantro spinach spinach lettuce lettuce.
Unfortunately 1 of the lettuce (can't recall which type went in which pot) did not survive the transfer so I threw 3-5 seeds of the Valkeri lettuce into the clay media and put a wet paper towel on top of it (wetted daily in the tank's water). Have 2 lettuce popping out from there now. One of the cilantro is not doing well, but has a new leaf so I'm giving it to the end of the week, if it looks like its not going to make it I'll move one of the lettuce plantlets into its cup.
Nothings growing like a weed yet but there's new growth. Still doing 3x a week water changes to keep poop and nitrate down. Pleco is growing fast again, last measurement was past 11"! Stop growing so fast! We don't have your monster tank built yet x.x
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Old 04-30-2014, 03:40 PM   #56
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I was interested in the "aquaponics tube" from the picture in your other thread and something occurred to me. The drain on the right side may not retain enough water to reach the bottom of the pots. If that's the case, you may have to adjust the location of the drain on the end of the run so that there's actually a constant water level in there. Good to see you used heavy-duty hangers. That tube will get heavier than you think. Great concept.
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Old 04-30-2014, 03:43 PM   #57
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Duh, just read the last post about the "dam" should work fine. Just keep in mind that flow out of the canister won't be 100% consistent.
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Old 04-30-2014, 04:02 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Bushkill View Post
I was interested in the "aquaponics tube" from the picture in your other thread and something occurred to me. The drain on the right side may not retain enough water to reach the bottom of the pots. If that's the case, you may have to adjust the location of the drain on the end of the run so that there's actually a constant water level in there. Good to see you used heavy-duty hangers. That tube will get heavier than you think. Great concept.
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Duh, just read the last post about the "dam" should work fine. Just keep in mind that flow out of the canister won't be 100% consistent.


The hangers can take about another 200lbs of weight added to whats on them (better to be overkill then have a mess). The planters had holes drilled into the lower sections to allow water in more easily and the mini pvc damn keeps water levels high enough that the clay media is sucking up water just fine and putting it by the roots ^^

Actually had to clean out the circular sponge pad i put at the front of the nft before the pots, it was so full of gunk it wouldn't let water flow through it so it tipped over and failed to catch anything. Will make a note to clean that out when I do water changes ^^

Anyways here are some photos:




Have a paper towel over a partially opened lettuce seed that I transferred to the dead cilantro's pot.
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Old 04-30-2014, 04:58 PM   #59
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Oh, I know those hangers are overkill, but I agree 100% better safe than sorry.

But now you have me curious about the white "hammock" under the pots? I'm guessing it's to reflect light back to the pots?
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:19 PM   #60
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Oh, I know those hangers are overkill, but I agree 100% better safe than sorry.

But now you have me curious about the white "hammock" under the pots? I'm guessing it's to reflect light back to the pots?
Its just a cheap quick light 'reflector' but really purposed as a light blocker. If I let the light from the t5 shine onto the 55gallon tank (lights on 16 hours a day), it would be an algae nightmare (even with an algae eater monster in there, I don't think he could keep up) and if algae grows its taking nutrients the plants should be absorbing instead so they're getting gipped.
Its fishing line, white poster paper, some misc plastic tubing, packaging tape, zipties, and staple gun staples. I thought about adding aluminum foil to it to be more reflective, but I'll wait till the plants are actually growing large and hanging over the sides of the nft before considering it seriously.
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