Thursday, September 4, 2014

IBC Aquaponics Update

The IBC Aquaponic system in Delaware is still cycling.  It's had some pH swings, too high, then too low.  When it was high, I added some HCl to lower it a bit.  When it was low, I drained about 1/4 tank and added hose water which is high pH.  Green algae still a problem.  I cleaned algae from grow bed by waiting until the Bell siphon kicked on, shutting off the pump, and waiting until the water all drained from the grow bed.  Then I just wiped out the algae.  No sign of the two Koi fish added before cycling.  :(  I'm sure they're dead.  Well, now that I've killed some fish, I guess I'm a real aquapon.  :-/

When I last checked on the system on September 1st, the nutrients looked like this:

Seedlings are growing, and I'm planning on adding them when they get a little bigger.

My dad has started constructing a PVC frame for a small greenhouse.  We're going to try to use insulation, water heaters, and maybe a small space heater to keep the system running through the winter.  We'll see how it works out!

The bell siphon had stopped working for a few days.  It seemed like the grow bed wasn't filling up quick enough to kick on the siphon.  We took apart the pump and cleaned the filter, and it pumped water much faster, fixing the siphon issue.

Below are a couple sketches of my plans for the system.  I was originally thinking of adding a solids filter that would sit above both grow beds, but now I'm thinking that if I add a sump tank to grow duckweed, I can add a radial flow solids filter, and a solids lifting overflow to the sytem, which might help keep the system clean, especially the pump.

Old Plan

New Plan

We're deciding between a 90 degree roof, or a rounded roof.  I think the 90 degree roof will help keep snow off the top of the greenhouse, which is my major concern.

We just have to get the greenhouse up before it gets cold.  My dad's having almost as much fun with this project as I am!

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