A new aquaponics system

What with all the heat coming and the dry northerly winds, us maybe water shortages we decided that it may not be efficient to continue growing soft plants in the front.

Our plan was always to have that as perennials, interspersed with seasonal, self seeded annuals and now we’ve done it. There’s a few left out there that are going to seed and I’ll chuck those seeds randomly around where they can fend for themselves.

The big aquaponics system is running well. I haven’t connected up the pipe extension yet but will shortly.

This new part takes care of a lot of stuff that was lying around. It uses the extra lengths that were on the pipe bed when it ran all the way to the Southern fence. I couldn’t use those for much else because of all the holes in them

We had a 300 litre plastic water tank as well that we just couldn’t fit in anywhere.

My idea was to build a wooden frame to support the pipes but when I set everything out using the plant stands as temporary support I realised that they were the perfect height.

The short piece of pipe joining the two pipes was replaced with a longer one cut from spate lengths. This was to make the gap in between the long pipes wide enough to allow planting into the plant stands.

I used 3 reclaimed baby baths for tubs, they were the perfect size and have a drain hole and plug already in them. I’ll replace the dirt with clay balls soon. In those tubs are water lovers – Gotu Kola, Brahmi, River Mint, Water Cress and Water Chestnuts. They should appreciate the humidity and will be easy to water too. The Staghorn that adorns that wall has to be raised a little higher. I think that will enjoy the extra humidity too.

I just needed to buy 3 X 90° corners for the pipes and a small, 7 Watt aquarium pump. My spare pumps were way too powerful the job. This setup just needs a constant trickle, being based on a NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) system through which an active layer of algae and bacteria develop where the water flows in the pipe. This helps the plants get their nutrients more effectively. If you hark back to my earliest posts, that is exactly how we started our aquaponics several years ago.

I’ll let it run on and off for a few days while the water sorts itself out and the bacteria in the water from the other aquaponics system breed up. I added a little liquid fertizer, worm wee and molasses to feed them.

Next week, we’ll get some more fish, freshwater mussels and plants to go in.

A family with a garden near Gawler where we experiment with sustainability.

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