Even though it rained all day on Saturday, I was able to work on the floor for the Aquaponics fish tank building Sunday. Granted, it was still very muddy but I need to get the floor joists in by this Wednesday before the next round of rain comes in. I fully expect to have the floor down and the walls up this coming weekend. I was pleasantly surprised when I checked the floor framing and found that it was perfectly square as well as level. I guess taking my time and checking the cuts twice helped ensure the building was square. This will help tremendously when I start the walls.
Unfortunately, I’m still having some trouble figuring out what I need to do about the improperly installed footings for the greenhouse. I’m debating whether I should dig a new hole by hand to correct the problem with the incorrectly installed front left footing. If you want something done right you should ALWAYS do it yourself.
I’m also going to have to deal with a low end of the greenhouse to ensure it doesn’t flood with a heavy rain. The rain on Saturday showed me where I will have some standing water issues but I think I can just install a drain on the right side of the building to combat the issue with standing water. Since the yard above the building next to the pool has a slight slope, I will need to install that pipe before I finish the greenhouse walls.
I also have plans to build a chicken coop on the backside of the fish tank building along with an easy way to gather the eggs from the nesting boxes. I think I will simply building the side wall with openings for the nesting boxes so we can gather the eggs without tracking chicken poop all over the place. More pictures to come as I progress with the build.
We have the grading done for the new Aquaponics greenhouse and Fish Tank building. This Saturday we will be installing the footings for the buildings. I’ll be sure to take some photos of the process and post them up here and on my Facebook page. For now, here are some photos of the new site for the buildings.
CHIFT PIST is short for ”constant height in fish tank, pump in sump tank”. This is a very good idea for an easy to maintain aquaponics system but there are always drawbacks to any aquaponics system. Someone has to still clean out the extra waste in the sump tank and since this tank is typically below the fish tank level, you still need a pump to move the water back up to the fish tank. The advantage is there are fewer pumps and plumbing needed for this type of system so in a sense, the CHIFT PIST is probably a good system to start out with for a beginner in aquaponics. As I build out my system, this is probably the way I will go so I get my “feet wet” so to speak!
Typically, the pump in the sump tank will be on some sort of timer, which when turned on, the pump moves the water from the sump into the fish tank where the overflow pipe will flood the grow beds with water from the fish tank. This allows the water level in the fish tank to remain a constant level. I’m still a little confused though on how this system will move the fish solids (aka fish poop and such) to be moved to the sump since I’ve always seen that the poop in my aquarium sank to the bottom of the tank. Maybe there is a siphon or some type of agitation done on the bottom of the fish tank to stir up the solids so they overflow to the grow beds and hence to the sump. I’ll figure it out I’m sure.
Some advantages of CHIFT PIST through my reading and research:
The fish tank only has an overflow pipe at the top of the tank.
No pump in the fish tank is needed. Although you may want to add additional aeration to the fish tank to keep those fishies happy.
Additional water in the sump giving the system more stability.
The water level is always right at the top so the fish are happy.
The pump is in the sump where the water is clean and filtered free of fish solids.
The sump tank acts as a buffer against extremes in water condition which may give you some breathing room while the system balances itself out.
The sump also acts as an insulator to the fish tank water temperature. If your grow beds are in direct sunlight, the water that is flooding the grow beds can get fairly warm which is something you don’t want to pump back into the fish tank directly. The water has a chance to cool down before it is pumped back into the fish tank. Typically, the sump tank is buried which helps to keep the water a consistent temperature.
I am currently designing my system and sourcing the materials and such but will be posting more on the system as I get closer to starting the actual build-out. Feel free to comment about your system or if you want more information about aquaponics. I will respond as quickly as I can with some answers or at least point you in the direction where you can find the answers.
I have been reading about Aquaponics for a little over 2 years now and I am almost ready to get started. Below is an excerpt from the Backyard Aquaponics website.
“Aquaponics is essentially the combination of Aquaculture and Hydroponics. Both aquaculture and hydroponics have some down sides, hydroponics requires expensive nutrients to feed the plants, and also requires periodic flushing of the systems which can lead to waste disposal issues. Re-circulating aquaculture needs to have excess nutrients removed from the system, normally this means that a percentage of the water is removed, generally on a daily basis.
This nutrient rich water then needs to be disposed of and replaced with clean fresh water. While re-circulating aquaculture and hydroponics are both very efficient methods of producing fish and vegetables, when we look at combining the two, these negative aspects are turned into positives. The positive aspects of both aquaculture and hydroponics are retained and the negative aspects no longer exist. Aquaponics can be as simple or as complex as you’d like to make it, the simple system pictured above is made from one IBC (Intermediate Bulk Container). The top was cut off and turned upside down to become a growbed for the plants. Water is pumped up from the fish tank into the growbed. The water trickles down through the media, past the roots of the plants before draining back into the fish tank. “
You can also download and pass along this free PDF IBCofAquaponics which is also available on the Backyard Aquaponics website. They also have a magazine available for sale which is a downloadable PDF. I would recommend this magazine. I have been reading it for about a year now and I can’t get enough. I’ve been reluctant to get started but I think the time is right to jump right in.
Now, to find some barrels or containers to get started…….
The plan for this weekend is to build (2) 4x8x8 raised beds. I already have the pressure treated wood (see previous post about the type of pressure treated wood used) and will be assembling them this weekend. It’s really easy to build the beds with little to no experience working with wood.
All you need to get started for each bed is the following small material list:
Qty: 3 - 4×8 (or 4×6 if you prefer) pressure treated lumber boards
Qty: 12 - hot dipped galvanized screws (at least 2.5 to 3 inches in length)
Cordless drill or corded drill (whatever you have will work)
Handsaw or Circular saw (if you are comfortable with a circular saw it will make the cutting much easier)
Landscape fabric to attach to the bottom of the bed to prevent weeds from growing up through the bed.
Staples and Staple gun to attach Landscape Fabric.
Simply cut one of the 4×8 boards in half and then attach the cut boards to the long side boards with at least 3 screws per corner. You will have a 4×8 rectangular bed once you are finished. Attach the landscape fabric to the bottom of the bed with staples to form a barrier.
The next task after building the beds is to fill them with dirt. I will most likely make a trip to my local landscape company and have them fill my truck up with a couple scoops of dirt. I have estimated that it will take at least 2 scoops of dirt per bed. More details later on how this works out.