Friday, April 29, 2011

I am confident that I am on the right track to solving the issues with the barrelponics.  The tomato leaves have responded every well to the addition of iron.  Also; with the subtraction of the tilapia and a little time, the plants have began to grow more rapidly.  I think that I can add a few small fish to the tank and work on the balance of fish to plants. Attached are pictures of the same tomato leaves that were posted on the last post...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More trouble with barrelponics

I lost a couple of tilopia the other day. and no, they didn't escape from the barrel. I threw the other 2 in the other pond.  I will have to ask my good friend Sam at Queen City Hydroponics for any suggestions.  The plants may not have large enough roots to clean the ammonia out of the water.  The bacteria in the system may not have had time to develop into nitrates for the plants.  The leaves on the tomato plant are not doing well.  I will take these pictures to Sam and see if he can tell me.  Right now there are no fish in the system, however; the siphon is working great. That is good news, because all I have to do now is get the fish to plant balance right. Sam gave me some iron cloride to put in the water, because the plants need iron and the fish and plastic barrel do not provide any.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Back in Operation

I ended up using a piece of cardboard with a piece of sheet metal taped to it to shove into the clay balls for the gluing of the outer sleeve of the bell siphon.  I just unplugged the pump and drained the water, shoved the cardboard, with sheet metal taped to it for strength, down into the clay balls and dug the balls out.  I then dried the bottom of the bed and used silicone to glue the sleeve down.  I let it dry for a few hours and poured the clay balls back in and removed the cardboard.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Problem with Barrelponics

I have been having a small problem with the bell syphon.  The outside sleeve 3"PVC pipe that separates the bell from the grow medium (clay balls), should have been glued to the bottom.  The clay balls that range in size from pea size to 3/4" seem to work their way under the sleeve, and clog the drain pipe.  The smaller ones flow down to the fish tank and block the water intake of the pump.  I have been dinking with it, trying to solve this problem without drastic measures.  The drastic measure is to take out the plants, shut off the pump, scoop out the clay balls, and glue the sleeve down.  I'll do that tomorrow, because I do not have to work. The water in the fish tank is now very clean, and the fish are smiling. I'll fix them.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Surgery Again

I went to the dermatologist on Thursday, thinking it would be a small deal. Wrong! After about 4 hours and 30+ stitches I went home.  Two, not so small, spots removed on my head and left ear.  I guess that 30 or so years driving will take its toll on the left side of your (my) skin.  I always try to ware a hat, but that is kind of like closing the gate after the cows are gone.  The poperotzy, (paparazzi),(wife) was there and took pictures, but I will spare the readers. I attended the memorial of Christs Death last evening and didn't scare anyone away.  We had in attendance about 250. Our usual attendance is about 110. Nice to see so many visitors.  I will attach pictures of the fish in the barrelponics experiment.  The water is clearing a little more each day, and the plants are still growing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More pictures Barrelponics

I moved the barrelponics from against the house to the edge of the patio by the exterior electrical outlet.

This is where it will stay for a while.

I put some vegetables in to start the cycle.  I planted a lot of different seeds with the thought that the ones I stuck in would work on the water till the new ones started.

This is a picture of the drain pipe draining the water in the drain cycle. I pumped the water from the fish pond on the patio, because the goldfish were doing fine in it.  It has a lot of algae growing in it, so I will see if the roots will clean the water.

This is a picture of the bell siphon with the bell part removed. you can see the water level at the bottom of the grow bed. In the top right you can see the water being pumped into the bed.

This shows the water flowing over the top of the drain pipe and the bell lying on the edge.  You can see a notch cut in the bottom end of the bell to allow the water to flow into the bell and up the pipe and into the drain.  This flushing action starts as soon as I place the bell over the drain pipe.  The small 1" piece of 1/2" pipe glued to the top of the bell is just so I can get hold of it when it is in the sleeve. The sleeve is 3" PVC with holes in the side of it for the water to flow through without the clay balls getting in and clogging the bell siphon. I will be interested in seeing how reliable it is.

This blurry picture is of the drain pipe after the flush. You hear it burp when it sucks air back up to the bell and brakes the flow.

The last picture is the water at the top and overflowing into the drain. It shows that at the full level the water is almost to the top of the grow bed.  When it flushes, it draws oxygen into the grow bed as the water is siphoned off. This prevents the plants form developing any rot. It takes about 4 minutes for a complete cycle.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Barrel Aquaponics Pictures

I cut out the shapes before I cut the top part of the barrel to maintain frigidity.  I decided not to cut out the X's because I was concerned about the weight of the grow medium, collapsing the barrel.

After setting the top upside down on the bottom, I cut holes in the flange of the top and the edge of the bottom and tied them together in about four spots.
Tieing them together with lawn trimmer string just wasn't going to work.

So I fastened them together with zip ties.  This worked great! But I think that the whole thing needs to match our other patio furnature, so green it is.
At least on the outside.  I thought that the zip ties would not hold up to the UV from the sun, and the paint should also protect them.  The white part is the bell syphen that drains the water back down, each time it gets full.  The water is pumped up to about a 1/2 inch from the top of the grow medium and then the syphen drains it drawing oxygen to the roots of the plants keeping them from rotting.

Then the cycle starts over and the water is pumped back up. The pump is a 20 watt aquarium pump.  This could be designed so that one pump could do several large tanks. and it could run on a solar panel.

I forgot to take pictures after I put my tomato plant and onions and garlic in.  I did that on Sunday, and they were just fine today.  No dead talopia either.

Barrel Aquaponics complete

I have been working, inviting people to the memorial on April 17th.  This has been very enjoyable work, and a privilege to share in it.  I hope a few come to it.  It has been warm here and the pollen has been high, causing me a little sinus issues.  I have completed the barrel project on aquaponics.  I even bought a few talapia to put in it.  I planted a few vegetables and transplanted a few from what I have in the yard and a tomato plant that I bought. It seems a little strange to wash off all the potting soil from the roots of the plants and stick the bare roots into these round clay balls that are about a 1/2" in size. I'll post some pictures when I get home.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Campaign Kick Off

We, Jehovah's Witnesses are starting a campaign to invite everyone to the memorial of Christ’s death, held at the Kingdom Halls around the world. It is for April 17, and is held after sundown on the first full moon after the spring equinox. This corresponds to the Jewish Passover of Nissan 15th.  I hope you get yours! There is never a charge or collection taken.