Wanted to start a topic for people wanting to discuss, ask questions about, or to get involved with the aquaponics system.
You can get a much more in-depth look at the design decisions, and considerations that were made for the system back in the old Aquaponics Build post from a while back -> Aquaponics Build
For some quick answers to some questions i was recently asked.
-the growbed is 12sqft, 4ft longx 3ft wide x 1ft deep
------ the volume of growbed media is the single largest limiting factor in how many fish the system can reasonably support.
-the media is hydroton expanded clay pebbles used as a neutral media to give the plants roots a structure to grow in, and allow the beneficial bacteria a place to grow.
-1ft deep is considered deep enough for most plants to secure themselves in and gives plenty of room for the beneficial bacteria to grow in.
-The system could handle many more plants than it currently has, there is a limit to how many it can handle, adding to many and they wont get enough nutrients to flourish. To few and the water wont filter effectively. This is determined by regular monitoring of the nitrite levels int he water.
-currently has a 700gph pump to help circulate the water between the tank and the sump.
-----The actual flow rate is less than 700gph due to head height and hose restrictions.
-the fish is mozambique tilapia, they are considered an invasive species, and under no circumstances are they legally allowed to be removed from the building, without first “having their heads removed”. (as the store clerk i purchased them from instructed me)
-the system is intended to house 8 full grown adult tilapia.
-tilapia breed like rabbits so population control can be problematic
-the system does super well for leafy greens and hardy plants
-flowering plants tend to struggle due to a lack of iron in the fish feed
-vine plants do really well, however they can become nightmarish in how they over run the system.
-----In my old system i tried planting some English ivy, and it took to the system really well, and slowly took over the entry door for the facility and it was beautiful. However when i had removed the plant i found it had dozens of small sprouts spring up and for the next year i was constantly having to remove the sprouts.
-----if we wanted to do an ivy, i would recommend setting up a secondary/mini growbed for it to grow in so it doesnt infect the main growbed.
-This project is a community project. My goal is to use it to help others spring board their own similiar projects and experiment things.
-When i was first starting on the project the other team members were interested in making their own home made growlights and cultivating algea, but those projects never really took off like they had hoped.
-I live in San Antonio, its 3 hours of driving for me to go in and do the monthly maintence on the system. so having others that could help out or do small maintenace on the system would be very helpful.
-I want to encourage others to get invovled with the system, adding sensors, automating control, trying different plants, etc. my only real concern is in making sure if somebody does something to the system that im aware of it. Just wanted to know in advance when a new plant is added or something is harvested. (also so i can make sure things are ebing harvest properly so as to not kill off the plant)
If you have any questions, or concerns about the system please post them here. Like said i want this to be a community project, so i want to encourage others to get involved, try new things and to help keep this mini-ecosystem healthy.