Aquaponics System Complete

We’ve wrapped up the things that we were working on mentioned in the last walkthrough video. This means the waste treatment components are complete, our cabinets are installed, and we’re all set up to start seeds. While all this work was being done, we’ve been cycling the system with tilapia fingerlings and our nitrate levels are starting to rise.

Waste treatment

In previous post we discussed the steps we’re using to remove solids and convert the fish waste to usable plant nutrients. Up until now, we’ve been using our mineralizer as our solid settler which has done an ok job. We now finally have our laminar flow settler plumbed in and man does it work great.

As you can see the water above the pipes is still as glass. This really allows all our solids to settle to the bottom. We first tried piecing together some flimsy plastic panels into a messy sort of plate insert, but in the end stacking a bunch of 15″ long 1″ pipe gave us our best results. This came about when I noticed that in some large scale waste treatment plants they used hexagon tubes instead of plates, so we figured this would work as well.

Cabinets and plants

Effectively, the greenhouse is finished functionally. We still want to add a utility sink and some nice to haves like additional storage and a fish infirmary, but we can raise fish and grow plants now.

In the previous walkthrough I mentioned needing to rebuild this cabinet. We modified the center storage area to create a seed germination area. This is a fully temperature, humidity, and light controlled environment to help with starting seeds. We use a crock pot plugged into a temperature/humidity controller to keep everything nice and toasty and the lights are plugged into a timer so we can get our 16 hours on/8 hours off cycle that’s ideal for starting most plants.

We started some greens to test it out and we got great results! Originally we had the trays on the lower rack, but experienced some stretching probably due to our cheap lights. We’ll use the top rack next time and hopefully things will work out better. The cabinet can start around 216 plants at a time which is a little under half the capacity of the greenhouse. This is fine because we’ll want to stagger our crops anyways.

After spending a week or two in the cabinet we were finally able to move the seedling upstairs. This is perfect timing because our system is just about finished cycling and the fish will appreciate some filtration to take care of the nitrates we now have in the water.

I just received my seed order from Johnny’s, so hopefully we’ll have some other vegi’s growing in the center bed to show off.

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