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Aquaponics Hints 'n' Tips

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  • Aquaponics Hints 'n' Tips

    Notwithstanding my preference for iAVs, I designed, built and operated aquaponics systems for 12 I have dozens of technical hints 'n' tips for those who need/want them.

    Barrier Guard Retainer

    One of the challenges of gravel or clay pebble grow beds is keeping the media barrier in place and keeping the media on the right side of the barrier. This fix is simple, inexpensive and effective. It's nothing more than an end cap in which a hole (to suit the bulkhead fitting or Uniseal) is drilled. Drill smaller holes around the end cap to allow the bed to drain properly.

    Slip the end cap onto the bulkhead fitting/Uniseal and install as usual. Slip the media barrier into the end cap - ensuring that the holes in the end cap line up with those on the media barrier. This arrangement fixes the media barrier in place and prevents it from being moved sideway...while keeping the media on the right side of the barrier.

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  • #2
    The King Vac

    A properly designed aquaponics system will ensure that fish wastes are removed from the fish tank in a timely manner. For those situations where this doesn't happen...or you notice a build up of feed in the bottom of the fish tank...this simple device may prove useful. It will allow you to quickly and easily remove wastes from the bottom of your fish tanks.

    Of course, it's only an interim measure...because your priority should be to re-design your system so that solid wastes and uneaten feed are removed quickly.

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    Consisting of a length of PVC pipe, an end cap, a reducer, a small bulkhead fitting (or a Uniseal), the King Vac - named after the bloke who introduced me to it - is assembled as shown in the photos.

    To use the King Vac, simple place the ball of your palm over the reducer and direct the other end toward the solid wastes. You will feel the pressure build up as you insert the Vac deeper into the tank. Slowly, allow air to exit the the Vac by easing your palm off the reducer...while moving the suction end of the device around to capture the solids. When the pressure is released, close off the reducer with the ball of your palm and point the device into a bucket outside of the fish tank. Rinse and repeat.


    PS...don't bother gluing the King Vac together. You'll only need it long enough to give you time to change your system so that solid wastes are removed promptly.


    • #3
      I use cement blocks and treated pine sleepers for all manner of simple structures...including supports for grow beds.

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      • #4
        Aquaponics frequently requires the use of bulkhead fittings or Uniseals...and that means holes...and larger ones that can be accommodated by a drill kit.

        The hole saw is the most effective way to create holes big enough for bulkhead fittings/Uniseals. They can be purchased inexpensively in kits (the yellow ones came from Aldi) or you can buy better quality hole saws individually. Each of the blue ones - and the arbor to drive them - cost more than the entire Aldi kit.

        If you're planning to work with Uniseals, the professional saws (the blue ones) come in the increments that you'll need.

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        • #5
          Building an aquaponics system generally requires that we cut holes in tanks, barrels, pipes, etc. When you cut holes in plastic, PVC or fibreglass, they often look like they've been made by a savage dog...with bits of jagged plastic still attached to the holes. The issue of craftsmanship and aesthetics aside, these 'burrs' can make it difficult to achieve a watertight seal.

          You can remove them with the tang of a file...or a blunt knife...but I prefer to use a de-burring tool.

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          • #6
            If you feed duckweed to your fish, you'll know that it tends to get spread around everywhere. This simple hack, consisting of a plastic bucket with the bottom removed, was suspended over the tank with the bottom section of the bucket immersed in the water. We put the duckweed into the bucket (where it floated) and the fish accessed it through the open bottom.
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            • #7
              Working with food production systems often requires that we have to connect various tanks and other vessels...or to create drains. While there are many ways to achieve these tasks, some are better than others. Here's a variety of devices that I've used.

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              These are bulkhead fittings (above)...sometimes called tank outlets. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and they allow for secure connection of tanks, barrels, and other fixtures.

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              Uniseals (above) come in a wide range of sizes...and will do everything that bulkhead fitting do...and they're cheaper, too.

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              Flange fittings (above) are great for installing drains into tanks or filtration vessels. They make cleaning easy since there is no raised lip to prevent them from draining completely.

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              Sink fittings are similar to flange fittings but are less expensive...and less versatile in terms of their use.
              Attached Files


              • #8
                I thought it appropriate that I should include "The Urban Aquaponics Manual" is this compendium of Aquaponics Hints 'n' Tips. This is the 3rd Edition...and about half of the 4th Edition.

                I first published the manual in around 2007. At the time, it was the first publication of its type in the world. The image shows the front cover of the 2nd Edition.

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