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The Sandponics Sandpit

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  • The Sandponics Sandpit

    Wikipedia describes a sandpit (Commonwealth countries) or sandbox (US/Canada) as "a low, wide container or shallow depression filled with sand in which children can play." IT folks also use the term to describe an online software platform that allows users to enter their own information...and to enable them to experiment and learn...without doing any harm.

    The Sandponics sandpit has some connection with both uses of the term...it's a place for us to play, to experiment and learn.

    Sandponics is the name that we've given to the non-iAVs use of sand...in an integrated food production context. This is where we describe and discuss...and eventually test...not-yet-proven ideas about sand.

    Unproven ideas have no place around iAVs - which has been proven. Once a Sandponics idea is validated - to the satisfaction of its inventor - that idea may be embraced within iAVs.

    When Mark and I set out, over two years ago, to bring the integrated aqua-vegeculture system (iAVs) to a wider audience, we never anticipated that people would experience difficulty accessing iAVs-suiable sand...largely because we didn't.

    Mark has always acknowledged that there many things about iAVs that were still to be learned (and optimised) but he resists change to the known operating parameters of iAVs without the proposed changes having first having been exposed to testing...and I support that position without reservation.

    Sand is central to iAVs...and iAVs-suitable sand is clearly described. It's inert, free of silt and clay and consists of a mix of particle sizes that, in the stated proportions, afforded (very) adequate drainage. Mark can speak with authority about sand of this specification. It's what he used...it produced validated outcomes...it works...and, if you source sand of the same specification, it will allow you to achieve similar (if not better) results.

    For iAVs to assume its destiny in the food production scheme of things, however, it needs to expand its knowledge base...but that knowledge base has to be premised on evidence not belief and that can only happen if we stop wondering and start testing.

    The Sandponics Sandpit is where those tests will be described, conducted and reported on.

    And you're invited to participate in the process.
    "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

    www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

    https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

    www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

  • #2
    Brilliant move creating this forum. It is precisely what is needed to fill the gap.

    Comment


    • Gary Donaldson
      Gary Donaldson commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Steve. We're anticipating that it will inject some reality into the sand availability issue.

  • #3
    What follows is a post that I put up in the iAVs sub-forum. It occurred to me that it might be helpful to others who were undecided on whether to build an iAVs.

    The persistent expressions of difficulty with finding iAVs-suitable sand (as currently prescribed) leaves us in no doubt that it's clearly an issue for some people.

    We're addressing that by creating the Sandponics Sandpit...and devising a process by which we...and others....can cost effectively experiment with local sand sources with a view to finding what the upper and lower limits of sand suitability really are. We're also looking to establish the circumstances under which sand that falls outside of the 'suitable' range can still be used...through intelligent manipulation of the operating parameters...like, for example, the frequency and duration of irrigation events.

    Of course, while we propose to get our sand test rig happening in the coming days, it will still take some time for us to demonstrate conclusive outcomes.

    In the meantime, here's an idea.

    Create a one square metre filter (with a volume of around 1/3 of square metre - 300 litres). Fill it with sand purchased (as bags) from your local big-box outlet for about $100. The worst that can happen is that you've built your kids a sandpit...for which they'll think you're a hero. If you don't have kids, you can play in the sandpit(box) - it's good therapy.

    If, however, it produces like we believe it can, then you may consider the investment of $1000 for 10m2 of growing space a good investment. If that's your worst case scenario....is it so bad?


    Hope this helps.
    "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

    www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

    https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

    www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

    Comment


    • #4
      Hello, I have determined that 2 types of "suitable" (not my words!) sand are available to me. The test method for ASTM C=33, and C=144. I have done a web search hoping to find what the technical properties of this specification are, but no luck for a free reference document. Anyone know if these are really suitable and or which one to try?
      Thanks

      Comment


      • #5
        I first used sand from an Aquarium store sold for tank decoration. Then I used sand that NCSU Hort.Sci. research GH had on hand, Then I contacted a local quarry in Raleigh (don't recall the name) and ordered what they called "washed builder's sand". Worked great. Don't recall if I used the same quarry later on on not. In any event, finding 'suitable' sand in Raleigh was as easy as it gets. Maybe I was just lucky (or cursed, can't decide which). I now know more about sand than I ever wanted to and have also learned that vendors will tend to tell you whatever it is they seem to think you want to hear whether or not they know anything about what they are selling. Also have learned that too many vendors claim to meet the prevailing ATSM specs without any understanding of them or basis in fact. Some know their stuff, but far too many do not. So best advice is get some samples and test it yourself (e.g. the "5 gallon bucket tests" Gary posted on the website and/or wait until he has a chance to write up his 'sandponics' testing rig.

        http://iavs.info/commercial/the-righ...one-more-time/

        http://iavs.info/how-to/the-5-gallon-bucket-tests/

        It is my understanding that the ASTM specs for sand used as aggregate in structural-grade concrete specify NO clay, NO slit, NO Calcium Carbonate or Calcium Oxides - because all these make unsound concrete. Mortar sand can and often will have some clay added to it, usually for coloration.
        Last edited by Mark McMurtry; 06-27-2017, 04:45 AM.
        "There are in fact two things, science and opinion: the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance." ~ Hippocrates, "Law", 400 BCE

        Comment


        • #6
          Got it. I will make it a fun trip to the quarry for a sample!

          Comment


          • #7
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2iG9NQk9mI
            "There are in fact two things, science and opinion: the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance." ~ Hippocrates, "Law", 400 BCE

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by Gary Donaldson View Post
              What follows is a post that I put up in the iAVs sub-forum. It occurred to me that it might be helpful to others who were undecided on whether to build an iAVs.

              The persistent expressions of difficulty with finding iAVs-suitable sand (as currently prescribed) leaves us in no doubt that it's clearly an issue for some people.

              We're addressing that by creating the Sandponics Sandpit...and devising a process by which we...and others....can cost effectively experiment with local sand sources with a view to finding what the upper and lower limits of sand suitability really are. We're also looking to establish the circumstances under which sand that falls outside of the 'suitable' range can still be used...through intelligent manipulation of the operating parameters...like, for example, the frequency and duration of irrigation events.

              Of course, while we propose to get our sand test rig happening in the coming days, it will still take some time for us to demonstrate conclusive outcomes.

              In the meantime, here's an idea.

              Create a one square metre filter (with a volume of around 1/3 of square metre - 300 litres). Fill it with sand purchased (as bags) from your local big-box outlet for about $100. The worst that can happen is that you've built your kids a sandpit...for which they'll think you're a hero. If you don't have kids, you can play in the sandpit(box) - it's good therapy.

              If, however, it produces like we believe it can, then you may consider the investment of $1000 for 10m2 of growing space a good investment. If that's your worst case scenario....is it so bad?


              Hope this helps.
              Hi there,

              I'm thinking along similar lines except I feel I will be buying two Bulka bags (1 at a time) at a cost of just over $500.00 for them both, unfortunately for me, because of very much time consuming work commitments my build will be a way off yet. So because of external drains on my time I am prepared to pay the "Sand Mafia" the money they demand. I would off course spend considerable time researching suitable sands if I had the time to do it. I think sometimes (if you can off course) it's better to pay and get exactly what you want or need without the headache and expense of traipsing around checking for the stuff. So I have bought two 20 litre bags of the sand at a cost of around $16.00 total in order to test it for iVAs suitability and in a couple of months when the rain stops, I will collect the bags if the sand is suitable.

              My apologies for the time frustration but it something I can not help. In the meanwhile I am happy to post my thoughts and mind set of what I'm gunnado.

              I hope this helps.

              Cheers.

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by Mark McMurtry View Post
                I first used sand from an Aquarium store sold for tank decoration.
                Was this Caribsea sand? It seems to be what is widely available on Amazon for aquariums.
                But dang, that is expensive sand.

                I am using this resource to calculate how much sand I would need. i.e. converting sand pounds to container gallons.
                https://www.traditionaloven.com/buil...h-sand-lb.html
                Last edited by ForeverRaiden; Yesterday, 04:24 AM.

                Comment


                • #10
                  ForeverRaiden...Mark's first use of sand was to build sand filters to clean the water for his African Knifefish.

                  If I recall correctly, they had a surface area of just three square feet. The sand for Mark's larger research systems came from a quarry near NCSU...where it was very inexpensive.
                  "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

                  www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

                  https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

                  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

                  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

                  www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

                  Comment

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