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pinballlooking 02-17-15 10:59 AM

Aquaponics System, Passive Solar Greenhouse build
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We started out with our Chevy Volt then my wife and I were talking and we said it would be nice to charge our Volt with solar power. So I did an install 9.2 kw solar array.

We wanted to heat with some of that solar power so I installed some Mini splits with help from others here. They are working great.

We added LED lights and reduced standby power hogs. We are replacing appliances with energy star appliances as they die. We added a super energy efficient pool pump.

Then we said it would be nice to not have a power bill at all. We upgraded our solar to 12.5kw.

We will netzero this year.

That brings to wanting to be more self-sufficient for our food. We added chickens the 8 hens provide us with all the eggs we need and we give some away.

The next step is to grow our own food hopefully all year around. Daox posted about Aquaponics I really only seen this at Disney world Epcot where we really enjoy living with the land. Last time we were there we said some form of this is our next step.

I started reading about it and the more I read the more excited I became. We recently visited two places to learn more.

Clemson Aquaponics

A private system that has over 12 IBC‘s and more in a greenhouse

This will be my first system build but we are going all in. We will try to repurpose lots of things and be very energy conscious and open to ideas.
Sorry for the long introduction but if you just saw this post I want you to see the journey we took to get here.

pinballlooking 02-17-15 11:06 AM

The extension office provided me with these links.

This link is to a PDF book.

Here is another link to a free book

Appendix 8 has a step by step guide to constructing a small scale aquaponic system with material list.

FAO Fisheries and
Aquaculture Department. Small-scale aquaponic food production. Integrated fish and plant farming

pinballlooking 02-17-15 11:15 AM

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I picked up 5 IBC 330 gallons. They are food grade one time use containers.
They look new I got them for $60 each.

Each one had clearly labeled what was in them before so I know they are safe. I found cheaper ones but they were not clearly labeled what was in them.

It looks like I will be cutting them in 1/3 for the media grow beds.
Each grow bed will be 12" deep. I will be adding some NFT units later to the system.

I am trying to work out a deal on a 1000 gallon water tank for the fish. This is bigger than I need but if I can get it for a good price it will work.

I will probably dig a big hole for the sump and put a pond liner in the hole for the sump.
About an 935 gallon one 5’ x 5’ x 5’
It will stick up out of the ground 6"

I found some stands that I should be picking up next week for the grow beds.
I will cut off the two long legs and they can set on the 4 legs with a grow bed on it. They are 1/8 inch box steel very strong. I am getting 11 of them.

pinballlooking 02-18-15 03:53 PM

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I have been considering building this passive solar greenhouse. It is 12' X 24' It is 12’ wide and two rows of grow beds and the 55 gal barrels would leave about a 2 Ĺ foot walk way. I would like a little more room but I think this would work.

Passive Solar Greenhouse | Bradford Research Center

There are a couple builds of it on here.

pinballlooking 02-18-15 04:05 PM

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I found some pumps that I am interested in. You would think it would be simple but far from it. The pump runs all the time so I want to not use that much power. My system is on the large side so I need more pump power. These do a pretty good job between powerful pumping and not using too much power to do it.
These are not real expensive either always a good thing.

Daox 02-18-15 04:09 PM

Wow, sounds like some big plans. I'm excited to see you taking this on and really look forward to seeing the build!

ecomodded 02-18-15 05:59 PM

!2v pumps are a lot more efficient then 115v pumps.

have a look for Commercial 12-24v DC pumps and compare the output to the watts , you will notice that the 12 / 24v DC pumps give at least a 50% power savings as well as a much higher max head.

jeff5may 02-18-15 07:22 PM

Through experience, I have learned it is better to go with a couple or three pumps of smaller capacity than one large pump. Without fail, on the worst day possible, at least one pump will decide to stall or clog up on you. Same thing with aeration. When possible, I try to make some pumping rigs do double duty. For example, I use air lifter columns to drip-irrigate the media beds. Rather than use a huge air pump and a manifold setup, I use multiple smaller air pumps. The little white diffusers work better than stones: less pressure drop, more airflow, finer bubbles, don't clog up over the long-term.

This approach works awesome with solar. When the sun comes up, the beds start getting watered. As it gets sunnier, they get more water. You would be amazed at how much surface area you can drip feed with a 20 dollar solar fountain pump.

pinballlooking 02-18-15 07:38 PM

Thanks for the ideas.
I will look into two pumps I would like to make a solar water heater so one pump could do that.
I like the idea of having a second pump if one would stall out the fish/plants donít die.
I will look at 12V pumps also I need a backup if power goes out.

pinballlooking 02-19-15 11:06 AM

We have a Styrofoam plant not too far from me. They have huge blocks of Styrofoam. They will cut it any size you want. I could get 6” blocks cut that would fill the wall between the 2" 6" for insulating my solar green house.
Do you think this would be a good setup? I wonder what the R factor would be.

I found some info on it. It looks like EPS and they say it is R 3.1 to 4.3 per inch.
5 inches would give me about R 15.5 – 21.5 that sounds pretty good.

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