Well I have finally taken the plunge into the aquarium world. I have always wanted a display aquarium since my parents had one when i was little. The problem being that i am lazy and i didnt want any fish to suffer for it. Then i heard about AP a few weeks ago and it has captured my attention since. I have spent alot of hours trawling this site (hopefully not annoying too many people) and reading the Backyard Aquaponics magazines.
Below is a pic of the aquarium. As you can see i still need to trim some of the lid off to make it fit. I also want to swap all of the plants out with live ones, however the pet shop i have been going to only have plants in the cold water area, so im not sure where to get them. The plastic ones will do for now, you cant complain at 9 plants for $6. You can also see the aquarium side of the No Holes Overflow or Water Bridge. The fish in there currently are 6 x neon tetras, 1 x plecto, 1 x bristlenose catfish, 1 x male dwarf gourami and 5 x harlequin rasboras. (1 of the rasboras is currently MIA, he might be in the pipework to the sump tank). I will try and get some pics of the fish and add them later.
Below the tank is the sump tank. This has a Jebao 4000 pump. The pump is 2000L/h and can pump to 3.2m head. There is also a valve to divert flow from the pump back to sump, which is probably about 75% open atm. So i have plenty of pump capacity to expand. The water level in the tank is much higher than i will normally run it. I had run out of fittings to divert the flow of the pump back down the the sump, so i had to raise the water level above the valve to avoid splashing everything. I also have to move all of the power stuff somewhere away from the water.
Then above the aquarium i have my grow bed. So far i have put in there strawberries, lettuce and a beetroot. I will also add some chives in there. I dropped maybe 30 worms in there a few days ago so hopefully there is enough food in there for them this early. For some reason the photo makes the plants look sad, but they are growing like mad and look much better than when i got them. I am hoping that they get enough light through the window. I can already see them leaning towards it after a few days so i am not sure. Time will tell. Otherwise i will have to look at a growning light. You can see from the grow bed picture that i have the curtain open most of the time. This hasnt been a problem due to algae over the last couple of weeks, but i expect that it will be. If i do start having problems then i will either get a backing for the tank or a UV light to try and keep it under control.
The aquarium was running for close to a month before i installed any of this AP stuff. Although i only had the 6 neons and the plecto during that time. So i am hoping that the system will cycle fairly quickly with the 2 filters sitting in the sump. I did see a significant drop in all the test numbers (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates) when i installed it, but i had probably doubled the water capacity. Before the AP stuff went in amm was constantly 0.25 or below, but nitrite was very high. I am hoping the water quality will remain good enough with the additional water for the nitrite side of the cycle to happen before a water change is needed.
Below is my NHO. It is a venturi overflow type with an air collection and removal point at the top via the syphon. The valves are there so that i can easily prime it myself without having to remove it. Where the syphon is can be unscrewed and i can pour water in. So to prime it you just pour water in till you hear it overflow to the sump, close the valves, fill it to the brim, screw the cap back in, open the fish tank valve, start the syphon for a while and then open the overflow valve. Easy! Being the venturi style you do get alot of air in the bridge which will cause it to fail, but the syphon seems to be handling it no worries and just spits the air out in the sump. It hasnt failed yet and unless there is a power outage i am hoping it wont.
Still to do:
Backup power so the pump runs continously (High Priority)
Closely monitor potential algae problems (High Priority)
Make the electrical side safe (High Priority)
Add some electronic stuff like datalogging that will require constant tinkering (High Priority)
Trim the lid so it sits properly
Add more grow beds. I am thinking a ‘wall’ style down the sides.
New aquarium set up for an aquaponics trial.
Sump for the aquarium and where the pump is.
The filter for the whole thing. This is the aquaponics grow bed.
This is a ‘No Holes Overflow’ which is a siphon designed to control the level of the water in the tank.