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 Post subject: Compact Apartment Build
PostPosted: Nov 18th, '19, 16:02 
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I live on the ground floor of an apartment block and have a balcony of about 1x2.5m. Figured I would attempt an aquaponics setup in whatever space I had. So far my neighbours are mostly polite and bemused so I think I've got away with it..

Thought I'd share my new system, still WIP with many issues to iron out. I managed to fit 4x half barrel grow beds, sump and FT with enough space to access. The beds are in connected pairs, with the inlet in one and and an external syphon in the other. Please excuse the diagrams!

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Opinions from experienced folks would be greatly appreciated. So far I've had problems with both syphons. The one attached to the beds in parallel over the sump seems to work fine but I will wake in the morning to see it draining constantly at the height of the standpipe.

The other pair of beds arranged end-to-end have a much longer syphon outlet, and didn't seem to work no matter what I tried. I've since switched it to a loop syphon using vinyl tubing, but that has a very slow drain time. Given the unreliability of the syphons I am thinking of scrapping them altogether and switching to a float switch or timer based system.


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PostPosted: Nov 20th, '19, 05:48 
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Welcome to the forum Aidan :headbang:


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PostPosted: Nov 20th, '19, 09:44 
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Love the camouflaged grow beds! (Nothing to see here, neighbour's, move along :wink:).

While not as elegant, I've personnally always used timers, with a slightly over sized pump for my systems. Then adjust drain time via hole size or gate valves. That said there are a heap of talented people on here with syphon expertise that should be able to problem solve your cuurent difficulties.


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PostPosted: Nov 21st, '19, 00:38 
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I had good luck with Bell Siphons but don't claim to be a siphon expert. I eventually switched to Constant Flood since that allows you to have a smaller sump or fish tank. Constant Flood also allows you to expand a system without increasing the size of the sump, many people switch at least part of their system over to CF for this reason (you might be able to cobble up other solutions since AP is pretty flexible).

There are some people here that seem to have the siphons figured out so hopefully one or more of them will chime in.


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PostPosted: Nov 21st, '19, 08:31 
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Thanks for the input folks :)

I think the necessity to have the GB outlet dip below the lowest point of the bed then go up over the balcony wall is making them particularly finnicky..... at least that is what I am telling myself right now.

The next trial will be a timer system and some small holes at the bottom of the standpipe. I'd have it as a constant flood for most of the time, turning off the pump every hour or two to flush and make sure no anaerobic zones form.

The idea being that a 30/30 or 15/45 timer will mean I need a larger pump, while intermittent draining in between longer periods of flood will give me the best of both worlds provided my dissolved O2 is high enough. Pics to follow


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PostPosted: Nov 21st, '19, 14:46 
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I use a 7 day digital timer, this one has 14 on/off programs per day, gives me a lot of flexibility to adjust pumping depending on temps etc.


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PostPosted: Dec 2nd, '19, 08:15 
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The system has been cycling a bit, but I think I may have over planted.. I've noticed some yellowing and dead leaf edges but the latter may be related to transplanting. A week ago I added 2L of pond water and 500ml of pee (sorry!).

API test came back: PH 8.2, ammonia v high, nittites/nitrates near zero. This is 24hours after adding 40ml seasol powerfeed. How do folks lower their PH? Vinegar, citric acid?

Lots of salts crystallizing on the surface of the media, too. Should I be concerned?

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Last edited by AidanRM on Dec 2nd, '19, 09:39, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Dec 2nd, '19, 09:14 
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Ph will come down as bacteria colony establishes. The was they give off is acidic. In time it is more a concern to raise ph with shell grit etc, so as to create a buffer. Plants still look like they are doing ok. At this ph they will be more effected than the fish.


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PostPosted: Dec 4th, '19, 15:53 
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Have you looked into this device as for timer?

https://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/off ... -bl2067605

It is cheap. Easy to program via the app on your phone. Able to setup timers. Can turn it on and off from your phone and check the current status.

I've bought a few for variety of projects including my Xmas lights.

But you do need wifi availability for it to work.

One of the most under rated device out there so far. Discovered it by accident.


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PostPosted: Dec 4th, '19, 16:03 
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Forgot to mention about this device.
Only $5 more it measure daily power consumption. With the ability to switch device on/off via app. Has no USB port but it is smaller.

https://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/off ... ng-bl20925


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PostPosted: Dec 5th, '19, 10:10 
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Sweet pickup thespider23, I know what i am getting for xmas!! :D I thought they were still expensive. Now i just need a program that links with live local weather to increase pump cycling as the days get hotter. 8)


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PostPosted: Dec 5th, '19, 10:38 
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Both great finds spider! I think this will do exactly what I want for the pump timer.


Ideally I want to configure a home automation server like Home Assistant to run my aquaponics setup and BSF farm. Great for pump timers, but can also do things like turn on the aerator if the temperature goes above a set point, notify me if the water temperature is too high etc etc


but that is a project for the future haha


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PostPosted: Dec 5th, '19, 18:11 
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AidanRM wrote:
Both great finds spider! I think this will do exactly what I want for the pump timer.


Ideally I want to configure a home automation server like Home Assistant to run my aquaponics setup and BSF farm. Great for pump timers, but can also do things like turn on the aerator if the temperature goes above a set point, notify me if the water temperature is too high etc etc


but that is a project for the future haha



I'm planning to use arduino kit with Blynk home server app....... Been trying to bring myself to set it up for the last 6 months. Been procrastinating ever since. Atleast with these cheap device it's a quick win without the extra complications....


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