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Werdna's Ap Thread


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#1 werdna

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 09:55 PM

So ever since Fayes talk about aquaponics last year I have really wanted to give a system a go.

My wife and I went into BYAP a couple of weeks ago so I could get permission.... And today I went back to BYAP and came home with....

1 x 2000L fish tank
3 x Grow beds.

Originally I was going to build one out of IBCs but they didnt look pretty enough for the back yard, so had to go the whole hog.
Tomorrow I start building 3 stands for the grow beds, and finish off a couple of other projects that have been on the go for about 2 months now but delayed from looming exams.

Cheers

Andrew

#2 mattt

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 10:11 PM

oh its on! biggrin.gif

what fish are you going with?

#3 werdna

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 10:14 PM

I dont have much choice atm, there are no trout left!
Just 40 Goldies to start with, then have the system cycled for 50 to 75 barra when the time comes. smile.gif



#4 Cawdor

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 10:41 PM

what did that set you back Andrew?

#5 Ivan Sng

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 10:41 PM

Ohh... seems like we have a little challenge happening here... You could always cheat and try fishless cycling instead... In that way, you don't need to worry about keeping the fishes alive, and you might get to grow veges quicker... not sure whether that would break the rules of the challenge though...

#6 werdna

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Posted 09 June 2011 - 11:26 PM

The question is not what it costs Tim, it is what will it save! smile.gif

I have been cycling some media already Ivan, fish will be thrown in the day after I set it up. And goldfish will live thru almost anything while it is cycling smile.gif

#7 danotaylor

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 05:11 PM

good one Andrew...looking forward to tracking your new project...you can really grow 50-75 barra in 2000 litres? Can you get any trout fingerings shipped up from any of the trout farms in the south west? What vegies/plants you gonna grow? All the best mate,
Danny

#8 werdna

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 09:14 PM

Its too late for trout now anyway, I'll just use goldfish till barra time.
The limitation with the fish isnt the tank, its the number of growbeds and filter media.
With 500L growbeds you can handle 25 ~500 gram fish, so 3 beds means 75 fish.
Obviously you need fully cycled beds before you can handle that volume of fish.
But you dont buy them at that size, so the bacteria will build up with the fish.
The 1000L tank will support 50 fish off 2 growbeds, so 75 in a 2000L is plenty.

All 3 stands are finished now, just need to paint them, I'll post pics when I get time.
Hopefully next weekend I can start plumbing everything up.
I might have about 100L of hydroton left over if anyone needs some.

As seems typical with all AP builds, I have already decided on the next upgrade tongue.gif

On a side note, if anyone wants to see some systems running, go into BYAP sometime,
Joel and Faye are quite happy to talk to you and give you ideas, even if you only want to make a little system out of IBCs. In fact they just wrote a DIY manual on how to.
You can tell that they really believe in the systems and offer heaps of advice, they arent just trying to make a quick buck off you.

#9 Ivan Sng

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 11:19 PM

Great answer on the stocking levels, Andrew... For all those that are wondering, trout is a bit scarce this year... Most trouts were sold out by June...

I can see that the AP bug has truly got you... I think the AP bug is the worst of all bugs to catch... You will not stop until the backyard is totally converted or other half have decided that enough is enough...

I agree with Andrew on BYAP. If you into growing your own food, do make a trip down. They have also recently got into chooks... Not sure about the ultimate plan, but they are really into sustainable living in your backyard.

And if you are not yet into growing your own food, then maybe you still need to visit them to open up your world...

#10 Cawdor

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 11:37 PM

For those who don't know: BYAP = Backyard Aquaponics, they are located in Jandakot.

#11 werdna

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 12:12 PM

You can check out their website here http://www.backyardaquaponics.com.au/
They also have an online shop, so Tim, your above question is answered there smile.gif

Building Stands
I am writing this as a bit of a DIY, because I dont think some people realise just how much time goes in to building a metal stand.
A 20 second weld may take 20 minutes of preparation.

Tools:
Welder (I use a Mig welder cos I can, but a $130 arc welder from Bunnings does the job fine, actually they are generally neater and stronger... but are less forgiving towards skill level)
5" Grinder with cutting discs and a flap disc (I dont use grinding discs, I prefer flap discs as I find them to be just as fast but have a neater, smoother finish)
2ft square
Tri square with 45 degree Angle
2 cheap F clamps (If you buy expensive ones I can guarantee you will accidentally weld them to the steel at some point!)
Engineering chalk
Hammer

Before starting, calculate all your lengths that need to be cut and work out the most effective way to cut everything with the steel you have. THere is nothing more annoying than having 2 900mm bits of steel felt over and needing a 1000mm long piece.
I dont used a drop saw because the blade moves everytime and your cuts are never right.
Mark out your length.
When cutting, dont cut on the line, cut next to the line, using 1mm cutting discs doesnt make that big a difference, but a little preparation stops alot of filling in with the welder.


I prefer to cut all lengths first instead of cutting as you need them.
This photo is for Bowdy smile.gif
All corners mitred using a tri square and grinder, layed down before I start.
This way if you stuff up a cut and one length is 100mm short it will stand out before going any further.


Use your 2ft square to ensure the pieces are perfectly square, then tac them together in 3 places.
Double check they are still square, the weld an offcut piece of steel around it as a brace

I tack the top left corner together, then the bottom right corner together, now that the two separate pieces are perfectly square, join them together, double check square, then tack the 2 halves together

Make sure it fits before welding, tacks are much easier to cut than full welds


Finished product.
To weld the legs on, I sit the leg on the steel and let it sit where it wants. Then get the 2ft square and see what corner is the highest and tack that corner in place.
Then get more steel offcuts, tack one end to the stand, then clamp the other end of the brace to the leg, and knock with the hammer till it is square.
Tack the brace to the leg. Remove the clamp and double check square again.
Then do the same on the other side of the leg.
Once the leg is braced, you can weld it up.

Centre braces, I measure one side, clamp it in place, check it is square, clamp the other side, then weld.
If you dont like using the square you can just measure to make sure it is straight, but I find you make less mistakes using a square than a tape measure.

Once everything is fully welded you can remove the braces and clean with the grinder and flap disc.
Then I quickly go over every weld with a wire brush to ensure there is no powdery smoke residue left on the steel. If you dont, the paint doesnt stick to the steel.

Everything loaded for the trip home.
3 growbed stands, 30 bags of Hydroton, 3 short lengths of left over steel and a 3 tier 3ft rack that magically ended up getting built this weekend too.
I'll be painting the steel at home over the week, hopefully ready to put everything in place on the weekend.


Tips:
1) ALWAYS Tack, brace, weld. As welds cool they shrink and pull the steel.
It is quite surprising just how much a metal stand will move once you weld it if you dont brace it.

2) Notice I said TACK not BLOB. There is a difference, tacks need to be easy to cut, but strong enough to do the job.
You can guarantee you will do a perfect tack every single time you stuff up and need to cut it!

3) Remember the seven P's: Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance
And Measure twice, cut once.
I tend to measure, mark where I am cutting, measure again, cut, measure the cut piece.
If I am cutting more than one length the same size I stack them on top of each other to make sure they are all the same length.

4) It may take 20 seconds to do a weld, but there may be 20 minutes of preparation before you get to do it. Dont rush the prep, it is alot faster than cutting all your work and starting again.

5) If you are buying precision measuring tools from Bunnings (squares and levels etc) make sure they are square or level especially the el cheapo Chinese ones.
It is not uncommon for a square or level to be slightly off from brand new and it only take a few seconds to check them.
To check a level, place it on a surface and see where the bubble sits, then spin the level 180 degrees and check to see if the bubble is resting in the same spot.
To check a square, lay it against a flat surface and make a line, or find a square join on a desk or something, then turn the square and try from the other way.

6) When welding you are stitching two pieces of steel together. Dont just run the rod/wire along the join. Move the end in a c pattern from one piece to the other, you need to direct the spark to where you need it to burn.
Dont expect to buy a welder and do a neat weld right from go, it takes time to learn what you are doing and what to look at. Practice on offcuts first if you need to so you can set the current and speed.
Dont be surprised it at first you only manage to weld the stick to the steel and get loud buzzing noises from the welder! smile.gif

7) Be patient, if you rush, you will stuff it up.

8) If you think buying metal racks are expensive considering there is only about $50 worth of steel in them, think about the time involved to build it. Ask yourself what your time is worth. It might be alot easier just to pay someone else to do it.

#12 Ivan Sng

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 01:06 PM

QUOTE (werdna @ Jun 13 2011, 12:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
8) If you think buying metal racks are expensive considering there is only about $50 worth of steel in them, think about the time involved to build it. Ask yourself what your time is worth. It might be alot easier just to pay someone else to do it.


Great instructions on Welding 101. I gather you had second thoughts about doing it yourself now... BYAP sells each stand for $435 hot-dip galvanised. With my lack of knowledge, I certainly just bought the stands without question.

#13 werdna

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 01:30 PM

Its not really welding 101, more welding .001 smile.gif

I knew the time involved, but it added up to nearly a $1000 saving for me on 3 stands, so was worth it.

But I have had peolpe ask me to "quickly knock them up a stand" and then wonder why I laugh at them!

#14 Bowdy

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 10:48 PM

Looking good mate smile.gif the stands that is hehe


#15 werdna

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 09:57 AM

Everything in and connected. And inspected and approved by the dog apparently smile.gif


Now to get some fish and start planting biggrin.gif

#16 scottyhooton

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 11:52 AM

looks great mate wink.gif

#17 Cawdor

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 01:00 PM

that looks mint Andrew, awesome.

#18 werdna

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 06:50 PM

Cheers guys.
There is still a few leaks to fix in the returns, you are supposed to try not to glue them just in case they get filled up with grow media or plant roots and need to be stripped apart. so might silicone them instead of pvc glue.
I'm still learning as I go.

We promised the niece and nephew that they can help with planting, so probably wont be planting anything till the weekend now. now I just gotta find 50 goldfish for the right price till November.

#19 Cawdor

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 07:00 PM

Would duct tape be enough to waterproof the leak? Would be easier to remove and reapply than silicone.
Good point about not using glue, I guess that's one thing that's overlooked easily.

#20 werdna

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 07:11 PM

I have never been able to get duct tape to seal properly. smile.gif

I used silicone on one of my sump returns once. Because it doesnt stick properly to the pvc I found it really easy to pull apart when I moved house, but the fine layer of silicone that stays is enough to make the seal again when you stick it back in...

Thats the advantage of spending ALOT of time reading forums, you hear about everyone elses mistakes!





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