Aquaponics - Poop

Common practice is to spread your solids fish waste evenly over the grow beds so as to avoid creating dead areas depleted of oxygen, and perhaps containing too much nutrient for the plants. People often add composting worms to their grow beds to aid in the break down of fish solids. The normal method of distribution, is to split your incoming water into several outlets. This is often done by making a loop of hose that surrounds your grow bed, and drilling holes so water enters from all around.

I'm trying something a bit different. [note from the future - I'm currently engaged in a debate as to this being a good idea or not, so copy this approach at your own risk (even slightly more than everything else of here should be copied at your own risk)]

A few weeks ago I tried adding the water directly to the siphon area. Rather than going through the grow bed media, it just feeds into the gap between the media screen and the siphon. What this means is that the clear water spreads throughout the media, but the solids get dumped back into the fish tank.

Normally, the point is to try to get the solids out of the fishtank, but this way the solids get broken up each time they get dumped back into the fish tank. they just seem to vanish after going through the system a few times. At any time, when you look into the water, there is about the same amount of solid fish waste in the water. It's normally queued up in a bit of a whirlpool that forms near the pump. At any one time there might be a teaspoon of solids and bits of who knows what in the little pile.

It's possible that this will all end in disaster, but it's also possible that this is a viable method of mechanically breaking down fish solids before they do into the grow bed.

Because I'm lazy, it's also worked out nicely that I didn't even have to make anything. All I had to do was extend the pump hose so it would reach the siphon.

There is some chance that the solids are building up on the far side of the media screen (in my case, the soft drink bottle that keeps the grow media away from the siphon) but the water rushes to the siphon quite quickly once it triggers, so I suspect it would draw any solids back through the screen and into the fish tank.

I'm keeping a close eye on it and will let you know if any further developments manifest.

By the way, that's strawberries at the top left, three week old coz lettuce (from seedlings) top right and bottom, and the little ones in the middle are baby spinach (also planted three weeks ago from tiny seedlings). Interestingly I planted the spinach on a hot day in the middle of the day and they all wilted to the point where I was sure none would live. Two days later they were still alive but were all wilted to the point of laying flat on the ground. But now every single one is thriving.

We should be harvesting individual salad leaves within a week.

Aquaponics is like intensive care for plants.

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