Wednesday, 23 December 2009

23rd December 2009 and all that......

Time flies. Last week saw me buying 20 more Tilapia and 10 small Cat fish. They cost 5 Baht each. That's 15 US $ cents each. I bought them at the market on South Road Pattaya. Even got 4 free packets of fish food.

The market has a small stall which sells all manner of fish and an assortment of frogs turtles and various other mammals. Why do they sell them? Well the stall is across from a Wat where people go to pray and make merit. One aspect of making merit is to offer up live fish and mammals. So the stall is a good place to pop into and get my bits.

2 Tilipia have since dies which is a pity but it could be down to stress or some earlier inflicted damage. The remaining ones seem quite happy enough swimming around in the tank.

I've also added some bean seeds and a few additional tomato plants. Whole ssytem seems to be doing OK.

One thing I decide d to do and it was as a result of reading about DO 'dissolved oxygen' in they system was a 'sort of' sprinkler. Easy enough I used a short piece of blue plastic tubing and cut a lot of slits into it. Then placed it at the discharge end of the return water flow. Does it work? I really cannot tell if it has any effect as I do not have any way of checking O2 concentrations in water. It's time for me to sit down and do an internet search and see what's available.

Next target is to add more plants and then once established start learning about fish food quantities and growth patterns etc. So much to learn from this small experiment and so much potential to expand the system and enjoy.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Progress Dec 14th 2009

Not a lot to report at this time. The system has worked without any problems. I did mention earlier we added some big tilipia but they both died so we are back to the smaller ones. And they are doing well. We decided to change some of the veggies. Quickest way was to buy some ready grown ones from the market but as you can see they did not do so well adn really it is to be expected as the salads have almost reached they sell by date.

Will go and add some seeds next time.  Need to go to a local market or shop for that. MAybe tomorrow. So pictures are only as a quick record of where we are. Got Wanna to help and amazingly, my Mother in taking a quick look at how it is all going. More to follow when I've got the new seeds.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Construction Episode 2. And Commencement

We've added in the flush pipes into the grow beds and now all seems complete and all going well. So you can imagine my satisfaction when it all worked so well. We decide following advice to initially not to add vegatables, just fish and let the system 'settle'.
Wanna had yesterday bought some fish. And they appeared to be doing OK and the flood and drain system has up to now, as I write, continued without any short comings. Well I did do some initial changes, as explained earlier, about replacing the water bottle (counter weigh to the flush) as the original one kept overflowing. Hardly a major issue.
We bought two more larger fish at the market on Saturday. These additional ones were big Tilapia 'ready for market' type. Almost dead ready for eating.... We had to rush home with them before they died on us. Which we did, but they must have been pretty stressed. This later was confirmed as they did not like the new environment. Both died yesterday. But the little ones we had put in earlier remain swimming around and seem to be eating what we feed them. Just hope they grow...
We had left it like that, with only fish for a few days and yesterday afternoon after loosing the two big fish  added some vegetables. Wanna for some reason known only to her added some Water Hyacinths and then we also added in some tomato and chili plants. Only thing left for us to do is feed the fish and watch the plants grow.
I think this evening or tomorrow evening depending on time I'll do a short video explaining what we've made and how the system should work. I know, you can check out 'youtube' and you'll find several probably better explanations but I want to do my own!!
So, to summarise its going well and we're happy with the start up and intial progress. We'll keep checking and over the next few weeks after it has had time to settle down and work out the few odds and ends, we'll provide an update. No bugs I hope.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Aquaponics in Thailand and beyond

I've started this blog to be about my home system but there is so much more out there that I am also going to use this Blog to record some of the more interesting stuff both for me and indeed for you to be able to read and follow up. I'll most probably keep all the bits I find linked primarily to Aquaponnics in Thailand but also where I think a good idea I'll add in articles on other things as we go along in this journey.
First up on other ideas was the web site I came across yesterday. Fish farming based in Thailand. Seems to have the lot on fishing here except aquaponincs!!!!!
Gave me so many new ideas.

I've already written to them asking to visit and requesting to know what courses and possible assistance they can offer. Waiting for their reponse. Will let you know how it goes.


This week seems to have been slow and I've been getting home after dark so not ideal to proceed with the project. Working in semi dark is never fun and everything seems to take so much longer. Especially on a project which is supposed to be for fun!  However, we wanted to get on and had been buying the necessary stone, and fitting etc to get it all completed.
So finally by Thursday evening, I could not wait any longer. We decided (royal we) to get on with it. Wanna had today purchased the stone, and some fish and as importantly a few plastic bags of fish pellets. Why wait any longer...
As you know we had completed the fish tank and the grow beds. Remaining to be completed were the flush tank with connecting pipes and syphoning system. I'd left the syphon till last as it was the one bit of the system I was not so sure about. Seemed sensible to get the rest completed and fully understand the syphon.
Good plan as it turned out. The syphon system turned out to be a very, very simple setup. So we cut up the remaining pipes to make the flood system and installed it all on a trial basis. Not a real commission more a 'we've got this far lets give ita go' type of thing. Swithc on adn watch... and wait while it all fills up. And wait...
It works!!!! And it works very well except for the plastic bottle connected to the syphon system. To much over spill.  This clearly has teething problems and overflowed. Not a major problem. As I said it works.
Will need a new bigger bottle, some modification to the leverage system and some adjustment to the water flow. No big deal. I can say that now as I better understand what is happening! Its a success. No worries  etc etc...

So last night we did what we could and then left it all running; complete with the fish which were being kept in circulating water.  For the evening/night I dispenced with the flush unit which I plan to adjust and get fully functional on Satruday when I can give it my full attention. Then once sorted, starts the fun of actually growing "Fish And 2 Veg".

Friday, 27 November 2009

Moving on

Not much to report. I could not wait to see what the finished product would look like so I just had to set it up. Early morning shot taken today.
Yesterday I bought the plastic pipe fittings and now waiting till the weekend (tomorrow) to do the installation. Might even get the fish in place. Exciting or what ?....

Monday, 23 November 2009

We're off Construction Episode 1 of.....

Following about 4 readings and rereading of Travis's Book and staring at the diagrams. I kept pondering...Wanna very clearly told me to stop talking about it and walk the walk...No more 'ifs' or 'buts'. Not even a what if?.... Just do it. Well hope you can follow that. We're off.
This is a photo taken from Travis Hughey Manual Barrel Ponics.

It's what I am intending to make. That's the last of his pictures on here. (Promise). From now on this Blog will have my photos. You have to follow me....
Sunday morning and all house hold chores done. Finally run out of excuses to do nothing but read the book!!!!
First step locate my tools. I'd brought them back down from Khon Kaen but they had been sitting in a big plastic box for well over 3 years. Would they still work was the question? Only one way to find out. Plug them in and pull the trigger. Fine all going well. So far so good.
So first job. Buy the plastic drums. Nothing for it but to go down the local second hand plastic yard and buy 3 x 200 litre plastic drums. In Thailand for some reason all plastic drums and pipe work comes in blue except for some yellow conduit used for electrical works.
11.00am finds us entering a seedy dirty old yard. In fact I only took one photo on the outside. But they had the goods. 3 drums for 1260 Baht. (That's 30US$). Complete with oil and various other unrecognised residues which will require cleaning out and disposing.
11.30 hrs see us returning back home, to empty out the oil? Cleaning fluid? Whatever?... and then down to the real the job of cutting. There we were cutting up plastic drums and washing them out with detergent. All going well. Ghan was helping me on this, making life much easier. We decided to use my circular saw for the cutting. Easy, and if careful gives a good straight cut.I need to tell you. By 14.30 we had filled up the drums with washing powder and scrubbed the outside to remove the general dirt etc. Then left them to soak. Will leave them a few days. No rush. I'm back to work tomorrow.Done. Step one complete. (That's step one according to Travis I might add!).
This also gives me time to organise a frame for the drums and buy the various plastic fitting. For the frame I had asked a contractor at work to help me on this. Lets hope he come through on this as it will make things so much easier. So I had cheated a bit insofar as I had asked the contractor at work to make me a steel frame at support these drums. Much easier then wood and no problems with termites etc. (Taking the long term view....). He was very happy to help. Even thought when I explained my request for a fish tank he seemed somewhat bemused.
Well the usual story I gave a sketch and got well. Look at the photo. Its a massive piece of structural steel more at home on the construction site than in my back yard. But Hey! No complaints as it was done with much kindness and they will get put to good use supporting my new venture.
So that's the plastic sorted out. Next off to buy and install the necessary fittings. That's Episode 2...And another day...

In The Beginning

I have for a long time been interested in Hydroponics. even going so far as undertaking a Hydroponics Distance Learning Course from Australia (ACS). Excellent course..
Subsequently I have developed and ran several different systems with the biggest being a 2,000 salad head per week NFT set up in Thailand. All good fun and throughly enjoyed the fruits of my labour. This encouraged me to expand into mushroom farming. Why mushrooms I am still to this day not to sure ! However we got production up to 450 Kg per week, selling to the local market. But my main job got in the way and things moved on. But those are other stories except of the continued need to be 'doing' things in the agriculture arena.
More recently I have been following several Blogs, discussion boards and such like on Aquaponics. (definition below).
I am not going to explain the concept as that is already well covered in thousands of Webs and Blogs through out the Internet, by people who know far more than I ever will.
My decision to 'take the plunge' into this field AS A HOBBY ONLY, was encouraged, no, I should not say encouraged, but confirmed after reading about Travis Hughey and his Barrel-Ponics. The fact that he made available an online simple guide on how to get started did it for me. Travis Hughey
Thank you Travis. So here I am ready to start.