Monday, 16 August 2010

Release Of The Fish

Well here we go again. Will be the last posting on the the system till we set it up again.
So decided on letting the last 6 fish free.... We chose to release them out into the lake rather than eat them. Bet they have no idea just how lucky they are!!! So after swimming round in circles in a small blue drum for the last 6 months they are now free into a major lake about 6 kilimeters long. Must be like 7th heaven.
So of course to be expected a final video of their release. Bit soppy and nostalgic...
Please mark this page. We'll be back soon enough !!!!

video

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Close To The End....Well For Now...

All good things come to an end or is it that all ends are the start of something new. I believe the latter. As an engineer we are always building something and then moving on. I seem in fact to have been constantly on the move. Well now is no exception.

Time to go to anew project and set up a new aquaponices system. The next one is going to be bigger. Not necessarily better. I have had so much fun with the Barrel Ponics System so a massive thanks to Mr Travis. Without him I would never even ha

video

ve considered starting out on this path. Thanks.

So one last look at the system before it goes....The sound in the section of me talking underwater is not so clear. Not so surprising I suppose.


So this posting is about closing up out existing system and putting it away till next time. The fish. I know we should be showing the cooking and providing the recipes etc. Not this time here in Thailand. We are returning the fish to the local lake about 50 meters from our place. All on video. We're doing it today as it is the official Queens Birthday here and it seems appropriate to to do now and not in a few days time.

So video of the draining of the system and setting free a few Tilipia!!!

It is in a sense a good thing to move on and start something new building on what we have learnt. A lot for the various aquaponic web sites and again Mr Travis.

Where ever we are next there will be fish and we will be growing.... So mark this spot and come back soon.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Paw Paws

Things have been plodding along. The paw paw tree has been growing really well. So much so that I was worried that it's roots would take over all of one of the drums.... What to do.
Take it out and plant it in the garden. Just look at the roots on it.... We replanted on Friday afternoon in the garden and it seems two days later to have been taken very well.
Ph was also checked still running at 7.5Ph. So all OK.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Progress



After my 'self pity' with loosing so many fish I've now got back into the grove. The seeds I planted a few weeks back are now in the system. Put them in yesterday. This morning they looked OK.

I did remove one of the large chili plants and was amazed to see how well developed the roots had become.

All in all things are following along with no real hassles. See no more moaning about the dead fish.....

The one plant that has amazed me in the Paw Paw Tree. It is going up and up getting into quite a real tree and many, just maybe will produce.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Light Reading.......

While waiting somewhat impatiently for my system to get back up to speed I've been following more closely some of the Blogs and info out there on the Web.

Sylvia Bernstein's Page as I am sure any read knows runs a super discussion board site located at aquaponicgardening.ning.com. And one of the more important posting in Sylvia's site is http://aquaponicgardening.ning.com/profiles/blogs/basic-aquaponics-system-design?xg_source=activity

She has recently followed this up with a Business site
The Aquaponic Source which I am sure will do well. Wishing her good luck.
In all this reading it is obvious that one of the great things about Aquaponics is its versatility. You can make what you want in your dreams as a system come true. Well almost. It is up to you to make a system that works and for you to enjoy. This is a big difference to building something commercial. Economies of scale always come into play as do far more sophisticated systems and better control. Most backyard type systems seem to have a fair amount of 'tolerance' built in but when going commercial these 'tolerances' are cut right down for efficiency, with the over riding need to make a profit. Not complaining or criticizing. Just an observation which wanted to get down on paper. For now I'm keeping to my simple backyard system. Posting again in next few days on my revived system.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Disaster

Disaster. That's right a disaster. I went to Laos for four days only to get back and be told by the guy looking after the system that over night (last night !!!) it, the system had somehow run nearly dry. I suspect it is the local cats playing around on the top, maybe the pipe from the pump to the reservoir had become dislodged. Can't think of anything else or any other way it could have happened. I had noticed the cats around before but though little of it. So the result of all this is that bigger Tilapia died. That's 7 of them leaving me with 4 small ones. I'm am really disappointed but am taking it as part of the learning curve. How quickly things can go wrong. One day all is good and the next?..... Well I am really down about it.
I had been so excited to get back and plant the new seedlings. Probably still can plant them and maybe just maybe it will be OK but, ...not sure on the balance of fish and veggies any more.
Must get some more fish ASAP.
Imagine if it had been a fully commercial set up. A whole crop lost.... Well I am planning this weekend to add a few more small spry and see how it all goes. Major disappointment all the same.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Replanting and general progress


Been busy just doing nothing... Watching fish grow is not so exciting. However this weekend I decided it was time to clean up the reservoir tank. I try and make a habit of doing this every weekend. This time there was no internal filter tank have removed a few weeks back. The reservoir was full of green algae and suspended fish waste. So rather than remove it I stirred it all up.

Then I opened the flush unit and let it flow into the gravel beds. Works really well. We had also the same day removed several Thai herbs and chili plants from the garden and placed them in the system. They seemed to thrive almost immediately. I had expected some wilting but actually very little. Checking this morning (Monday) all looks good and the fish water is clear.

I also planted a a small tray several chili, tomato and Chinese cabbage seeds. We'll see how they do later in the week.

As a small note my air blower/stone finally gave up on Friday last week. I opened it to see the rubber plunger had perished. Its lasted 5 months at a cost of Baht 300 so approx 150 day. That's 2 Baht per day. At 34 Bath to the dollar I am not complaining!!!

Earlier we had eaten the Cat Fish but I did not post any photos. Dead fish do not make for good Photos but here goes... From-tank-to-grill

Saturday, 24 April 2010

April 24th 2010. progress








Well... Progress. nothing much to report. All going well and no major problems.
I did have a minor difficulty with the flushing system. Seems for no apparent reason to stop 'flushing' and just act as an over flow. Made me loose a few plants which dried up and died as a result. These were leaf plants but the tomatoes and chili plants survived. However it was an easy fix done by reducing the size of the outlet pipe at the bottom of the bottle outlet. Worked well since then.
We ate 5 cat fish a few weeks back and left the Tilapia to carry on in the tank. All fine and seem happy enough. Interestingly the amount of solid waste has reduced considerably. Not surprising as I had reduced the Bio mass by approximately 50%. (I.e removing the cat fish). So much was the difference in water clarity that I decided last week to dispense with the filter system and see if it made any difference. It consists of simple netting and some old geotextile I found laying about on my construction site.
So after 1 week I checked the pH. It was 7-7.5 today so that's OK. I do suspect that the plants are a bit short of nutrients as they appear a bit pale. But that could be me and my imagination just looking for something..... Produce has continued with chili, tomatoes and greens. My single paw paw is still hanging on in there. I really need to make a separate container for it to enable the roots to grow better. New project.
Recently I planted some coriander and last week some new narga super hot chilies. Will wait and see progress.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

From Tank To Grill

We removed the Cat Fish and gave them a quick blow to the head. That prepared them for the Bar B Q. It is never nice to kill something whatever the circumstances. However these fish were bred for eating so here goes.

video

Monday, 22 March 2010

First Fish Harvest



Had a very successful day. Did some really through cleaning up of the system and then rounded all the fish. Time for a weighting session.
We have 20 fish comprising 5 cat fish and 15 Tilapia.
Cat fish weigh 950 grams so about 250 grams each. Not bad for 3 and a half months.
15 Tilapia weight 1200 grams which again was not bad given the fact that only 5 were from the original batch and the other 10 added later. So 5 big and 10 small. Total mass 2.1 Kilograms. Generally accepted growth as far as I was concerned. For my set up I had estimated a total weight of something in the region of 2.2 to 2.3 kilograms so no complaints. So all in all a good result.
I'll be honest I am actually very very pleased!!!!!

We put the Tilapia back in the tank and the cat fish went into a holding tank.
So the Tilapia will live for another day till they get big enough to eat.
However the catfish are being ‘cleansed’ in their own separate tank ready for the Bar B Q on Wednesday evening….I doubt they are looking forward to it as much as me!!! Photos of the dinner to follow.

Monday, 15 March 2010

New Filter = Clean Water

I've been quite worried about the bad smell and dirty water. So much so that I visited several local aquarium shops to look at different systems and review the options. But I wanted to opt for a home made one. It's easy to buy one but having made my tanks and the rest of the grow beds etc I wanted to also do this myself.
I spend most of Saturday morning thinking about all I had been reading and the local systems I had looked at. I opted for one I had seen on the web. Simple bucket with a central pipe and filter cloth arrangement. Works really well. The water cleared in a matter of hours and the fish started eating again! video

Now I'm going to improve on it and make some simple 'liners', bit like a vacuum cleaner filter. It will make for easy removal and cleaning. That's the next development in this project.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Major Smell

Got home last night and the smell from the fish tank was high!! I mean high. No dead fish but several gasping for air. I also noted they had not eaten the food I had put out in the m0rning. So mentioning this to Wanna, "Yes I fed them this morning", 'So did I' chirped in Owen. Well they had had a good day in terms of food. Three times more than necessary.
Only problem is too much food is no good for them. I recalled that Travis in his manual stated if the water smells stop feeding. Done....
I removed the uneaten pellets and also the various leaves etc which had been added.
Later in the evening I decided to also remove the water. Yes the water. Pumped away about 80% and refilled with fresh tap water.
Seems to have worked OK as this morning the water was clearer and the fish still swimming, (the right way up!). I tried a few pellets but not much interest so will lay off the food for a few more days.

Monday, 8 March 2010

System Progress Update







Been a while now since I posted anything on my system progress. The past few weeks its just been a day to day routine thing, where I have been feeding the fish and at weekends emptying out the fish waste. We use the fish waste on the garden and the plants seem to like it.
Its not so exciting at the moment. That makes it difficult to write a lot but .... Today we had a good clean up and checked the water quality, pH of 8.0, bit on the low side but OK. I'm still looking for DO and Nitrate test kits. So if any of you out here can point me in the right direction please do!
The plants are doing well. Tomatoes are turning red and the chillies are surprisingly hot! Also thinned out a few of the basil and will be planting some more in next few days.
Wanna is beginning to take an interest which can only mean one thing. They are nearly ready for the Bar B Q!!!!
On a separate note I've been looking into a commercial system and will be getting round to my business plan shortly. Need to decide just how big to be and as long as it is sustainable I can employ someone to look after it up on our farm. Will keep you updated on developments.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Aquaponics World Map

Came across this site. Aquaponics World Map/ Its really I think more for fun than anything else. It lets you show your project location. Thats it....
Me, I added myself in as being in Thailand. Only one so far. There are for sure a load of other guys like me out there. Only time will tell if this takes off.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Recirculating Aquaculture Systems

Seems more and more this subject is fast becoming a favourite amonst Journalists.
I will not reprint this latest find here, but for sure will continue to follow up on this one as with developments. Need to keep learning all I can. Long way to go.
Recirculating aquaculture systems: The future of fish farming?

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Produce...All 150 grams worth!!!

Finally getting something out of the system. After worrying about my fish and water quality over the last few days it was great when Wanna came in from the garden with a hand full of tomatoes. She had picked these from my barrels and I was most impressed. We had been picking the odd one or two tomatoes from the plants and eating in the garden, also feeding the fish with some basil leaves etc. Even cut a few handfuls of 'greens'. But this was a bit different. I mean 150 grams. Sort of a 'result!!!!' First real harvest if you know what I mean.
And now the fish have only a few weeks to go as well before they face the Bar B Q.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Water Testing

Bought myself a pH testing Kit last week from a local aquarium shop. Cost about 9 dollars, so not to expensive. It is a simple kit. You just add drops from the tester bottle into a sample and check on the colour changes against a swatch card.
I've got as electronic tester as well but no batteries and it will need to be calibrated. Easy now I've got this new test kit.
We went away this weekend and I got a friend to feed the fish. This morning when I get back I checked them out. They had lost their usual excitement for food. I gave them the standard amount and they ignored it. In fact they remained at the bottom of the tank. Strange. So chance to use my new tester kit. The tank water was on about 8.0. What to do? I noticed also that the barrel water level is down some what. Will be adding more water tonight when I get back from work and hope things pick up.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Mainstream Aquaponics. New York Times

The New York Times has just published an article on Aquaponics and sighted Travis Hughly. Aquaponics

Not sure I'm allowed to copy this into my Web but it is a fantastic aticle and shows the way forward for Aquaponics. The whole backyard thing seems to been inspired by Travis Hughly more than most so a big thanks to him.
==========================

Copy of article here goes.....




February 17, 2010

The Spotless Garden
By MICHAEL TORTORELLO

THERE’S a “Beyond Thunderdome” quality to Rob Torcellini’s greenhouse. The 10-by-12-foot structure is undistinguished on the outside: he built it from a $700 kit, alongside his family’s Victorian-style farmhouse in Eastford, Conn., a former farming town 35 miles east of Hartford. What is going on inside, however, is either a glimpse at the future of food growing or a very strange hobby — possibly both.
There are fish here, for one thing, shivering through the winter, and a jerry-built system of tanks, heaters, pumps, pipes and gravel beds. The greenhouse vents run on a $20 pair of recycled windshield wiper motors, and a thermostat system sends Mr. Torcellini e-mail alerts when the temperature drops below 36 degrees. Some 500 gallons of water fill a pair of food-grade polyethylene drums that he scavenged from a light-industry park.
Mr. Torcellini’s greenhouse wouldn’t look out of place on a wayward space station where pioneers have gone to escape the cannibal gangs back on Earth. But then, in a literal sense, Mr. Torcellini, a 41-year-old I.T. director for an industrial manufacturer, has left earth — that is, dirt — behind.
What feeds his winter crop of lettuce is recirculating water from the 150-gallon fish tank and the waste generated by his 20 jumbo goldfish. Wastewater is what fertilizes the 27 strawberry plants from last summer, too. They occupy little cubbies in a seven-foot-tall PVC pipe. When the temperature begins to climb in the spring, he will plant the rest of the gravel containers with beans, peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers — all the things many other gardeners grow outside.
In here, though, the yields are otherworldly. “We actually kept a tally of how many cherry tomatoes we grew,” Mr. Torcellini said of last summer’s crop. “And from one plant, it was 347.” A trio of cucumber plants threw off 175 cukes.
If that kind of bounty sounds hard to believe, Mr. Torcellini has a YouTube channel to demonstrate it. “There’s alternate ways of growing food,” he said. “I don’t want to push it down people’s throats, but if someone’s interested, I’d like to show them you can do this with cheap parts and a little bit of Yankee ingenuity.”
It’s all part of a home experiment he is conducting in a form of year-round, sustainable agriculture called aquaponics — a neologism that combines hydroponics (or water-based planting) and aquaculture (fish cultivation) — which has recently attracted a zealous following of kitchen gardeners, futurists, tinkerers and practical environmentalists.
And Australians — a lot of Australians.
In Australia, where gardeners have grappled with droughts for a decade, aquaponics is particularly appealing because it requires 80 to 90 percent less water than traditional growing methods. (The movement’s antipodean think tank is a Web site called Backyard Aquaponics, where readers can learn how, say, to turn a swimming pool into a fish pond.)
In the United States, aquaponics is in its fingerling stage, yet it seems to be increasing in popularity. Rebecca Nelson, 45, half of the company Nelson &Pade, publishes the Aquaponics Journal and sells aquaponics systems in Montello, Wis. While she refused to disclose exact sales figures, Ms. Nelson said that subscriptions have doubled every year for the last five years, and now number in the thousands. Having worked in the industry since 1997, leading workshops and consulting with academics, she estimates that there may be 800 to 1,200 aquaponics set-ups in American homes and yards and perhaps another 1,000 bubbling away in school science classrooms.
One of Ms. Nelson’s industry colleagues, Sylvia Bernstein, who helped develop a mass-market hydroponic product called the AeroGarden, recently turned her attention to aquaponics. She has started her own YouTube channel and a blog (aquaponicgardening.wordpress.com) and is teaching aquaponics at the Denver Botanic Gardens. She said she has done market research that suggests the technology may appeal to a half-dozen consumer types, including those seeking fresh winter herbs; gadget-happy gardeners; and high-income parents and their science-fair kids. But primarily, she envisions aquaponics as catnip for “the LOHAS market,” she said. “That means Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability — the green crowd.”
It’s worth mentioning that most of those categories would appear to describe the 47-year-old Ms. Bernstein. She built her first aquaponics system with her 15-year-old son on a concrete pad outside her remodeled 1970s-era Boulder, Colo., home. And she has since set up quarters in a 240-square-foot greenhouse. While she boasted about picking fresh basil the other day for a risotto, she has lately been preoccupied with exotic fish. Having tired of tilapia and trout, Ms. Bernstein is now introducing pacu, a thin, silvery import from South America that she called “a vegetarian piranha.”
Aquaponics is addictive, Ms. Bernstein believes, and it has a way of becoming a full-time pursuit. “If you spend some time on Backyard Aquaponics,” she said, “people start with this little 100-gallon backyard system. But it never stays that way. Next thing, they’ll say, the tilapia were really cool, but I want to grow trout.”
Interested in aquaponics, but not ready to make it a life calling? No problem. An Atlanta company called Earth Solutions now sells kits online, on Amazon.com and the Home Depot’s Web site. Called Farm in a Box, they range in price from $268 to $3,000, and come with pipes, pumps, frames and fittings. David Epstein, 50, the osteopath and entrepreneur who invented Farm in a Box, reports that the company has sold several hundred units since the product went on sale last March.
Dr. Dave, as he likes to be called, created Farm in a Box after studying a do-it-yourself manual written by Travis W. Hughey — a creative debt that bothers Mr. Hughey not a bit.
Mr. Hughey, 49, is not just another proselytizer for aquaponics but, in his words, an “agri-missionary” who hopes to help feed the developing world. His free step-by-step plans have been downloaded more than 15,000 times since he started his site, Faith and Sustainable Technologies (fastonline.org), in 2007.
Mr. Hughey credits researchers at North Carolina State University for building the prototype that started the modern aquaponics movement some 25 years ago. By comparison, he came to aquaponics with little more than an unfinished biology degree at Oral Roberts University and a background in yacht repair, a career that required him to be “a jack of all trades, and a master of every one of them.”
The low-tech, low-cost design for his “Barrel-Ponics Manual” can be built out of three 55-gallon barrels, a pump, a wooden frame and some off-the-shelf hardware. One barrel, which sits on the ground, holds the fish. A second — split in half and filled with gravel — holds the plants. The final barrel, a storage or flush tank, perches above the other two like a toilet tank. The effluent-rich water that flows from one receptacle to the next is the life of the system, flooding the plants with nutrients and then trickling back into the fish tank.
From these rudiments, all manner of aquaponics systems can be built. Mr. Hughey has nine of them going in a demonstration greenhouse outside the double-wide mobile home he shares with his wife and two daughters in Andrews, S.C. He has grown everything from radishes to a papaya tree in those barrels. Of course, his family could also eat the tilapia swimming around the 1,000-gallon in-ground plastic tank. But he’s saving them to use as brood stock.
Mr. Hughey figures that other aquanauts will need to buy fingerlings from somewhere. He’s starting to sell assembled Barrel-Ponics kits, too, for $495, plus shipping.
This winter, he has begun construction on a pair of 1,200-square-foot aquaponics greenhouses to raise produce for the local natural foods market. Each one will take 80 barrel halves, 9 tons of gravel and a 3,000-gallon tilapia tank. The power for the pumps and heaters will come from a “hand-built” biodiesel generator. Mr. Hughey already has the fuel sitting in the yard: 12,000 gallons of vegetable oil that passed its expiration date.
He isn’t exactly stocking up for the end times. But with the way the economy is going, he said, it might not be a bad idea to have a backup plan to feed his family and neighbors. “I’m trying to make this place as self-reliant as possible,” he said. “But ultimately, self-reliance isn’t possible unless it’s profitable.”
There is something about aquaponics that seems to inspire this quirky blend of entrepreneurialism, environmentalism and survivalism. Even a mainstream businesswoman like Ms. Bernstein points to the water shortages in farming areas like the Central Valley in California — “to say nothing of Africa,” she added.
Jack Rowland can imagine a day when aquaponics set-ups could be built into new apartment complexes and be fed by municipal waste and geothermal power. In the meantime, he has started his own 1,200-gallon tilapia hatchery in his family’s unfinished basement in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., about 10 miles south of Poughkeepsie. He houses the fish in black cattle troughs, which have proved to be sturdy and nontoxic. A stock tank heater keeps the water at a comfortable 75 degrees.
Tilapia will tolerate crowding and will feast on your table scraps. (“They’re the ultimate garbage disposal unit,” Mr. Rowland said.) But, being tropical by nature, they die in the cold.
One of the pools is called the Dinner Tank. It is here that Mr. Rowland condemns his tilapia to a five-day fast before they make their way to the frying pan or the broiler. Tilapia, he said, do not deserve their bad reputation among cooks as the white bread of the waterways — mealy, pale and bland — but “you have to purge them or they taste gamey.”
“Most of the tilapia sold here was harvested months ago in China,” he said. “It’s like eating a fresh tomato versus what you buy in the grocery store.”
This summer, he hopes to transfer his operation from a spot next to the washer and dryer to a 50-foot-long hoop greenhouse. But he’s going about the project carefully. This attention to detail will most likely comfort Mr. Rowland’s neighbors: in his day job, Mr. Rowland, 57, is an outage planner for the Indian Point nuclear power plant.
Though Mr. Rowland spends perhaps an hour a night in the basement, looking for floaters and new spawn, he knows that no system is fail-safe. Pumps break, heaters go haywire. The art of aquaponics is one of trial and error.
“My mentor in the tilapia world told me I really wouldn’t be a master of tilapia until I killed at least a million fish,” he said. “I’m not there yet.”

Friday, 12 February 2010

General Thoughts....For The Weekend.

I said at the start I would be writing about other things besides my own system. Well there is after all only so much one can write about a Barrel System on a weekly basis!!!
This week I've managed to spend some time on the Internet searching for all I can find on aquaponics farming set ups. The basics, I've decided from all my research, is that it is not to difficult.
The hard part seems to be getting to a proficiency level where what you are doing is productive and economical. In other words it needs to be sustainable. Sounds easy I know but as I read more there are numerous factors in play all requiring to be constantly adjusted and monitored. And each system had its own set of factors with different weighting factors.
Reading the 'Backyard Aquaponics' Magazine has been really helpful. It seems my enthusiasm is increasing the more I read. All the difficulties I read about I am keen to turn into challenges and find solutions.

Another good link was Redheeler Farm

Add in the papers from the University of the Virgin Island and you are well on the way to understanding what it is all about. They really have done some major research into it all.
However I have a long way to get to get a commercially viable system designed with any degree of confidence. I'll now get back to searching the Internet.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Egg Plants

I'm really posting for the sake of it!!! There is not a great deal to record as things seems to be going along just fine. In fact just settled into a routine.  The tomatoes as reported earlier are doing well and now the egg plants are begining to flower. So all good.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Progress Update



A week last Sunday I had planted some seeds in the barrels. Corriander, Basil, Spearmint and a couple of Thai Herbs. So checked up yesterday on progress. Thats 10 days on and we're doing OK. Also the tomatoes and egg plants aer doing well. These we had put in earlier. Tomatoes are not red but getting bigger. I do think they are slow but cannot be sure. Just me in a hurry as always.
The cat fish are another story.  We put them in on the 16th Dec, they were tiny back then. And now 5 weeks later. they are big Difference in size is amazing. My wife will probably give them a few more weeks before they do a one way visit to the Bar B Q....



When we purchased the Cat fish back in December they were about 6-8 cm long. Now I estimate them to be about 12-16 centimeters. Only guessing! If I was a real fisherman I would be telling you 30 centimers!!!! As would any other self respecting fisherman.  Thats me on the right with the newly bought Cat fish.
But seriously, the next time round the system is going to be very closely monitored and recorded. I want to get a real feel for costings. I know a small barrel is not the final solution but its a start, a very good start.

Monday, 18 January 2010

One Dead Fish And Some Tomatoes



Never nice when things die, and that even goes for my nameless fish!
He was a small one (probably from the second batch we bought). And he appeared to have some sort of infection around his eyes, watching him I had noticed the cat fish attacking him a few times. Not a good sign. I took him out of the tank and had a more detailed look at him. No energy, and he did not seem bother to suck in the air,  and on putting him back in the tank it was clear he had lost interest in life. What to do? I was worried he would infect all the other guys so unfortunately he had to go. Where you ask? Over the wall. Finished. Sadly.


The tomatoes on the other hand are doing OK. Minimal disease and only a few white fly to worry about. Interestingly around the flood pipes to the grow beds where we have put a small mesh to stop the water flowing too fast it is attracting numerouns bees. Seem to be the water which they are after. Maybe also to whatever it is thats in the water.

Also planted some seeds, 5 different Thai herbs, so will wait and see how they develop. Interesting.
And might even get some red tomatoes in a  few weeks. Watch this spot.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

No Prawns.....

It is now a safe bet to tell you the prawns did not survive. I had a good look this morning and no sign of any. All gone.
The cat fish on the other hanad of course look 'frisky', that is, if cat fish can look such a thing.
This weekend will see me clearing out the accumulated sludge that has built up in the header tank. Might also be a good idea to install a bottom drain tap to make it easier for cleaning the next time round. I'll buy the fitting this afternoon and see how I feel on Saturday about doing anything!!!
I'm also thinking about adding a second tank for prawns but really I do need to let this set up work its way through one cycle first. Its only been on the go for 40 days. What I will be doing is weighing the fish and from here on in will be checking them on a weekly basis. Should be an interesting  exercise and indeed I will also start to monitor and weigh the food I give them. Make it all a bit more scientific.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Adding a few prawns

Watching fish grow?.....However does it really sound so interesting?... If you were to tell me yes I don't think I'll believe you!  But for me yes...
It is a patient business and I can assure you that they, the fish grow slowly. In fact they grow very very slowly.
Last night to add to the 'interest' we purchased some 'jumping' prawns and added them in. The prawns were small. Only ones available in the market. I felt sorry for them really as I expect the cat fish to eat them all. Will be checking this evening to see if there are any left. If not, I will need to make an additional tank and have a seperate section of the system just for prawns.  Exciting?... I can watch them grow as well.
Well, if the cat fish have eaten the prawns then they will have had an extra special dinner. Well worth watching... err....
What is worth watching is the video of these type of prawns. Make for tasty eating for us let alone the cat fish.... This much I do know.




Tuesday, 5 January 2010

2010 Update



I've now been at this Barrel Ponics for about 6 weeks and all going well. I've got the ladder well placed to inspect the filling tank and as you can see also aquired a small light. Thats only 3 Watts but attracts insects which die and fall in the tank. Extra food for the cat fish.

In total when we started there were 20 Tilapia and 10 cat fish. 4 tilapia have died and 2 catfish. However there appear to be only 4 cat fish remaining? I know they can jump out as we put 2 back a few days ago after we found about 5 meters away! However no sign of the missing ones.

The plants have also done well. Better in the barrel on right handside but not so well on the left. I think the left side gets to much sun and is also for some reason  more full of dirt. But the good news is that I see the tomatoe plants are begining to flower so I am optimistic we should get a crop. I've also added in egg plants and
some Thai herbs so will start to see and record progress over the next few months.

One thing that seems to be going very well is the float/flood control. For the leverage system to open the flush, instead of following Travis with using some rollers and a moving wire (could not find any locally) I've used a short piece of plastic piping as a 'rocker' lever, connected it to some old electric wire and cut a grove in it and in the top of the tank where it is positioned. I then for safety put a second piece of wire across the top just to stop it jumping out of position. I have been expecting it to break down but so far so good. It is so simple and I am 'chuffed' to bits about it.