That system was designed around fish ponds, not an aquaponics system complete with growbeds. It shouldn't be necessary for a balanced aquaponics setup. The vortex filter Jason is using is nice, but in a standard aquaponics setup that has adequate growbed space and isn't overstocked it actually removes nutrients and trace minerals from the system, the same goes for the mesh filter. The only reason for these filters would be if you overstocked fish; for a DWC, NFT or shallow floating raft setup, where you don't want the solids in the water. The same is true for the biological filters. In a normal growbed, the media (gravel, expanded clay, river rock, etc...) provides more surface area than those filters do for the bacteria to grow on and the biofilters would only be needed if you had a DWC, NFT or floating raft system and didn't have the media.
I'd hate to see anyone turn away from aquaponics thinking that massive filtration was needed for a small setup when for the most part it isn't needed. I'd also hate to see anyone waste all the time and energy necessary to set up all that filtration and go through the expense of doing so when they may not even need to do it.
If you do need the filtration, that is a nice setup, but my question is this: Do you really need it?
If you do need it, great, that's some really good information. Thanks for putting it out there for everyone. I just didn't want people new to aquaponics to think the needed all that filtration for a basic system.
I totally agree with Marks reply, depending on the type of aquaponics set-up you have a filter is NOT necessary in a media grow bed system. The media acts as the filtering set-up and works extreamily well. I have been using the same media system for on to 4 years now and have found the solids do accumulate somewhat but not as heavy as I thought. When I replant my system I do have to divert the water from the grow bed to a holding tank as the solids do get stirred up at this time. By collecting the solids in another collecting drum, I can let them settle and use the water to either go back into the original set-up or divert it to my soil garden along with the collected solids.
If you have a DWC, NFT or Shallow raft set-up you then need the seperate filtering system as the solids will clog up the roots and may very easily become anaerobic and start to rot your plant roots.
i am having trouble finding the flex type unions for the pvc. do you guys have a sku or part number thanks
I am still in the research phase and I have to agree with Mark and White Bear about not needing the vortex filter with most home setups or low fish density setups. I did find a different filter system design that might be easier to build if people do want to go that route. http://www.earthangroup.com.au/diy-solids-filter/ they have some other helpful information as well. They also sell uniseals but you can probably get them cheaper locally. I am not sure shipping from Australia would be cost effective.
Eric and "buddy"-
Paul Van der Werf did a great job on the designing of the Radial flow solids settler (filter) but I do have a question that is a bit retorical; the discharge pipe is quite low in his design and would need to go to either another filtering set up or to a sump tank to be pumped into the grow area (beds). This is a bit of over-designing for a small backyard system (non-commercial system). If you want to use this particular design a bit of change may need to be in order. By raising the clean water outlet closer to the top of the filter, you could utilize gravity to flood the grow area and then the water will discharge from the grow area to either your fish tank or sump tank. I appologize for not recalling the size of system you want to build but IMHO, this filter is a bit larger than is necessary for a backyard system - although a great design.
I totally agree with what you were saying. Paul Van der Werf was then pumping the water through another filter. For me this is way overkill. Barring some major success story where I start selling vegetables for a significant profit I probably won't be using a filter system at all other than my media beds. Even if I do have a bumper crop and produce more vegetables than I can possibly eat, I doubt I will go through the governments crap that would allow me to sell it.
Here in wisconsin, we can sell all produce at the county Farmers Market without having to have any permits other than signing up at our Chamber of Commerce. We are then issued a free, first come-first served selling space. WHEN you do produce more than you can handle, you may want to check into the CoC and see what is required to sell produce.
That is the way it should be. There have been cases however where kids have had lemon aid stands shut down. John Stossel gave up trying to get permits to have a lemon aid stand in New Yuck.
All of Paul's videos appear to be down. He had a great filter setup and wish I would have downloaded the vid so I can figure it out.
Paul Van der Werf has some amazing information available on his site. The radial flow filter can be built as large as you like, or it can be built small. I saw one youtube video where a guy down under built one with a 5 gallon bucket and a flower pot (Rob Bob's Radial flow) that worked just fine for his small system. Pauls systems are all commercial, so his designs are a bit beefed up and all the filtration is pump fed, which if you can afford the power bill and pumps is ok but I can't. As Leo said, it's better to use a gravity feed design although I don't understand why he said the outflow in Pauls radial flow was low, the level at which the water actually enters the outflow pipe is right at the top of the barrel. I'm going to be setting up a large system with a lot of fish in it, so I'm planning on using radial flow filtration to everything and additional mesh media filtration to my floating raft beds.
One thing I will say about those guys down under, they love their aquaponics and seem to be eager to share what they learn and know about it. I'm just hoping a little of their fire will catch on over here on this side of the ditch. UFG gives me hope that it has a chance, along with the other guys and gals on this forum.
Hi Jason in looking at the video and reading the material in this section I an trying to understand how to buildthe second barrel with the pads and then the bead on
question one; do you put a vortex in the botome of each barrel i am assuming you donot in the bead barrel.
can you enlighten me how how to construct barrel2 and 3. I have all the parts ready but am lacking in that area.
Worms help to keep unclogg your grow beds but if your fish population grows beyond your grow beds capacity to filter, then you will face the inevitable decision of either increasing grow space filtration or reduce the fish population in that system or a combination.
An alternative would be to add artificial filtration while considering increased oxygenation to account for more fish in the system. But you end up with added maintenance and cost. Still, you can make it worth your while by using the waste as a byproduct to be used as an organic fertilizer (as Jason mentioned).
Increasing the overall productivity of your system by maximizing all the potential outputs not only improves your sustainability but everyone with whom you interact. Last week someone told me this in just 4 words, he said “we feed each other”. :)