Cleaning Aquaponic Grow Beds. Solids Be Gone..




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Ack_Zombies: After watching this video I thought you might want to try a new method of breaking up your solids. try placing a floor burnishing pad with a cone of some sort in the middle of it, under the water outlet. This should force the water through the pad and filter out many of the larger solids and allow the smaller to flow through the bed. Sorry for the long link but here's a burnish pad. There are stiffer ones with larger gaps in the fiber ones as well. http://www.webstaurantstore.com/scrubble-by-acs-33-21-21-hair-blend-light-burnishing-floor-pad-type-33-5-case/59821HRLT.html?utm_source=NexTag&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=NexTag+Campaign 

KaleidoscopeJunkie: A siphoning gravel cleaner for aquariums should work well. It pulls all the decay/debris with it so none can escape into your system. I prefer the siphons that are not self priming because those has smaller openings that trap debris. I have three types and "Aqua Culture Regular Gravel Vacuum Cleaner" is My fave. (Some decent videos on YouTube ;-) bout using them in aquariums.)

Miles Komora: Thanks for the cleaning tip! I'm only into this for less than a year so your tips are very appreciated! Good Day!

Joshua Falcon: Hello, I've got a few questions as I am planning to start my own auqaponic garden. I've found a 55gal drum set up that would be great for me to start with considering my space is limited. I will share a link bc I am looking for opinions and was not sure where to turn. http://gardenpool.org/online-classes/getting-started-in-barrelponics So this "barrelponics" set up is pretty simple. But I wanted to ask about the clay ball substrate you use and I was curious if you think it may work in this size set up? I have also found you of Facebook and sent a message there. Thank you. 

livefastdieyoung26: Why don't you get rid of the hydrotin ( clay pebbles ) and float all your plants on foam? That way the water flow would be better and less gunk would settle on the bottom?

Yaqub Lourens: Hi Rob. I'm looking at starting a AP here in the north of Arica.I'm just wondering, isn't it better to but in a solid filter so that you don't need to deal with the solids in the grow bed?? Thanks for a great video

G510Gamer: with my small aquaponics system i just take the plants out and put them in small container then i just take out the clay pellets and it reveales the muck im thinking about upgrading 10-20 small plant system to a 5 large plant 60 - 90 small plant system :D

Freddie Bagger: Maybe I am to young in this AP, but, where do you get all the water from, the tap? or do you have some deposit ready for this change of water.

bo ter berg: After watching this, my first thought was that the problem started with the shape of the IBC's. The ones you cut the sides off may not have these lower parts. Another option would be to level the bottom of the bed with cement first. Very informative again, thanks :o)

Stephen Wopershall: Sounds like a lot of work. Why not eliminate the entire problem by not allowing the solid waste to enter the beds in the first place? Why not use a bed of 6" vs 10"-12"? The decreased grow bed area ( size) doesn't affect growth rate, quality or production.

JIM SWIERINGA: ROB do dirty grow beds interfear with bell siphons working right? Almost all my grow beds i'm having trouble getting them to brake siphon.I have 7 ibc and 20 flow beds. Thank you for any help. great videos. Thanks Jim

tjhutch89: Have you tried introducing red wiggler worms? Works in my small systems.

Olen Soifer: Hence, the difference between DWC hydroponics and grow media aquaponics. That smell is from anaerobic conditions developing down at the bottom of the beds...like in a septic tank. Not what you want! You wouldn't grow food in septic waste! While you prefer not to use the actual under-gravel filter that are sometimes used in aquariums...you might consider installing a course screen under the media, a couple of inches up from the bottom, so the media doesn't do down to the very bottom of the beds. Then, if you limit the drain holes to the bottom couple of inches of the standpipe...below the level of the media...you might find that you can get some good turbulence in that media-less bottom part of the beds. Perhaps, considering how much flow bell siphons can develop, that could dislodge the sludge as fast as it builds up and carry it out to the filter so that the sludge doesn't build up. Of course, the other issue could be inadequate filtering Some people don't use filters at all...and they like to show off how clean their fish water is. But, of course, what's happening is that they are sludging up their grow media, turning them into the equivalent of septic tanks. Sooner or later they'll certainly have the same issues you've experienced. The solution is more filters. "Backyarders" don't differentiate between settleable and suspended solids. The homemade swirl filter doesn't remove the suspended solids...but the grow bed does! Using bag or drum filters might be the only practical solution. I haven't seen anyone come up with a homemade drum filter yet, but someone will sooner or later!

stdavross666: HELLO, WHERE DO YOU GET THE FOOD GREADE ibcS FROM???

Rob Bob: Not to sure about that but will try & help.. How big is the bed in Litres Jayendral ?? You might want to look at reducing the standpipe down a bit depending on the size of the bed..

Mark Allen: Great Job Rob! I just finished cleaning mine out as well. I pulled all the media and washed it off. What a mess! I like your idea with the air wand. I think I will be storing that one in the back of the old mind. Have a great one!

T Webster: Hi RB, I haven't started my AQs yet. I'll be doing that in a small area in the basement in September. I'll start with a 40 gal. fish tank and a small grow box. Then next spring (I live in the Colorado Springs area) I will build a green house, of sorts, outside. Your videos give very valuable and useful information. Thank you so much. Wayne

Rob Bob: Will be cleaning out the beds once they are de stocked further just to see what has built up.. Should be an interesting & messy exercise I think.. Thanks have a good one..

StogieFarts: Ooops, try again. I had the video settings incorrectly set to Private.

Dale Calder: Nice that nothing goes to waste solved the problem in one system and gained a lot of organic fertilizer for the rest of the garden.

jimsta10: Hi Rob, are there any other methods that you can suggest that can bring it down nitrites? ie. chemicals? cheers

Rob Bob: Our plants bounced ok from being traumatised with the wand so I think they can take a bit of damage.. Good luck with the clean out..

Rob Bob: Hi Max Would love to get the link off you of the clips if you want to PM me here on YT. That grow bed is loaded with worms but unfortunately they can only break matter down so far.. I had to edit the footage of them out as I get a tad long winded.. I have a clip of some we have found before if you would like a look QeVrZwIRf6Q Worms also contribute solids to the system as well I have found.. TBC

Rob Bob: Think the plants loved it:) Have a good one..

enticed2zeitgeist: Isn't it likely that you are simply over-feeding your fish or you have to few plants?

Larry Shier: There was also a bio digester type filter I saw that may be handy, basically an air stone in the bottom of a bucket with a mesh over top and small 2cm pieces of 1/2" pvc on the top and slit on one side. The small pieces of pipe provide bio mass and banging together from the air stone breaks the solids into smaller pieces until broken down by the bacteria.

Max Esselmont: Hi Rob, i've been doing a bit of research, and i came across a few YouTube videos on enhancing your aquaponics setup with vermiculture. as i understand it, the addition of worms to your grow bed should help keep your sediments aerated, and reduce the amount of time you need to maintain your ecosystem. cheers, ...max

Rob Bob: That's what I found so have left the others be for the moment... Hoping they will last until the fish are out of the system & they will get a clean then..

Rob Bob: I know... Think I need a larger filter to take all the solids that we will be expecting from the tanks we are thinking of adding.. Might play around with the one we have to see how I can improve it & a conical base would make the cleaning of them much better.. Have a good one :)

Rob Bob: It's back for the winter :D Cheers..

UncIe Bete: I made a video of pictures I made in MS Paint. : ) Sorry, I don't have a camera. (would be nice). I made changes while drawing these. Because of seeing problems while drawing them. Dia 1 and 2 go together. But as seen in the picture. The pipe would probably end up too high off the bottom. Dia 3 and 4 show this fix. Running straight out the side. But then seeing that the curved bottom might not fix it. And I have the Need for Cheap.... Dia 5 is something you could have parts lying around for.

waedvm dogdoc: Hi Rob, great videos...thanks again. I have not seen all of them yet but working on it :) Would using worms mostly resolve some of that "muck"

Rob Bob: Hi there.. The beds have a ton of worms in them but they will still only break down solids to a degree & still produce waste themselves.. For me it was a huge lesson in the need for filtering the solids out before they hit the grow beds.. I do know others don't follow this school of though but I do now as I have seen what can happen when things go pear shaped & the resulting nitrite spike.. The solids are not wasted & will be building a mineraliser in the near future.. TBC

Jayendra Birchall: Bell siphon :) I've got 110mm guard and 40mm standpipe What size for bell siphon?

Rob Bob: Foi um grande trabalho e fomos muito cuidado para não deixar a água suja de volta para o tanque de peixes .. A lã de filtro funcionar muito bem .. O filtro de fluxo radial parece estar fazendo um ótimo trabalho em remover a maioria dos sólidos no momento .. Obrigado e tenha um ótimo dia ..

Rob Bob: Have a few ideas how to stop the dead spots in the next grow beds or these if I get game enough to retrofit them.. Really don't want to have to go through the beds every 8-12 months.. Hopping the filter gets rid of most of the solids so I don't have to do it ever again but I think I'm dreaming there..

Rob Bob: Sort of makes sense.. What would be getting the much into the holes, a siphon ?? Trying to wrap my head around it.. Thanks for the help & suggestion :)

Rob Bob: Am hoping that the radial flow filter will pick up any finer bits that don't get washed off as they come through.. That might also help the system not get overloaded with too much stirred up nutrient rich particulate.. I think that the tap water might be too harsh on the bacteria I knock it around a bit. Do you have another tote you could settle out some water in & wash out one beds worth of clay a day? Hope that helps out a little bit mate & you get it sorted out soon. TBC

Rob Bob: It was one worry we had when we first looked into aquaponics Dale.. Don't think we have actually wasted much water at all except for overflows during the floods.. The plants do love it I think.. Have a great one Sir :)

Rob Bob: Don't think I can do a how to clip from the start without changing it as I go John... Should probably try to think ahead more :D

Rob Bob: No problem... Thanks for watching Steve :)

Bike Man Dan: Its too bad tanks with conical shaped bottoms aren't more affordable. Would solve the problem of solids collection

meanshoes: A wee bit of work eh Rob. Is this something that needs to happen ofter? or do you feel it's from a specific reason. Everything looks so nice bro specially with all the sunshine :) Brock

thehittmann1981: I wonder how hard it will be to do this with scoria :/

Rob Bob: Someone mentioned trying that or knew someone that did & it didn't work out too well so I haven't looked into it too much.. I have some flat sided IBC's that will be used to make up some new flat bottom beds soon.. Just need to do some other jobs first before they can go in.. Glad the clips are useful to you Wayne.. Enjoy the build too... I think it's the best bit next to the harvesting :) Thanks & have a great one..

Rob Bob: We line in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.. Is a nice subtropical climate here so we get to grow all rear round luckily.. have a good one Howard..

T Webster: Hi RB, As to the "solids" buildup in the bottom, would it work to place a raised screen under the grow media that allows the solids to fall through and be captured in the free water, then be drained more freely through PVC drains in the low spots?

Bob Campbell: I have little to support this idea, but AP systems seem to get better as time goes on and it's my belief that all the little pockets of gunk may actually be a benefit. Along this way of thinking I have also been experimenting with pieces of rebar placed in areas where I suspect anaerobic conditions in hope of making iron chelate. It's too soon to know if that will work.

ross9886: If the bed was tilted towards the corner where the water comes in, and the siphon was also in the same corner, maybe the sludge would be easier to draw out. Also, if the ridges on the bottom of the bed are a problem, I think you could make the bottom smooth by covering it with clay. Thanks for the troubleshooting demonstration! I hope to get into aquaponics when I move :)

Rob Bob: Shall have a look into that.. Thanks & take it easy :)
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