Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Aquaponics in Manual Mode

Aquaponics doesn't have to be restricted in a close loop, where setup for starters tend to be expensive. You can do aquaponics without expensive water pumps, all you need is a bucket and a deeper or watering can for that matter.

Plant your seedlings in a recycled containers or pots, then everytime you change water or clean your fish tank, use the nutrient filled water from your aquariums to water your plants. You can setup this plant filled container to filter the water or  just simply on the ground.

This method is laborious, but it will save you some extra cash if you are in a tight start and earn a few muscles at the end of the day.

Weather automatic or manual, the goal is to use your fish to feed your plants and your plants to use the water or clean it.

Friday, August 11, 2017

New Weapons

"Don't Be A Fool Use The Right Tool!"

These are the words that I use to remember when working on things that requires engineering and scientific application. Words thought to me and my classmates during college days by our civil 101 instructor. Words that still ring a bell everytime I make stupid output because of stupid practice.

So this time I would like to upgrade my arsenal with new addition of tools. The TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) Meter and the PH Meter.

With the following tools I would be able to record data that are essential in troubleshooting water problems, thought these tools are still lacking, it will still be able to provide important information regarding the quality of my water with respect PH.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Water Filter

It is essential to maintain your water quality for your fish and plants with your aquaponics setup. Putting up your own filter is part of that challenge. In this setup I reused a margarine container filled with river rocks and pebbles, this may not be a typical filter setup found in most aquaponics but at least it will do the job and purpose intended.

I placed a standpipe in the middle as a secondary filter and as an overflow drain in case the pebbles fail when I am gone for a long time. By the way the bottom of the container is holed just enough to strain the pebbles  to let water pass leaving solids behind.

Using second hand materials or reusing or up-cycling parts can save you money while helping the environment. Not only it does the job it is fun to work with.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

How to make your own clay Pebbles

Hydrotons or clay pebbles are so expensive and hard to find in my location, and if I do look for it online it will make the expenses of my aquaponics and hydroponics projects go steep!

So today I want to share to my fellow enthusiasts and visionaries of this field while making a run for their first base. The amazing DIY clay pebbles aka hydroton, but this time we will call it the clay chips ^^.

Now go get this clay pot lying around your laboratory  that has not been used for a year since you've been messing around with your soilless gardening and farming. The best thing on this part, is that you can use even cracked clay pots as your raw material. For FREE I repeat FREE ^_^

Then go get a hammer straight from your toolbox and pound it with medium effort, the goal is to make chips of your favored sizes not to crash them to powder. And after a few minutes you will have something that would look like this.

Now you have a clay chips medium that works just like an expensive hydroton or clay pebbles! Easy and awesomely cheap! This method is tried and tested by yours truly me.

Now go out there and hunt for free clay pots around your backyard or your neighbors' I'm sure they they'll be happy to give you there unused or discarded clay pots for free. If they ask you why, just tell them climate change needs help and by recycling there pots you are doing your part with their help ^_^!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Going Hi-Tech

Making use of electronics to further develop my backyard aquaponics and urban gardening or farming. Just like the good old days of student life, making projects to ace a major subject. But this time its for the real life episode.

I stumbled upon this micro-controller called arduino a year ago, since then I was saving as much as I could to purchase parts and modules, so if a Billionaire is reading this post please hit donate, I would be more than happy to say thank you, and that your donation will go to the development of a food production facility for my local community.

These Arduinos were not cheap when they first release, Price was steep during the early days of release of this democratized MCU. But just recently prices were going down and I was able to purchase modules online. An arduino mega 2560 (1 year old), a 2 channel relay module and a DS1307 RTC with built in expansion for temperature sensor (optional).

For the initial software, I'll be programming this mcu to control a water pump like a hydroponics settings. 15 minute on and 15 minute off or whichever is more productive setting for the whole system with respect to the sun's presence. It will not only save me energy for the solar power banks and also time in turning on and off the pump manually during low power from sun's rays and with respect to my solar power station capacity.

I'll be posting more updates and DIYs regarding my R&D. Post comments or questions or suggestion. Thank you for your interest and support.

"Buy Your Own Tools! Upgrade Your Skills!"

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Urban gardening or Farming?

Gingers in pots.

Though the following setups are in pots, they are well fed with water from my fish tanks to supply the necessary nutrition that these dudes need.

Fig. 1

I have been experimenting on potting mix for my urban farming, combinations on different types of soils and organic matter from available sources, that are as much as possible for free. Figure one was a result of unused fresh water sand topped with dead and decaying leaves.

Figure 2 was a result of sand that came from the sea literally, though topped with organic matters the salt from the sand took its toll! I suspected that this would happen, but I ran out of fresh water sand and by request someone brought me the other sand ^_^

Fig. 2


Fig. 3.b

Fig 3.c

Figure 3.a to Figure 3.c are results of mixtures of fresh water sand, garden soil and organic matters. These dudes are about a month old and we will have to wait a little more to see better or worst results. But I am hoping for the best!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Magna Daphnia

My first Magna Daphnia, I ordered online from Aqua pets at Kidapawan City. Bought it for 350 pesos including van shipping, same day pick up.

The first day these dudes arrived, they were like in hundreds by estimate. I was hesitant if I could help these dudes survive for the next 24 hours.

Luckily after 24 hours they are still alive and kicking by feeding them with used water from rice preparation.

If my culture is successful, I will sell some to local aquarist for their own live feeds for their aqua pets.

Currently I am reading and watching videos about these live feeds for pointers on how to successfully culture them for a sustainable food source of my tilapia.

Sunday, July 16, 2017


As results of trial and error progresses so as the level of tests. Mark II of vertical grow out for my plants are made of pvc Y and T fittings, this is a youtube inspired setup as endorsed by a friendly online forum admin sir James Howard in facebook group - Aquaponics Pinoy Enthusiasts. I prefer using the vertical method due to the space limitations that I have, I am only working on a 3 by 4 meters of flat land space excluding the re-purpose tank a 2m by 2m hollow and elevated concrete.

For the time being, I have used bulb onions as test subjects, and so far they all went well and healthy. Currently resources and work force are focused on building this setup surrounding this re-purposed tank. But at the moment the operation was on halt, due the the availability of cheap pvc fittings.

With respect to my current situation, I would like to recommend to fellow enthusiast the vertical setup for the plants' grow out. It saves space and manpower during cleaning, and ward off water dwelling pest and eliminates *dead zones that exists with horizontal setups. Moreover use same brand and quality of pvc fittings as much as possible to avoid conflict with dimensions and measurements during setups. For Starters who are involved with trial and error, Always buy the cheapest functional parts save and conserve your resources specially with pipes and fittings and buy your own tools or improvise your own.

Dead zones - an area where water stagnates and oxygenation is less or zero. For example are corners of a rectangular containers.

Although dead zones can be eliminated by putting drains or placing air diffusers or aerators. But it also depends on the shapes and sizes of containers. Weight in the pros and cons of your preferred grow beds. Good Speed to us all.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Red Tilapia Eggs

Curiosity is the mother of discovery, and for me it is also the mother of all teacher.

I was so curious how tilapia eggs would look like and would it be possible to have fish by incubating them outside the mothers mouth. The picture below shows how the eggs would look like when they are fertilized, they look yellowish, pale and white eggs are either unfertilized or dead. And other than curiosity, I wanted to learn to produce tilapia in a little bigger scale an indoor fish farm and vegetable garden.

During this time of my R&D, my skills and instruments are all lacking. I wasn't able to turn these eggs into fry. Googling showed me the way to, apparently one needs an egg tumbler that mimics the activity inside the mother tilapia's mouth during incubation period.

Another reason that caused the death of these eggs was the circulation of the water, it must be well oxygenated from an air pump or air compressor. Just like the mothers mouth, oxygenated water comes from her gills. Third reason is contamination, once there is no water circulation fungus can thrive, white fungus will develop around the eggs and infect them and eventually dies.

Using my imagination and creativity plus ingenuity, I created my own egg tumbler. After watching a few videos on youtube, I went to my stockpile of unused parts. A pvc adapter, a plastic screen and an acrylic tube that came with my siphon pump.

It was an amazing experience watching these dudes that look like little Nemos, taking care of them until they are ready on the real world. The picture below are fry with yolk sacks still on.

And finally swim up fry are cared and nurtured into advance fry. Feeding these dudes are laborious a 100% body weight ratio to their feeds and 10x a day feeding rate. I used the Tateh feeding guide that can be found by googling Tateh feeding guide.

The picture below are advance fry in close up. When they rich a length of 1 inch they are ready for transfer in the bigger fish tank for rearing or fattening.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Duckweed or Azolla

For a backyard aquaponics as a hobby or venture it is imperative to have a sustainable supply of inputs for the fish. Fish feeds are one of the essential component in having a successful and fruitful backyard aquaponics.

So this time I went to experimenting which is viable alternative fish feed for me to back locally available source and to save some cash for the development of my backyard aquaponics.

I ordered these duckweeds from Marikina. About 150 pesos excluding the shipping, though the plants arrived half dead, literally I manage to count what was lift was about a dozen of leaves, but luckily it manage to survive and thrive using waste water from my aquariums and light from the sun.

However these azollas where not as lucky as the duckweeds. These azollas came from Bulacan and same as the duckweed they arrived half dead.

But after a thorough reading and researching in the internet, azolla have a symbiotic relationship with the blue algae, that are probably sensitive to some chemicals that might be present with that rubber flotation device that I fabricated. I might try again next time with different approach. Because it is good to have variety of feeds for the fishes, especially live and fresh veges.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Urban Gardening Mark II

After few testings, I made more testings, experimenting with pots and recyclable resources from thrown away stuffs.

Air-lift water pump was my primary choice due to the price and power requirement issues.

Terra-cola was my best options during this phase of research and development, they are not only cheap but easy to find. I am also finding a way to split pvc pipes with less 'T' fittings, they are not cheap in a massive scale.

Some of the fruits from aquaponics grown tomatoes. Cute and shiny and delicious, these dudes taste like seedless guava like makopa.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Aquaponics Test Subjects

Part of practice in doing something for the first time is to test if things will do or work as imagined. Some of my test subjects during the early days of this R&D are ladyfingers, pechay, ginger and scallions.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Aquaponics Overdrive

When progressive results where coming in, I went from the styro to the DIY tubs. Using wood and ordinary liners, I made my first 4 feet by 2 feet fish tank.

 Clay pots and PVC tubes for fish nesting and resting.

I was surprise to see my fishes well and alive even though I use water directly from the faucet of our local water source.