I believe that being part of your food production is an important aspect of being human. However, understandably many people live in areas that have a limited amount of space for growing, and are limited in what they are allowed to do with that space. If I were some supreme being and had myself a magic wand there are many different permaculture ideas that I would instantly implement throughout all cities that would make them a better place with some actual food security. But I don’t have a magic wand, or even that much influence (yet). But I do have ideas, and I do think that I can help bring awesome ideas to people with limited space.
Right now I am working on developing a Desktop Aquaponic system. I am doing this for a few different reasons. Its an inexpensive way for me to get into aquaponics and learn about it before I invest in a larger system. It is something that that would fit in almost anyone’s house, or apartment (making it accessible to a large amount of people,) and people like to keep fish tanks anyways, so why not just expand on what people already have. I also have a special affinity for goldfish that, if you follow my blog long enough, you are bound to learn the story behind it.
So far I have decided that I will do two different systems. We were lucky enough to find a second 10 gallon fish tank for free on craigslist to go with the tank we already had. They second tank even came with a goldfish, as well as other equipment that is typically used when keeping goldfish, but more on the fish later. I am planning on doing both a flood and drain system and a continuous flow system. The flood and drain system will also have a vortex filter to help settle out the solids. I decided to add in the vortex filter simply because I think they are cool and I want to make one. In such a small system you would not actually need a vortex filter. One thing about this project that is important to me; is that it looks good. Most of the homebuilt systems that you see on youtube are not pretty. They are not something your wife would typically let you leave on the counter. So while I was working on a different project my wife built an attractive box to put the grow tubs in. It makes it look like a flower bed instead of a couple Tupperware containers. (I think this is a good time to inform everyone out there I have an amazingly talented wife that can not only cook, but can build, and works like a beast.)
The other part of this project that I have finished is the bell siphon, which is part of the flood and drain system. The bell siphon is basically a stand pipe with a PVC ‘bell’ over it. As the grow bed fills with water it gets to the top of the stand pipe and water starts to drain through. As the water drains through it causes pressure to build causing the siphon and draining the entire bed. To see my bell siphon in action check out my youtube video. http://youtu.be/1Ygm1hYVNfU. While watching different youtube videos on bell siphons I heard multiple people say that they had a hard time getting the siphon to work. My first test did not work, so then I added a piece of pex. Pex for those of you that do not know is a newer type of plumping. It is a slightly flexible pipe that reminds one a bit of a hose. This addition made it work perfectly as you can see in the video. For what I can deduce you need to have something attached in addition to the standpipe to allows for a greater build up of pressure.
This is where I am in the system so far. I will continue to post updates as I make my way through building both systems. Before I go though, these are our wonderful goldfish that will be participating in the system. The large black fish is a Black Moore and his name is Tanquar. The two orange and white fish are named Grumbrak and Cilghal. Cilghal being the larger one. For those of you that are not nerdy enough to know where I got those names they are all characters from Star Wars that are part of the Mon Calamari race. May the Force be with you!