After nearly two months, my indoor aquaponics, which initially planned as germination station, have been revised with some improvements. First, let’s take a look back at what I had previously.
These pak choy were 7 weeks old, and ready to be harvested, however the growth were stunted and had nutrient deficiencies.
This filter is a bit too small, I had to clean it up frequently (between 3-4 days), and the filtering capability was not satisfactory, the aquarium water became murky in 2-3 days after water change.
The biggest problem with the previous design was algae problem, with the water exposed to the grow light, algae grew thick on the water surface consuming oxygen and nutrient. Water exposed also allowed mosquitoes to breed in the water.
Learning from my mistakes on the first design, I modified it and completed the changes last week, and here it goes.
Filter box now bigger, however I don’t have enough clay pebbles so I top it up with the unused K1 bio media. Water from the aquarium now need to travel further to the outlet, and solid waste got filtered out by the media.
Filter outlet is about an inch below the media level, to prevent water from exposed directly to grow light thus prevent algae growth.
Grow area is covered with styrofoam, plant holes are covered with net pots filled with clay pebbles, which also intended to solve algae problem.
Clay pebbles are filled fully to the top. This styrofoam is recycled from the previous aquaponics set, where the plant holes are 6 inches apart.
The plumbing also got changed a bit, where I put a tee from the pump, one redirect water back to the aquarium, fitted with ball valve to control the water flow, and another out directly to the filter box above.
So far, the filtering capability is quite good, there are no solid waste inside the aquarium. Photo above is the 3rd day after I run the system and feed once daily. I need to monitor it for a few weeks more to see the end result. For now, I’ll be using potting mix to germinate the seeds.
Previous filter method which was using tea filter wasn’t good enough, it got clogged very quickly. So now I changed the design to use just clay pebbles to do the job.
I’m reusing a plastic container, fill it with clay pebbles (C), water from the aquarium entering the filter at A, as water flowing towards hole B, the solid waste will be filtered by the pebbles.
Here’s how it looks like. In addition to that, I add more grow lights since I saw the seedlings became elongated, a sign that plant is looking for lights.
Previous batch of pak choy and sawi putih seedlings already been transplanted to raised beds. I left a few to continue growing inside the aquaponics set as an experiment. Currently they’re showing signs of nutrient deficiencies, maybe nitrogen (leaf not enough green, almost become white) since the system is still new and not enough bacteria to produce nitrate, or maybe also iron or calcium (older leaf became burnt and died).