A Lost Hippy
The lost hippy just goes to show how cheaply and easily you can start an aquaponics system using readily available items that others are throwing away. In his own words “I went for a gleaning day through the local industrial area and got more 44 gallon drums than I needed, some wheel rims, 2 beds, pallets etc!. The only thing getting in the way now is work.”
To be able to work with the 24 degree slope of his land the drums were dug in before being filled with water to keep them in place. Pallets were placed above them to create a base for the top third of an IBC that he was going to use as a growbed. Other growbeds included 160 litre black plastic tubs from Bunnings, the national hardware chain store, and preloved bath tubs.
Many of the plumbing components came from demolition yards and the local hardware store. He confesses that he has spent countless hours reading the Backyard Aquaponics forum and asking numerous questions.
The growbeds are filled with a course gravel medium which is irrigated from the fish tank along pvc pipes which then change to a black poly pipe. An inline tap is fitted and water is then diverted to each of the growbeds, where it drains with the help of a siphon.
A siphon system relies on a certain level of water being in the system. Water levels must be kept up to allow the siphons to run, if the level drops the siphons are unable to operate. Fortunately he installed a diversion pipe back to the sump which means if the siphons failed to trigger the pump would still be moving water and wouldn’t pump dry. One bucket of water can make all the difference and when added to the system is all that was required to trigger the siphons and away it goes again. This can become a problem in areas that are both hot and dry and prone to high evaporation rates.