Last week my colleague and his wife catch Dengue fever and few days ago the wife passed away due to it. Numerous cases are on going and many people are getting this to the extend that, not so serious case were turn away by the hospital because they can't cope with the number of patient turning in.
Dengue fever is transmitted by Aedes Mosquito, they transfer the virus from an infected person to another while making their round sucking blood for their reproductive cycle. Adult female mosquito need blood to produce eggs. Once ready to lay eggs they will search body of water to do their job and the rest will be following their normal cycle from eggs to larvae to pupae then back to Mosquito.
Photo : www.mosquitoes.org
To reduce the mosquito population we need to break this cycle, either getting rid of stagnant water catchment, putting poison to the water itself or having fish to eliminate those larvae. Stagnant water are very difficult to get rid of, it is not the pots and containers around the house which is easy to get rid of that I am worried about but the drains that around any housing area over here in Malaysia are the main culprit. After rainy season will come a dry spell, this is the period where mosquito will have access to water patches that has not dried up which is stagnant and ready to accept mosquito eggs. All they need is about 5 days to get from eggs to mosquito.
Photo from : www.michican.gov
Over the years that I practice Aquaponics, can't help but notice that whenever we have fish ponds or container with live fish, mosquito population within that area drop a little. I did a short experiment to see whether mosquito will lay eggs in an aquaponics system. The result is a big "YES" they will, this is due to the aquaponics flush and drain cycle has that moments of still water. Photo below are few mosquito larvae within my aquaponics set that I use for this experiment.
Many larvae can be found in this small set, which I then eliminate by introducing fish.
Larvae can be easily controlled by adding fish like Tilapia, Tiger Barb or even Gourami to the container hence discontinuing the mosquito reproductive cycle. In this set I use Tiger Barb which is colorful and cheap, Guppy is not that effective since they are not that aggresive and easily die off.
Base on this I made my ornamental set, to provide an easy place for mosquito to lay their eggs which we will then be able to stop their cycle of reproduction by using fish.
Providing an easy place for mosquito to breed will ensure they don't breed in area where you will not have access to, like drains and gutters. Ornamental or even Practical Aquaponics set we have an easier way to help reduce mosquito population and at least do our part in reducing the Dengue epidemic that we are currently experiencing.
Just remember there is no cure for Dengue but we could help to reduce it.
This is the final kit that I mailed to my Daughter for her "Show and Tell"
It is a slight refinement from set below that I use to test the very small siphon on.
It's works, not sure in the long run. But for a "Show and Tell" it will amaze people because of the concept. To get a siphon going reliably at this size is really difficult took me slightly more than a week to get it working without hiccup from baseline design. Now it's easy once I know what are the areas to look at :)
Growbed or more like a growpot or Tupperware is this plastic container which cost me a Dollar, the expensive part is the r&d if you could call it that. At the moment this unit I can't make it available to anyone because my kid is using it for her school project. :) Please give her a head start and I'll share later.
Make changes to the set, making it more compact and presentable at the same time practical. It's obvious the first alteration needed is the way the growbed is mounted. So I cut the stand and have it on top of the flower pot.
It is still a prototype, I need to make improvement to the stand so that it is secure. In the condition above it will be prone to tumble due to the very narrow pot area to have the stand placed on.
Hydroton added and some guppies as the starter fish to get things booted up on this set. Plants will be added later, still figuring out what type to use. I am getting another pot which is bigger to pair with this growbed and make improvement on the stand by making some bracket to help secure it to the pot.
Guppies as above getting use to the siphon cycle, aeration and water cycling is good with the slightly redesign 20 mm "Bell Less" siphon. Water feed using clear PVC tubes from a small 500 liter/hr pump. Later on I will change the clear tube to a more opaque colour to ensure no algae growth within. This is a test unit so I need to see what happening to it as much as I can.
The siphon down wash, plenty of bubbles and those holes on the down pipe help to aerate and reduce noise. I need to timed the cycle and probably make a walk through video showing the small set.
I use the pump on the left above for this set, no particular brand recommended just that I have this in hand and might as well use it. It is a very low cost pump something like seven dollar with low power requirements. The other pump is the one that I use on my daughter's requested Micro Aquaponics set, for school "Show and Tell" That's about it on this Ornamental Aquaponics, I will continue testing it and make improvement along the way. The most important is to address the safety issue, the reliability part of the set I can say it's good to go.
It all started with my daughter request to make a small aquaponics unit for demonstration purpose, then it strike me that people are more interested in Ornamental than Practical Aquaponics. Made a small kit, it is undergoing testing to see whether the siphon will work without hiccups.
Ornamental Aquaponics something new to thinker about, I specialise in flood and drain so it will be no brainier to figure out that I must do it with a siphon. The problem is to get a reliable siphon at such a small inflow, I did made a tiny siphon with 15 mm pvc but at that size it is unreliable. I had also made a 20 mm siphon, but it is too big for this tiny unit, so I decide to try a hybrid of 20 and 15.
It works !!! video below as I post yesterday.
Okay, now let do it seriously, to be ornamental it must be pretty... right.. that one factor that cost money. Anything pretty must cost money... so.. since I manage to get the siphon works really well.. now to get the pretty factor.
First try below... , still ugly.. well.. it doesn't cost a bomb.. what do you expect... once I know it work.. then I will do a make over.
I use mini "strainer bell" or "bell less" siphon for this set at the moment, will revise to a different design. It is difficult to get parts at this size. The siphon below is the shorter version from above.
Growbed is a water plants flower pot, they do not have holes on the bottom. I make a hole for the 20 mm stand pipe and an outlet as usual.
Bricks were use as a ballast, so that not much water needed to fill the grow bowl since it is not filled with LECA yet. Water pump is at 500 liter per hour rating, from the flow it looks much less that that. Ideally the grow bowl should be directly above the fish tank, I must modified the stand to make it stand on top of the fish tank.
Will test this for next few months and on the mean time I hope it will get prettier by itself.
Making one micro set, it is very difficult. Need to test to ensure it work.
This micro set is made using two cookie jar, with siphon holding cap in place. One jar were cut to make the growbed and the other I made access hole for water feed outlet and fish feeding. Video above is the testing of this prototype, need more work on it to make it presentable.
It's mid January and rainy season is just about over, now it's time to replant. I sown feed seeds this few weeks, some germinate and some don't. It is time to transplant few to the growbed. Carrot is my first trial this year and it is fragile so very carefully I transplanted these to the growbed.
Next is these coriander or is it parsley, same as carrot they are fragile.
Broccoli below at another part of the same growbed as above.
Waiting for few more seedling to be at manageable size before I could move them on to growbed. I've not tried any of these plant before, it will be part of my test on aquaponics whether it is successful or not.
I am sure everyone heard the story about "Ars# Hole that wanted to be boss", the siphon world is no differ. Tweak all you like the top part, if the bottom outlet is not happy then you are in for a trouble. Apart from having a reliable siphon, good aeration is key important for a successful aquaponics system, instead of using a separate aeration pump it is beneficial to make use of the return water to aerate the fish tank.
What we need to do is to get more from what already given from water splash, introducing turbulence and giving air a chance to mix in will do just that and at the same time reduce noise from returning water.
It was some time that I looked at the Siphon Outlet, it's the unsung hero of aquaponics that been neglected since its work so well.
I did some work due to high water problem then rework to improve aeration and noise reduction, all the work done so far is with regards to variations of the double elbow. Its time to go straight. I know that we need some form of restriction to create the back pressure making siphon operation more reliable and able to start at lower water inflow as compared to no restriction as in some test I did previously in search for a silence siphon.
Going Straight It's Christmas today, I am at home. So its time to do some tweaking. I am making the outlet straight to suit some installation where it's needed to be that way and at the same time trying to maintain maximum aeration with low noise level from the splash.
Above siphon outlet works well and hardly need any improvement, but on certain installation it just need to be straight. Multiple siphon going into a manifold for example will require a straight outlet to make it easier for system layout and reduce chances of leak. Having a straight down pipe with 25 mm tube as below, does not work well. It requires more inflow to start a siphon so its not a good option.
We need restriction to make it work with less water, either in the form of an elbow or some other means. Below a simple restrictor that I made few years back.
This time I decide to use a reducer making the restriction and try to manipulate it to give same or more aeration and less noise on the set. Below is the first trial with a simple 25 to 20 reducer.
Addition of a 20 mm tube with holes to provide better aeration and noise reduction.
Making a venturi below with 2 reducer back to back, hoping it can create improvement and making the final outlet same size as initial which is 25 mm.
Above outlet has been shortened to accommodate and may need to be further reduce its length on some installation.
I replaced three of my growbed double elbow outlet to test out variations of straight outlet to see how it perform over time. It need to be tested with varying water inflow to at least comparable to that of the double elbow outlet rate.
So there goes, I will be testing these for next few months before I can make this outlet for someone else.
Hi I'm Affnan an Aquaponics Enthusiast located in Shah Alam, Malaysia. My Aquaponics involvement started few years back in 2008 moving from water gardening and ornamental fish keeping.
I practice Urban Aquaponics specializing in Flood & Drain setup using Siphon, trying Ornamental or to produce vegetables and fish for household needs.
This blog is about my day to day progress trying to achieve that, new things discovered or improvement on old. It will also be some blunders that I've made. So that, it will be lesson learned and not repeated.
Enjoy your visit and hope it’s beneficial to both you and me.