Aquaponics Tips - Water Loss Compensation

Water loss is a big issue over here in hot equatorial weather especially during dry spell. It will affect more on smaller system, and to be away for a week or so then it could be a disaster waiting to happen.
To  compensate during this period of hot spell or unattended system running I decided to make a trickle water compensation into my fish tank. I saw it was done by Zulhairi in his blog site and it's a good idea.
I use a small tap and hose that commonly use for water filter and just metered the flow rate by adjusting tap position. I need about 5 ~ 6 liter per hour flow rate. The measuring container above was use to check how much water flow after about 15 minutes. The rest is just adjusting tap to get the approximate correct flow.

Update 22/7/2013 : After 2 days of operation, I readjust water to 4 Liter/hour flow rate. Will be monitoring these next two weeks.
Once I had obtain the correct flow, the small tap handle is removed and safe-keep, this to ensure no accidental closing or opening of this tap that could cause major problem to my set. Basically to keep off "small fingers" from messing with it. Full water shut off is by closing that water cock on the wall below the tap if trickle flow is not needed.
Water trickling into fish tank. Chlorine is not a major concern since the flow is too small.

Update : 11 August 2013

I left my Aquaponics set unattended for 5 days during a festive holiday, no problem at all with water level. It maintain just nice throughout the period running by itself. Water level sufficient and no sign of over spilling or too much water. Adjusted rate is 4 liter per hour drip. Total water volume in system is about 1200 liter and at 4 liter its will be about 96 Liter daily @ 8% compensation.

Kuchai - Chinese Chives

Kuchai or Chinese Chives, some even called it Garlic Chives scientific name Allium_tuberosum is a common vegetable in South East Asia region. This plant leaves and flower stalk are use as flavouring as well as stir fry ingredient for many dishes. One dish that come to mind is Char Kueh Teow
Tried so many ways growing this plant all failed in my attempt. They say it can be grown from seeds forget it, it's very difficult to germinate.
This plant is best grown from its perennial clumps below which just as difficult to obtain. This plants is only grown once and it will provide endless supply of fresh cuttings through out its life span.
Planted in Aquaponics growbeds at roughly six inches spacing.
It slowly recover at about 2 weeks and start to grow and after about 30 days it fully recover from the transplanting and ready to harvest after 40 days as shown below.
Its a healthy growth in Aquaponics for this plant, I'll still need to monitor on how best to adjust water level for this plant.
No fertilizer or any supplement were use for this plant, looks like it take to Aquaponics nicely.
Above and below Kuchai Flower and pods.
Cuttings about half an inch from growbed level.
Pick few cluster for dinner.
About 20 stalk, these from 4 cluster, just a single row from my growbed.
Above, what's left from one cluster. Let it grow like grass. This plant will grow at about 2 inches per day to about 12 ~ 18 inches in length. It will takes about 2 weeks to reach cutting height again.
Cut into short strip for stir fry with tofu and bean sprout.
yummy...... Vegetarian Delight.

Terung Panjang - Brinjal or Eggplant

Terung Panjang in Malay, Brinjal, Aubergine or Eggplant (Solanum melongena) as they were called in various parts of the world has many variety. The ones that I tried is of the long purple variety.
Started from seeds and easily sowed either direct on to the growbed or in sowing pot they are equally easy to germinate. Seeds very much looks like chili seed and can be easily mixed up within the two.
After about three days the seed germinate and after ten days from sowing it will look like above, too small to tell the different from other plants. It grows very well in Aquaponics and a fast grower too. Below after about 20 days.
It will start to flower quite early, but its best if the plant is small to remove all flower to let the plant grow. This is always the case when seedling were bought from nurseries where they already grown in poly bag and you will not be sure of its age like below.
It is best to grow from seed, they will be stronger and grow at a faster rate. They will start to flower after 45 to 60 days and bear fruits once flower started to drop off.
In Aquaponics set, the initial batch of flower may not turn to fruits may be due to system not mature or not enough nutrient. This plant will recover even through the growbeds are not mature during initial planting. Once they recover they will produce many fruit for the home kitchen which ready for picking after about 3 to 4 week after flowering.
I'm trying out six plant to a growbed that I normally use, its a bit over crowded but trying out. If there is problem I'll reduce to four per growbed. Its recommended 18 inches between plants.

White flies and aphids are the main culprit here, and I use Neem spray on my set to get rid of them. Ladybugs do a good job to to keep those pest at bay. Even spider is a good pest control  to rid the white flies. Caterpillar don't seems to like this plant, so far only white flies making under leaves their homes.
This plant is a good vegetable for Aquaponics, it's easily grown quite resistant to pest and produce many fruits during it life cycle.