Tomatoes Going Ornamental

Done the mint test for my Ornamental set that uses the 20 mm StrainerBell siphon, on this 15 mm siphon Ornamental set I am planting tomatoes to see how this siphon stand against those deep rooting plants.
This lone strawberry plants removed and pot it separately to make way for fresh tomatoes seedling.
Sown these few weeks back and they are ready to be transplanted to the ornamental set.
Planted it directly to hydroton and bury it as deep as I can.
I put two plants in one planting space, I guest that overdo it since I do four planting space on this small set.
Oh well.., just doing it to the extreme.
Bad photos since it already dusk, will need to snap fresh photo again tomorrow and replace.

Aquaponics - Up Close And Personal is a Hardware

A spare Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD was laying around not use much and gathering dust. Why don't I make something useful out of it, all the PC, Tabs, Phones even the Ipad in the house has its own camera so this webcam is extremely redundant.

Simple close up video shots is what I have in mind, so decide to make a quick retrofit to the Lifecam and make it able to focus further and at the same time giving better magnification shot.
Modifying the camera with an Eye Loupe, so got myself one of those cheap Loupe (ok the box says "LOOP") to use the lens as a magnifier for my Lifecam Cinema.
Doing a quickie check whether it work.
Just a quick twist the loupe is easy enough to dismantle and all I need is this lens.
The lens is loosely placed on the camera, wish I had bought a bigger loupe so that the lens will fit snuggly, but this will do. This lens is at 5x magnification, I will try other multiplication next time.
Use a simple tar putty that they use in Car accessories shop for fixing anything that rattle, this putty is sticky and removes cleanly. Next time I use other lens this can simply be removes and replace.
The camera came with its own flexible bracket, I use a GoPro base that has tripot 1/4 inch screw thread to use with a mini tripod. Need to secure it better, this is just a trial.
Not bad for a dollar modification, the intent is that I can make a close up video using various lens magnification value and at the same time keeping the camera as a distance where I can work with the subject like this watch for instance.
Yep, it works... need to buy few more Loupe to get other magnifying factor to test. Other webcam should work, just that I have this Lifecam Cinema handy that's all.

Solar Parts - Charge Controller And 12V DC Water Pump Unboxing

Two item has arrived earlier today, its the 5A Solar Charge Controller and a 12VDC 5W Water Pump. These two is part of the components needed to get my aquaponics into solar powered.

Below are unboxing video of the two.

Thanks for watching.

It's Tilapia Time Again, This Time Deep Fried

This current batch of Tilapia a little slow to grow, maybe not enough feed. If it is fed too much then it will form more fat in the fish. So give it a lean diet to reduce this fat, fish in the wild don't get fed twice daily, they forage for food and eat what they find.
 Catch few Tilapia today and have it deep fried as a simple dinner.
Each of these are palm size and just nice for Malay cooking.
 It's easy to catch since my fish tank is only 4 feet in length and about 12 inches of water.
 Five Tilapia in the pail and next to get them clean and prepared.
 Fresh fish, once cleaned next step is to marinate them.
I use a simple old traditional way of marinating with salt, turmeric and a bit or tamarind to flavor the fish and get rid of the fishy smell.
  Let it stand for few minutes, like half an hour.
Deep fried the fish in oil until golden brown, it will give good aroma since the fish is fresh of the tank.
 While it's being fried, I prepare the final flavoring. Onion slice, Chili and some garlic these for the final fried together with the last piece. It doesn't matter with which, but I normally do it with the last fish.
 Last fish in..
 Those onion, chili and garlic (whole) ready for your turn.
 Turn over the fish, only then add the above to fried with the side needs cooking.
 Once fish cooked, remove it and switch off the flame and scoop up the garnishes to add on top of the cooked fish.
Walla.. it's ready.
Simple and fresh, take it with hot rice and some fresh vegetable salad.. it priceless.

Cooking Deep Fried Aquaponics Garlic Chives Fritters

Making deep fried Aquaponics Garlic Chives Fritters, it is simple to make and encourage kids to eat vegetable.
You can add bean sprout, grated carrot, spring onion, leak or any herb to add flavoring.
Thanks for watching.

Crawfish Feeding Time Lapse

These Crayfish is very elusive and will hide the moment they saw me coming. I use the Samsung Galaxy S5 with Framelapse apps and leave the phone shooting for about 45 minutes at 1 frame per second.
Next time I will try not to feed them and get the camera ready before feeding, it may give better footage.

Anyway here is the timelapse footage.


Got my EDTA Fe few weeks ago at Nine Top Trading
My strawberry plant was showing sign of iron deficiency as below.
The plants not that healthy.
That was two weeks ago on 12th Nov, today its show sign of recovery with encouraging result.
It is still not as green as it should but nevertheless it is good to see some progress made after applying the EDTA Fe even some says that Aquaponics water is too high in ph that EDTA will not work.

My advise to those that are too concern about EDTA Fe is  - Don't read too much, practice then you will not get confuse over the information overload.

Solar Powered Aquaponics

The 15 mm StrainerBell siphon has manage to reduce water inflow to growbed hence pump power required is less, it is now possible to make a low cost solar set up due to this. Price of solar panels and its equipment can be less if power requirement is below 20 to 30 watt.
Above diagrams is a simple setup which make use of the 15 mm StrainerBell siphon in a media base flood & drain  growbed over a fish tank and the following components;

  1. 12V/24V 3A/5A Charge Controller
  2. 12 VDC 5 watt DC Submersible pump
  3. 20 ~ 30 watt Solar Panels
  4. Battery

Item 1 ~ 3 total cost should not be more than USD 50.00 ~ 60.00 as in ebay, but the battery will be subjective either new or used.

Excess power from the solar panels is stored to the battery for over night use, the pump and charge controller estimated current requirement is less than 1/2 ampere at 12 volts DC.

Strawberry Cutting - Almost 3 weeks

It was done here and almost three weeks has pass for this cutting, and at last it show new growth.... walla.. it survive.. well at least until today.
Small leaf has emerges and hope it grow this next few weeks.

Update 26th Nov - Surviving

15 MM StrainerBell Siphon

The 25 mm (1 inch) Funnel Bell Siphon was the first siphon that I made after few months of trying out various siphon style to get a good water control of the aquaponics growbed. It is reliable in its operation and has made my aquaponics quest a breeze.
I later made a smaller 20 mm siphon which are able to do same function as the 25 mm but with less parts, smaller and lighter to shipped. Smaller siphon will requires less water inflow to operates thus making power consumption of the water pump less as compared to its bigger brother.
I had been toying with even smaller siphon ever since I started aquaponics, in fact the first siphon that I made make use of 15 mm size stand pipe, however it was without the funnel for that venturi effect making in operationally unreliable. Again the smaller 15 mm siphon was use when I was testing hydroton somewhere early 2010 as here and photo below.
The siphon that I use in the above photo around February 2010 was a 15 mm siphon with strainer and bell enclosure. I did not use this design much because at that time it was very difficult to control.
Video of my earlier 20 mm Siphon just as a reference, this siphon has been replace with the current StrainerBell design which is easier and cheaper to make.
Since then I had gain more and more knowledge in the operation and tuning of the siphon making the 15 mm size standpipe a viable option again.

Few days ago I made a Crayfish tank and I decide to make use of the 15 mm siphon, this time it is a StrainerBell design to be use with the tank for water circulation purpose as in photo below.
The smaller the siphon, the more difficult it is to get right. This is due to its operational tolerance is very small, e.g. the water inflow required is small and the pump that being use also will be small, if there is degradation of pump in the case of blockage or age then water flow affected thus making the siphon fail to operate correctly.

I'm making another 15 mm siphon for my Ornamental set which currently using 20 mm siphon. The main reason why I am keen on trying this smaller size siphon is only for one reason that is for energy saving. Due to smaller inflow requirement, this siphon will be able to operate with a 5 watt pump, this small power requirement is ideal if we want to be off grid and operates aquaponics with solar energy.

Smaller water inflow also means that we may be able to get the siphon to operates with water from an airlift pump which we could powered by compressed air from a hand pump reservoir or just a tiny aerator which consume even less power.
On the left is the 15 mm StrainerBell siphon and the right is the 20 mm, all parts are the same just that it is 1 step smaller.
The siphon is installed to my spare Ornamental set for testing, which I need to verify it operational reliability and problems in actual growbed environment for at least six months before I can make any recommendations.
Installation is same like the 20 mm, it is just smaller. The extender tube is a 25 mm size then a 25 to 15 mm reducer to do the venturi.
Capped and ready to go.
I use as smaller pump, 20 mm siphon uses 1000 liter per hour pump, this 15 mm siphon uses 500 liter per hour pump.
Even at 500 liter per hour with 2 ft head, water inflow is still too much for this siphon. Above pump is rated at 7.7 watt, from my test a 5 watt pump is sufficient. This 15 mm siphon can do growbed size up to 10 sq ft. 

The energy requirement is 5 watt for each siphon, the electricity cost is calculated as below for Malaysian electricity tariff;
  • 5 watt x 24 hrs x 30 days = 3.6 kwh which will cost about RM 1.30 (USD 0.42) per month of operation.
  • It work out that on average this 15 mm siphon requires 1/2 watt of electricity per sq ft of growbed space.

Siphon top part is fixed in its design and tuning it can only be adjusted to set water level, what left is the outlet to be tune. Like a two stroke bike, the entire air path need to be tune for optimum operation, which will include air intake right down to the exhaust chamber for balancing the airflow.
Siphon is the same, we will need to tune it making an optimum water path and since the inlet part is already fix what's left will be the outlet part to be adjusted to suit. As a baseline design, standard double elbow arrangement works in most cases, but it has its limitation, if water inflow above or below the baseline for the siphon, the outlet needs to be modified.
Below are various outlet style that I am trying to get the optimum operation with water inflow more than what is needed.
Few more as follows, it is for illustration only. Each of these will require a long explanation of why it is that way.
Each outlet is tailored to specific condition of what we want to do to the siphon, either to reduce noise, to increase aeration or to compensate for too much or too little water.
There is more that the above design of outlet that I am currently testing for this 15 mm StrainerBell siphon and so far it's holding fine after few hours of operation. Now let see whether it can still hold after six months.