Its Technology At Its Best - My 31st Post on 31st August 2014 - Merdeka

I have been a blogger since 2006, the Aquaponics blog was up in 2009 after I had learn some of its basic and confident that it will be something good. My earlier photos and videos was done on a Canon IXUS V3 which was cutting edge technology at its time and bloody expensive for a 3.2 mega pixel camera that struggle to do VGA videos. Its price is equivalent to a Sony Alpha 6000 at present day rate.
My first aquaponics video was done on a Nokia E71 smart phone, its long gone retired to Tech heaven after serving very well as phones but not so much as a video recorder. Video below was done with this phone, it was my attempt to make known my siphon design to those that is interested in trying it out.

Time passed us by and more cameras, phones etc then most of my videos and photos were made on my trusty Panasonic Lumix LX5. It is capable of 720p video and good still image resolution. This camera give me the confident to get a good shot most of the time, but to get those photos on line is a hassle to do.
It is a good camera, but then Lumix LX7 were out however feature wise it is not worth an upgrade. Action cam GoPro Hero 3 Black is use mostly for my motoring shots, as a video cam it is difficult to use since it does not have a view finder or screen of any sort.

Above video was done with the Lumix LX5, it is a good camera and can do good video with enough time on each take. Along side this camera I did use a Nikon D5000 DSLR, but it is large and not practical to do video since it lack auto focus.

Lumix LX5 was my main camera to do most video and still until smart phones like the Samsung Note start to emerge in the market. I find that I am using more and more of the phone for my still shot and reserve only video to the LX5.

However things starting to head totally towards smart phones with introduction of Samsung Galaxy S5,  I find that not only it do satisfactory photos for blog post but it will do great video too. It has video auto focus and all the bang and whistle in a small package, photo compression, watermark and even a blogging apps that put icing on the cake.
I am not a fan of selfie but a phone holder on a tripod make this phone a good video capture device sufficient for my blogging needs. It small size and powerful features make it ideal for blog on the go and not to mentioned replying to email and facebook messenger send to me.

Video above was shot using the Galaxy S5 with audio from a Sony IC Recorder doing a voice over with Corel Video Studio Pro X6 software.
Technology has change so much over the last few years, it is just like yesterday that I still can recall my first computer the ZX81 by Sinclair with a whooping 256k of memory trying to programmed for a few hours making dot to cross the TV screen.

All this technological advancement is good, and I'll try to use it to make better blog and give easier to understand video and blog post.


Going Straight Is Not That Hard - Closure

I was experimenting with Straight Siphon Outlet by using various reducer. I found that straight, though it work will require more water flow to start off. This more flow require is due to air within the siphon chamber require to be emptied gradually as the siphon about to start.

After experimenting with the above design, I find that to operate a siphon with lower water inflow an elbow is required as in photo below. This outlet shown below is making use of a 25 mm to 20 mm reducer which makes it more stable and reduce noise as well.

This particular outlet style I don't recommend any extension horizontally after this elbow it will cause the siphon slow to cut off due to water lock within this elbow to final water out. What happen as the elbow is during initial siphon starting, water drop down the tube will hit the elbow ad this cause temporary seal, gating the water out and at same time draw air out from above. As the air depleted from the siphon bell it will cause a flush since the gating effect will now draw water downward.

The 25mm to 20mm reducer is just to ensure the siphon is more stable at lower water inflow. Using a 25 mm tube all the way on this arrangement require more inflow, since "elbow gating" will require more water to creates.

This is a closure video of my Straight Outlet that I was experimenting few months ago. It was tested extensively and I find that though it work but it requires more water flow to start. This will make it dependent on water inflow.

The outlet in this video make use of a 25mm to 20mm reducer with a long neck to an elbow at bottom most of the pipe. This elbow form a water gate pulsing to emptied the siphon bell causing flush at lower water inflow as compared to straight flow outlet.

Merdeka Merdeka Merdeka

Today 31st August 2014 marked 57th Malaysia Independence.

Malaysia oh tanah air ku
Tanah tempat tumpah darah ku
Negeri elok amat ku cinta
Yang ku puja sepanjang masa

Sawah mu terbentang meluas
Tumbuh-tumbuhan hijau merendang
Bukit mu lurusnya terbentang
Tak jemu mata ku memandang

Sungguh indah di Malaysia
Negeri yang kaya raya
Tempat pusat berniaga
Terkenal di seluruh dunia

Malaysia negeri ku Malaysia
Pusaka tinggalan moyang ku
Tetap sentosa hidup merdeka
Malaysia tanah air ku

Merdeka Merdeka Merdeka Merdeka Merdeka Merdeka Merdeka

Elusive Tilapia - Larvae Eliminator

One of my growbed on the back is using the potted flood and drain style of aquaponics setup. Having this kind of setup means there will be water surrounding the pots since they are standing in it. Where there is water there will be mosquito larvae.
Dengue fever is on an outbreak over here, and having standing water without fish is just a no go at this moment. So inside this growbed I have two small tilapia elusively hiding from view and they are task to ensure no mosquito larvae to be in their residence.
 Very difficult to spot but they are there doing their job silently.
Have to hide to get a better shot, before they disappear between those pots.
Once they get bigger I'll need to get fresh replacement for another couple of months. Water level will reduce to about one and a half inch during flushing, this size fish can do this water level.
So far, they had done a great job. No sign of any mosquito larvae.

Pandan Revisited

Did Pandan way back in 2010, this plant normally we will grow along the roads or in backyard in Kampung area. This plant can easily grown out of control and this was one of the main reason why I decided to pull it all out.
This time I am ready for it, I'll use pot to contain it within that boundary. We only need a small amount at a go and just one or two blade of the Pandan leaves is all that is needed for most of our cooking.
Select two small cluster for growing it in my aquaponics growbed. The smaller size is manageable and if I took a bigger plant it will be difficult to do in pot.
Trimmed most of the bigger bottom leaves and cut back those roots to get it into the pot. Since it's going to be in aquaponics it will not need that much root as a start. Let it regrow and bind all the LECA together as it grows.
Surplus old square container that I use to grow Rosemary is perfect for this task. It's the biggest I have for this job. LECA was from the Gandarusa project, three pots required for filling this square container.
In goes the pair and filled up with LECA to just able to get them straight. I will add more LECA as they grow.
Into the growbed as potted flood and drain, this arrangement the plant will not goes wild and colonized the entire growbed as it did few years back. Being in container it will be easily managed as needed.

Equatorial Lowland Strawberry Project - Video 29th August 2014

This is my first video on this project, I hope it can spark more interest for such project in the Equatorial Lowland.

Thanks for watching

Testimonial - Thank You For Mentioning My Name.

I never posted testimonial before, but this is a good one.
I am glad that the siphon that I design has help many people, I can never be rich because of it but thank you all for mentioning my name.

Equatorial Lowland Strawberry Project - Journal 27th August 2014

This Daughter plant giving out many runners, will let it do this for a couple of months then let it grow by clipping off any new runner produce. I want to get as many new plant as possible this few months to fill up my growbeds.
In the mean time any new flower buds will be clip off to prevent plants flowering and let them concentrate in producing runners and growth.
Few buds clipped if left to flower, plant will be slow to grow and be weak due to root system not growing as needed. So far all plants survive and hopefully I manage to get more plants from initial batch that was purchased from Cameron Highland.

Turmeric Planting

Turmeric leaves give nice fragrant for Asian dishes, sowing few roots today. Bought few roots last Monday and planting it today before it dry up.
Plenty of roots for a few buck and they do well in aquaponics provided the water level is not set too high. Turmeric requires thicker dry zones so that the root does not get water soak and turn bad.
Decided to use pots within growbed, this way it is easier to manage, especially for turmeric where it needs thicker dry zones. Filled pots with LECA then lay those roots before covering it fully. These pots can be raised to adjust water level relative to the pot individually. This way it will not affect other plants that may not requires such condition.
Four pots in all and they will be in the growbed to grow.
Turmeric will takes some time to grow new shoots, it's very slow. I can easily move these pot around if needed to suit planting requirement of just to clean the tub.

Selangor Green Lane

Where is Selangor Green Lane ? It is the stretch of road from Shah Alam to Sungai Buloh a few kilometers long. Although the road is long but major activities concentrate along the stretch near Kota Damnansara at GPS Location : 3.170935, 101.570790
There are many Garden Centres and Aquarium shop along this road, the popular ones with Aquaponics and Hydroponic hobbyist is Lot 19 for LECA and few other items needed for growbed.

I stayed nearby and is convenient for me to drop in these places daily if I need something or just window shopping (well not exactly window) maybe "Lawn Shopping" is more appropriate for ideas or just figuring out how to solve some problem I have with installation, fixtures or just need containers for some project that I am doing.

Today is no exception, I am just looking for "something" that is suitable for doing another "something" . The fun part is you can have ideas in your head but, most of the time it is not available ready made, so most of the time I need to improvise to get as best to the idea that I have.
I am posting few photos, nothing in particular just giving some idea of what available at these places. I am not recommending nor condemning any Lot in particular, most of them are doing their business and as usual some are good and some are not.
Ornamental sets for home are plenty to choose from, they are made of fiberglass and fabricate to look like porcelain. There are also porcelain set which is heavier and cost more.
All sort of shape style and sizes.
Some of these set can be adopted to do aquaponics, however they are more for ornamental style not so much at producing anything for family consumption.
Plants and more plants, very refreshing to see. This Lot 36 do sell few pots that I like, will keep this lot in view.
Most of these places are manned by Bangladeshi they are okay, but for more expensive stuff do negotiate with the owners.
Owners are more concern about their business as compared to workers, so Lot owners generally will be more friendly and better at customer relation.
44 is not a good number for the Chinese, but I hope the owner is not superstitious. More flower at this place and they also do herbs.
and more pots.
Nice minimalist design for water features.
Rows of water pot, these are without holes, use for water plants like lotus or water lily.
Nothing in particular.
They also have a place that deal with these, beautiful wood furniture. Great for patio or gazebos, they do make gazebos for those that wanted it.

I am not going to post all photos of all the places, it will be endless but I'll add the aquarium shop later in this post.

Below is a list of Lot at Selangor Green Lane and I'll add more as I can get them.
  • Lot 16 SMM Landscape Sdn Bhd
  • Lot 18 Pun Sam Nursery
  • Lot 19 Wellgrow Horti
  • Lot 21 Warisan Hijau Tropics Landscape Sdn Bhd
  • Lot 22 Scenic Tropical Garden
  • Lot 23 Soon Lee Nursery
  • Lot 24 Kean Huat Nursery & Landscaping Sdn Bhd
  • Lot 28 Vase Trading
  • Lot 29 Nurseri Inspirasi Bestari
  • Lot 38 Pelangi Landscape Sdn Bhd
  • Lot 43 Sun Beauty Home & Landscaping Trading Sdn Bhd
  • Lot 44 My Unique Garden
  • Lot 49 Delima Tani (M) Sdn Bhd
  • Lot 51 Aquarium Shop
  • Lot 52 Mohd Amin Nurseries
  • Lot 55 Everflora Nursery & Landscape
  • Lot 56 Evershine Garden
  • Lot 57 Hew Pang Keong
  • Lot 61 Paling Horticulture Sdn Bhd
  • Lot 62 Aquarium Shop
  • Lot 64 Chia Yit Nursery
  • Lot 66 K.C. Landscape Services
  • Lot 67 Asia Nursery
  • Lot 69 Green Acre Florist & Orchid Shop
  • Lot 70 Soon Li Bonsai Nursery

Making Another Set To Test Out

LECA is costly so using it in large quantity is expensive. I will always try to make aquaponics either easier or cheaper to do, without sacrificing its reliability and functionality.
As usual nearest place for me is Selangor Green Lane in Shah Alam near Kota Damansara and spend almost two hours hopping from one place to another. Lot 56 above is just an example and there are many other places that do similar items.
What I am looking for is a plastic pot large large enough to turn into fish tank. Porcelain available but those are heavy and I already had one running as Ornamental set.
Big porcelain vase I'll keep my option open for these and may use it in future project, but for now a big plastic tub is what I am more interested of.
Closest thing I can find for this next set I'm making, it measures slightly more than two feet across on top and take up about four square feet of space. Water volume should be sufficient for the test that I'm going to do, but it has one major flaw.
It has holes !!! :( four of it, at the bottom for water drain because it is a flower pot. Well okay it's a huge flower pot, ideal for drip irrigation aquaponics.
I purchased one and will need to seal those holes. As a test unit for my Strawberry Project it's okay but for long term, I'll just have to find out. Making for others ? No way I'll use these, too much of a risk to take.
As a growbed these planter box will do nicely for the intended test I'm doing. I want to use rain gutter actually but they only sell them in 4 meter length, not viable for a test unit. This planter box is approximately the right size and almost the right depth too, so it will do.
Those two boxes will be place something like above for this set up. I hope the container below can take their weight. One box will be filled with LECA, the other I will use potted media base aquaponics growbed.  Both will use a siphon flood and drain, but I have not decide either to use one common master siphon or individual unit.

Using master siphon will reduce the pump size needed because effectively it will only require to trigger one siphon. Individual siphon will need a bigger pump, and more power required. I am testing a shorter version of the 20 mm StrainerBell which is suitable for a very low water height in the growbed.