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Duckponics system with a grow bed aka Aquackulture

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by StBob, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. StBob

    StBob Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've been reading BYC posts on duckponics (which I call Aquackulture, geddit?) and have a slightly different take on it. Last summer I built a small pond (50 gallons, 200L) for my pekin Wendi and black cayagu Bob. It pretty quickly was fouled up with poop and dirt. Speaking of which most people talk about poop fouling duck ponds but in my experience it is mostly dirt they carry to the pond or waterer (which they cant swim or poop in) and filter the dirt through their beaks. Initially it smelt of ammonia until I put some pond bacteria in but then it was just green and opaque. A local company (in Melbourne, Australia) sells an "Aquaponics" system which consist of a tank for fish which feeds via a pump into a "growbed" tank. The growbed tank consists of small clay pebbles (about 1/2 inch or 1cm in diameter) that comes from Germany. Bacteria in the growbed convert the ammonia into nitrates which feed the plants sitting in the grow bed. I use a pump which pumps about 2000L/hr (it is rated 4000L/hr or 1000 gallons/hr but has to pump up 4 feet or 1.25m. The water once cleaned by the grow bed bacteria flows freely back into the duck pond and is theoretically free of ammonia and nitrates and clear. The whole set up cost me about $1200 (same in USD) but included the set up and installation as well as ongoing support. I'm guessing if you bought everything and did it yourself it would cost about half that.

    I've hooked it up to the duck pond. The water remains clear (we replaced the old water from last summer and it is Aussie winter (not so cold, well above freezing) now so perhaps wouldn't expect a lot of algae to grow). I have yet to grow any veges in the grow bed as it still requires some work which the installers supply. I have a FB page called "Aquackulture" if anyone wants to see pictures. You can see the growbed in this photo - it is the white round tank. Hopefully next season it will be full of veges or flowers. The pump sits in the pond.

    Wendi&Bob share the fowl yard with 3 chickens. Normally the front gate is open and they free range.

    Theoretically this system should be quite easy to grow veges in as it already works for fish based aquaculture.

    If anyone has set up a similar system I'd love to hear from you or just comments about duckponics.

    James

    [​IMG]
     
    3 people like this.
  2. N F C

    N F C Home in WY Premium Member

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    Wow, you've got an awesome set up there James!

    We've talked about aquaculture for about a year now but other things keep taking a higher priority. We thought we'd try it (once it makes it to the top of the priority list) with tilapia but you've given us a lot to think about with your "aquackulture".

    It will be interesting to see how your vegetables do...I'm thinking they'll do great.

    Thanks for sharing such an interesting story!
     
  3. tdd2

    tdd2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great job!

    We use a similar set up for our koi pond using a 300 gallon stock tank as the koi pond, and a 100 gallon tank as the bio-filter.

    We have purchased a second set of tanks to build a 300g duck pond with a 100g bio-filter for that as well - we'll see how well it works! :)

    Cheers'

    Dan
     
  4. StBob

    StBob Chillin' With My Peeps

    I did not know about Tilapia until I read your post but have gone and wikipediad it. Fascinating fish. I have a couple of cichlids in my indoor aquarium. Do you plan to eat them or just use them for fertilizer? Originally I planned to have both the duck pond and a fish tank connected to same grow bed but the Aquaponics guy said it was not a good idea to mix the waste from warm blooded and cold blooded animals. I am not sure why as I doubt they have the same parasites. But then again I don't want to risk getting sick either so set up only duckponics for now and will have a separate fishponics system later on.
     
  5. StBob

    StBob Chillin' With My Peeps

    What medium do you use in the bio filter? Do you plan to grow veges in it? Do you know of any issues of eating veges grown from duck waste? Obviously one would expect to wash them very well first!

    I see many people set up a simple bio filter using duck weed which they then feed back to the ducks.
     
  6. N F C

    N F C Home in WY Premium Member

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    We plan on eating them as well as let them fertilize things for us. One thing you have with your ducks over the fish is that regulating fish environment can be tricky (according to hubby who has raised fish in the past, I haven't). However, with fish, it would be nice to be able to decide "Hey, let's have fish for dinner"...pretty sure that overall the ducks would last longer than the fish, lol.
     
  7. tdd2

    tdd2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The filter media is made up of three different densities of Matala filters, topped with poly batting (as used in quilts).

    It is totally my better half's project - and she has done a phenomenal job with it!!

    She is currently growing tomatoes, basil and several water/pond plants in the upper filter material.

    I'll get a few pics together and post them shortly....

    Cheers'

    Dan
     
  8. tdd2

    tdd2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The Matala filters (she got these online) used as the filtering media. From course to fine density, bottom to top on top of the PVC support frame.

    The water inlet port from the pump is the larger tube in the center, it directs the dirty water flow to the bottom of the filter tank, and then the water flows up through the filter media, and out two outlet tubes that make up a waterfall. . . .

    [​IMG]



    The 100 gallon stock tank used as the filter system, showing the PVC filter support frame, the main water inlet in the center, and the two outlet tubes on the lower left (the black plastic mesh frames on top are to hold the filter media down, and the batting/plants up). . .

    [​IMG]



    The two 'clean' water outlet tubes (shower drains from the local hardware co) that will run out and over her waterfall and back into the koi pond . . .

    [​IMG]


    The finished filter, with plants thriving in the filter media, fed only with the waste water from the koi pond . . .

    [​IMG]


    Several weeks later - she has finished the cosmetics for her project - and what a wonderful job my better half has done!!!

    The filter system is located behind the koi pond, with the waterfall flowing the cleaned water back into the pond. With 4 koi, 10 goldfish, and 4 frogs living in the pond, as well as multiple water plants, she has had to make no chemistry adjustments (aside from neutralizing chlorine in the tap water when topping off from evaporation) over this summer thus far.

    [​IMG]


    Nitrogen/ammonia levels near zero - and the water is as clear as the water from the tap!

    [​IMG]


    The waterfall, with water flowing from the outlet (shower drain) tubes in the filter tank. . .

    [​IMG]


    We will be duplicating this system, minus the koi, goldfish, frogs and detailed cosmetics (stacked stone, etc) for our duck pond over the next few weeks.

    I'll post updated pics of that project as it goes, if interested.

    Cheers'

    Dan
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  9. StBob

    StBob Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow, that looks amazing Dan! I'll be very interested to see if the same system works as well for the duck system. Please keep me updated.
     
  10. StBob

    StBob Chillin' With My Peeps

    yes, duck is very much off the table, as is chicken, once you start caring for them. I think it's probably a good idea if you plan to eat something not to give it a name :) .

    Actually I recently became a "fishaquarian" so maybe a few edible fish might be a good idea.
     

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