December 2009


Ok, now this post is going to be really techie, feel free to switch off unless you’ve been passionately following our Aquaponics system development. Before we can put fish into the system we need to make sure that the environment they’re going into is safe for them.

This means it needs to have:

  • The right pH – not too high or too low, it seems 6-8 is about right.
  • Enough Oxygen in the water – Trout need more than 5.5 ppm.
  • No ammonia – any ammonia added needs to be converted into Nitrite & Nitrate by the bacteria in the growbeds.
  • The right temperature – for trout this is less than 25°C and warmer than frozen solid!
  • No chlorine or chloramine (often present in tap water)

With that in mind I set about testing the water that we’d just filled the tanks with – Manchester tap water. If you’re interested, you can see the test results below:

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We’ll be there!

Win an efergy Shower Timer

Would you like a Christmas gift from the Trafford Eco-House?

Thanks to ecooutlet we’ve got an efergy Shower Timer to give away. To be in with a chance to win you just need to signed up to get our updates by email – if you’re not already getting email updates from us just click here to subscribe.

We’ll draw the competition on December 23rd, and you’ll need to pop in to the Trafford Eco-House to pick up your prize – good luck!

We’ve currently got one of these on test too – expect a review soon!

Hot on the heels of starting the ‘cycling’ of the Aquaponics system using the small beds around the edge, the big central growbeds are going in. Here’s how they have progressed:

And final one for the night – the growbeds in place, drainage fittings all complete, and the gravel starting to go in. They are going to need a LOT of gravel – I foresee a week of shifting gravel coming up

There we go – the growbeds on the long side are all done, the drains are all connected, and they’re plumbed in to the fish tank. And we’ve finally taken the plunge – the pump is now running automatically, once an hour:

Now I just need to start keeping an eye on the Ammonia readings to see how our bacteria are going – I guess they’ll be growing VERY slowly this week wth the frost we’ve been having.

No problem with mud in the garden this morning, it went down to -1.7°C last night in the garden, and even the inside of the polytunnel was down to -1°C.

The ground in the garden is pretty solid now, but has remained a little soft in the polytunnel. The cold snap has seen the water temperature drop from 9°C down to 7°C.

Here’s how the ‘allotment’ is going:

The onions, garlic and purple-sprouting  broccoli should be all frost hardy, so let’s see how they go!

The frost patterns on the inside of the polytunnel are pretty amazing, not sure I’ve ever seen anything like this: