Rafts, Insulation, and Seeds

We accomplished quite a bit today.

One side of the rafts was painted with two coats of white Benjamin Moore Aura Waterborne Semi-Gloss Exterior paint.  This paint is environmentally safe and should protect the top of the rafts from the sun’s UV radiation.  Without this protective covering, the sun would eventually damage the Styrofoam, turning it into a powder.

The 300 gallon fish tank was wrapped with an R-19 pink insulation and a black plastic covering.  Then a 9′ x 9′ black tarp with a draw string was placed over the top.  The black plastic and tarp will help heat up the water during the day and the insulation will reduce heat loss during the night.  Since we are surrounded by pine trees, the tarp will also keep the pine needles out of the water.

If we can maintain a water temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit for a week, we will move some of the larger Tilapia to the big tank.  Until then, we have added a gallon of ProLine nitrifying bacteria to the big tank, 3/4 cup of ammonia, and 5 gallon buckets of fish water from the aquarium.  This will speed up the cycling process and provide nutrients for any plants we add to the system before the fish are moved to their new home.

This evening, we lightly stuffed the 2″ and 3″ net pots with Sure To Grow Loose Fill and planted a variety of High Mowing Organic Seeds in the top of the fill.  These pots were placed in a few plastic containers with lids and then sprinkled with fish water.  We will germinate these seeds in our home until the plants grow to about 2″ in height and the roots are coming out of the bottom of the net pots.  Then they will be transferred to the rafts so they can grow in the aquaponic system.

There are still a few items on our To-Do List:

  1. Drill 2″ and 3″ holes in the rafts.  We are still deciding on the number of holes per raft and the best patterns to use.
  2. Insulate the PVC pipes.
  3. Built a germination table so seeds can be watered daily without making a mess.
  4. Build a sturdy cover for the fish tank to keep predators (i.e., raccoons, dogs, cats, owls, hawks, and other uninvited guests) away from the fish.
  5. Pray for warmer weather.

Many thanks to our friends for helping with all of the work today.  We couldn’t have done it without you.

That’s all for now.  Until next time…

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4 Responses to Rafts, Insulation, and Seeds

  1. Lora K. says:

    your project is looking good. you may want to layer the hydrotons in the net pots with a little of the sure to grow only at the top. the hydrotons can be recycled over and over and over again. one way to save money.

  2. Thank you Lora. That’s a great idea.

  3. Thomas Foss says:

    Can you let me know what dimenions of lumber or ply that you used for the grow beds AND the raft troughs ? I have heard of all sorts of stuff being used; your sys is the same direction mine is heading though….thank you,

    Sincerely,
    Thomas.

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