The drain needed a bit of adjustment since the plant tank was flooded every time the system was turned on for longer periods of time. In order to make the adjustment I had to empty the plant tank and I decided that I might as well ‘upgrade’ the fish tank too.
A sheet of polystyrene is needed between the glass in the bottom and any stones or roots placed as decorations in the tank:
This kind of decoration is not absolutely necessary in an aquaponics system but since I’m working together with my girlfriend on this project we might as well take the best from both worlds. She already has some experience keeping fish as pets so we’re building up the aquaponics fish tank as an ordinary aquarium.
One of the types of fish she has picked out for the system likes to dig into sand and look for food and by cutting out the polystyrene sheet for the bottom a bit smaller than the bottom area the sand will fill the gap and you won’t notice the sheet:
About 10 cm (4 inch) of cichlid sand is now covering the bottom (about 63 kg ~ 139 pounds):
We took a trip to the woods and found some nice looking tree roots for the aquarium so that we can create a natural looking environment for the fish. I’m not sure if they care but at least we do 😉 :
This is something you’ll always be able to optimize and fine-tune in order to make it look as real as possible, and we’re just getting started. Apparently you have to consider things like tannic acid too and I’m feeling a bit like a rookie so any comments and suggestions are very welcome 😉
And while we’re talking about creating the right look I managed to slap on some side covers on the plant tank to hide the ugly pieces of duct tape:
The feeding pipe has been secured in the corner, an inch above the water:
I had to do something about the flooding of the plant tank so I doubled the amount of holes in the top of the standpipe:
Somehow this wasn’t even enough so after several attempts with even more holes I ended up cutting out a large piece of the standpipe instead:
Now the water level in the plant tank stays below the top of the cut but of course the water will drain down to the bottom of the cut when the pump is turned off. This means that the water level in the aquarium also has this level difference between the running state and the off state, which kinda sucks since an inch of water seems to be missing in the aquarium, but at least the system is stable now. Check it out in this video:
Did you notice how the water ran backwards through the feeding pipe and pump when I turned off the system? 😀
Luckily the pipe is fixed high up in the plant tank, so that the tank doesn’t drain completely.