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Hi. I'm a Unix Administrator, mathematics enthusiast, and amateur philosopher. This is where I rant about that which upsets me, laugh about that which amuses me, and jabber about that which holds my interest most: Unix.
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Challenge Accepted - Part 1

Posted 07-29-2016 at 09:24 PM by rocket357

I'm going to write a short off-topic series on a challenge my wife issued to me the other night. We have two turtles in a 55 gallon aquarium, and I can't seem to keep up with the filter cleaning (turtles are like Oscars and Plecos in terms of waste generation, only 1000x worse...well, ok, Oscars are pretty messy, too). I was complaining about the constant filter maintenance, and my wife asked me why I didn't just build out an aquaponics system on top of the aquarium.

This is pretty ingenious. I have a "baby AP" system running in the kitchen to grow herbs, and it works amazingly well. It's a simple flood and drain configuration with the pump set to a 15 minute on, 45 minute off timer (to give the roots time to dry out a bit). Four goldfish power the "fertilizer machine" in a 10 gallon tank, and the grow bed sucks up the fertilizer as quick as the fish can produce it. The plant growth is quite amazing, too.

So here comes the fun part. I have a 55 gallon tank for the turtles. The grow bed will obviously need to be:

1) larger
2) custom-built
3) cheap

I'm throwing in #3 for fun, since most of us don't have tons of lumber and plumbing laying around. I want to build it solid and for the future, but I don't want to spend more than absolutely necessary. My wife is keeping me honest here by pointing out what scrap lumber there is in the garage and such...gotta love it =)

Here's my inspiration, a kit my wife purchased for me on father's day 2016 (that has the goldfish and herbs):

It's available at:

I have a 30 minute resolution timer setup to start the LED grow lights at 7 AM and turn them off at 5 PM (the grow lights were purchased separately from the kit).

I have a rough design hammered out that I will post in a followup here.

Hope to have more on the build in the coming days.
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  1. Old Comment
    It would appear that, while completely feasible, this idea is not very safe. Plant roots (at least some) take up Salmonella readily, so the turtle tank would have to be non-edibles only.

    Bummer. Maybe I'll build it on top of the African Cichlid tank instead (though the Fluval 406 on that tank needs no help whatsoever).
    Posted 07-29-2016 at 11:42 PM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    But wouldn't you grow flowers or a pretty set of houseplants?
    Posted 08-04-2016 at 09:56 AM by vmccord vmccord is offline
  3. Old Comment
    I could, yes, but my current focus is getting up and running with veggies to go along with the herbs. It's not a matter of it being impossible, but rather the non-edibles being quite low on the priorities list.
    Posted 08-04-2016 at 10:33 AM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline


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