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The Urban Aquaculture Manual

The Urban Aquaculture Manual

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Published by: pirateofipoh on May 15, 2009
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The Urban Aquaculture Manual
by Jonathan WoodsSponsored by Heifer Project Internationalwith assistance from theEvangelical Lutheran Church of America 
Chapter Two
A Simple Recirculation System
 This chapter describes how to build a simple, inexpensive and compact aquaculture system. It fits Into a four foot by four foot space, runs off of one double-outlet air pump, and
easy to maintain. This is an ideal system to learn aboutaquaculture without spending a lot of money. The system described in this chapter has been built by ordinary people livingin Toronto, Chicago, Little Rock, and Milwaukee. They didn't know much about aquaculture or even plumbing, but theyshared a willigness to try something new and were successful. 
 The following is a quick account of the processes that occur in this recirculating system. Look for sources of additionalinformation about how such systems work in the Resources Chapter.This system mimics natural cycles. The sun (or artificial light) shines into the plant tank, causing aquatic plants and algaeto grow These plants and algae flow into the
fish tank
(or are cut and fed) where herbivorous fish cat them. After digestion, the fish excrete ammonia (a sort of urine) and produce feces. These are partially broken down by snails andother invertebrates in the bottom of the fish tank and then pumped 'into the b1ofilter tank.In the
biofilter tank,
specialized bacteria break down toxic ammonia into fairly harmless nitrates, which can be taken upby plants. Other bacteria and micro-organisms break down other waste products into forms that plants can use. Particlesof waste are trapped by rocks and shells where they are eaten by invertebrates or broken down by other microorganisms.This tank acts like an aquatic compost pile, converting wastes into fertilizer for the plants. 
Finally, the fertilized water flows into the
plant tank,
where it is taken up and converted into plant tissues. Submergedplants and algae add oxygen to the water when the sun shines. Clean water, oxygen, and green plant food flow into thefish tank, completing the cycle. 
 This system should be located in a warm sunny spot with a water source and drain nearby. It should sit on a strong floor that is level, and should be protected from vandalism and curious hands. It is very important that the system is level. If not, the air-lift pumping system will not work well. Most houses and buildingsare built with level floors - test the floor with a level or put a marble down and see if It rolls. If working on bare ground, tryto tamp the earth down with a board where the system will go. This will prevent compression and uneven settling. A goodidea is to put the system on top of a piece of plywood or a pallet. 
3 -
55 gallon plastic barrels. These should he
food grade (i.e
no chemical residues) and at least one should be semi-transparent.
- 10' long piece of 2" PVC pipe.
6 -
2" male adapters.

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