Step Two – Piping and Framing
On an equally rainy Friday, I made my way to Nithsdale Street to assemble the micro-aquaponics system in Locavore. There was nowhere in Glasgow that sold the size of irrigation piping I needed (not yet, anyway…), so I ordered it online along with the connecting pieces. The wood was provided by Locavore, freshly sealed with linseed oil, and the zip ties were kindly donated by a bike shop I stopped into on my way there (thanks to Willy Bains!).
Here is the configuration of piping that I used. 13mm sizing:
The upper pipe has three nozzles, one for each of the bottle rows. They will slide right into the holes that were drilled into the bottom of the bottles previously. As you can see, it’s just straightforward connecting the pieces. Putting my playschool skills to good use…
Next I attached the piping to a wood frame using saddle brackets, and secured the bottles onto the nozzles with the zip ties. Yes, a few zip ties were lost by messing around with them and zipping them too early. I’m pretty sure that’s the nature of the beast.
In the neck of each of the bottles I also put a small bit of sponge. This will help regulate the flow and also filter out any large particles that would otherwise cycle back into the fish tank. An old Irn Bru bottle provided the water catchment area to guide the water back into the tank.
I went to turn the system on and…the pump wasn’t strong enough. Womp womp. The tank I got off of Gumtree came with a pump, but it was old and most fish tank pumps are not tasked with pumping the water straight up nearly a metre. After a trip to The Aquarium on Chilsholm Street (just off of the Trongate) and a chat with the very knowledgeable owner there, we got a stronger pump, took it home, and voila! Three healthy streams of water. a sight to behold, if you ask me (video content and quality will improve, I promise. Still, a decent illustration, for those of you following along at home):
Stay tuned for next time, wherein we cycle the system to grow bacteria and introduce plants and fish to their new symbiotic home!