These photographs show the set up of a new indoor aquaponics system that was installed in Professor Jonathan deHaan's classroom at the University of Shizuoka - an hour's bullet train ride south of Tokyo.
The system was to demonstrate the principles of aquaponics to staff and students at the university, but needed to fit within a small space within Jonathan's room.
This led us to designing a small system that could be easily fitted next to existing shelving without taking up too much space. We used a heavily modified IKEA wardrobe unit (similar to the system installed at Minamisanriku) and added a couple of features to make it fit in to the room.
We started with the IKEA cupboard unit and strengthened this so that it would be sturdy enough to handle the weight of the aquaponics components.
We then installed the 157 litre fish tank and connected this to the 60 litre media-filled growbed with a ball-valve bypass. The inflow into the growbed passes through a simple filter made from a 60mm PVC pipe that has a stainless steel kitchen sink mesh filter in it. This can be easily emptied as and when required if there is an excess of solid nutrients.
The plumbing is designed so that the outflow from the ball-valve bypass, and the outflow from the growbed, direct the water towards the pump, thus helping to remove the solid waste from the fish tank and taken up to the growbed.
All of the electrics for the system are in the mesh basket above the growbed - keeping everything clear of the water and safe. The air-pump provides aeration to both the fish tank as well as the growbed. The growbed uses 2 strip aeration pipes and the fish tank uses 2 super fine aeration discs.
We have used a simple fluorescent tube lighting system, but replaced the usual tubes with aquarium tubes for plants.
Finally, we added a roll-down blind so that the growbed and lighting could be covered whilst a class is being held. The blind could in fact be drawn right down to the bottom of the unit - but is usually only used to cover the growbed and lights.
We also thought that the blinds were an attractive addition to the unit and we liked the overall colours and look of this unit.
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These photographs show the fish tank and the plumbing that we put in... the ball-valve bypass and the 2000 litre per hour pump. This is slightly oversized for this unit, but it ensures a good turnover of water to keep the water well aerated and the fish healthy.
The seeds were planted on day one, and were a mixture of different types of baby salad seeds. You can see the growth over the next few days - they came up very quickly indeed! The final photos shows the plants after just a week or so... they really are springing up swiftly!
University of Shizuoka Aquaponics Webpage
Jonathan has set up a webpage to show the progress of the aquaponics system. He includes a live webcam that is set up to show the system during working hours (in Japan), as well as an excel spreadsheet recording the water parameters and notes of anything that has happened.
Please do take a look at Jonathan's website here:
What is Aquaponics?
Who can use Aquaponics?
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