Below you will find links for several of our current and past projects. Adaptable Cultivation is always experimenting with new models and solutions to problems. We encourage you to explore these postings, and look at the pictures and videos to see some of what is possible.
For the 2013 Season I decided to make multiple changes and improvements. 1. I redesigned the vertical pipes in the Nutrient Film System, 2. I added an Ebb and Flow system, 3. I created a new Filtering system and 4. I added an Aeroponics system. With the same fish tank utilized I am operating 3 different types of systems which allows for maximum efficiency as well as the ability to compare growth rates between systems. Below I will include a number of pictures but please visit the Blog page for more detail.
For this system I decided to experiment with 5.5 inch square fence posts.
In the past for horizontal builds I have used 4 inch PVC pipes. This causes some problems though in where you have to place the connecting pipes.
I spent a couple hours making my lists and then shopping for all of the parts. With all of the proper pieces and tools the build is manageable by one person.
This is the area that I was working with for this build. As you can see it is approximately 4 feet wide by 8 feet high on a south facing wall. You can also see that i have placed the IBC tote (275 gallons) for the fish under the steps.
To hold the fish I am using a 275 gallon IBC tote. The tote is on an aluminum pallet so it is light and can be moved by a single person. The base of the tank is a bit over 3 feet.
Here I am beginning the process of cutting PVC as well as the fence posts.
To maximize the spaced allowed for this build I utilized vertical as well as horizontal grow areas. To create the cup areas for the vertical pipes, I first cut them and then used a heat gun to soften them.
After cutting and heating the pipes you can insert bottles to create the forms that the net pots will fit into.
Here you can see the system from its highest point. In this system, water is pumped from the IBC tote approximately 12 feet up to the roof of a garage. The garbage can has been fitted to serve as a biofilter. Water leaves the biofilter and enters an 8 foot pipe which the leads to a 4 foot pipe. This pipe drains into 2 vertical pipes which drain into a 4 foot grow bed. This grow bed drains back into the IBC tank and the cycle is complete.
Here you can see the connections between the biofilter and the rest of the system.
A view from the top after all of the horizontal pipes had been installed.
A view from the yard of the partially completed system
Completed system. The complete system has 32 grow areas which over the summer will generate approximately 100 units of vegetables and herbs. The highest 8 foot pipe will hold the plants with the biggest root mass (such as tomatoes, eggplants and peppers) these plants will serve as the first and thorough filtering system after the Biofilter. The other horizontal pipes will hold head lettuce and the vertical pipes will hold herbs such as dill, basil, and cilantro.
Here is a view from the top of the completed system.
This is a photo of me placing the fish in the system. In Philadelphias climate I waited until June 1st to place the fish in so that the night temperature was above 55 degrees.
Below is a video of the Tilapia transfer. 40 fish had been raised indoors for 16 months and are now being placed in the outdoor system for the final 4 months. They are perfect in size for eating at this point
Here is one of the fish that was placed in the outdoor system. The fish is approximately 13 inches in length and 26 ounces (1 pound, 10 ounces). By the end of summer these fish will easily top 2 pounds each.
This indoor home system was built in a basement of a rowhome in Philadelphia. With the ceilings only being 8 feet high, a need for lighting above and for the system to be higher than the tank, I built this rack to hold the pipes.
This is a view of the 4 pipes that would be utilized in this build with their pot holes cut.
This photo shows the complete grow area. There is 1 Metal Halide light for the flowering plants (tomatoes, eggplants), there is one fluorescent light for the leafy growth. This unit has 20 grow areas. Over a year this system will produce over 100 units of plants.
This is another view of the system. As you can see the water is pumped up to its highest point where it enters into a biofilter before dropping into the piping and eventually exiting back into the tank.
To hold the fish I am using a 175 gallon stock tank. One reason is because it is low and therefore I have enough room to build above it. Another reason is because it is narrow enough when on its side to fit through a doorway.
This is a view of the inside of the tank. You can see the pump at the beginning of the system.
This is a video of the system as it is cycling for the first time.
This is a view of the Tilapia that have been placed in the tank. These fish are approximately 4 months old and will spend the next year in this tank growing before going to an outdoor tank or placed in another system all together.
This build utilized 4 inch PVC pipes as the main water transport. These are the pipes after drilling all of the holes for the net pots.
This is the area that would be utilized as well as the 275 gallon IBC tote that would hold the fish.
Here are the pipes after they had been placed and the water was being cycled as a test.
In the photo you can see the seeds have been started in rockwool cubes. Here I am placing these cubes in net pots surrounded by hydroton for stability.
Here are the pots ready to be placed in the outdoor system.
Here is the completed system in a test stage.
The fish in this video are approximately 4 months old.
Here are the plants after they have been in the system for a week and the fish have been placed in the IBC tote.
Here you can see all of the vegetables after just a couple of weeks. The growth rate is high due to incredible amounts of nutrients they are receiving. There are several different types of butterhead lettuce as well as several herbs.
In this video you can see the system at work. I intentionally used the clear piping in this system. While it promoted algae buildup it also allows you to see the water flow.
This is a view of 2 week old Basil plants.
2 week old Esmerelda lettuce.
The outcome of a fully functioning Aquaponics system.
This video shows the system in action.
This is a bunch of basil picked from the system. As you can see the roots are still on the rockwool. You can share the Basil with friends and they can simply place in water and it will stay alive for quite some time.
This is a head of Esmerelda lettuce grown in the system.
This video is a very short time lapse of the system and some growth over about a month long period of time.
This indoor system had approximately 40, 7 month old Tilapia as part of the system.
This is the beginning of the build. It would utilize 4, 4 inch pvc pipes as the primary water conduits.
This is the system with the addition of some plants that were in an outdoor system to help get it started.
This is the build of a Biofilter simply using some PVC piping, a 5 gallon bucket and Hydroton.
Here is the fully operational system. It is using 2 grow lights, a Metal Halide light and a Fluorescent.
In this photo you can see a multi stage filtering system. The water is pumped from the tank to a biofilter (orange bucket) it goes through the pvc pipes where it releases its nutrients and is further filtered by the plants roots. After exiting the final 4 inch pips it enters into one more filter which utilizes Filter Floss before entering back into the stock tank where the fish are held.
Here is another view of the operating system.
This is a photo of an eggplant grown in the system.
This is a photo of heads of lettuce, dill, parsley, and tomatoes growing in the system.
A photo of vine ripened tomatoes growing in the indoor aquaponics system.
A photo of the fish that are supplying all of the nutrients for all of the plants.
Here are some beautiful tomatoes grown indoors and picked in February.
To start my foray (now I breed my own) into raising Tilapia I had to order my first fish from a supplier in Kansas City. The fish arrived overnight in a styrofoam container to regulate the temperature. None were lost in transport.
When the fish arrived they were about 2 week old.
At the time I acclimated the fry by placing them into a 20 gallon inside tank.
These are the fish swimming around. Most of them at this point were less than 3/4 of an inch in length.
As I mentioned I now supply my own Fry through the use of breeders as well as the live births that occur in all of the tanks. The above video is of my breeder tank where I currently keep 3 mature Tilapia.
One way to prepare for an outdoor system is to utilize grow lights. Here you see many of the plans that would eventually end up outside as well as a container of Duckweed which is utilized as a supplemental food source for the Tilapia.
Here are the fish at approximately 3 months old. They are approximately 2/3 inches long. These fish were moved into an outdoor system soon after this picture was taken, you can see video of these fish in their new environment in the Outdoor 2011 Section.
Here is a Tilapia approximately 5 months old. The fish has been in ideal conditions in an outdoor aquaponics system and has grown to nearly 6 inches in length.
Here is an 8 month old Tilapia that is a part of an indoor aquaponics system.
This 8 month old Tilapia is approximately 8 inches in length and very edible.
This 12 month old Tilapia is nearly 12 inches in length and as you can see, it is beginning to put on significant weight.
For Indoor/Outdoor capable setups, I have developed a cycle of 15/16 months of indoor growth before a final 3/4 months of outdoor growth. This 15 month fish is being transfered to an outdoor system. It is almost 13 inches in length and 26 ounces (1 pound, 10 ounces) in weight. This fish is ideal for eating.