Wendy Monroe

Sussing out Mediamatic's 'Sister System' in Richmond, California

The system is not working very well, a rebuild plan is drawn up.

Since the Aquaponics project of Self-Sustaining Communities was started up last Spring, the system has wound down somewhat.
It looks as though a complete rebuild may be needed to get the system running smoothly again.


Upper_and_lower_tanks - Each tank contains fish, the lower tank also serves as a sump. Wendy Monroe

The system's designer did not leave behind a diagram, although at first it looks a lot like one of MediaMatic's towers, arranged horizontally.
There is a design difference, there are two fish tanks here. The one containing warm water tilapia is elevated on a stack of 6 pallet, the one containing blue gill ( A California Native fish ) sits beneath the hydrokorrel beds. The only pump in the system sits in the lower tank.

I realize that this system has the same design as shown on page 59 of Bernstein's Aquaponic Gardening.. Constant Height in Fish Tank, Pump in Sump Tank. Except there are fish in the sump tank, which is not as the design was originally intended.

In fact I can't see fish in either tank, under the algae and duckweed, but Linda, director of Self Sustaining Communities, tells me they are definitely in there.

When the system was new, says Linda ... lettuces grew very quickly in the hydrokorrel beds, much faster than lettuces grown in dirt, … this has slowed down over time and has almost stopped. The fish are not growing, either.

Whiteflies have attacked the plants, Ants have been apparently attracted by the whiteflies, the hydrokorrels exhibit a whitish crust. Most notably, algae has begun extruding through the holes in the PVC shower bars …

In short, the system could use some help.
Next: We begin a plan to optimize it again.