Duck-A-Ponic Update

Originally posted by TCLynx on AGC, Oct 22, 2010

Sorry no pictures today but I just want to share a little update about my duck system.

First a refresher.
The duck system is based on a 7 foot dia, 2 foot deep galvanized stock tank that a neighbor got for free and dropped off to us. Had a bunch of holes but patched those easily with silicone. Figured the galvanized stock tank would not be appropriate for fish but the ducks need a pool and what better way to keep the water filtered and fresh than a ponics system.
So the duck tank is constant height with a SLO drain feeding to a big on the ground liner and wire (supporting the top edge of the liner) bed filled with gravel and wood chips (ran out of gravel.) The pump is in a sectioned off end of that bed so it is a sump and grow bed all in one. The pump feeds up to a couple of water tanks that I connected together and installed a siphon so the sump bed drains down a bit in level while the tanks fill and the tanks drain into the duck pond when the siphon kicks in. For a while I also had some waterfall tubs hooked up but they are gone now as is some of the PLART or plumbing art.

See the other pump died (looks like the siphon got knocked out while we were out of town and the pump must have run dry and damaged some parts) so now I have hooked up the little Quite One 4000 (50 watt) pump and it just feeds directly to the water tanks with no excess flow for the water falls. It runs 15 on 15 off during the day and 15 on 45 off over night. It takes 15 minutes to almost fill the water tanks to the siphon point so the bed drains down and the pump shuts off so the bed is in a drain down state for part of the hour and the next time the pump starts it will kick the siphon over and the bed will slowly flood again. Over night the cycles are longer. The water in the duck pond has really cleared nicely since I hooked up that little pump. So for the cost of running a 25 watt light about 20 hours a day, I’m getting to save on dumping and re-filling a kiddie pool for my ducks!!!!!

Now I just have to figure out what plants I can put in the grow bed that the ducks won’t devour before they have a chance to get established. The grow bed for this duck system is very wet and most appropriate for bog plants as it does flood over the gravel (and I kinda like this as it give a nice wading pool effect for the young ducks and the adult ducks love rooting around in the wood chips and gravel.) I will probably need to fence off half the bed at a time to get plants established for the birds and rotate back and forth for them.

An interesting note. The water is really clear in this system and even with the extreme lack of plants, the nutrient levels have stayed really low. Algae growth must account for some of it but it seems the ducks must not poop in the water as much as I thought.

I have found that ducks and chickens will quickly eat water hyacinth don’t to nothing and then go on to eat all the water lilies reads and papyrus. We have also tried bananas and papaya in that system but between the water logging and the ducks/chickens eating them, they didn’t last long either. Ducks and chickens love eating banana leaves, go figure. Anyway, when I get a little more time I will work on adding more plants into that system for the birds (once I can protect the plants long enough to let them grow.)

I rather like the idea of my own forage wetland for feeding my birds, as long as I can keep the starter stock going for some of these plants it could greatly reduce my feed costs and 25 watts (50 watts only running half the time) is a pretty low consumption for such a system.

Ok, I’m home here are some pictures

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