I’ve spent a lot of time lately making doodles like this, in an attempt to design The World’s Most Perfect Quackuaponics Filter Of All Time(TM).
Right now we have the pond water pumping through a small filter we got at Home Depot, which I’m having to clean out far more frequently than I would like. Because I am lazy. But I’ve continued to tweak the system, and lo and behold, this morning I checked on things and saw this:
IS THAT NOT THE MOST EXCITING THING YOU’VE EVER SEEN?!
What, you don’t know what you’re looking at?
That’s a brick and a piece of lava rock that fell into the pond, and I haven’t seen them since because the water has been so murky. But! Seemingly all of a sudden, it is perfectly crystal clear. Very hard to photograph, but SO CLEAR. And SO NOT STINKY. I put my hand in to adjust the filter, and there is literally no smell… which, if you’ve ever met ducks, you will understand is flat-out mind-boggling.
I’m pretty excited about this development… and may scratch plans to build TWMPQSOAT(TM) this weekend.
So what changed? A few things, which I’ll list in (hypothesized) order of most-to-least important.
1. The ducks are spending an awful lot of time out here…
…instead of in the duck run. So, there’s just less, shall we say, “solid input” going into the system. But they are still in the run a fair amount, so I think the plants are still getting plenty of nutrients. Which leads us to…
2. The plants have just taken off lately. Here’s a comparison of the grow bed from early June to early July. No doubt all those plants getting established has put a substantial dent in the nutrient load of the system (despite the ducks munching most of the zucchini and cucumber plants at bottom right).
3. Another quick and easy change was that I propped the pump up on a piece of a cinder block (maybe 2″ thick?), rather than having it resting directly on the bottom. This is definitely resulting in a lot of the solids settling out on the pond floor, and the pump moving cleaner water from higher in the water column. The solids layer is not a major problem, because we have to drain/clean the pond every so often anyway–so I’d rather those solids settle out than clog up the filter and grow bed. I bought a few water hyacinth plants that I thought could help out even more, but I’m debating what to do with them because I know the ducks will eat them the moment I put them in the pond… Maybe I could build a little cage or something…???
4. Last but not least, there was a pretty major input of clean water last night, in the form of a BOOMER of a thunderstorm that dropped almost an inch and a half of rain. Probably not a totally critical factor, but worth noting.
Anyway, whatever the cause of the magical unstinky duck pond, I’LL TAKE IT. Especially because the ninja floofs will be joining the big kids outside before we know it! They went for their first swim this afternoon.