For power, the entire system is connected via Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) plug at the house via a salvaged electric lawn-mower extension cord. The cord had been damaged by rats chewing on it, and so I cut the ends off and removed a section that was not damaged. I put a new male connector at one end, and this is what plugs to the house.
The cord runs under the back patio deck, and into my improvised weather box, and ends in a weather-resistant two GFI outlet box. A simple fused power-bar plugs into the extension, allowing easy on-off control of water, air and lights.
Power consumption for the system is less than 200w in total. At a tax-in rate of $0.15/kWh here in PE,CA, that works out to less than $0.75CAD per day in electrical costs.
I expect to keep the system running for been 100 to 120 days before we harvest out the fish at the end of the season. This barely makes it worth considering a solar-based power service for the system; the battery costs alone would easily be three to four times the price of the electricity I would save. When you consider the cost of a couple 200w panels, a charge controller and a rectifier, it does not make a lot of sense.
Electricity is cheap in North America, and for a 24h /7d power-demand system, I’m not sure it’s worth getting into for this project. Let me know in the comments if you think I have it wrong.
That about wraps it up for this article. I will likely be publishing a Part IV to this article series as the summer and my experience with the new system progresses. There is still lots to do and learn yet. My next question of research is “how fast to plants eat”? It sounds silly, but it will tell me how much nitrate I need to keep in the system at all times.
Thanks very much for reading. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.