Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

First of all I'd like to say how happy I am that I found you guys (and gals).  I am getting ready to try my hand at this AP thing. I really plan on utilizing this group as much as possible.

This is my proposed plan. I have an IBC 275 gallon container. I have cut the top 14" of the tote to use as my GB (12" gravel media) and plan on using the rest for my FT.  I am setting this all up under an open sided covered area. The GB is set up on the west side and will get afternoon sun. FT is not exposed to direct sunlight at all. I would like to add a small NFT system to this in the future. I'd like to incorporate a 5 gallon swirl filter and a 55 gallon sump but piped a little different than others have done it. I am going to have the GB drain via bell siphon to the FT.  From the FT water will siphon/overflow to the swirl filter. Swirl filter will overflow to the 55 gallon sump. Then pumped from the sump to GB via 1000 GPH pump. I will have a line dumping back into the sump for aeration and also to the FT for aeration. I will add a line later to feed the NFT system which will dump back to the FT.  The reason for the the swirl filter is three fold. First, to remove solids for NFT, second, to limit cleanup to the GB every couple of years and third, to get a steady supply of fish waste to put in the wife's flower beds. (Gotta keep Moma happy!)

I have a few questions:

Will it work?

By removing solids how much will it affect plant growth? 

I plan on stocking with Hybrid Coppernose Bluegill. How many fingerlings do I start with?

 

Thanks in advance for your help and time. 

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I am about to start construction on a second system that sounds similar to yours.  Sump tank -> Grow Beds (one media-based and one raft-based) -> Fish Tank -> Swirl Filter -> Sump tank.  But the thing that strikes me first about your setup is how small the swirl filter is - I will only have a 110 gallon fish tank but plan on using at least a 40 gallon swirl filter to give that stuff plenty of time and space to settle out.  I have a 600 gph pump and some extra aeration on the way from Amazon.  Can't help you on the bluegills, i'm growing trout.  Best of luck!

James 

Tracy

I just finished setting up my system and am about to start it up just to see if I can control water temp before cycling the system.

One thing that snapped me (due to my ignorance) is that the IBC Tote top turned upside is not as strong as it could be.  I used 12" of gravel in my 2 grow beds made from the tops and they both sagged down under the weight and I had to empty them out of rock, and put steel angle gridwork underneath both ways to support the weight.  (If you use gravel like I did-I estimate the weight at about 1,100 pounds each growbed maybe).  If you use hydroton it will weigh far less and may not present the problem I had.  (I just couldn't afford the Hydroton).

Looking back...I think I would only use Tote Bottoms for my growbeds from now on...because the built in pallet bottom handles a lot of the support and weight concerns.

 

Thanks for the feedback Bradley. My GB is mounted on a solid wooden platform.

Bradly said:

Tracy

I just finished setting up my system and am about to start it up just to see if I can control water temp before cycling the system.

One thing that snapped me (due to my ignorance) is that the IBC Tote top turned upside is not as strong as it could be.  I used 12" of gravel in my 2 grow beds made from the tops and they both sagged down under the weight and I had to emty them out of roch, and put steel angle gridwork underneath both ways to support the weight.  (If you use gravel like I did-I estimate the weight at about 1,100 pounds each growbed maybe).  If you use hydroton it will weigh far less and may not present the problem I had.  (I just couldn't afford the Hydroton).

Looking back...I think I would only use Tote Bottoms for my growbeds from now on...because the built in pallet bottom handles a lot of the support and weight concerns.

 

Thanks James.

James Keller said:

I am about to start construction on a second system that sounds similar to yours.  Sump tank -> Grow Beds (one media-based and one raft-based) -> Fish Tank -> Swirl Filter -> Sump tank.  But the thing that strikes me first about your setup is how small the swirl filter is - I will only have a 110 gallon fish tank but plan on using at least a 40 gallon swirl filter to give that stuff plenty of time and space to settle out.  I have a 600 gph pump and some extra aeration on the way from Amazon.  Can't help you on the bluegills, i'm growing trout.  Best of luck!

James 

Greetings,

I'm in Slidell, La.  (northeast of New Orleans) 

I'm in the planning stages of my AP system and hope to have something on the ground before the end of July.  I found a good source for IBC tanks in Baton Rouge. (food grade and about $50.)  I'm glad to know others in Louisiana are doing Aquaponics.

When you get further along, post some pictures so we can enjoy the progress.

Hi Lee, I started with a barrelponics system three years ago. I have since moved on to an all IBC system. I have eight grow beds, (each IBC bed cut down to 14" in height) one 300 gal fish tank supporting about 125 gold fish and one 250 gal sump tank also supporting gold fish. I do plan to raise table size catfish in time. I'm relatively new to Aquaponics as anyone can tell by checking the Aquaponics web sites. Right now I'm experiencing vegetable growing problems. I don't know if it's my water quality or some other thing I'm doing wrong. Well I'm in this now for the long haul. This is a real hobby for me now and this all started with Rob Bob. Find him, he's interesting, and a bit of fun. Good Luck to you.

Chat soon, Gil Jones, Kenner, Louisiana - giljones1778@gmail.com 

Hey Gil,

I used to have a friend named Gil Jones in Ocean Springs, Ms.

Is that you?

My Aquaponics system has been doing great for a few years now.  I've learned in this area not to expect too much during the July & August months but come September it will all be back in full swing.

HI Tracy,

I am a new member also but have been gardening this way for a few years. Check out my system at http://www.preppingconnections.com/aquaponics.html

I probably live near you, I'm in BR.

My system goes from the fish tank to the grow beds and then drains to the sump tank which is then pumped back up the  fish tank. I don't use a swirl tank. After a year of growing I wash the hydroton and filter the water with a small pool filter. It gets all the solids out and restores the pH to an acceptable level. I use local bream in my tank and they are super hardy. I would be happy to help you  in any way to get you growing.

Frank B.

I thought that there would be lots of replies to this, else I would have. Anyhow I would expect it to work, but you  could make it more efficient. Just on the KISS principle.

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