Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Aquaponics For Beginners


Aquaponics For Beginners

This is a place where Beginners can post questions and find answers.

Advanced Users are welcome to help the Beginners out.

Please KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) .

Members: 667
Latest Activity: Nov 16

Discussion Forum

Low Fruit Production

Started by Danny. Last reply by Jeff S Jul 5, 2015. 14 Replies

My tomato plants (5) are growing but not producing much fruit, one or 2 tomatoes in the past 2 months.  A few others on the plants but take forever to turn red.  Any ideas what I can do to increase…Continue

Not for human consumption!?

Started by Nichelle Hubley. Last reply by Nichelle Hubley Jun 30, 2015. 7 Replies

Well, I think I messed up big time. I've been feeding my precious tilapia koi food (I like in a small place and it was all I could get... :( ) for about 2 months and last night I read on the back of…Continue

Help!! Help !!! with new filtration and set-up.

Started by Henrique Miguel. Last reply by Wayne Mcbryde May 14, 2015. 2 Replies

Hi,I have a set up of 2 55 gal  blue barrel with Tilapia and  guppies separate.   I have young ones and they are growing well. Issue of overcrowding and feeding. 1. I would like to use a water…Continue

New IBC Grow Out Tank System

Started by Phil Slaton. Last reply by Shirley A Davidson May 14, 2015. 8 Replies

The barrels in the back of the 6-IBC grow out tanks are 2-media filters, 1 lava rock filter and on the extreme left, the sump.  Since my heart surgery this grow out system is for sale.The large 1,000…Continue

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Comment by Leo White Bear on September 19, 2012 at 3:32am


  You are correct in your math, I did assemble my first system in May of 2011.  Please forgive the typo of "three years" should read second year.  That's what I get for typing fast and not re-reading before I post.  My error, just the same two years of (speaking of spring of 2011 to the fall of 2012 being two years) no cleaning of the grow beds


Comment by Stephanie Grim on September 18, 2012 at 8:21pm

Leo - Maybe I am mistaken, but according to numerous past posts of yours, you stated you assembled your first system in May of 2011 and in your words claimed to be a "newbie" at that time yet just a little over one year later you are now speaking from three years of hands on experience?  Might you be mistaken on that math?

Comment by TCLynx on September 18, 2012 at 7:52pm

Provided you have plenty of media filled grow beds for your fish tanks size/fish load, then re-washing or replacing gravel is rarely needed.

That is if you have lots of gravel grow beds and not too many fish.

If you are planning on pushing the levels of stocking and not having very much gravel grow bed, then you should install additional alternate means of filtration.

I know people who have been running grow beds with no other form of filtration for over 7 years and never replaced or re-washed their media but those are only lightly stocked with fish.

Comment by Leo White Bear on September 18, 2012 at 6:23pm


  I am at the moment running a media bed system for the third year without the seperate bio-filtration unit.  My ammoinia is 0.25, Nitrites are 0.0, Nitrates are 0.5 and the pH is 7.2.  After pulling my plants and before replanting a quick swirl of the grow bed water / medium and a quick siphoning of the water, I let it settle and turn the flow back on.  The FT water gets a little murky but settles down within a day.  A quick siphoning of the water and my job is done.  I then recheck the vitles and if they need to be changed, this is when I do it but with a mature system this is never necessary..  Not just talking here as all this is hands on experience.

White Bear

Comment by Kellen Weissenbach on September 18, 2012 at 3:35pm

Hi Leo,

While that will work for a while, ultimately you will accumulate huge amounts of solids in your grow beds without proper mechanical filtration (solids removal) in front of them, which will lead to a less stable system, a potential/likely fish kill or at least a bunch of extra work or cost when you inevitably have to either wash all your media in your growbeds or replace it outright to avoid the back breaking labor.  Now, biofiltration (not the same as mechanical) is intended to provide stability as a first priority but also the ability to modularize your system, meaning the ability to operate the system as distinct parts (a pure recirculating aquaculture system and hydroponics system) in the event maintenance is needed on one or the other, a treatment is needed for the fish that must be kept from the plants, particular nutrient additives are desired for the plants but are best kept away from the fish, etc.

Most simple kits and plans do not account for these very important requirements, and that is a major flaw unfortunately.

Comment by Leo White Bear on September 18, 2012 at 2:10pm

Kellen is correct, you don't need any gravel in the bottom of your fish tank.  The media in your grow bed acts as the bio-filter.  The only system that you need an actual bio-filter is in  a DWC system or raft system.  Pump everything from your fish tank into your grow beds and put a handfull of composting worms in there also.  They will consume the solids and add needed nutruents in the form of worm castings which are always a good thing for your plants.

White Bear

Comment by Kellen Weissenbach on September 18, 2012 at 11:06am

The short answer:


The longer answer:

Substrate in the bottom of a fish tank will tend to collect solids.  Unless you need the substrate for a specific reason (some species prefer it for breeding for instance), I would recommend keeping it out entirely as it actually serves no real purpose beyond "pretty looks".  It's just one of those things that will provide for a more stable system.  Bacteria based Biofiltration will occur in your purpose built biofilter (if you choose to use one, I strongly recommend it) as well as in your media based grow beds and even tank walls and pipes to an extent (anything with surface essentially).  You should also run a mechanical filter of some sort (settling tank, screen filter, etc.) in front of your biofilter and growbeds to prevent solids accumulation in your bio areas.

Comment by William Gennaro on September 18, 2012 at 10:54am


I have a 55gal barrel ( horizontal ) for my goldfish, how much gravel/stone do I need at the bottom for bacterial growth.

Comment by Phil Slaton on September 17, 2012 at 11:54am

Catfish Farming in the Philippines

A good friend of mine raises catfish in tanks in the Philippines.  This is a photo of one of his current crop at 10 months of age and 1 Kilo in Weight.

Comment by John E Windsor on September 9, 2012 at 3:59pm

Thanks y'all. I took the impeller out and cleaned it up. After desliming the pump, even though it wasn't real bad, it does work a little better. I went back to the data sheet and the pump is close to what it should be. There are several twist and turns in the return plumbing which would account for some of the loss. It rained most of the day, so I was really ready to get out there once it did stop. I'm not complaining, I'm just sayin.


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