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: 670
Latest Activity: Jan 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 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.

Comment by Ken Elrich on September 9, 2012 at 10:05am

@ John, I also use mag drive's. I have found that they do in fact build up that bio-slime TCLynx referred to. I do not glue my pipes and fitting so that I can disassemble the system and rinse out with clean water. this seems to work well. I also clean bio-slime out of the pump on a regular bases.

Comment by TCLynx on September 9, 2012 at 8:00am

John, have you already checked to make sure there are no clogs?

Are you keeping leaves and debris clear of the pump?

Is the impeller damaged?

Keep in mind that small plumbing can be greatly reduced in flow through by bio-slime build up in an aquaponics system.  Upsizing the pluming can often supply much more flow.  For instance, if you hooked up 1/2" irrigation pipe with barbs to the pump with a 1/2" thread outlet, then the restriction of flow at the barbs getting blocked by gunk and bio-slime will really restrict the pump flow.

I would only replace the impeller if it is damaged.  Check to make sure there isn't debris in the pump or anything wrapped around the impeller.  If you are turning the pump on/off all the timer with a timer, it is possible that the impeller could be damaged, especially if there was some debris in the pump when it tried to turn on.

If the pump running dry caused it to really overheat and actually deform the plastic, that could account for loss of flow but replacing the impeller would only help if that is the only part damaged.  In general it will be other parts of the pump deformed by overheating.

Comment by John E Windsor on September 9, 2012 at 7:45am

We are using a mag drive pond pump. It has been in use now for 4 months and I am concerned that it is not working as well as it did in the beginning. When we started using the pump it supplied more than enough water. Now it is pumping just enough to supply the system, with nothing to spare. If I replace the impeller, will that restore the pump to it's original power? There was a time or two that the pump ran nearly dry due to a leak in the system and I think that may have damaged the pump.


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