Aquaponic Gardening

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Hi all, we've just purchased a property with a large indoor swimming pool. Around 80,000L with a greenhouse roof and plenty of room around it for grow beds. However, this is far too big for us to fill with fish to proper stocking density. So I had another idea:

I'd install a separate fish tank (4000L maybe?) and grow beds and pump the swimming pool water through them as a filter. The water would pump from the swimming pool to the fish tank, to the grow beds, then back to the swimming pool. The pool itself would have floating planters and wetland plants in pots around the edges, maybe even a couple of silver carp if algae became a problem.

This brings up lots of questions:

1. Will the aquaponics system filter that much water to a desired level?
2. Will there be lots of nutrients left in the water when it leaves the grow beds? And will diluting this in a large pool negatively affect the grow beds?
3. Will a pond pump suitable for the 5000L aquaponics system be big enough to keep the 80,000L natural swimming pool from turning stagnant? I could add a 2nd pump to simply circulate the pool water if so.
4. Do the fish thrive in the cleanest possible water or do they benefit from some nutrient/waste left behind?

I'm sure there's lots more questions to come, but this is all I can think of now. Thanks in advance!

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Replies to This Discussion

An alternative idea I had:

Split the pool into 2 zones. One zone houses grass carp and silver carp, the other grows duckweed and other aquatic plants to feed the fish and humans. Pump from the fish zone into grow beds, then drain from the grow beds to both the 2 zones of the pool (to keep the fish water aerated as well as circulate the plant zone).

In this system, the plant zone of the pool provides some of the water filtration, like a natural swimming pool. This reduces the need to have a 1:1 grow bed to tank ratio, which would necessitate 40m3 of grow bed! Too much for a starting out system.

Any thoughts?


Generally starting out big is a good idea but there is a saying that too much of anything isn't.  The first question I have for you is - are you new to aquaponics or have you had a smaller unit before?  If you are a "newbe" then I would go a bit smaller.  You have the room in your pool for a few IBC totes and I would suggest that you try those out first to see if you enjoy aquaponics. 

With the totes you can combine the two with a cross-over tube and run both tanks into two growbeds located above the lower halves  using only one pump.  I did a 26 tote system that works great and used 13 pumps to run the system.

  With the 400gallon cut down tanks combined you still have time to catch any problems that occur without getting overwhelmed with a larger system.

  If you decide to go with the IBC totes, contact me and I'll send you the plans and info you need to construct it properly.  I am glad to see more interest in aquaponics, just remember to have fun and don't be overwhelmed if problems do crop up

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