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Hi all,


lets help each other to improve system's and and grow larger...

what system should i start with?

commircial setup layout?

how can upgrade?


here are some designs that i made when i just started aquaponics:

lets post our ideas and layout :)

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Please tell more about your goals for the systems as well as the volumes and space and fish load intended for the different systems for people to help answer your questions better.


Commercial systems are far more about the business and marketing plans than the exact system.  You need to understand aquaponics but you also need to do plenty of business planning.


Need to know more before I could tell you how to upgrade.

thanks for the reply TCLynx,


i use to have a small 180g setup which i first started with to learn from and see how i go with AP, i had it running for about 6 months then decided to build a new system to feed my home with as u see the 2nd pic is the my home project which will finsh by next week. about the sizes i will measure the media box's and tank as soon as im done so i can provide u with the exact numbers.


Commercial system is my next step. i tried searching google for a commercial setup layout design but could not find one just to see the layout of tanks to have an idea to start to do my own plan, my goal in doing a a Commercial system will be a huge challenge for me, where i tend to build it is in the western region of the united arab emirates in a place called "liwa" is an hot dry oasis surrounded by huge sand dunes and well known for its date palm trees, since the the lack of poor water source underground and it becoming extremely salty in some areas it nearly impossible to grow vgieteables crops in soil and water condition! i found some ready systems online but wasn't itrasted in any i want to biuld my own to help others in future to improve farming in liwa which use to be one of the best farming are some links


i will provide you soon, we will how it runs 


thanks alot ,

There are courses and plans available for commercial systems but none for free that I know of.  Anyway, a simple diagram of a commercial system is probably really pointless without know more about the details of it's proper operation anyway.  There is generally much more plant space than fish space though.  Green Acre Organics has a big greenhouse and the fish portion of the system fits in one corner of the greenhouse while the plant beds take up most of the space and they are expanding the planting space as well.


Greenhouse growing in a hot climate can be challenging too.  What are your plans there? (lettuce doesn't grow well in temperatures around 38 C even heat tolerant varieties)  I'm assuming that aquaponics out in the open wouldn't work due to sand and grit getting into everything.


I'm thinking that perhaps using sand as media might be a worthwhile experiment in such a place.


Good Luck

i think i got good information about the details, i am testing and reading online for the past 6 months :) but every day i learn a new thing and that's wts pushes you more and more to learn

i saw there web page, it looks easy but it needs a little of math and good plumping so you get all the pipes running correctly, i liked there green house they did a really nice job!


well hot weather, sand, dust is a huge problem but i can solve all three by cooled green house, if cooled properly it would be max heat around 28 30C,  and the lowest would reach around 20C at night and we will not forget the fish tank water which will be in a fully shaded room which will keep it around 18 to 20 i assume since my goal is to but two 3000 gallon tanks. sand and dust the green house would be sealed sure. its all by controlling the indoor climate that would solve the any problem. 

i know how the system works but i still see my self need to know how to do the piping and the flow correctly i don't wanna put my money and get stuck with water circulation?. 


sand media is great in mixing soils but don't think would work well in a AP since its too light and might run in the pipes if some leaks under a pot. i think we can yous it after a settling tank to hold small in seen particles haven't tried yet...


2 u 2   

Kobus is testing out a little sand bed for growing a few things but it is still a test.

Gravel works very well for media beds provided you get something that won't affect pH.


Plumbing is all about flow rates, pressure (or lack there of) and gravity.  I generally let the pump be my guide on any plumbing to/from the pump.  I might upsize plumbing from or to a pump but the starting point is always the size the pump is designed to hook up to.  Gravity plumbing and drains always need to be bigger than whatever plumbing is feeding the tank.  For instance a pump using 1 1/2" plumbing feeding a fish tank is gonna deliver a lot of water so the gravity drain on the fish tank will need to be much larger to keep up since it won't be under pressure.  I have a 3" SLO (solids lifting overflow) drain on my fish tank and I actually have to divert some of the pump flow back to the sump or that 3" drain can't keep up.

Always make things accessible as you can, the hardest to reach plumbing bit is gonna be the one that gives you most trouble if you know what I mean.

Try to plan your plumbing runs to be as straight as you can within reason to keep it all flowing as best you can.  The more bends and the smaller the plumbing the more friction there is which will slow the water down.


I know that doesn't really provide you with the math to do the figuring but I don't know the numbers.  I've generally managed using 1"-3" plumbing for my mostly backyard scale systems.  The ladies at Green Acres actually did some tests by timing water flow through some plumbing to make sure that size would work for them so perhaps they didn't trust the math and turned to the experiment to make sure.  Philip Wolf actually knows how to do the figuring/engineering to know how big the pipes need to be for different flows if you are looking for the math to help you choose pipe sizes.


Good Luck.


Mohamed - I have been working with swimming pool filter sand (coarse grained silica) and it is working very well.  Plants root very nicely but you can still remove and replace plants with ease, particularly when the bed is full of water.  I am using the bed as a trial.  It is on a "clean" water line and timed pump.  It floods for 15 minutes each hour.  It has been in operation for a number of months, and no sign of any clogging.

TCLynx thanks alot for your comments, ill see how my new project runs and after a few months il post my new commercial idea and discuss it together :)


Welcome Kobus,

i never used a swimming pool filter, its a gr8 idea keep us updated ill do a search sand filters so i can get more info about them.

i never tried the timed pump started bell siphon plant beds, 



The most recent edition of "Recirculating Aquaculture 2nd Ed" (Timmons & Ebeling) is a great reference for designing aquaculture systems. The book includes a chapter on Aquaponics written by Dr. James E. Rakocy from the University of Virgin Islands. I purchased my copy from Amazon.


Let me know how the sand goes.  In my experience it will do well for a couple months but get too fouled with organic matter as the system matures- its the classic aggregate conflict between BSA and percolation.



Terri thanks for the ur advice,

i ordered it 

Can anyone point me to a link with that book for sale? I googled in and amazon said it was out of stock?



I searched Amazon and found that the earlier version of this book is not available, but the current edition is -

Recirculating Aquaculture

One thing to note is that there's isn't much info on designing a media based AP system. It's a great reference for sizing and designing commercial systems.


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