Aquaponic Gardening

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Hey guys!  I am a newbie to aquaponics and decided to setup my first NFT system on my back porch.  

Had a couple questions so I made a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl2fY4QRPSU

1. Is that enough water in the bottom of the pipe?

2. How many fish in that container?

3. How should I cycle the water and get it ready for fish?  

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Ah, I see from your photo that your coming at this from a mineral hydro sort of background .  

Some sort of mechanical filtration will become a must. NFT 'work fine' at first without it, but then suspended solids will start to wreak havoc on your plant roots. Without it, your plant roots will become gunked up and your plants will be far from well. But before you can even get to that part...

It'll be really pretty difficult to have a working AP system comprised of just a fish tank and an NFT rig. (Actually, more than difficult...damn near impossible). Get yourself a "box-o-rocks", you will need a proper bio-filter. Both for the bio-filtration, and for the bit of solids filtration it would offer your NFT.

That is a mighty small PVC pipe to handle the sort of root mass that you've drilled out all those holes for.

The 3/4" black poly will need to be cleaned out after a while (bio-slime build up) so I hope it's easily removable.

1. Yeah that looks like enough water. All your after is a thin film of water anyways. (If you can avoid the blockage due to root mass in that 'tiny' pipe.

2. Zero

3. Your not going to be able to cycle your system to support the fish you need, to grow the plants you want, the way you currently have things set up.

I don't like being the one to burst any bubbles, but go with hydro nutrients for a while until you get a handle on basic components and filtration needed to run an NFT style AP system and/or what it is that makes an AP system be able to function properly. This should help get you started...http://community.theaquaponicsource.com//page/aquaponic-gardening-r...

You can also use the "search" field here to search topics like NFT, bio-filtration, cycling etc...knowing that kind of stuff will  make the difference between you, in 2 or 3 months time having thriving plants and being happy with your set-up, or saying "fuck this, AP is a bullshit load of crap that doesn't work"...Sorry if any of the above seems harsh, it's surely not meant to be.

Appreciate the honest advice! Another person told me to go the bio filter route as well. By putting the bio filter right after the pump.

Yeah...fish tank to bio-filter to NFT would be a good order. Now, many folks using a similar set up (fish tank to bio-filter to NFT) find that they still need some sort of additional filtration to catch the fines that make it through. There are a number of (cheap and easy, without getting too fancy) ways to go about that, should you need to. (which you in all likely-hood will eventually) http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/profile/BillMoore

Bill Moore used a nylon stocking filter before his NFT for instance...It might help to check out some other peoples rigs/trials/tribulations/solutions who have a similar set-up to the one you're after. It might give you some ideas on what to expect, and how to potentially deal with some of the particulars that an NFT system brings to the table...At any rate, good solids and fines filtration is pretty much a prerequisite for NFT. (You didn't exactly start with the easiest AP method for a "newbie", but that's no reason not to do it, that's for sure . It'll just require some additional filtration components that's all.

What if I add a grow bed before it pumps into the NFT System?   Wouldn't that create the filtration and also the bio filter and also deal with the solids problem?  

Yep, a grow bed is a bio-filter. Those two terms here are used interchangeably  A media filled grow bed does a number of things, (a bit of) solids filtration, bio-filtration, and acts as a hydroponic sub-system (a place where the plants can grow).

But just a grow bed (in terms of mechanical filtration) usually wont quite be quite enough for a good healthy long-term functioning NFT. It'll get you most of the way there though. NFT requires pretty "clean" water.

So a grow bed that has a screen or a nylon stocking or something as a filter before it goes into the NFT system will be best?

kinda...the net filter...polisher...or nylon stocking filter would come after the grow bed, but before the NFT portion...combining the two into one unit would present more challenges than it's worth IMO...

Pump from FT to media bed...gravity fall from media bed to "net/sock/fines" filter (lets just call it a fines filter for simplicities sake)...gravity fall to NFT...gravity fall back to FT (or sump tank if you have/need one). That would be a good deal.

Alright then, that's the plan.  Thanks for all the help Vlad!  I will keep this updated

Another thing that you can add into your grow bed will be "red wiggler worms".  it can help with getting rid of solids and also give you an added bennifit of worm castings which, when mixed with water, can do wonders with your worms...
 
R.K. Castillo said:

So a grow bed that has a screen or a nylon stocking or something as a filter before it goes into the NFT system will be best?

So you just add some worms with the hydroton?

Yup, but it might be god to do that after your system has been up and running a bit, and you've been feeding the fish (so that the worms have something to eat... i.e solids from the fish). If you don't have your own worm bin going, either start one (that is your safest bet, or get some from a reputable source that you trust not to have reared the in cow manure...so as not to potentially introduce e.coli to your system. Just plop in a handful, they self regulate their population pretty much according to how much food is available to them. so their super low (no) maintenance. And in case you were wondering, they breathe through their skin and can live under water as long as it is decently oxygenated...So they're fine in a grow bed as long as there is food (fish poop).  

Oh! and make sure that they are red wigglers...  not earthworms or some other type...

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