Aquaponic Gardening

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I'm a Belgian student product design and because I'm in my graduation year, I have to work one year around an end work. My plan is to work around a greenhouse design for one year. The project has to be innovative and have to be worked out on a detail level. I came here to find people who have the interest to share ideas. Maybe an idea which you never had the time for to work out and one that would match for an end work for a whole year. Or people who can show me where to start with the topic aquaponic. I think I already saw a lot of nice projects on this forum. 

To finish, I have some renders from a simple greenhouse concept that I did some years ago:

Thanks and have a nice day!


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I'm working on (and starting construction) of a passive solar greenhouse specifically for warmer climates, but adaptable to cooler areas. Glad to share info. 

Mark I would be very interested in some information on the greenhouse as i am looking at building a passive greenhouse and i live in the tropics.

Hey! I'm also studying in Belgium and am looking for some help with an aquaponics thesis project.  My program is economics and development so my project won't be design related but I know most of the basics about aquaponics so maybe I can help :) 

Great Group that is forming! 

Here is a sketch of my greenhouse.


I like it..

Very much interested in designs for naturally cooling greenhouses for the tropics and reducing energy input, while using more renewable/recycled products available in our area.

Thanks for sharing your ideas. It sounds really interesting. I did a small thesis about the passive house build when I was 18. So I'm sharing this interest! I'm in the beginning of the project and I've got the feeling I can go so many ways up. I'll try to see the forest through the trees. (I don't know if you use this expression in English)


This sounds really interesting as well! I have to wright a business plan for January and I already have to present my concept, techniques and so on. So the second part of the year I will be busy with the design itself. Of course my business plan and the costs will change in this period. I look forward to stay in contact with you. 

Thanks for the replies!

My main question is  "How will the thermal mass perform?" I have listed a quantity of water and concrete on the sketch and hope that the sheer volume will moderate and stabilize the temperature. Also I plan to use "Outsulation" (foam and synthetic stucco) to isolate the thermal mass from the outside environment. Does anyone know how to calculate the value of thermal mass and the heat and cold retention ? "Hope" is not a good design element.

I really don't want to do put in SHCS because of the cost, but I will if that seems to be the answer. 
My design goal is to keep the model low cost and such that it can be easily replicated.

Hey Jeroen, that is a beautiful design. I would mod it for AP by placing a below grade @300 gal sump under the center area and put your fish tanks under the benches or fish in sump and forget under the bench.

Here is the plan we developed. and the elevation:

And some results:W

We grow trout and our system temps run between 50F in Winter to about 73F highest in the Summer here in the mountains of NE TN. We have some plants such as Swiss Chard and Kale that have been steadily producing meals for over a year. I have been farming most of my life and AP is by far the most fun I have ever had doing such.

Do you think that it is a good plan to start from a dome. I found a nice movie about a really innovative dome greenhouse: Is it a good plan to put the fish tanks under the benches? Do the fish don't need some daylight to survive? The tanks can have a plexy or glass window on the sides from the greenhouse. Your plan looks really nice! I see you've got different types of fish. Do you mix the wastewater for better nutrition?

I don't think light matters so much for the fish.. mainly the temperature and oxygen/ammonia content of the water.  I've seen some tanks that were pretty much completely covered and they worked fine... Also, clear sides for the tanks might be a bad idea because sunlight will cause algae growth.. from what I've read, dark colors are the best idea for fish tanks :)

Domes are really pretty in most instances but I have been advised that they do waste a great deal of space and are more difficult to construct and cover than a conventional square cornered shape. It is of course easier to construct square cornered grow beds and fish tanks (especially if you choose to use IBCs) which do not fit as well in a dome leaving a great deal of under utilized space. In the fish room I have every third roof panel clear and the rest metal and that gives just the right subdued light for the fish and helps to keep the fish room cooler. Leah is right about the algae and sunlight should be kept from hitting the water in general. That is why we keep the water level about 2" below the top of the media beds as well. In a dome it would be harder to isolate the fish room as well. I drew up many a plan using a dome and eventually decided against using one.

Yes all the waste flows into one 1 1/2" pipe and then flows to the grow room and gets distributed to each grow bed. From the beds, either raft or media, the clean water flows into a 2" common drain and back to the sump where it is pumped back to the fish tanks and so on. There is a constant flow 24/7 just like in nature.

Thanks for your reply. It looks like it is much more interesting to use a square shaped greenhouse. I start to look for global or specific problems in the aquaponic world. Do you maybe know some common issues which can improve?

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