Aquaponic Gardening

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   Hi, thanks for viewing. Im planning a indoor aquaponic system. I've attached a drawing that explains most of my plans.

 

   The growbeds probably will hold around 7 gals each, so the sump should be able to handle the temporary lose of water when the grow beds fill(once every hour or so). The sump tank is pretty much your regular sump filter except it is as large as the fish tank.

   I'm gonna buy (50) 1" tilapia, (25) Blues and (25) White Brooks, and house them in this tank untill they out grow it. I need some help predicting this, feeding twice a day with good food and some veggie snacks. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it, I have a 125 gallon tank in the attic and a outdoor pond if it comes down to it.

   I havent pinned down what plants Im gonna grow. I was thinking herbs and spices, anything that would mostly clean the water for the fish. I could use some recommendations here also.. The growbeds are in front of a window and probably have about 18" vertical grow space. I was pondering the idea of turning the lights on in the morning to wake the plants up until the sun is coming in the window good, then turning them back on when needed towards the end of the day. Im also gonna grow some philadendron out of the sump until the veggies can takeover.

   Anyways, I didnt want to put my fish on the floor so I was hoping that I could use the sump to feed my grow beds. Any info and tips will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Daniel.

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Hi Daniel. There are a couple points in your design where I have some concern. First, your stocking density is high given the size of your tank. You will be stocking at about a 1:1 ratio, whereas most experienced media aquaponic growers would recommend closer to a 1:5 (1 fish for every 5 gallons of tank). I know the sump tank gives you some wiggle room, but it won't get you anywhere near 1:5.

Are you using a sump because you have so much grow bed space to your fish tank volume (a little over 2:1)? I'm wondering if your system might run better if you just had 2 separate fish tanks, each with no more than 15 fish, each feeding a single grow bed? Or, better yet, you drag the 125 gallon tank down from the attic and use that to start with...again, with a maximum of 30 fish (25 would be better).

With lighting the plants you just need to worry about the total amount of lumens they get in a day, not necessarily when they get it.

Hope this helps!
Thank you very much. How would anybody get anything done without the help of experienced growers? I appreciate your help so much that it wasnt too hard to give up the (25) White Brook Tilapia. So Ive decided to go in the attic and drag that 125 gal down also, and install the 55 gal sump underneath it. This should be adequate for completely growing out the 25 Blues? Im going to keep the other 55 gal tank set up to isolate some breeders, I know I'm way over may head still. Another concern I had was using too large of a tank too early and my fish getting territorial?
Ok, now that I've got my fish and water volume scaled out, now the grow beds. My little tubs just seem to small for all that water. What I originally planned was just housing the (50) fish indoors through the winter and then moving them outside into a large aquaculture type tank with larger grow beds. I realized that it would probably be best to just set up a system and leave it how it is so it can balance out.
Kobus, I thought Ebb&Flow and flood&drain were the same thing. Maybe F&D is when the grow bed is filled with gravel and E&F uses pots? Or F&D is when the grow bed is slowly filling then drains when activated by bell siphon? I wanted to use net pots to seperate plants, I'll have alot of bio-media in the sump filter.
As for plants, I just want somethng that is gonna be maintainable in this tight space. They dont even need to be veggies, just something that will clean the water.
I took some more pics. I know what your thinking, "Aquaponics on carpet?" Yes, something tells me that I should have already stripped it. And there is no turning back once I put that 125gal in there! Maybe I should put a pond liner down or something?
Anyways, thanks again. I think I could use alittle help figuring out my grow bed sizes.
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Daniel, you are right, Ebb and Flow and F&D are the same thing.

I just realized that I made a critical error when I first read your system description and when you said your grow beds fit "about 7 gallons" I was thinking 7 cubic ft - which would be about 7 * 7.5 = 52.5 gallons. My only excuse is that I was drinking my coffee at the time and my brain wasn't fully awake yet! You are right, that is too little grow bed space. Here is your next rules of thumb. You want about the same volume of grow bed space as your volume of tank water...and you can push that to a 2:1 grow bed to fish tank. And you want your grow beds to be 12" deep if at all possible - but they can be more shallow if you are growing less nutrient intensive plants to start with just to get everything up an running (I'm thinking about your 18" height restriction and salad green and herbs probably). Sorry about that oops - hope you don't need to switch tanks again!
Ok, I figure a 4'x4' table, 12" deep, equals 16 cubic ft, equals 119gals.

If I used (3) growbeds measureing 1.5'x4'x1', I would have 18 cft'. I think I'll have to alternate flooding, any tips on accomplishing that? Not sure what I'll use for containers but I'll figure something out. Maybe i'll use what I got for herbs and salad greens and then add some deep bins and a HID light when the fish get bigger. Here comes a full fledged grow room with all the controls. Bye bye carpet.
Nah, i hadnt brought the tank down yet, I need some help, cant be harder then getting it up there though. I have to order at least (25) fish, so the 125gal is necesary.

Another option is to set up the 125gal , use what I got for growbeds, maybe add acouple, due water changes when necesary,and then move everything into a heated greenhouse in the spring.

I'm looking forward to be able to sleep at night without thinking about this for an hour plus first.

Thanks again.
While the 3 1.5' x 4' x 1' beds would give you an ideal setup with that 125 gallon tank, you can probably get away with shallower beds for now as long as you plan to move to deeper beds as your fish get bigger. You are going to need the extra filtration and the whole ecosystem in a 12" deep bed is much healthier in the long run. Don't forget to add in some redworms.

You can check out our grow beds - http://theaquaponicsource.com/aquabundance_aquaponics_grow_bed.php - or some people are using Rubbermaid bins as grow beds.

Yeah, the carpet was probably doomed anyway ;-)

Happy to help.
Alright, i have to tell you it feels pretty good to be through most of the planning. And the required grow space aint that bad. So im gonna get to it. Thanks to you i can move forward confidently.
I was looking at the tilapia group, I didnt find any mention of a supplier named Tilapia Source. I found a guy on youtube who boought them off of ebay. There is acouple of them on ebay. I was wondering if anybody had any experience with the following supplier. Check them out if you havent already, they have 4 breeds, and seemed fairly priced.

Sarah Weissenbach
White Brook Tilapia
9335 N Gower Ave
Kansas City, MO 64154
Phone - (816) 866-1172

Thanks again
I know them, Daniel. Good people.



Daniel Driscoll said:
Alright, i have to tell you it feels pretty good to be through most of the planning. And the required grow space aint that bad. So im gonna get to it. Thanks to you i can move forward confidently.
I was looking at the tilapia group, I didnt find any mention of a supplier named Tilapia Source. I found a guy on youtube who boought them off of ebay. There is acouple of them on ebay. I was wondering if anybody had any experience with the following supplier. Check them out if you havent already, they have 4 breeds, and seemed fairly priced.

Sarah Weissenbach
White Brook Tilapia
9335 N Gower Ave
Kansas City, MO 64154
Phone - (816) 866-1172

Thanks again
Well, I've got the room cleaned out. I went ahead and bug bombed it while it was empty. A friend will help me get the 125 gal out the attic tomorrow. Im thinking about some fast growing foddler crops to supplement feeding. I want something that I'll have to cut back or it will get overgrown, something fast. Ive got chickens too, maybe they could benefit. I will probably plant one small bin of salad greens and then the other something fast growing to clean the water. Then I'll add my larger/deeper growbed for larger veggies. Could I grow some sort of vine like veggies like, snap peas, in those shallow bins in the window? I'm also supplementing with T-5's, blue spectrum. I know my system will take some time to get going, i just want to get it started.
I was doing some reading and came across a forum where you mentioned that The Aquaponic Source sells Tilapia. I didnt know this, i want to buy from you if possible. I was leaning toward the Blues cause of the colder temp tolerence, just in case I needed to put some outside. I'm in Portsmouth, VA.

I would greatly appreciate links, I dont mind reading.
Posted on youtube, tanks are cycling. My youtube name is daniel3484. Let me know what you think.
Cool setup Daniel! It's quite similar to what I've done, though my bottom tier is a floating raft system (I thought I'd try both!). I don't yet have the growbed on the top level set up yet. Your drawing helps clear my thoughts.


Paul Letby said:
Cool setup Daniel! It's quite similar to what I've done, though my bottom tier is a floating raft system (I thought I'd try both!). I don't yet have the growbed on the top level set up yet. Your drawing helps clear my thoughts.

my planned changed, ive got a 125 gal fish tank now and ive got to add some more growbeds. I' would like to try some raft somehow.

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