Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Hello everyone,

I'm fairly new to aquaponics, and am VERY excited about what we can do with this system.  I have the following questions.  I live in the west coast - (Near san francisco, ca)


1) Does anyone have any good suggestions on what type of indoor lighting I should use (LED, CFL, or other economical light-source)? 

2) Has anyone experimented with which combination of lumens and distance works best?


1) I recently got some small lava rocks for the bedding. ($10/1cubic foot) Is this a good material to use/start with? 

2) Would you suggest using any thing else - pea gravel?  How much would it cost?

3) Did you have to monitor the pH frequently in the beginning? 

1) I plan on having my fish tank outdoors.  What would you recommend if I frequently have wildlife visiting my backyard - raccoon, skunks, squirrels?


1) Where is a good(cheap) place to get fish food? 

2) Where is a good(cheap) place to get the chemical treatments in the beginning (pH balancing, amonia/nitrate management, etc...)?

1) What is a good height for the planters box?

2) What is a good height for the water-line? (2inches below the top of the surface)

Gary Z.

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You're planning on having the fish tank outside, and the plants inside? That's kinda backwards..... the plants need as much light as they can get. The fish need... enough light to see where food is. The only economical light source for plants is the sun (unless you're growing pot). 

Take a look at my grow light video to get a basic understanding of the technologies out there:

I have heard others say that lava rocks are hard on the hands so you may want to use PH neutral pea gravel if cost is an issues. Test the gravel by putting it in vinegar... if it bubbles it probably is high PH which is no good. Raccoons, cranes, raptors all can fish well so netting would be needed. Fish food can be bought in bulk from a feed supply store for about $1 a pound. For the rest of the info pick up a book on amazon, you will have many more questions than can  be asked in a single thread

Hope that helps.

$10 for a cubic foot of lava rock seems expensive for lava rock. I bought it much cheaper and used it on the bottom half of the GB and put expanded clay on top. Keeps the weight down, has lots of surface area for growing bacteria, and is easy on the hands. I have 2 FTs in my basement and an IBC setup in my GH.

Hello Jeff,

How much did you spend on your rocks? 

The expanded clay is about $30 for a large bag, I think 50 liters, at the hydro store. The lava rock at Home depot is $3.77 per 1/2 yard. I bought it there because the lava rock at the landscaping supply was larger than I wanted. I still sorted through the stuff I bought and took out the larger pieces to allow for more surface area from the smaller pieces. If your landscaping place has it in smaller pieces that would be cheapest. Make sure you rinse it thoroughly.

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