Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Hello all,

I am hoping to get some feedback/thoughts/comments/suggestions about putting a system in a greenhouse. I am not new to aquaponics but the greenhouse is a new piece.

I am a teacher. The district that I work for has given me a generous grant to start a small-ish system in a greenhouse. My personal system is inside so I am unfamiliar with the challenges of a greenhouse.

I really do not want this project to fall apart or experience unnecessary problems because I overlooked or didn't take into account certain factors of having a system in a greenhouse. I want to make sure that I have all the info I need before we construct the's -10 here with 4ft of snow on the ground so that won't be for a while.

I live in central NY. Weather is cold in the winter reaching down into the negative numbers, and hot in the summer reaching 90 at times with high humidity. 

Goldfish are my current choice of fish because of their adaptability but I am open to suggestions.

I really appreciate your thoughts!

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i'll check them out thanks Paul

Did you see any picture of video from my profile?

For a school GH I recommend either propane or if available natural gas. You really don't want to be messing with a rocket stove. I use wood and solar but my system is 2500g (lots of thermal mass storage there) and sits 250' from my house so I can monitor and determine when I need to make a fire with ease. I.e. last night dropped lower than expected (15F) so I went out and lit the premade fire at 2am more for the Lady Bugs than anything else. My stove heats the system water and the air which helps with humidity. The solar heat, from our home made solar panel, stored in the system water during a clear sunny day generally gets thru most cold nights with ease.

As to cover I would go with the best double or triple insulated GH panels that your budget will allow. There are many choices these days. I am still on single 6mil GH plastic myself and we get 20F below zero but double covering is in the future plans. Winter vegetables and trout will take system water temps to 40F and air temps into the low 30's in stride so your choices there count as well. Solar heat would be a great project for the students and ours is very simple and self running for great convenience. Keep in mind that the bigger the system volume the more stable during temp swings.

As far as Summer is concerned a well designed cross vent system and a powerful vent fan (I use a recycled furnace squirrel cage fan) should keep you within temperature. Shade cloth is important there as well.

Sounds like a great project.

shade cloth is going to first on my list. have double 6 mil now.

Plan to add silver lined both side foam insulation this summer and take care of gaps in the building letting air in.


As for heating my wife is not a fan of having a fire out in GH at night.

Well I am happy to say that my wife is a big wood stove fan and she enjoys the ones I design and build the best and that includes the one in the GH. We heat with 4 wood stoves here on the homestead. Like anything else it pays to know what you are doing and I have a perfect record of wood heat safety going back to the 70's not to mention as a firefighter in Maine I got to see some pretty dangerous installs and even greater ignorance resulting in some pretty spectacular fires including total loss of home. Great practice for us firemen:-) If you heat with wood EVERYONE involved must be schooled in all aspects of safety because things like chimney fires WILL happen and it is all in how you handle it in order to achieve a happy ending. It is not for everyone.

I am  a gas fitter and have seen my share of gas connections that make me want to run.


" A garden hose is not to be used for natural gas "


Will see if I can source some fire brick.

I repair commercial gas dryers and washers all the time and between the open electrical boxes and live devices hanging out and the often very scary gas pipes and connections I know exactly what you mean. Just yesterday I was on a call to a motel and squeezing behind the dryer I got zapped on a GFCI that was dangling on it's wires. Being a Master Elect I was not impressed but I took the time to put it back together for them before someone actually got hurt. Bad work is everywhere.

And: "Zip cord should not be used to power up a commercial dryer" Maintenance men or "engineers" as they like to be called today are among the scariest people around.

I get my firebrick at Lowes. The 2" are half the price of the 1" lol. Here's a pic of my latest stove build. A roaring gasifier that heats water for radiators as well as the air. Hot water is stored in the 330g insulated IBC in the background and hot air is sent to the kitchen above. This would make a great AP GH heater. Dry wood is a must for gasifiers (steam cools down the flame too much) and thus the drying rack: (the flue goes out the back at the brick area of the chimney. Hard to see)

Here is a free publication with lots of info on GH design

Hi Zach,

Read here :

Zach said:

What might you have on aquaponic start up? I started but not very well so far.

Lost fish relized i do not understand siphons at all....and wonder why my system worked fine then after changing the bed why it all stopped growing. Am sure it was from the change in bacteria , just trying to build it back up now.

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