Aquaponic Gardening

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Here are a few pictures of a system I am completing in NorCal.

Its a CHOP 2 system, with two 4x8 ft media beds drained by Bell Syphons, & an aerated 4x8 ft raft. Each bed has half an IPC under it as a sump, & these are all connected by stand pipes that keep the minimum water level above the pump. A single 1000 gph pump feeds the beds, & returns water to the 275 gallon IPC which drains into the center sump by gravity/syphon. I need to put a ball float on the water being pumped into the fish tank to prevent overflowing or excessive draining, but apart from that, the system is working great. The system is cycling while I am finishing the trim & covers to the water tanks, & with the water temp around 60 to 70 degF this may take a while. I have sprouted seedlings in both the media beds & raft & these are showing healthy white root structures. The larger starts I put in the media beds are also doing well considering the ammonia & alkalinity present. The pH is holding at around 7.6, & the ammonia is steady at 5ppm. The owner added 36 feeder fish, so these (& their food) maybe keeping the levels steady as I haven't added anything to the system for a couple of weeks. I had problems initially with high alkalinity, but I suspect the black lava was contaminated by lime or something similar in the delivery truck. I am adding seaweed extract for the plants & I suspect this is acting as a buffer.

I was intending to stock the fish tank with Tilapia, but I doubt now that they would survive the winter here in the Bay Area. The fish tank is insulated, & I am running a heater, but even now I am unable to raise the water temp above 70 degF on the hottest days & it usually hovers around 60 to 66 degF. Any suggestions on where I can purchase something more suitable in the Bay Area would be greatly appreciated. I am also looking to stock the sumps with fresh water shrimp & need a source for those.

Anyway, thanks for looking, & if you have any questions or suggestions please join in.

Mahalo Nui Loa


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You might should consider raising Trout. A "hybrid Golden Trout" in particular with your cooler but not horribly cold temperatures. Tilapia in any but a few southern California counties will cause invasive species legal difficulties.

Thanks Glenn...Any idea where I might find some Golden Trout ?. I'll take a look online, & perhaps try the State Hatchery
Glenn said:

You might should consider raising Trout. A "hybrid Golden Trout" in particular with your cooler but not horribly cold temperatures. Tilapia in any but a few southern California counties will cause invasive species legal difficulties.

I have life !!!.

This mornings testing showed 1 ppm Nitrate, & the Ammonia had gone down a point.

I installed the float valve on the return to the ft, so now the system is balanced (& I can sleep at night LOL).

The trim, caulking & primer will be finished tomorrow & I can apply the top coat on Friday & finish the last two covers for the sump tanks. Saturday morning I will lay new bark around & she will be done.

Damn I love this 


Thanks Chris, I appreciate your encouragement.

A cover for the fish tank would probably be a good idea as would some hoops for the grow beds. I'm going back to Hawaii next week, so it's time for the owners to "take ownership". The husband is very interested in food security, & being a doctor is also interested in the science behind creating & maintaining an eco system like this. The system is pretty much self sustaining, so hopefully they will keep it planted according to the seasons here.
Chris Keaton said:

Hey, that's a great looking set up - good job!  Will you have a cover during the winter?

Where in the bay area? 

Think about Channel Catfish or Bluegill as fish for the system. 

Aloha Scott,

The property that I built the system is in San Mateo County. The system is just about cycled & I would like to be in contact with a vendor now as I only have till the 29th to find fish. Any leads would be greatly appreciated.


Here's a link to a youtube video of the finished system

Back to Hawaii (:

Nice system! Lovin' the wood....

You can find shrimp on Fish Gobble

They're the only vendor for gammarus that I've found.

Thanks guys. Ill pass that link on to the owner.

I'm returning to Hawaii to do this commercially. 500 sq ft, expanding to 1000 sq ft with 2 1000 gallon glassed ply fish tanks.

Any one on the Big Island interested in growing some veges ?.

Nice looking system, kiwibilt. Sorry for the late reply, but I can get you catfish, carp, or koi now, more species later. I'm planning on heading to the Big Island in October, maybe we can meet then. 

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