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I am new to Aquaponics. I have my system up and running. I did a fishless cycle. Added one large goldfish a week ago to test the system and hopefully eat some of the algae making its way into the FT. One week later (yesterday) added 40 rainbow trout fingerlings. Its been about 36 hours and everthing seems fine. The trout are active and feeding.

The system currently consists of one full IBC tote FT, one 1/2 IBC tote sump tank, two 1/2 IBC tote flood/drain grow beds, two 20" wide 20' long NFT channels and four 4" wide 10' long NFT channels.

The FT has a gravity feed SLO which feeds into the sump tank and a second air lift SLO inside the tank at the opposite corner for aeration and keep water and solids moving. From the sump tank a submersible pump moves the AP solution to the flood/drain growbeds and the 4" NFt channels. The 20" wide NFT channels are fed a portion of the drain solution from the flood/drain grow beds. Each grow bed cycles about 5 times per hour with 25-30 gal volume solution each.

The flood/drain grow beds have a 7" coarse red scoria bottom with media filled grow bags sitting on the scoria. The media in the grow bags is 80/20 biochar/vermicompost. A bell syphon in each bed fires at about 13" of solution depth. This about 2-3" below the top of the media in the grow bags.

The flood/drain grow beds are planted with a variety of smaller vegies; the 4" wide NFT channels are planted with strawberries and lettuce and the 20" wide NFT channels will be planted with larger vegies i.e. tomato, cucumber, pepper, egg plant, summer squash, etc.


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Welcome to the club

I will ad an update on my system later this week. For now feast your eyes on this...the butterhead and the red oak leaf lettuces are featured in 057.jpg from two weeks ago. That is pretty good growth.

As promised a system update--compare the above photos to those from about three weeks ago. We have eaten some nice lettuce and salad greens already and have a bunch ready to harvest. Check out the color in this lettuce. I have been adding iron chelate and MgSO4 to control noted deficiencies in those nutrients. I have also been slowly bringing the Ph down from 8.0 to 6.8. I have been using H2SO4 (NAPA battery acid). This will help with nutrient deficiencies induced by the high Ph.

I started with 40 trout fingerlings plus one goldfish of the same size. I lost 3 trout (jumpers) before I could get a net cover on the FT. Then lost two trout (unexplained) less than a week after stocking, two more (unexplained) about a week later. The carcasses were in good shape when discovered so they went to a nursing cat. Each time, prior to finding the dead trout their feeding rate slowed to nearly a complete stop. For the last week the feeding rate has realy picked up. I have been tweaking the system here and there to improve flow, aeration and solids removal. This morning I made an adjustment the SLO by adding a horizontal drain pipe diagonally across the bottom. This will help with removal of an accumulation of solids in the center of the FT. Well, I completed this installation an found a badly decomposed carcass floating in front of my face. The AP water is dark, with some suspended solids so even with a strong light I have trouble seeing the bottom of the FT. I expect an improvement will result in this morning's adjustment to the SLO.

System update--have been harvesting lettuce and salad greens as fast as we eat them and today harvested 2 quarts of perfect looking strawberries. I would prefer a sweeter strawberry--can anyone provide advise?

Growth demonstrated in comparison of this grow bed photo to that in my 5/15/15 post . Snow peas beginning to blossom. Included photos of Brandywine tomato and yellow crook-neck squash with blossoms and fruit. Interestingly, the Brandywine look much better than the Trust (hybrid greenhouse variety). The smaller plants next to the yellow crook-neck are cantaloupe.

The FT has cleaned up nicely with SLO modification described in my last update. The trout are feeding well with no further problems.

Hi Randal,

Just getting my system together (indoor) and I noticed your system must be outdoors in a green-house.

Do you have any additional lighting?

Are you cycling your pump on and off times?


Nice set up. Guess it's go big or go home. I have a similar system. Your dark water could come from too much iron. You're having phenomenal growth. With 40 - a few fish you probably don't need to worry about to many solids. Add some red wigglers to you beds and they'll take care of your solids as well as fertilize better.  As your fish get bigger you made need to add a filter.

Looks great. How are your fish doing? Where did you get your Trout fingerlings and how much did they cost?

Looks awesome!  Very professional.  Are you doing anything to supplement phosphorous or potassium?  Your plants look very healthy and productive.  I would love to hear more about it.  Please post updates.

Hi Randal,

So how is your system progressing?

What are you doing to cross germinate the flowers?

Would like to see a 2016 update.


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