Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

"Gravel Pit Self Reclaiming Aquaponics System"I knew When I ordered the book that there must be more to Aquaponic Gardening than using waste water from my fish tank,

and am enjoying getting started reading it! Especially since what I've learned about so far has confirmed what I decided would happen by my pumping water to flood irrigate from the free flowing liner-less pond in my gravel pit onto the gravel surface. I was sure this was a success of some kind despite of a huge increase of string algae (I must have 10,000 Japanese Trap Door Snails in there now from this) as the orchard grass which could barely grow there before filled in nice and thick with it getting 5 feet tall in places, and I was right the cottonwood trees growing in a stand next to the pond has taken off quite well now from having fish in there.

Now that I know my fish will do well and that the filtration system works,,,so to speak, can't wait find out/or figure out from the book and this forum what more to do, I will begin adding more fish (I spent around $10 on them to begin with, common goldfish and rosy red minnows as a test) I want to add Koi and edible fish of some kind, not sure how many goldfish I have now, but there appears to be plenty of minnows and snails to support many fish without extra feed, though the hoards of water boatman bugs have been scared off or eaten and only a few remain. I also have Water Sedge plants (quick former of peat) and bulrush plants (a wetland edible) ordered for spring planting along with quite a few of my spring planting trees that are on order being ones that will do well in the swampy condition/while making a nice wind break, so I should have a good start on my filtering of the water!

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Early spring, well at least for us, was even able to start running the pump by mid February. Cleaning the water early after a short winter helped out a lot, but then so did pro-biotic from the duck waste. Fish were hungry right off after a winter without food instead of waiting for getting perked up from cleaning the water.

I got my new batch of ducklings today, 3 Pekin, 5 Cayuga, and 5 Domestic Mallards. I also have Mallard Runner duck Hatching Eggs in the incubator with an assortment of chicken eggs.

The whole gravel pit is becoming a lush green carpet of grass between chickens pecking and scratching and ducks foraging and dividing grass plants into several new plants. The droppings help a lot, but an area has to become lush before many droppings will collect there, what goes in must come out.

I put the soiled bedding from my chicken coops into the main trench where I pump the pond water and watered it in good, did the gravel pit grow bed much good, helps a lot with moisture retention and pro-biotic boosting while giving additional fuel for vegetation. I put some Alaska Fish Fertilizer into the channel of flowing irrigation water part of the time in areas with need of fertilizer boosted vegetation, I did so both last fall and this spring, seems to help collect extra water and get the water going into the pond out of the air right away instead of waiting almost a week.

Most of my spring planting of trees bushes etc. will get here mid May but I already have gotten a start planting, 2 Bartlett Pear, an Anatolian Cherry, 7 poplars and a Chestnut Crab-apple tree. Lots more to come but mostly small stuff.

Almost time to get to mowing, picked up 3 used lawnmowers so far this spring that I hope to have help me out considerably keeping up with it all. 2 reel mowers 1 with an engine and 1 human powered, a Huskvarna 6.5 hp bagging mower as well.

The ducks are finally starting to be sure and lay their eggs on the bank of the pond instead of in the water. I've been getting about 5 duck eggs a day, mostly all good sized and tasty!

Warmest winter on record, worldwide, following the warmest year on record. 

Good luck with your gardening


Hi Larry,
I don't know if You have already shown us pictures or a video of Your interesting setup.
If You haven't, would You consider it?  If You have, would repost themso we can see Your progress?
Thanks, Paul Smith
Larry Dale Smith said:

Early spring, well at least for us, was even able to start running the pump by mid February. Cleaning the water early after a short winter helped out a lot, but then so did pro-biotic from the duck waste. Fish were hungry right off after a winter without food instead of waiting for getting perked up from cleaning the water.

I got my new batch of ducklings today, 3 Pekin, 5 Cayuga, and 5 Domestic Mallards. I also have Mallard Runner duck Hatching Eggs in the incubator with an assortment of chicken eggs.

The whole gravel pit is becoming a lush green carpet of grass between chickens pecking and scratching and ducks foraging and dividing grass plants into several new plants. The droppings help a lot, but an area has to become lush before many droppings will collect there, what goes in must come out.

I put the soiled bedding from my chicken coops into the main trench where I pump the pond water and watered it in good, did the gravel pit grow bed much good, helps a lot with moisture retention and pro-biotic boosting while giving additional fuel for vegetation. I put some Alaska Fish Fertilizer into the channel of flowing irrigation water part of the time in areas with need of fertilizer boosted vegetation, I did so both last fall and this spring, seems to help collect extra water and get the water going into the pond out of the air right away instead of waiting almost a week.

Most of my spring planting of trees bushes etc. will get here mid May but I already have gotten a start planting, 2 Bartlett Pear, an Anatolian Cherry, 7 poplars and a Chestnut Crab-apple tree. Lots more to come but mostly small stuff.

Almost time to get to mowing, picked up 3 used lawnmowers so far this spring that I hope to have help me out considerably keeping up with it all. 2 reel mowers 1 with an engine and 1 human powered, a Huskvarna 6.5 hp bagging mower as well.

The ducks are finally starting to be sure and lay their eggs on the bank of the pond instead of in the water. I've been getting about 5 duck eggs a day, mostly all good sized and tasty!

there are quite a few in the thread

I see You do have a lot of gold fish.
Thanks for the picture.

A UV filter would have helped that photo a lot, or taking the picture when the light was lower.


It was extra cold most of winter here, but not many bitter cold snaps and no super cold snaps only got down to about -14 degrees F instead of the usual -30 to -40 I see at my place, but no warm spells to speak of either, just an early spring thaw to even out the cold and mundane winter.
George said:

Warmest winter on record, worldwide, following the warmest year on record. 

Good luck with your gardening


Actually most of the fish I had then were Rosy Red Minnows, birds kept raiding my goldfish and I finally gave up on stocking those and Koi, but the over populating rosy reds made a good source of food for the bass I have it stocked with now.

I went from being horrified at seeing millions of minnows to never seeing them again but I am sure many are still hiding in there, the bass sometimes are out of hiding but disappear to quickly for me to get any photo's.

The bass are not old enough to reproduce till later this year, so I know they are not the ones making all the fish waste type muck in my pond, I got 52 1/2 gallons of fish waste muck out of the pond when I got started on removing it last week during nice weather and that was an estimated 3/16's of it.

Even though that fish waste has been let to pile up for almost 5 years, most of it has been built up over this last winter and so far this spring while I was waiting for the weather to turn off nice enough to wade in there and stick my hand down in the water scoop up a handful at a time and fill my 10 quart bucket.

I waited so long for that fish waste to accumulate enough to bother with, then all at once a mountain of the stuff! The fish waste is so dark grey, almost black despite the high calcium content of my water, I think that is supposed to indicate both fish eating tons of bugs and the extra richness of the muck, didn't find much duck waste from my ducks in the fish waste which surprised me lots.

But I suspect I may have lots of goldfish now as I put about 1,000 feeder goldfish in after I tried putting in a similar number of new Rosy Reds and before I figured out the Rosy Reds were in hiding, and I knew from them disappearing faster than they could have been eaten by the number of bass and before they got big enough to attract birds to prey on them that they were going into hiding and that was how I first figured out the others were still there.

Right now I am able to get a good look into the pond as the donated goat compost placed near the pond put enough pro-biotic into the pond to turn the kalamath lake algae into compost and the water is getting to be sparkling clear after all this rain added to the pond and filtering the compost tea out with thee pump.


Paul Smith said:

I see You do have a lot of gold fish.
Thanks for the picture.


Thanks a lot, I really should learn more about how to edit my photo's.

I will have to remember the taking the photo when the light is lower tip when I try to get some new photo's for on here, it's pretty sound advice in both being a good time to spot fish without them spotting you and in that the reflection shouldn't be near so bad.


George said:

A UV filter would have helped that photo a lot, or taking the picture when the light was lower.

I haven't been able to spot any fish to take any photo's, but the water has been muddy looking from brown fish waste meaning the bass must be eating on the minnows instead of just bugs.

The brown fish waste isn't as nutrient rich as the black fish waste from bugs getting eaten, but should build up the supply faster as well as more minnows getting culled will perk things up better.

I got a new small gas engine driven pump, a 1 inch outlet job, broke it in yesterday and today, works out good for my irrigation sprinkler on a stand and with a near 1/4 inch outlet.

Sad thing is that with my bigger pump (2 inch outlet) the more I clean fish waste out of the pond, the more it seems to draw it near and get clogged with it.

I got lots of planning going on in my head, got lots of ideas and working on how to go about such without running up a big bill.

Much of my place is getting fenced off for pasture, fencing is getting free to me same as pasture is free to the fencers as long as they take good care of the pasture.

Should take in a bunch of flies and draw them near the pond for the bass, so after the bass are done culling the minnows down to a more reasonable population they will get a big feeding of flies, YAY!

The horses came that evening after my last post, 3 of them, they make good neighbors.

I have been enjoying the pump and my sprinkler, got up pretty warm yesterday and got the water temp up good like it should be this time of year, staying up today to despite last nights rain and the cooler day today.

More warm weather later this week, Wednesday or Thursday depending on what you call warm.

Looks like the warmth of summer will mostly be here to stay after that even if it is a month or near till official summer.

I'm glad to have warmer water wade in to get the fish muck for my trees, the buckets are much heavier now from the far end of the pond from the big pump, all the light stuff flowed down to the end where the big pump is and the heavy stuff stayed put I suppose why the bucket fulls are heavier the farther down the other end I get.

The warm weather should help those flies show up for the fish to get rid of, not sure if there is much point to restocking the fish food I'm nearly out of at this point, no fish will eat manufactured food if it has a belly full of flies.

The fruit on my trees is growing good thanks to the fish muck, and I hope to get a super big extra delicious harvest of apples cherries and plums all thanks to the fish muck.

There has been somehow less flies with the horses around, or maybe the extra flies from the horses came just in time since this year the first hatch-lings should be in the pond from the bass, just a few years more and I can start harvesting bass!

Pond is awful low and I can't run the pump till the level comes up, might be going to rain today/tonight and I sure hope it does at that!

Getting to be a good number of grasshoppers and locusts that are incoming attackers on my place, making the chickens and ducks happy!

Seems to be only a few grasshoppers and mostly locusts this year from what I saw so far.

The locusts are mostly hatch-lings still, but the will grow fast, they will eat a lot and they will get eaten a lot by not only my birds but also the Canada Geese and other wild birds.

The neighbors to one side of me are already mostly done with the first cutting of hay, sure looks like they got a bunch, the other neighbors with a hay field just started cutting, looks like they did OK too or at least lots better than last year when hot and humid weather shrank the hay to 1/10th of the number of bales they should have gotten 1st cutting and no second cutting.

My place still has quite a bit more grass on it than normal for this time of year despite having 3 horses grazing on the place, has even begun greening back up on the slope of the hill despite dry weather.

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