Aquaponic Gardening

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Hi,

In the process of building a 10 gallon setup and have been doing a fair amount of research but am getting overwhelmed with stuff that (mostly) doesn't pertain to me.  So I thought I would just start a new thread specific to the system I'm trying to build.

 As I said it's a 10 gallon tank. For the grow bed I have the choice of a 28 quart, 18 quart, or 12 quart container.  I'm thinking the 18 quart would be a good start.  Am I correct in assuming that?

 I've read a bit about using a bell siphon type a setup versus continuous flow and I'm leaning heavier toward continuous flow.  Sounds to me from the reading I've done the siphon system can be a bit of a headache with failures and what not.  I live on the top floor of a high rise so any failure with getting water back to the tank is a gamble I can not take. (aside from some easily wiped up splashes of course).  So I guess my question would be, with the continuous flow system, how high up should the return drain be?  Or perhaps a better question, how much water should I allow to sit on the bottom of the grow bed?  Inch or two?  Or none?
 Found some flexible (but still plenty rigid) black water line at menards I plan to use for the return. When fastening to the grow bed is there any particular brand of silicone recommended?  I have some clear 100% silicone that's suppose to be 7 year mold free protected.  Suitable?  Other wise I've noticed petco has some silicone that's made for aquariums.  Would that be better?
 I think those were my biggest questions for now.  Thanks much for any and all help.

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If the silicone has a mold-free guarantee, then it's definitely not acceptable in aquaponics. GE Silicon I for Doors and Windows is safe to use.

I'd go with the 28.  More filtering is a good thing.

Thanks.  I would of thought mold free would be a good thing.

Scott Roberts said:

If the silicone has a mold-free guarantee, then it's definitely not acceptable in aquaponics. GE Silicon I for Doors and Windows is safe to use.

Ok thanks.  My first choice was the 28 but I thought it may have been to big.

George said:

I'd go with the 28.  More filtering is a good thing.

28 quart is only 7 gallons.

Starting ratio should be close to 1:1 grow bed to fish tank. You're current plan is 7:10 -- up your grow bed or don't fill the tank as full?

JMHO

7 to 8 gallons in the tank. So the 28 it is.  Anyone have thoughts on the continuous flow aspect of it?  Inch or 2 of water left in grow bed? Or none?

Sue McL said:

28 quart is only 7 gallons.

Starting ratio should be close to 1:1 grow bed to fish tank. You're current plan is 7:10 -- up your grow bed or don't fill the tank as full?

JMHO

How deep is your GB? If I remember correctly, there should be at least an inch of water left in bottom -- split the difference and go for 1 1/2 inches?

28 quart is about 6 inches deep.  It's a clear plastic tote. More long and wide then deep.  Which actually brings another question, should I even be using a clear tote?  It won't be in the sun, just a grow light.

Please define "continuous flow". You either have a DWC that is always full or a timed ebb and flow or a siphon. Continuous flow would indicate a DWC or "raft bed" and there is no 1 1/2 inches involved. It stays full and flows thru continuously. If you are doing media a timer on the pump or a bell siphon is required. I have over 500 bell siphons going around the world and they pose no hazard of flooding over whatsoever if you install them properly. I would worry far more about your connections and piping OUTSIDE your FT and GB in terms of flooding out the apartment below. You had better check with your renter's insurance as a 10gal flood could be VERY costly indeed. Not to bum you out but please be very careful. Water damage can be huge and your landlord will blow a gasket.

Understood.  That is one of the reasons for trying to keep plumbing to a minimum.  Continuous flow over hydroton draining back into the tank if that clears things up at all.  I figured that would be the simplest, easiest way of avoiding any potential failure. One line (clear tube) pumping up and one line returning.

Jim Fisk said:

Please define "continuous flow". You either have a DWC that is always full or a timed ebb and flow or a siphon. Continuous flow would indicate a DWC or "raft bed" and there is no 1 1/2 inches involved. It stays full and flows thru continuously. If you are doing media a timer on the pump or a bell siphon is required. I have over 500 bell siphons going around the world and they pose no hazard of flooding over whatsoever if you install them properly. I would worry far more about your connections and piping OUTSIDE your FT and GB in terms of flooding out the apartment below. You had better check with your renter's insurance as a 10gal flood could be VERY costly indeed. Not to bum you out but please be very careful. Water damage can be huge and your landlord will blow a gasket.

Hi Mike,

If you're interested in a safe caulk for an aquaponic system, check out Eco-Bond's Farm Safe caulk from Amazon.  It's livestock safe and Prop 65 certified.  I used this to seal my 100 gallon grow bed and tank and it's worked very well!

I had a 6 qt. GB on an aquarium once with a bell siphon. It worked OK but even when it failed to siphon the water just runs through the siphon and there's no flooding problem as long as the tube is large enough to handle the flow from your pump. I have 2 aquariums with GBs now that I use to grow seedlings for my IBC system. The smaller system with be hard to control the water readings though.

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