Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

I am fairly new to the group and ready to get my feet to speak. I have been chatting with Jeff S. Off group and getting advice (thanks Jeff), but I thought I maybe should broaden my scope and not pester Jeff to death lol.

I am hoping to start my first system in the basement. I live in northwest Indiana so wintertime aquaponics demands a basement or a greenhouse....I have a basement. I am thinking barrelponics with a 2-4 half barrel media GB setup. I am thinking fish tank, either a 55 gal. Barrel or 100 gal. Rubbermaid horse trough, and a sump tank, and possibly swirl filter. Of course grow lights will be necessary. I don't want to go crazy here on this first attemp, but I want to go big enough that the system will not be too finicky to deal with. I like the idea of one u siphon verses individual bell siphons in the grow bed. Also wondering about the differences between growstones, hydroton, and gravel....besides the obvious difference in cost and weight?

Any advice out there from some of you seasoned veterans? Ratios of fish to growbeds, drawbacks of basement systems, pitfalls every newbie falls into? Any advice will be appreciated!


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hey i am new also, so i cant answere probably any questions you have but do have one opinion i have learned. i have a spare bedroom and thought about using it as a place for a system and decided not to because the cost of lights and rrunning them. with a greenhouse. you will have free heat durring the day. the only problem is heating it night... which i havent incountered yet because i wont be adding fish for anohter three days soooo its just a thought to concider

I take it that you have a greenhouse? Is it insulated at all, or is it mostly a hoop house? What zone do you live in? What kind of fish are you planning to use? As you can imagine, I have way more questions than answers, but I do hope to start some real hands on experience soon.

yea i built a 10x12 pvc hoop house, idk how well the insulation will work i didnt get greenhouse plastic. i used 4mill contractors plastic, also do not know how well that will work. i live in oklahoma. and plan using tilapia hopefully getting them this weekend

I wish you all the best, but from what I have been reading about all this, I am afraid you have a lot of work ahead of you. We have about 6" of snow and 50 miles an hr. wind in Indiana tonight and it is still snowing! I have been reading about passive solar greenhouses, but building one could get expensive. Are you going to major on heating the hoop house, or major on the fish tank and make the hoop house temperature secondary? I would like to have a greenhouse someday. Is this your first try at aquaponics?

not sure yet mike. this is my first aquaponic and green house attempt, all new here. the greenhouse is up and i have everything but the grow beds built and the heating figured out. just playing it by ear. i took the cheap hoop house route mainly to see if i enjoy it. if i do i will be making a more permanent greenhouse and use polycarbonate sheets. there is a form on here on how to heat the tanks fairly cheap. not sure how well it will work my guess a heater for the water and a small space heater will do the trick. just gotta see and find out. just not sure if by the time the cost to do that adds up to the same cost as lighint a spare bedroom or in your case a "basement".

I am fairly certain that this aquaponics stuff could get expensive in a hurry. Whether in a greenhouse, a bedroom, or a basement, even a cheap setup could tie up a lot of time and money.

Good luck with your greenhouse and your fish. I am excited to hear of your progress in the coming weeks.


HI Mike & Group,

I am rejoicing this morning.  I am in Eastern TN and the winds last night were crazy.  I fully expected the greenhouse to be in West Virginia.   

Mike, I noticed that you mentioned a U-Siphon instead of multiple bell's  What have you found here?  I have a 4x16' gravel bed that I have been treating like a giant dutch bucket.  I am thinking of trying a single large "p-trap" style siphon outside the bed to create an Ebb and Flow to increase aeration to the root zone.  Not sure why everyone uses "bell siphons" as opposed to just a simple trap?  Any thoughts?  

One concern I am wrestling with is currently my water cycles through the  fish tank > swirl filter > Grow Bed > DWC tank> back to Reservoir.   If I cycle the gravel it may not be enough time in between cycles to fill and drain.  Anyways, Thinking out loud.

Mike, it sounds like you are thinking a lot like me with size.  Take a look at my pictures, they might be similar to your intentions. I am just going into my first growing seasons, I started it up in October last year, so I really can't tell you how much other than construction related things.  But I would be willing to share what I have learned.


I did look at your pictures. No e looking greenhouse and grow beds...from what I could see.
Suppose to say nice looking there an edit feature on here?

you can usually edit for 10 min I think. 
Thanks.  Have 36 dutch buckets going in this weekend.  Can't wait till spring :)

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