Aquaponic Gardening

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I am almost ready to start building my system. My question is, will one IBC (with the top cut off, the top to be used as a grow bed) used as the fish tank be large enough to supply all of the grow areas? I am thinking about having two IBC media grow beds, to filter the solids. The media beds will drain into a sump tank and from there I want to supply 80-112 sq. ft. of DWC. Then from the DWC beds the return can be pumped back into the fish tank.

I am sure I am not the 1st new aquapon to ask this question, but somebody told me long ago there are no stupid questions. Increasing the fish density is my 1st thought, but I don't want to over do it.


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Silver Perch Vlad... ranging from 800-1200 grams...

Thanks, they look a bit smaller in the pics (not that I'm an expert). I take it the media beds are constant flood?

Kewl setup Rupe!

Nice work Rupe. I've just started my first outdoor AP, it's been all greenhouse up til now. Does the rain dilution cause any worries or noticeable weakness of nutrients. Probably not considering your first two weeks were basically grown in rainwater.

Vlad, you changed your avatar, didn't recognize you.

@Jon Yes, all this talk of 'commercialism'/'commercial' viability in something that now affects me as well, figured I'd work on my image, just in case...

Vlad- its equally scary.

I think the businessman/vampire image has homey warmth to it. Is Serbia near Transylvania?

Well, actually yes it is (relatively, by American spacial standards, sure). And ironically, the very word "vampire" is the one and only Serbian word used commonly in the English language. Yipee for us... (and yes, you can wiki that :)  ...

But in a twist of irony it has come to mean:

1. A man who works in business or commerce esp. at the executive level.

2. A person with a specified level of skill in financial matters.

Of course (for purists) there is the "old" definition as well, (the one I believe all you Americans are already familiar with) though really, at times, there is little discernible difference.

In all seriousness though, I rather hope that it will be a good long while before AP perks the interests of any commercial interests (if ever). I am NOT talking about outfits that put out a few thousand or so  heads of lettuce a month either. I mean commercial industry. Because if/when they get in to it, you can bet your sweet bippy, that people like Matthew will be eaked out. Whether through "safety" regulations, subsidies (guess who will be getting them), or other similar mechanisms. Mom and Pop style 'commercial' AP will be history soon after.

I for one hope AP stays in the grass-roots realm of backyarders and owner/operators/mad scientist tinkerer's.

Name one food product, or methodology that Commercial interests (capital C) have made better?

And no, CheeseWhizz doesn't count...

matthew ferrell said:

I also have no issue with GMO, and think a lot of the fear is unjustified.  The GMO corn we grew on the farm where I work required no pesticide last year, only one application of round up, and was watered less.  I believe you could call that more sustainable that the heirloom variety.

Matthew, I hope you will understand why I don't actually believe that you find the new image unsettling...

Ya know the amount of plants a small number of fish can feed is greatly affected by the season here.  My Market system had only one IBC as a fish tank (top not cut off but cut open) and the 20 fish I put in there had a hard time keeping up with 20 full grown towers plus a large hydro tray and all the water plants because most of the time the system was set up, the fish were not eating very well either because they were moved and in a new system and then it got cold.  However, I'm sure those 20 fish during the three other seasons could probably have just managed to keep 20 towers going in a range of grow out stages.

Thanks to all for the useful information.

Now, can I use a 50/50 hydroton and pea gravel mix in the 3 media beds, to save on cost?

Also, how large should the sump tank be to collect the drain from the media beds? Later I want to add a 4'X20' DWS that would be supplied from the sump.

The plan is to gravity feed the media beds directly from the fish tank, then supply the DWS from the sump tank and pump the water from the DWS back up into the fish tank. All this using 20 fish. Right or wrong?

To save on cost, cut out the hydroton all together, gravel alone is fine. I use 3/4" gravel, and it takes about 1/3-1/2 if the GB volume to flood. If by DWS you mean "deep water culture" or raft system, then it doesn't add any to the sump volume, as it doesn't fluctuate. A bigger sump than you need to cover the flood and drain is nice, adding more time between top-ups. You can also use a toilet bowl float valve to automatically top up. 
Your DWC should also drain back to the sump. You can use one larger pump to deliver water to both DWC and fish tank. Or use two if you like, but all pumps should be located in the sump, and a low level shut-off float will save you a pump from running dry. 
20 fish is your call, and there are lots of opinions. Personally, I like lots of fish. Fish are my motivation for using AP.

Vlad, you changed your avatar again. I like the new one, but liked the last one too. 

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