Aquaponic Gardening

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OK, so I have a few questions. I have yet to set up a system. iI think i know what system I want to set up in my back yard, but I could Use some help. As this will be my first attempt, so i may not fully understand what is what as of yet.
I'm thinking about setting up a simple IBC system.
- How to i Select a pump?
- Heating? could i run a copper pipe from my hot water heater? Continuous closed loop? Coiled in tank? 
- what crops should i grow?
- What would be a good fish to use in Santee/ lakeside area?
- where could i get edible fish that will grow fast and taste good?
- Do i need a permit for tilapia if i am non-commercial? 
- Where could i get some tilapia?
- would bluegill be a good fish?
- how do i run pluming???? <--- BIGGEST QUESTION FOR ME!
I think this is it for now. Any help will go a long way, thank you.biggrin.gif


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thank you Harold. that info was great. as far as heating, i am trying to heat off the grid. any ideas.

there are a few good ideas there. thanks.


  My take, for what I know:

Heating: if you want to use your hot water heater, have you considered placing the piping under the tank? You can build up a small layer of gravel (unless you want to pour concrete), say 3-4 inches, and run piping under it. I do not think the cost of copper would be much, but you could use the plastic type used for in floor heating.

Fish: I am using bluegill, black crappie, small mouth bass, and perch right now. Caught right out of the lake down the road. I am planning to add a couple small catfish soon as the water gets hard, and we can get out on it. The catfish would be to  take care of the stuff that sits on the bottom ;). Bluegill take 2 years to mature (I am told), but I am just getting the system running well before I invest in tilapia.

Plumbing: check it out WELL before you get things cut and glued to far. Make sure you can EASILY reach all the things you need to before you set up for the final show. Once it is in place, it may not be able to change. I got busy, was  not looking at "the plan", and had things where they should not be, and had to then cut and re-direct, and it can cost you in time and material.

Crops: LETTUCE is so easy, as just about ALL the leafy items (spinich, chard....) and they taste good. You can get them started as you are cycling your tank, also. Just remember to use some MAXICROP on them, which will help. Once you have things running, well, I have brocolli up to 8" tall already (in 2 months), as well as carrotts, peppers, toms. On my second batch of lettuce.

HAVE FUN is the MOST important item.....

John in Maine

Thank you John from Maine. The is useful.


another rookie here.  Got the IBC setup, pump just came in, but I need a connection before I can hook up the plumbing.  As I've been assembling the parts, I've been thinking of questions, most of which have been answered by reading through these forum topics, but haven't seen an answer to one that I can think of right now.  To wit:  I will start out with the constant flow type of setup, but in drilling my holes in the standpipe (the one that will allow the water return from the grow bed to the fish tank), where should I start my holes?  Even with the bottom of the grow bed or should I always keep a certain level of water in the grow bed, say 2 inches?  3 inches? or once I balance out the flow of the pump with the drain holes, it will naturally keep a certain level of water?  I guess this might be more important if I was going with an ebb and flow system?  Hope I've described my question well enough.  Great forum.

Okay, so after a bit (more like a lot) of research. I have come up with what I think is a great design/setup. 

  I plan to use a standard IBC tote setup, but slightly upgraded.

this is how, I will cut off the top foot of the tote and invert it. However, this is the upgrade. At the same time i will be building a rabbit hutch as well. I will build the hutch lower to the ground then most. I will then Build  a Floating growbed on top of the hutch.

 I will use gravity to pull water from the tank into a swirl filter the skim the water to drain into the Floating grow bed. From there, down into a sump. This in where i will put a water pump (560 gph). To pump water up to the grow bed that sits on top of the tote tank, which will in turn drain back into the tank competing the cycle.

Please let me know what you guys think! 


I will be setting the tote on a platform to raise it of the ground about a foot and a half.

Thank you!!

bump to the top!

Please let me know what everyone thinks.

Thank you!


Welcome to the Aquaponic Journey! need to read the book first.. at least the "AP Rules of Thumb" listed on this site. it will answer all the questions you asked..
or search those questions and find where they were answered for someone else.
remember... Chicks dig aquaponics!

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