Aquaponic Gardening

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It took me a while to figure out how to do it but I finally put together my first solar powered aquaponics system.  

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Applause! Applause!

Details please!

I haven't checked yet...what part of the county do you live in?

I'm in Hawaii...what did you want to know...which details?

Nice going, R.K.!  

Thanks Sylvia!

Assuming you are running the pump with solar:

What type/size of pump?

What is the panel size?

Will you share the schematic?

Living in Tucson, Arizona, I've assembled a solar water-heater unit that I run only during the cold days of winter. I use a 750 gallon stock tank as my grow-tank of the larger fish; and use a Cal Pump S1200T to pump FT water to higher beds, at a lift of about 4 feet. I would very much like to reduce my use, and cost, of grid sourced electricity. It's quite unlikely I'd be able to power this particular pump with sure open to ideas/suggestions!

Also, what was your approximate cost?


Thank you!

This is a small 3 bed system so I am using a small DC Pump that does about 250 gallons an hour.  I was actually really surprised how well the bilge pump worked.  It only runs off 2 amps.  So I got a 105 solar panel which will put out roughly 8amp.  

Also...the batteries should never really go below 70% charge.  It makes the life cycle of the battery last much much longer.  So if you assume you are using 48 amps a day if on for 24 hours and no sun that would mean you would want roughly 200 amps of battery power.  We have pretty good sun where we're at so with about 6 hours of sun we can charge our battery to full.  (Now this is just rough estimate stuff...I'm sure there's someone out there who can explain the math better to you)

I did the entire Solar Setup for around $500-$600.  

I prefer to just plug into a wall because running a small 2 amp pump would probably cost around a Starbucks cup of coffee a month if even that much in other parts of the USA where electricity doesn't cost as much as it does here in Hawaii but the organization I set this up for can not plug in anything in.  

So I came up with this.  

Thank you very much...very informative!

I hope your DC pumps last longer than mine did.  I tried quite a few of them.  Which brand are you using?

R.K. Castillo said:

This is a small 3 bed system so I am using a small DC Pump that does about 250 gallons an hour.  


Nice job R.K!!! Looks good.

(Side note: Bilge pumps aren't ideal for continuous flow. I've used Rule in the past and they tend to burn out after 3 or 4 months. They work great for what they're made for though)


I would go inverter and stick to pond pumps. Might need another solar panel but I think it would raise the reliability factor 10 fold. Like Alex said bilge pumps have a low duty cycle meaning time on/time vs off/time BUT in a timed flood and drain system it might be fine. They just need time to cool off between floods.

After I finish our GH and last row of GBs I will be right behind you. I will need either some bigger panels for our 2500g system or I am seriously considering a mini hydro running off our stream and 35' drop but solar is great and I am certainly looking forward to being ready to take our AP off grid as electricity costs are going to double or triple under the cap and trade being forced upon us. We are seeing higher prices here already and we are surrounded by hydro power which should not be effected by cap and trade but the misery has to be spread around of course.

450.00 for a mini hydro off Ebay that puts out 150watts continuously of 120v regulated 24/7 (and they are selling like crazy). That adds up power wise and can even eliminate the need for batteries although I would prefer to charge a large battery bank for inverter power at the house as well which would allow for occasional heavy loads like fridges and freezers, power tools, etc.

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