Well I finally have a first system semi-completed. Next weekend I'll add the second grow bed. As you can see, it's all barrel based. My plan is to keep fish in the two outer barrels. The grow beds will drain into these, which will overflow into the center barrel.
I'm running the system without fish at the moment. My plan is to put some tilapia in one of the barrels once the water warms. I'm thinking of keeping bluegill in the other. Given my minimal grow beds, I'm thinking I should start with a max of 10 fish total and probably less (in roughly 130 to 140 gallons of water).
How much fish should actually be related to the amount of filtration not so much the amount of water.
If you are already comfortable with your water test kit and think of your self as a really good fish keeper, then you might add as many as 1 fish per 7.5 gallons of gravel bed. That would be like 6.6 fish once you get the second grow bed online.
Start with small fish and increase feed slowly while watching the water quality tests. Or you might cycle it up fishless while you wait for the weather to warm up.
Once cycled up and you have more experience you can decide if more fish would be ok for the next season, especially if you are only growing them out to 8 oz or something like that, but hopefully by then you will have more grow beds to support more fish.
I'd say a good starting point is to have equal grow bed volume to your fish tank and if you want to keep lots of fish, you might want twice as much grow bed.
awesome! I have one of these barrels. I believe it wil be a rain barrel though because it is the only one I've found so far!
this looks good. what plants do you have?
Right now I have lettuce, kale, mint, and a pepper plant. I'm going to stick with mostly greens for now as that appears to be the easiest thing to grow and we eat them.
Thanks for the tips. I'm going to look into Nate's Zipgrow towers. If added after the beds, I'd have to add a second pump, right?
yea. However, provided you can keep the feeds to Nate's towers from clogging on you all the time, you don't have to filter before his towers. They are filter material. But really big gross solids that would settle out easily in a settling tank are what is likely to clog the small feeds to such towers so it might be easier to feed them from a separate pump that draws from a sump tank after some grow beds. In Short, it isn't the towers that require filtration before them. It is just the small plumbing feeding them so if you are around daily to check that plumbing then you could feed from the main pump if it is strong enough.
Or here is a blog post to the way I'm feeding some of my towers now.
I like the way plants grow in those towers. Did you buy them or build them? Where did you by them or get the parts?
this says so much.
what is the material? is it grow medis and filtration?
It is a filter media in a hanging tower.
Here look through Nate Storey's page and see if there are some links that explain it or you could ask him for the really specific details.
There are some videos at the bottom of his page that might be more enlightening than me just saying it is filter material hanging in a vertical growing tower.