Aquaponic Gardening

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Hi everyone, I am an experienced hydropon and aquaculturist. I had been growing in a small scale deep water culture and had lots of pickling cukes, beans, and many herbs. I also have 2-3 gens of tilapia in the tanks and a red worm bin. I am now trying to merge it into aquaponics.  The problem is - I live in an apartment on the third floor with wooden floors. I have an entire bedroom for my fish/plants, and have two 100 ga tubs filled 2/3 up with 12 and 8 fish, and trying to figure out how to get my GBs setup. I did calculate weights and know the floor will not collapse the way the weight is spread out. My concern is how to ensure it is not leaking when I put a GB. Also, I have never done much plumbing, but very handy otherwise. I was thinking of a 50 ga shallow rubbermaid trough for a GB setup on top of one of the FTs at 90 degrees with wooden supports. If you have ANY advice I will appreciate it. Have no idea how/where to start.

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Personally I wouldn't advise placing a GB on a third floor on wooden floors.  That is unless you don't mind water messing up your wooden floors.  You may have the best intent to ensure there is never a spill, but it will eventually happen.  Just my two cents.

Roger, thank you, I absolutely agree, and leaking is what I am concerned about too. But I have no choice at the time, I am a student and cannot afford to buy a house right now.  This is why I am doing it on a small scale. A few drips here and there is fine with me, but a flood is something I do not want happen. This is a rental with wood (vs concrete) floors and has new carpeting. I really do not care what it looks like when I move out because I put a deposit for that, but I do not want it to leak so much that it leaks downstairs and neighbors call the office when I am not here. Then they will enter my apartment and see all the FTs and GB and grow lights and darkened window and I can only imagine how mad they will be. So far my opsec worked well and nobody has any idea I have tilapia tanks here, etc. LOL. This is why I was wondering if anyone knows of any way to make a drip/protection setup, so that if it drips it either drips into the FT or drips so slowly that 20 gallons do not just gush out at a time.  :)

Get yourself some polyurethane sealant/adhesive (like 3M E5200...they now make it in a 24 hour cure variety instead of the 'traditional' one that takes 7 days cure). 'Regular' silicone caulking from the hardware store (although a bit cheaper) sucks ass for your application, so be warned. 

Use bulkhead fittings (along with the polyurethane sealant/adhesive) instead of Uni-seals (not to knock uni-seals, just that it seems like there's more chance for mishap for a first time user).

PVC glue/GorillaGlue  (obviously...but it seems like every now and then you get someone who thinks they can get away without it). 

Getting a buddy who's a plumber or pool/spa guy/gal to help you would be a grand idea as well. Not that you couldn't do it yourself, but it might go a ways in helping with those "little" plumbing details that might cause big problems. (You know, little things like always de-burring the PVC pipe before you glue it to the fitting...or NOT twisting the pipe into place when gluing, but pushing straight forward into place...stuff like that)...

That should help with the 'leaks'...with the flooding (yeah it's happened to people in apartments here) being sure to design in some redundant safety (flood wise) features would be wise. Equipment rarely ever fails when you happen to be standing right next to it and can do something about it. so count on it happening while your asleep, at work, school etc...and plan ahead for it now while your in the design phase...

Good luck. 

Place grow beds directly over fish tanks if possible, and any drips will fall back into the fish tank.

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