Aquaponic Gardening

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Located in Southeast Texas, 2 hours East of Houston.

I have the basics up and running and now I am in the process if trying to get it cycled.  I planted some plants that were growing in pots and they are doing great with my fish less cycling.  I am using ammonia that I bought at a local hardware store.  PS, you do not need a gallon, a quart would be plenty.  The first time I added ammonia I was measuring with a cup rather than by the cap.  High ammonia, you betcha! But eventually the bacteria found me and brought it down.  I now have ammonia being used (I add a cap of two occasional to keep process working), nitrites at about 2.0 and nitrates at approx 40.  At least that what it was yesterday, what today brings is anyone's guess.  Been having a lot of rain lately so water chemistry can change rather quickly.

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Your system looks pretty solid. I'm working on a Rubbermaid system as well. So far I have a 150 gallon tank that I want to use as a sump, and I'm negotiating with a guy on Craig's List for his 300 gallon as my fish tank. Can you explain your set up, and the function of the various pieces? I understand your fish tank and grow beds, but Could you walk through the other pieces?

Jacob,

Sorry about the delay, but yes I can but first I will update my photo as there have been some changes and then I will give you a play by play.

Jacob Masteller said:

Your system looks pretty solid. I'm working on a Rubbermaid system as well. So far I have a 150 gallon tank that I want to use as a sump, and I'm negotiating with a guy on Craig's List for his 300 gallon as my fish tank. Can you explain your set up, and the function of the various pieces? I understand your fish tank and grow beds, but Could you walk through the other pieces?

By the cap, not the cup. I like that :)

That's gotta be one of the most popular cycling mistakes. I'm surprised people don't take the time to look up how much to use...I guess that's just personality mostly. My gut instinct is to do everything by the book until I understand it, which makes me a very boring person by nature. But it's safe!

System's lookin' good man!

OK Jacob,

I have those extra photos posted and I will give you a blow by blow as you requested.  To begin:  The fish tank is the Rubbermaid 150 stock tank with the out flow coming from the 1 1/4 bulk head.  Yes, I know Tractor Supply states it is 1 1/2" but it is not.  That feeds on a 45 to the Radial clarifier to trap any free solids and my dead fish.  I put a net basket in the outflow of the clarifier to keep the fish from going down line.  The clarifier is a 33 Gal Rubbermaid Brute trash can that feeds the grow beds and the DWC line.  I also have an excess flow back to the sump so I can run my pump full out and get great through tank circulation.  You may be able to see the 3/4 pipe flowing into the sump in the more recent photos.  The grow beds dump with the exterior auto siphons.  Those grow beds are Rubbermaid 50 gal stock tanks.  They do not come with bulk head fittings and those can be bought from Tractor Supply and they will also be 1 1/4" fittings.  They flow into a 2" line that feeds back to the 100 Gal Rubbermaid sump  tank that is sunken into the ground about a foot or so.  Water is pumped with a Laguna submersible pump that gives about 400 GPH with a 4' head.  I allow it to run full out, but I have a bleed off in the supply line, that will allow me to bleed off pressure back to the sump if I choose to do so.  At this time it is all going to the tank which gives me good water flow.  I have a pipe drilled with several holes that jet water to the surface as well as a 3/4" line to the bottom of the fish tank that pushes the sediment back to the out flow bulk head fitting.  Everything stays nice an clean.  The last detail would be the air pump that pushes quite a bit of air through two air stones into the fish tank.  The shade screen and DWC lines were added about a week ago.  This fall I plan on planting lettuce, spinach, broccoli and kale.  I will use that DWC pipe for the lettuce primarily.  The pipe has holes cut out that hold 2" bet baskets.  The seedlings are growing inside my house at this time.  The summer crop was put in far too late and I put in just enough to get the system going.  Next spring I will load it all up for a full run.  I doubt that I will use the DWC in the summer as that water heats up pretty quickly in the pipe.  Since all the Rubbermaid stock tanks are foam core, they have an insulation quality to them that you will not get from an IBC tank.  I believe Rubbermaid does have a 300 Gal as well but it is too big to fit into my project as I designed it to fit into a 10 by 12 green house.  I also had in mind to be able to easily move the entire works, as I may be moving in the not too distant future.  All the grow bed tables where built to be knocked down as well as the support for the fish tank and clarifier.  If need be, I can take it all down and fit into the back of my pickup. 

Jacob Masteller said:

Your system looks pretty solid. I'm working on a Rubbermaid system as well. So far I have a 150 gallon tank that I want to use as a sump, and I'm negotiating with a guy on Craig's List for his 300 gallon as my fish tank. Can you explain your set up, and the function of the various pieces? I understand your fish tank and grow beds, but Could you walk through the other pieces?

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