Aquaponic Gardening

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Hello all I am in the processing stage of taking my system to a different level and need to know if it has anything that will make it not work correctly or be a major pain to keep up. I have made a hand sketch of what I am thinking of doing. I was trying to use google sketch but it was more work to learn will get back to that later. I am wanting to use this system with the fish tank being the highest point and the water flow is all by gravity to the media beds then the sump then onto the DWT friendly style with one pump pushing the water back up to the fish tank to start the whole process over again. I am not sure if this will work with the auto siphons in the loop but if it does this setup to me gives you the best of both worlds and keeps the fish tank super clean with the gravel beds being the first thing the used fish water goes into. Please let me know if this looks like it would work or is there something else I need to think about before I take my system apart to set this up. Any and all suggestions are welcome.




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Microsoft Word 2007 - go to blank page > then the insert tab> then shapes.  it takes time but it works for me

wes said:

Very nice setup looks like a winner to me, what did you use to draw it with, I hate these hand drawings and need a better way to show what I am trying to do with the system.
David W. Russell said:

This is my idea for a 4 tote system.  I was thinking to bell siphon from the media bed to the rafts.  Then gravity to the sump.  please open the attachment.


Thanks for the info will check it out.

go dowload Google SketchUp its a free design tool 

I have spent some time trying to design a system that I think will work well for my purposes, but I have NO real world experience with an aquaponics system, although I have spent the last 5 months reading everything that I could find, especially scientific research.

I thought that this might be a great thread to post my theoretical system on and maybe get some more knowledgeable criticism of the way I have it setup, and any potential errors that you might see with it.

Greenhouse Setup


Hi H W,

I have looked at your system, and please forgive me but I just could not work it out, or work out the flow of water around the system.  Others may be able to see your intention, but I wondered if you might be able to post up a simplified diagram and essentially showing the flow of water around the system.  Sizes of growbeds or DWC channels,  Volumes of water, size of filtration units etc.  Am happy to add some more comments when I can understand what is going on.  Sorry about that - clearly you have put a lot of thought in and so sorry I couldn't quite work it out!

Another thing I have tried in the past is to do it in Excel.  Make the grid so that all the boxes are the same small size and then use those boxes as the guidelines for sizes.  Can be done quite easily too, and you can also still add boxes and shapes as per Word.

wes said:

Thanks for the info will check it out.

Thank you Japan, here is one that  will make it clearer hopefully.

Greenhouse 2

Greenhouse 1


Sorry H,

I wrote something, and then looked again at the diagram and think that I had misread it, and so scrapped everything I had written!

I have tried again but just can't work out what is happening, and where the water is flowing.  I will let someone who is better at reading these take a go at responding.  One thing to check would be your pump flow rate - if you are pumping up to the attic (is that right?) then that could be quite a way up - which means your water flow rate could be seriously diminished - as a general rule of thumb try to aim for the whole volume of the tank being turned over every hour if you can.

Your sketch is almost exactly the system that I have been operating for more than a year. The only difference is that still have a solids settling tank before the media beds(I plan to remove it soon just too lazy now) and I have a swirl filter instead of a sump between the media and DWC troughs. All solids from the clarifier get pumped into a media bed on a timed cycle.The swirl filter lets small particles fall out of the water and buffers the rush of water coming out of the media beds when they dump.

Chris, Wes here which sketch are you refering too??

I designed my system similar to yours. I use the sump as the lowest point and gravity from my FT to the media beds then to the sump. I then pump to the fish tanks and rafts that gravity to the sump. This way I can control the movement of water through the system and isolate each section for maintenance. I also have the option of shutting off return water to the fish tanks when it gets cold so I don't lose heat through the gravel beds and still recirculate water to the grow beds to keep them from getting too cold in the night. It seems to work well so far.

I was referring to the first sketch in the discussion. I had not read all the posts as I was just about to head off for work.

wes said:

Chris, Wes here which sketch are you refering too??

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