Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Hi all,

Thanks for letting me join in on the fun. I have been looking at you guys systems for days now. I hope I can get something similar up and running. I have been working on the system build a little hear and there. Hope to have completed in next couple weeks. I am starting out slow and learning every thing I can. My system as I call it the Aquaponic Basement Garden is something that I wanted to do after seeing videos on Youtube. I modeled my system off of Youtube user Lakebound. His system is a garage system and I felt it would work great in my basement as well. You can see the build so far at my blog I started last week Aquaponic Basement Garden. I am having so much fun with this. I would have never thought of doing something like this till seeing the results of so many people online. I have come across several great sites this being one of them and great videos as well. I will have plenty of questions as I start to cycle my system pretty soon. I want to do this with goldfish. Please let me know if there is any problem doing it like this. I have cycled large fish tanks before this way to get them ready for other types of fish.

 

Thanks ahead of time.

Josh (BasementGardener)

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Hi Josh!  The blog link isn't working for me...

 

You have an extra N in the link, it works if you delete that:

 

http://aquaponicbasementgarden.blogspot.com/

Just had a quick look at the blog.  A couple things I noticed that might be an issue for you.

 

1- the brass fittings are not generally a good idea for aquaponics you could probably swap to nylon but I would suggest that you want to swap to larger tubing and get something that isn't clear since clear will grow algae that can clog your pipes.

 

2-you don't say anything about filtration.  I see fish tanks and NFT pipes.  If you simply pump from the fish tank up to your NFT pipes you will likely have lots of problems.  The MOST IMPORTANT part of aquaponics is the filtration.  Bio-filtration and solids filtration are both very important to an NFT system.  Simply pumping from the fish tank into those little tiny tubes without any filtration will clog them with fish poo even before the algae can grow and cause you problems.  And solids going directly into NFT pipes usually causes a nasty smelly situation where the plants don't thrive and the water quality will suffer and in turn fish will suffer.  Just not a pretty situation.  So please let us know what type of filtration you will be hooking up for that system.

Thx Dave,


yeh I typed that post last night right before bed and fingers didn't cooperate with my brain.


Dave Donley said:

Hi Josh!  The blog link isn't working for me...

 

You have an extra N in the link, it works if you delete that:

 

http://aquaponicbasementgarden.blogspot.com/

Yes I was not sure on the tubing being clear or not and wasn't sure if tubing was big enough. It won't be hard to put nylon fittings in and go a little larger. The filtration I plan to use is something like this picture. I want to kind of have one end of the tote I am going to use have the filter pads that are alligned vertically. Then the other end loaded with these nylon cleaning pads.  Still have to locate some of these pads or something similar.

TCLynx said:

Just had a quick look at the blog.  A couple things I noticed that might be an issue for you.

 

1- the brass fittings are not generally a good idea for aquaponics you could probably swap to nylon but I would suggest that you want to swap to larger tubing and get something that isn't clear since clear will grow algae that can clog your pipes.

 

2-you don't say anything about filtration.  I see fish tanks and NFT pipes.  If you simply pump from the fish tank up to your NFT pipes you will likely have lots of problems.  The MOST IMPORTANT part of aquaponics is the filtration.  Bio-filtration and solids filtration are both very important to an NFT system.  Simply pumping from the fish tank into those little tiny tubes without any filtration will clog them with fish poo even before the algae can grow and cause you problems.  And solids going directly into NFT pipes usually causes a nasty smelly situation where the plants don't thrive and the water quality will suffer and in turn fish will suffer.  Just not a pretty situation.  So please let us know what type of filtration you will be hooking up for that system.

Question for you guys. Do  you think I really should use Hydroton or would some lava rock or something like that work as good. I see some systems on Youtube using what appear to just be gravel, or maybe pea gravel.

I use river rock.  Lava rock is great (just make sure it isn't tailings form mining or industrial waste from filtering for metal fabrication.) 

A few notes about gravel

1- make sure it is pH inert.  Limestone bad marble chips bad.  Get a hand full and run some tests concerning pH to make sure.

2- gravel is usually heavier than the other stuff but it is also cheaper.

3-a bit larger may be better for many situations.  In timed flood and drain the 1/2" gravel seems to be working just fine long term for me but in the constant inflow beds there are issues with the gravel sliming up and the water going over the gravel before percolating down.  Larger gravel would help in this sort of situation.  3/4" is what Murray recommends.

 

Don't use shells as your media.  Any buffer should be used in a fashion that you can easily remove the bag from the fish tank if you don't need the buffer.

made a bunch of updates on my blog guys. Let me know how its looking to you. I can't wait to get all the levels right in the water an fill it with plants. I did go ahead and put 8 test plants in it just to see how they do. I'll probably wind up killing them lol. Hope not though. I am working on a bio-filter as well.
Plants are willing to wait till humans get the levels right, I am only into the second month of growing in an uncycled system and things have grown.  It is also colder where these are and my light reflection is poor. The largest lettuce plants are from that original planting on 2/14/11 when the system was built. Needless to say, I look forward to a cycled system and warmer temperatures then things will really be taking off! I originally used mixed sized gravel but was worried about the weight in my set-up and couldn't tell if what I had planted as seed directly into the bed was growing. My instincts told me to use hydroton.  Instincts usually tell the true and when I start to over think, I remember K.I.S.S.  It seems aquaponics can be as simply designed as it can be very complexly designed. There are some decent bio-filter vids on youtube.  I made the 36gallon container bio-filter last year for my pond, under $50. The media was all dollar store stuff.  Be aware that some kitchen sponges have a soapy chemical added to them. Cheap lufas are great!!! Air condtioning filters work great. Also if you like the cotton type filter padding buy a cheap pillow and remove the stuffing, much cheaper. 
Josh M said:
made a bunch of updates on my blog guys. Let me know how its looking to you. I can't wait to get all the levels right in the water an fill it with plants. I did go ahead and put 8 test plants in it just to see how they do. I'll probably wind up killing them lol. Hope not though. I am working on a bio-filter as well.

Update video from May 15, 2011. The system is cycled now and the Nitrite levels are 0. No more fish dying. Plants are doing great and we have even harvested some lettuce. Can't wait for some more.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGQ83-344OU

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