Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Hi all I am new here and new to aquaponics.  It all seems very exciting to me.  I am reading and watching videos so I can learn some basics to get started.  I thought I would put this out there to get feed back since I know nothing.  What I have is an old hot tub that no longer works.  To have it rebuilt not sure that is an option since it is about 18 yrs old.  The spa tub is typical acrylic on the inside and has 4 seats and a lounge seat on one side.  It has the typical outside wood skirting that covers the tub and insulation  plus a 4"thick lid that can come completely off.  Would that work as a fish tank?  Living in the PNW it can get a tad cold from time to time so I was thinking the insulated sides would be good.  Plus if it got down to the teens for a few days the lid may come in handy to help the temp over night?  Really don't like just throwing things out.  I would rather take old things repurpose reuse recycle.  Some times my creative side isn't sure what to do.  


Also have an 83 Westy camper van.  It's in fairly good shape but needs work.  Thought I could use that to put plants in.  Or maybe  chickens or something.  I just can't see getting rid of either item if they could be used for something else.  Do you think either would work for aquaponics?   Any other creative ideas would love to hear.  Thanks so much

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People use old hot tubs for aquaponics all the time.  You just need to do some looking into making sure that none of the plumbing or parts in the workings of the hot tub are going to leach anything nasty to the fish.  Mainly I'm thinking of any metals in the plumbing or old pump parts.  Probably best to disconnect and cap off the plastic plumbing before it gets to any copper or brass fittings or pumps.


I'm not sure how the camper van would be of any use for aquaponics, you will probably want to set up some sort of greenhouse to make sure you can get whatever sun you can for the plants.

Thanks. That sure will save some on the cost of set up.  And give us a starting point of the size and what not.  One step closer!!
How deep is the hot tub?  The deeper the tub the better it will be for a fish tank.  Some fish do better in deeper tanks and some fish require extra tank height above the water line to keep them from jumping out, or you need the fish trampoline over the tank to bounce them back down rather than letting them jump out of the tank.
Danelle I helped my friend build a system using a 500 gal hotub with bathtubs for growbeds and I works great. We fiberglassed over all the openings with marine fiberglass. Fiberglass is very safe for fish after it offgases and cures. Go for it. I will take some pics this weekend and post em.

That is great! The hot tub 1' - 2 1/2' at the deepest part. (thinking it is about 450 gal? but not positive)  I have no idea of what type of fish we want.  I guess it would be a case of trying to use what we have and then finding the fish that would work?  Personally I don't like fish so I don't really care.  Hubby loves all fish and sea food so any thing is good for him.  This system just seems to fit us together I love gardening but hate watering he hates weeding.  I love veggies he love fish.  Funny story:  He brought some fish home for his tank we have in the kitchen some of the fish got knocked over by one of our playful dogs.  The bag water and fish went every where.  Hubby grabs up the fish 2 were not breathing or moving he thumps them slams them in the water and keeps moving them back and forth.  When he let go of it belly up! he says don't die thumps it again and moves it back and forth in the water again.  The darn thing flipped out of his hand and took off swimming!  Then he did it to the second fish same thing. I never saw CPR for a fish! Two days later one died but its's been 2 yrs now and the rest are fine.  The man loves his fish!  To this day one of the fish will watch him when he is at the table & always swims up to the glass when he walks by.  When I walk by they go to the back of the tank.  Of course he loves fish with a little lemon and dill too! Just not the pet ones. 


Couldn't you put some sort of netting over the  top?  I saw somewhere that the surface area is most important.  The exapmel they gave was a 55 gal drum has enough water in it but the surface area is limited.  After seeing that that's when I thought of using the hot tub because the surface area accross the top is about 5 1/2' x5 1/2'.  Then I didn't know if you could mix fish types like we do in our fish tank.  In there we have top swimmers middle swimmers and bottom swimmers.  I am sure aquaponics is at least somewhat very different but maybe some similarities?


We do have an old bath tub too.  Shoot I don't throw anything away.  Behind the barn is like my own little junk store.


Would love to see the pics.  Hubby is trying to see the exact guts of the how to.  Trying to find someone that we could visit so to see first hand and give us some ideas.  Having the time right now with work and putting in gardens and fencing is making it a little harder.  It won't be too much longer and some of the other projects will be finished.  


Then we are looking at doing the aquaponics thing or getting some mini cows.  I am greatful for any info thanks so much for your replies!

Aquaponics can be done all sorts of ways and there are people with mixed populations of fish in a system.  Some combinations will work better than others.  Yes netting can be used over a tank or around the edge in such a fashion that if the fish managed to jump they would hit the net and fall back into the tank.


Yes the surface area is important to aeration but there are other ways to aerate water depending on the situation.

Here is a blog post you can send the hubby to for help in figuring and design.

Basic Aquaponic Design

Hello Danelle: welcome to aquaponics I'm about to start and I would suggest a local fish, as it's easier to get one from hatcheries, and some of them are endangered; I considered rainbow trout, as they are native to the pacific-north-west. However they require high water quality, so you'd need to be there and recognize the signs of stress quickly. If you have the time trout can withstand the temperatures here. In Washington State there is a commune called windward that does aquaponics with recycled materials. There location is on the website.
Danelle here is a bathtub and jacuzzi system my friends built. Very efficient and cheap. Uses a 1800 gph becket pump and affnan siphons.
Love the pic David.  Thank you all so much. Can't wait to get started.  I am so sick of digging in the dirt and moving rocks.  Setting fence today a little to late the dogs got into the strawberry patch none left for us.  Raising in old bath tubs or something would keep all produce out of the munching dogs reach. They are worse than the rabbits and deer put together. Pups gotta love em.
The only warning about reusing porcelin tubs I've come across is to make sure any scratches and dings are repaired---so the metal isn't exposed to the system water.  Metal and fish do not mix.

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