Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

My nane is Michael Brooks and my father and I co-manage the first and largest certified organic commercial aquaponics farm in the state of Indiana. We are 1 of 2 in the state. 

Our system is was a pea-gravel media system before we came to the company and converted a poor design. We employed a retro-fit that led to a conversion to deep water raft culture.

Our system is actually a pair of 70K gallon systems side by side in a large greenhouse structure. We raise tilapia and grow primarily green dragoon variety romaine lettuce.

Please inquire or visit our website/FB page to learn of all the changes that were implemented into our system. Also learn the initial problems with our system, and why they were so detrimental. 

Ask me about the article I wrote for ACS Magazine for the full report on Green River Greenhouse, LLC.

I look forward to discussions with your all regarding the wonderful world of organic aquaponics, and all types of sustainable agriculture.

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"Green River Greenhouse has worked effortlessly" - - from your site

I'd love to know your secret

Help - we are just starting in Michigan and are pretty much clueless.  I admire anyone who has figured this out.  We have seen several units that use the 275 gal. tank -   which is what we have purchased.  We have ready access to 55 bbl food grade drums and more 275 if we need them.  We cut off the top of the 275,  flip the top and rotate it perpendicular. We use 2x4's to support the top on the bottom unit.  Top is used for the plants in a pea gravel medium.  A small pump allows the water to be pumped to the upper tray.  The plant tray has a drain in the middle of the top (now on the bottom) which releases the water into the bottom tank.   What fish would be best in Michigan?  We have used hydroponics for several yrs but this is our first to add fish.   Please forgive my ignorance. 



George T said:

"Green River Greenhouse has worked effortlessly" - - from your site

I'd love to know your secret

LOL!!!! That was obviously an oversight while writing/proofreading. I have no secret George T, there was very much 'EFFORT' involved. Thanks for pointing that out.



Michael Brooks said:



George T said:

"Green River Greenhouse has worked effortlessly" - - from your site

I'd love to know your secret

LOL!!!! That was obviously an oversight while writing/proofreading. I have no secret George T, there was very much 'EFFORT' involved. Thanks for pointing that out.

Can you be more specific George? I cannot find that on my site to fix it. I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks again.



Vicky Tye said:

Help - we are just starting in Michigan and are pretty much clueless.  I admire anyone who has figured this out.  We have seen several units that use the 275 gal. tank -   which is what we have purchased.  We have ready access to 55 bbl food grade drums and more 275 if we need them.  We cut off the top of the 275,  flip the top and rotate it perpendicular. We use 2x4's to support the top on the bottom unit.  Top is used for the plants in a pea gravel medium.  A small pump allows the water to be pumped to the upper tray.  The plant tray has a drain in the middle of the top (now on the bottom) which releases the water into the bottom tank.   What fish would be best in Michigan?  We have used hydroponics for several yrs but this is our first to add fish.   Please forgive my ignorance. 

We have only worked with tilapia Vicky. I must say we like the hardiness of the species above all else, however we also like the grow out rates,and the ease of breeding tilapia. In aquaponics, especially when just beginning, tilapia is always a good choice. They are again, very hardy fish, and disease-resistant. Tilapia are warm-water fish though which will increase production costs in Michigan because you will have to heat the water in the winter. Optimal temperatures for tilapia to maintain good eating habits and to keep them stress-free is between 74-82 degrees Fahrenheit. However if you are not overly concerned about the grow rate of your fish and plan only to use them out of necessity then lower temperatures can be gotten away with. I wouldn't recommend any temperature below 67 or so though. That being said, if you are just using fish out of necessity then you might as well use gold fish. They to are hardy,and much cheaper. I hope I have helped. Let me know if you need further explanation. 

Vicky, I am in the Detroit area and will agree with Michael about keeping that water warm. It gets expensive in a greenhouse and is my biggest concern for the upcoming winter. I'm using an insulated IBC tank with a 1000 watt heater in a semi-heated GH and the heater ran 24/7 last winter and the water temp struggled to stay in the mid 60s. If you haven't cut your IBC yet ....don't. There are better ways to set it up. I'll be happy to share any info I can.

Would love your thoughts on not cutting the IBC - we have not cut as of yet.  We had planned to dig down at least 4 feet to allow the ground heat to help with insulation, etc.  Green house on top of course.  Thanks to everyone who responded. 
 
Jeff S said:

Vicky, I am in the Detroit area and will agree with Michael about keeping that water warm. It gets expensive in a greenhouse and is my biggest concern for the upcoming winter. I'm using an insulated IBC tank with a 1000 watt heater in a semi-heated GH and the heater ran 24/7 last winter and the water temp struggled to stay in the mid 60s. If you haven't cut your IBC yet ....don't. There are better ways to set it up. I'll be happy to share any info I can.

About Us

What is Green River Greenhouse?

My grandfather was an Indiana farmer and I wish you all the best. Perhaps I'll drop in on you someday.

Michael Brooks said:

Michael Brooks said:

George T said:

"Green River Greenhouse has worked effortlessly" - - from your site

I'd love to know your secret

Can you be more specific George? I cannot find that on my site to fix it. I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks again.

Check out this video. I've done several tank in the traditional manner but I like this concept. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKqwcy7IJM0&feature=iv&src_...

I put my sump in the ground for the same reason plus to get it as low as possible but you have to be careful of your ground water line. If my sump isn't full and there's a heavy rain it starts floating. If I did it again I would make a longer sump under the GBs. I srrounded my GBs to the ground with 1" Styrofoam any way so that would insulate the sump too.  

Vicky Tye said:

Would love your thoughts on not cutting the IBC - we have not cut as of yet.  We had planned to dig down at least 4 feet to allow the ground heat to help with insulation, etc.  Green house on top of course.  Thanks to everyone who responded. 
 
Jeff S said:

Vicky, I am in the Detroit area and will agree with Michael about keeping that water warm. It gets expensive in a greenhouse and is my biggest concern for the upcoming winter. I'm using an insulated IBC tank with a 1000 watt heater in a semi-heated GH and the heater ran 24/7 last winter and the water temp struggled to stay in the mid 60s. If you haven't cut your IBC yet ....don't. There are better ways to set it up. I'll be happy to share any info I can.

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