Aquaponic Gardening

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My small indoor aquarium project has been going very well, so I decided to expand to a proper aquaponics set-up. I've got a 110 stock tank from Tractor Supply. I'm building a box for the GB out of lumber and a waterbed liner pond liner.  The waterbed liner had too many pinpoint holes to patch.  I'm placing dow blue board under the liner to help insulate and protect the liner from snags in the plywood. I'm using an old aquarium pump rated for over 600 GPH, so I'm going to tee back to the FT for aeration.


The water was still cloudy after washing the media, so I used air conditioner filter to help remove some of the sediments.  I placed it below the pipe from the tee off of the pump.


I also had to add a shop light above the tomatoes, due to the VERY long and VERY cold spring we are having here.  You can see that I planted my tomatoes WAYYY too early for the spring we are having.

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Waterbed liner to be used and bags of river pebble, about 1/2" to 5/8" in size.

Underside of the GB.  I added extra supports, since I calculated a weight of over 600 lbs when full of river pebbles.

3/4" composite side panels with some hefty l-brackets...I just hope they hold the weight of the river pebble.


Bottom insulation to help regulate the growbed temperature and avoid tears in the liner.


The same l-brackets used to hold the liner around each corner.  I had to use 20 mil pond liner, instead of the waterbed liner.  I held the waterbed liner to light and there were too many pinpoint holes to use as the liner.


All of the FT plumbing set and ready, but finding a bulkhead to drain the GB is next to impossible.  For plastic tubs I use PVC or electrical conduit pieces, but the GB walls are 3/4" thick.


I'm hoping this will spread the effluent from the FT better than a single inlet to the GB.


interesting.  i too am experimenting with compact patio/deck/balcony systems.  my 'beds' are custom hanging planter boxes without the 'box'...more of a hammock really.  take a look here:


i only recently added 10 small koi and am still waiting for them to settle in and start eating!  one thing i'm coming to realize is that with my natural approach to designing the system, i. e. with gravel in the FT, i'm not going to be able to push as much of the solids into the growbed as i would like.  but hopefully i can culture some aerobic bacteria in the FT gravel that will break down trapped fish poo.  we shall see!

Nice setup! I am thankful that my rental has an enclosed patio to help hold some heat here in N Indiana. We still haven't had consistently warm weather.

I wouldn't worry about having gravel in the bottom of your FT. I have been growing from my indoor aquariums, all of which have rock. The FT then becomes more volume of space for the bacteria to colonize. As long as you have good aeration and suitable oxygen for the fish, you should be fine.
I went with a smaller configuration up to to get better flow per inlet in the GB.  This is the video of the loop auto-siphon in action.

looks like a side-mounted outlet is easier to setup.  i've got my bulkhead fitting mounted underneath on the bottom of my gravel bed and found that i had to add an air line to get the siphon to break.  its the same concept as with bell siphons.

Yes,  I learned that lesson years ago, when I put a bulkhead in my glass aquarium (an expensive lesson).  By placing the bulkhead in the side, the siphon will draw air from the top portion of the FT outlet, which eliminates the need for any air tubing.


I love the balcony idea.  If I had thought that creatively, I would have started a system last year in my apartment.  

does that mean that you never drain completely? since the siphon will break once the water draws down level to the top of the opening?

yeah, i just don't have enough space to not be creative!  :)  and i wasn't willing to give up so much square footage to plants that i want to use for humans......and, my deck is shaded by the neighbor's deck above me, so putting the plants out off of the railing gives them full sun in the summer.

Exactly.  This tank will drain down to about 1.5" deep, because the siphon breaks half way down the opening.


The remaining water is actually shallower than when I use a bell siphon on my GBs inside.

i hope you get some sun soon to supplement that light!  those tomatoes don't have much further to go before they're out of control.
You're telling me!  They're all at least 12" high.  I got ahead of myself and germinated the seeds about 2 weeks too early.  On top of that, this spring weather is really holding back the start of the growing season.

Averan Gale said:
i hope you get some sun soon to supplement that light!  those tomatoes don't have much further to go before they're out of control.

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