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Aquaponics in Panama


Aquaponics in Panama

Location: Volcan, Panama
Members: 8
Latest Activity: Sep 18, 2014

Discussion Forum

Moving to Boquete

Started by Matt Ford Aug 16, 2014. 0 Replies

Hey guys,I have been living in Panama for 20 years and am thinking about moving to Boquete. I am very interested in starting an aquaponics system in there, I know absolutely nothing when it comes to…Continue

Tags: Beginner, Panama, Boquete

supplies in Panama

Started by Shelia Hoyt. Last reply by Juan Carlos Narbon Jun 11, 2014. 1 Reply

Hello Everyone,  I was wondering where everyone purchased their supplies. I am in Corando, Panama. I have a friend that is interested in setting up a system and since I will be here for two months…Continue

Tags: uniseals, API, supplies

Comment Wall


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Comment by Juan Carlos Narbon on May 27, 2013 at 11:01am

Hi Kimberly:

This is a beautiful country!!  But because I am from Panama, my opinion could be a little biased.  For a more impartial one you should consult Wade.

Anyway, if you decide for Panama, Welcome!!

Juan Carlos

Comment by Kimberly Irene Lewis on May 26, 2013 at 7:02pm

Hey  you guys how is Panama? I am getting sick of the US and was thinking Panama. Just setting my aquaponics up here.

Kim From Virginia

Comment by Wade Sample on April 18, 2013 at 11:34am

Juan Carlos, the water needs to filter through the gravel, so in your system, if you had ran the water into the top of the tank, and exited from the bottom, I think it would have worked ok, when you are pulling the water from the top of the tank, the water is not circulating, and it will stagnate, and it will not give you the beneficial bacteria that converts the nitrites and nitrates that you need to clean up the water.     Wade

Comment by Juan Carlos Narbon on April 17, 2013 at 2:10pm

Hi Wade:

I tried to add a bio filter to my system, so I built one which consisted of a smaller tank in which the water from the FT was collected by a pipe and came out at the bottom of the bio filter tank.  Then I filled it up with gravel and from the upper part of this tank came out the water to the raft tank.  After a while it was like a sewer, and smelled foul. I took a test for amonia, and the reading was off the scale.  So I decided to bypass it.  I guess that I need to put worms to break down the fish waste.  That is why I need to put a media bed.  How you manage this?

For the FT I use a large plastic tank, but for the raft tanks I order the liner from a place that make truck plastic canvas and have worked fine for me.


Wade, I have to run.  Continue later.



Comment by Wade Sample on April 16, 2013 at 10:00pm

Hi Juan Carlos, looks like things are doing pretty good for you.  One question I have is, what are you using for a bio filter, the gravel in my beds act as a bio filter for my system.  I had an aquaponics guru, from Austin Texas come by my place last month, and he gave me a few pointers, the main thing he told me I needed to shade my fish tank, he said the sun kills off the beneficial bacteria that we want to flourish, to break down the fish waste.   He also told me to get some 5 in 1 test strips so that I could check the nitrites, and nitrates, high nitrites will kill off the fish. 

That is a good price for fingerlings, we buy ours at Mida in Gaulaca, if I remember right, we paid .04 each.

I have replaced my fish tank liner 4 times, it kept developing a leak, but this last time I ordered a real tank liner, that is guaranteed to last 20 years.  It may last longer than I do.  ha

I have never had a problem with worms or aphids, but the white flies were sure doing a number on cucumber, tomatoes and cabbage, but the marigold sure took care of that, I think they are taking care of other insects also.  The local marigold didn't seem to work, so I ordered some from the States, and they work very well.

I was researching the web and ran across a marijuana growing guru, and he was talking about using molasses for fertilizer, and insect control, he was so adamant about it that I decided to give it a try, so I bought 40 pound bag, and mixed one tablespoon in a gallon of water and, in the evening, sprayed all my plants, the next morning when I looked at the plants, I couldn't believe the difference it had made, it was amazing, so now I'm spraying once a week with it.


Comment by Juan Carlos Narbon on April 16, 2013 at 8:51pm

Hi Wade:

Good to hear from you.  I live in Panama City, and I work in Cable & Wireless.  Following two videos of my system.

I started it with cucumber plants, and the first batch you see was attacked by pests, one of caterpillars and another of aphids and was completely destroy.

Since then I learned to control them with organic plaguicides (I hope) and  the help of an engineer from IDIAP, the Agriculture Research Institute.  He was very much interested in aquaponics because he knew about hidroponics but not about this.  I also get the tilapia from ARAP, another government agency for aquatic resources.  They have a fry farm in Divisa, which is half way between Panama and Chiriqui.  They have another farm in Chiriqui where they have a tilapia variety that stands Volcan lower temperatures.  They sell at $0.03 per fry.  

I also follow your advice and have a marigold plant, but a single plant didn´t stop the pests...

I have added another raft to my system, and I am building a third one and a media bed table, which will receive the water and the solids from the FT, and with bell siphons feed the raft tanks.  Have you added worms to your media beds?

I still have cucumbers (they grow fast),  spinachs, oregano and culantro (a herb used for cooking).  I recently planted mellons, peppers, and waiting to transplant I have tomatoes, chard (mostaza), cabbage, and celery.

My emails are:

How are you doing with your system?


Comment by Wade Sample on April 15, 2013 at 10:21pm

Hi Juan Carlos, sorry I'm so late responding, been busy and have sort of neglected things here.  Thanks for your comment, I would like to see your video when you have  it.  Where do you live in Panama?  I live in Volcan.  Send me your email address so we can communicate on a better time frame, I check my email daily.  My email is

Comment by Juan Carlos Narbon on February 1, 2013 at 7:54pm

Hi Wade:

It has been a long time since we wrote.  Because of my job I had to close my previous garden.  but I have started a new one, and would like to share it with you.

I have a tank with tilapia, about 100 small ones.  I have cucumbers on a raft system, and they are doing pretty good, as well as the tilapia.

I need to add more tanks to grow plants, and I am working on a new tank design.

I am finishing a video, and I´ll send the link when it is ready.  By the way, I watched your video and your system is impressive.  congratulations.



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