Aquaponic Gardening

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Hi everyone.

Well, the proverbial ball is definitely rolling.  I have my three IBC tanks.  I have my water pump.  I have plenty of PVC lying around for the plumbing.  What I don't have is growing media.

I must admit that I hadn't given much thought to the sheer amount of media I'd need.  After working out some rough calculations, I am sure that I can't afford to use Hydroton as I had first intended.

So what the cheapest alternative for Central Florida?  What should I use and where can I source it?

Thanks everyone,


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Thank you very much Ron, i don`t see how anyone can go wrong with all the help from you guys, it`s amazing the amount of knowledge and the fast you respond, thanks to you all, just two more  questions, a place to buy Tilapia (preferible the red nilotica) hier in Naples as close to the GGE as posible and a place they show (preferible with graphics) how to make a Bell Siphon?

i am beginning this week my greenhouse of 20' x 22' with 4 beds with grow media and 120 yards of NFT system, the grow media will be running for a while w/o plants, the NFT system will be full but because there is not fish yet i will begin running water with nutrients, is there something to put in the water for the fish tanks to acelerate the process of growing biological conditions for the fish?

Information useful for future buyers of grow media in Naples, 1 yard of brown river rock (they call it Brown Egg Rock) by 239 774-9311  cost $135 + $35 delivery, the $35 delivery is for 1 to 10 yards, you can pick it up yourself at 218 SABAL PALM RD NAPLES, FL 34114-2567 if you don`t want to pay delivery. Superior Stone in Shirley Street do have similar prices.


   It takes about 6 weeks to cycle up a bio-filter without using any bottled bacteria.  It takes about half a dozen weeks to cycle up a bio-filter using some bottled bacteria product.

I'd say figure out some ammonia source to add to your water and follow instructions for fishless cycling.

Thanks Lynx for you comment, very interesting article about the fishless cycling, can you give some advies please about where to buy all the meters that i should need in a future, so far i do have a PH meter and a PPM meter, no ammonia or nitrites, what else should i need?  thanks.

Luis, the ppm meter is almost useless for aquaponics since we don't use chemical mineral salts that can be measured with electrical conductivity which is what most hydroponic ppm meters are, just Electrical conductivity meters and then you estimate the strength of the nutrient based on a guess of what the conductivity is supposed to be.  In aquaponics the conductivity will be very low except if you have to salt the system for some reason and in that case it will be very high but in either case it won't really tell you how strong the nutrient level is in the system.

You should make sure to keep your pH meter calibrated and maintained properly.

the other things you need to test for are




all of those plus the pH can be tested using the API freshwater master test kit

Here are some vids of me demonstrating.

Sylvia sells the kits and you can get to her store through the shop tab at the top of the site here or you can go search on the internet for them or most any good aquarium shop should carry them or something similar locally.

Ok Linx, i do have all this meters now + a OD meter and several digital thermometers for the fish tanks just to be sure too, will begin constructing the greenhouse tomorrow and hopefully begin running the fishless cicles by Saturday-Sunday, question, for running the growbeds with constantly flow, do i need also a bell siphon?

just one more thing, do anybody know how to repair a IBC container with a hole in it?

If you want to run a constant flow to the grow beds but you want them to be flood and drain, then yes you would need some sort of siphon.

If you want to run constant flow and have the beds be constant flood, then you just need a stand pipe at the right height.  (this can even be done by just removing the bell off the bell siphon so the bed won't flood and drain.)

What kind of hole, how big and where?  HDPE plastic can be heat welded that that normally takes some special equipment and practice.  Depending on where the hole is you might just use aquarium silicone and some of the plastic to put a patch over the hole but this will probably only work on a flat location that won't flex (I've done it in a barrel bottom before where I put a hole in the wrong place once.)  If it is a hole for a plumbing fitting that you don't want to use, I would say simply put a fitting in making sure it doesn't leak, and cap it off or turn it into an extra overflow.

I have two containers with holes in it, one is at the bottom the size of a quarter, is kind of a inflated bubble with a small hole in it and the other one is at the front of the tank dime size.

Are they jagged holes?  Or smooth and round?

Is the portion of the tank with the hole in a flat area of the tank or in a molded ridge or corner?

If the area is flat, then a patch or making that location be one of your drains or something may work.

If the area is in a corner or molded ridge, it will be much harder to deal with.

One of the holes is in the front of the container at half height the size of a dime, the other one is at the bottom close to the front the size of a quarter, is being produce by heat and it`s a inflated bubble with a small hole in it, i do have here at home a silicone heat gun, i don`t know if this will help. The one in front of the container is a smooth oval hole. if you give a email address i can send you a picture of both holes.

A friend told me about a product call 5200 made for boot repairs and waterproof,  but i don`t know if this will go with the material the IBC containers are made of.

Few adhesives actually stick well to HDPE plastic, even when using silicone to seal something to hdpe plastic, it is really more like using the silicone as a gasket more than a sealant.


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