Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners


Northwest Aquaponics

To discuss regional issues with those in the Northwest

Location: Washington
Members: 157
Latest Activity: May 5, 2020

Discussion Forum

Passionate about Aquaponics!

Started by Devon Watkins. Last reply by Vic Wagoner May 5, 2020. 2 Replies

Hello everyone!I am currently a student at Edmonds College and have a major passion for Aquaponics and plan on building my own aquaponics farm one day. Does anyone here give tours of their aquaponics…Continue

Can I visit and collect data on your aquaponic garden in the Northwest?

Started by Joel Bidnick. Last reply by Joel Bidnick Apr 17, 2016. 3 Replies

Hello, fellow aquaponic practitioners! I’m Joel, a grad student of horticulture at UW, and I’d like the opportunity to visit your system if you use flood-and-drain (or ebb and flow) grow beds within…Continue


Started by Phil Slaton. Last reply by ArrowNeous Mar 14, 2016. 2 Replies

Food Grade held Washington Apple Juice. Dirty. Some held stagnant rainwater and others used for rock and sand filers for my trout grow out tanks. 14 IBCs - $55.00 each or make your best offer for 2…Continue

Fish for NW Aquaponics

Started by Jeff Guykema. Last reply by Jeff Guykema Mar 11, 2016. 16 Replies

I'm brand new to AP but have been reading and, hopefully, studying for about a year or so. During that time, I knew I wanted to have tilapia as my fish, but am fairly sure I won't be able to sustain…Continue

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Comment by Joseph Michael Martino on August 13, 2014 at 11:03am

Hey All,

I have a quick question; I am building a new aquaponics system with a friend in his greenhouse.  The size and shape of the greenhouse are a constraint we are working with.  We have built the bed and it is now time to actually do the aquaponics part!  

In any case, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestion as to how to size an auto siphon; what I mean is, I have a 27.56 cubic foot bed (2.59' x 10.64' x 1') that (according to the Google calculator) can hold 206 gallons of water.  Is there a way to figure out how many or what size pipes would be good to use to ensure that this is drained adequately?

Thanks for your time, looking forward to hearing back!


Comment by Joseph Michael Martino on July 16, 2014 at 2:35pm

Hey Maureen,

Not a bad suggestion: it would appear that there is already a bell siphon topic here.  I will post to that.  

Comment by Maureen Hope Wall on July 11, 2014 at 6:48pm
I think it would be really great if one started a new thread or topic for new topics. That way someone who doesn't use a bell siphon wouldn't have to look at the comment. Or if I was interested in kickstarter campaigns I could check out the post and see one continuos thread. Just a suggestions ....
Comment by Lloyd Booth on July 11, 2014 at 3:47pm

Good afternoon Michael,  This Is A Lengthy Post

>.. I have looked at your linked site. I like it. It is ambitious and do-able.

>.. I think you could discuss a bit about how you can develop income to the Farm as it grows into a more commercial project. For example, what would you develop the first year, while planting which soil-based plants for sale?

>.. Do you have a clearly defined market at present? How would this market suffer or succeed as YOU grow. For example: say you have a local grocery store and a stall at the local farmer's market as your current outputs. What happens to them as you expand? Can the local store take more of your produce? Have you discussed this with the grocery manager? Can the local FM handle you adding say 3 - 8 more stalls? (to have one stall for several products, and yet diversify across your product line) Do you have the staff to open more stalls? Or would you try to handle say 20 product lines with your current staff at the current stall?

>.. Do you have a sales team identified and capable of sending your crops to various markets beyond local shares and what the FM will sell? Do you have refrigerated transport? The weather gets warm in the summer and crops that are not refrigerated during transport look terrible on arrival and generally won't sell.

>.. On a different aspect, look at your premiums carefully. On the lower end you want most of the money to come to you not go out again in premiums. I would add "choice of 1" and the list. Then later "choice of 2". If that was your intent, that was not how it reads.

>.. Keeping the name plates as "a choice" would be better than having it as an "also." I like the color progress as you go. Perhaps at each level, changing the colors to include 'pearl' [white], 'emerald' [green], 'sapphire' [blue], 'topaz' [yellow], 'ruby' [red], etc. Keeping black, brown for lower values, and 'silver' [chrome] and 'gold' [not plated, surely] as the top ends.

>.. By separating the premiums, you can allow multiple purchases at each level to allow people to buy a nameplate and a mug, if they desire that choice.

>.. For the very lowest premiums I would only offer a coupon for a discount at purchase, The $5 and $10 and maybe the $20 as well. The coupons multiply as a multiple of $5. Example: a $5 offer nets a $1 off coupon [one coupon per product], $10 gets 2 coupons, etc. YOU print only one coupon type [4 year expiration] but can send multiples of these as the value of the donation increases. [Also drives people to get their coupons redeemed.]

>.. Consider giving out the same coupons for the first 3 years of sales [they expire after the 4th year] at your personal outlets. Granted it is a 20% return to the customer, but for the next 4 years it can drive up local sales. Make a place on the back of the coupon for name, snail mail address, and email and do NOT honor them without that data.

>.. Keep a complete list of donors with addresses as you can, in multiple formats [paper, card file, electronic lists and databases. Secure copies of these lists in multiple locations and update as they move.

>.. This is not an exhaustive review, I have little experience with Kickstarter, but I have donated on several occasions.


Comment by Rick Stillwagon on July 11, 2014 at 3:07pm

Hi Michael,

I wish you luck with the Kickstarter campaign.  They are tough to succeed with if you don't do a great deal of personal work in getting people to see it and believe in your vision.  Kick starter is also all or nothing.  If you dint raise the full amount then you do not receive any funds.  Indiegogo will give you the funds you raise minus their percentage regardless of how close to your goal you manage to get.

I would get your business plan together if you have not.  Show this with all your market research, financial projections, and the investments you have made toward this dream, to the SBA.  They have people that will go over your business plan with you and discuss the weaknesses and strengths of your plan. 

Then if you are still ready to move forward, put together your pitch.  It is usually a one page document describing the whole plan in a nutshell.  With this you can approach angel investment groups, potential family investors, etc.

Farms are a tough sell. A lot of risk, and usually tight profit margins.  Find your niche markets where there may be potential for a higher profit.  Government grants are available through the USDA SBIR program.  There are a lot of hoops to jump through.  Check with your local SBDC and see what they think.  Their services are free and can help you get your business plan together as well as locate financing.

Comment by Lloyd Booth on July 11, 2014 at 2:53pm

Good afternoon Joe and Jim,

>.. I think Jim's suggestions are excellent.

>.. I drain straight down from tank #1 and it is a 1.5 inch to 1 inch with a 45 degree pipe turn at the end to move the output a bit sideways of where the other two drop into the FT.

>.. The remaining two drop straight down with a 45 degree turn into 3 inch PVC drain pipe straight to the FT with a sweep turn to drop into the FT. The FT end of both 3 inch pipes have press-fit drain screens on the end to provide multiple streams of water into the FT to increase aeration of the FT. [There was no problem with the fish, but I have had the air pumps go out for various reasons and I wanted redundant aeration.]

>.. All three tanks, 45 gallons of water each, empty very quickly, like 5 minutes or so, with plenty of air driven deep into the water. The fish are happy and the growbeds are producing like weeds! BUT this is a relatively mature system 2+ years old, with most of the edible fish harvested leaving just larger carps to feed the cycles.

>.. I started with several goldfish, and was given a bunch of tilapia (now all harvested, thanks Rick) and later some Koi [thanks Phil]. I have kept the carps because they are hardy and grow well in the tanks unheated. I may or may not restock tilapia, but the family is tired of them at present.

Comment by Michael Silberstein on July 11, 2014 at 2:23pm

How is everyone doing. sorry I have not been around. I have been growing my farm and came to the realization that i don't have the room to do what i need to do. not to mention the property i rent is for sale by the owner limiting what i can do. So i have came to the realization i need to buy land to grow from a small 1/4 acre aria to a full size farm. and as we all know here in the west land is priced very high. So to try and raise the capital i am trying out of the box. I am in my final stages of starting a kickstart project and would like your input.  it is not live yet and will have a week to make any changes to it.  please view at  and let me know what issues you see.

Thank you


Comment by Jim Fisk on July 11, 2014 at 12:25pm

Hey Joe,

On my 2500g (and growing:-) system I use 1" THINWALL pipe on a 1200g pump to 5 IBC FTs and the woodstove ss coil and to the 12x3' DWC and have extra to spare back to the bypass.

As far as gravity drains are concerned just remember to use 1 1/2" pipe at the minimum (also available in thinwall for more flow at cheaper cost than Sch 40) BECAUSE and this is very important, that is the smallest size that has real sweeps available. Avoid sharp 90s whenever possible. In the 1" you have to use electrical conduit sweeps to avoid sharp 90s and we don't really know what is in there for fire suppression so I keep those to a minimum as well but they do increase flow noticeably.

Also make sure your drains are at as steep a grade downhill as possible. You don't want sluggish water as that is where bacteria will set up shop and lead to clogs. I set each of my 5 IBC FTs on a cribwork of garden ties so each one is 3 1/2" below the previous one so the common drain has a very good downhill flow rate. Under the row of 5 IBC GBs the common 1 1/2" drain is at a similar angle. Plumbing 101.

If you are using bell siphons on a common drain line as we do make sure each one is vented after the 1 or 2 90s so they are isolated from one another just like the sinks, tubs, etc in your house. PU a plumbing 101 book at Lowes, etc. as a good starter.

Comment by Joseph Michael Martino on July 11, 2014 at 10:54am

Hey All,

So Lloyd I have a buddy taking measurements of the system now.

I do have a general question for folks, can anyone point me in the direction of some resources concerning sizing pipes in ap systems?  Even general resources on the dynamics and mechanics of flow.




Comment by Joseph Michael Martino on July 10, 2014 at 9:29am

Hey Jim and Lloyd,

Thanks for the feedback!  Lloyd I will get back to you about that.  I wont be near the system for about a week!  Anyways all, thanks again!



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