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

Discussion Forum

Passionate about Aquaponics!

Started by Devon Watkins. Last reply by Vic Wagoner May 5. 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 Jim Fisk on July 10, 2014 at 6:04am

Diddo what Lloyd said. I too used ammonia.

As far as the siphons are concerned, having sold over 400 now, sight unseen (a pic of your siphon would be great, top and bottom) I believe you need a vent right after the 1st or 2nd 90. It is not "breaking siphon" which means not enough air is getting back under the bell. Mine get that air from 1. under the bell and 2. from air coming back up the down pipe. That is why I never use "traps" as they make the break cycle much harder to achieve. That is why I can help you better if I know exactly how yours are made. The "make" is based upon the size of the funnel on top and the number of 90s below. I have 100% positive feedback on over 400 siphons of all sizes so I believe I can help given more details.

Comment by Lloyd Booth on July 10, 2014 at 12:00am

IF no fish, add a tablespoon of straight ammonia [READ THE LABEL] every couple of hours until you get a reading on your testing equipment. As I can not see your system, I have no idea how big things are relative to possible ammonia addition. Be thoughty, do read the label, all you want is a small bottle of pure ammonia; try any hardware store. READ THE LABEL!

Comment by Lloyd Booth on July 9, 2014 at 11:54pm

Good evening Joe,
>.. When I started, I foolishly dumped the full amount of starter powder into the system. Turned the water troughout the system dark red and opaque for days. after maybe 5 days or so, it settled into the rocks as a deposit and stayed there to slowly feed the plants.
>.. What plants are there in your system? If nothing then there is no benefit for the seaweed stuff as it is to feed the plants as they start their new lives in the system.
>.. Fish usually supply the amonia as that is their waste. What fish are you using?
>.. If you don't have any plant, get some house plants, shake off most of the soil and plant two or three or more as needed.
>.. If no fish, get some slightly larger goldfish than feeder fish, or some small Koi. 2 or 3 would be enough to start. Watch carefully for fish that might decide to die, scoop them out and replace with live fish. Excess fish food also turns to nitrogen, so be thoughtful about feeding the fish. Larger GF are cheaper than small koi -- both are carps and very tolerant of heat and cold. And unlikely that anyone hungry would go fishing for them.

Comment by Joseph Michael Martino on July 9, 2014 at 11:41pm

Im not actually even seeing *ammonia*, so I am wondering if either the ammonia is being improperly or slowly moved through the system


Comment by Joseph Michael Martino on July 9, 2014 at 11:40pm

Hey All,

So things are a bit strange with the aquaponics system right now.  Cycling is taking much longer than expected.  Im going with the seaweed extract method (introduce seaweed extract in steadily increasing amounts until you get a high reading of ammonia then stop and let the system do what it does).  Im looking back at my notes from the previous system; looks like it took about twelve days for us to start seeing nitrates/nitrites, and as of now I think we're on week 4.  Ive been introducing the seaweed to the sump.  Keep in mind the fish tank has more volume, Im wondering if there isnt enough oxygen for the bacteria to start the conversion work? Im not actually even seeing ammonia, so I am wondering if either the ammonia is being improperly or slowly moved through the system.  In any case, the water in the sump and in the fish tank is taking on the color of the seaweed: any suggestions?

Secondly, the autosiphons seem to be in their terrible twos.  One day they work fine, the next day I come in and I can tell one of the beds has been siphoning constantly overnight.  I know its an issue with flow, but Im not sure why the variability.  Again, any thoughts?  Thanks everyone for the advice, assistance, and guidance!


Comment by Lloyd Booth on July 1, 2014 at 5:12pm

Good day, Joe.

>.. I'm gad you found what you wanted and can implement it as you desire. There possibly is no need to make changes, but if you want to make changes, there is no reason to stop you. Enjoy the 'hands on' experience!

Comment by Joseph Michael Martino on July 1, 2014 at 5:05pm

Hey All,

Yes Lloyd Jessica is a great resource!  She has helped me quite a bit.  I do finally understand the bypass.  Im a pretty visual dude so I had to find a link but it matched with your description!  (  This was a pretty good link also (

Also, picture as promised!!!

Comment by Lloyd Booth on June 27, 2014 at 1:29pm

Good Morning Joe,

>.. Jessica works(ed) at Evergreen College in the aquaponics demonstration project down at the organic farm site. She may be able to advise you as she can see the system and she knows quite a good bit about aquaponics. I think a call to the organic garden site asking for Jessica could get you all the help you need locally.

>.. Bypass: think of this as a 2 pipe system; one rising from the pump and going towards the growbed. Before the pipe gets to the growbed there is an inline T-joint with a ball valve attached, the second pipe then heads back from the valve to the source. As the ball valve is opened more water flows back to where the it came from. An inline T-joint is where the cross-arms of the T are connected in line with the main flow, and the short arm exits to the right or left.
If the water that goes to the growbeds come from a sump fed by a SLO,  Do Not Send Sump Water To The FT in your system, send it back to the sump.

Good morning JIM: Your system is very elegant, and well thought out.

>..My system has the fish and sump below ground level, with an SLO feeding the sump and the water pumped from the sump to the growbeds. YES, solids do get pumped, but we have reduced the particle size by connecting the intake line to several long PVC pipes capped on the end and smallish holes drilled every half-inch or so on the upper surface of the pipes. Water and smallish solids flow into the pipes through the holes and are pumped to the growbeds. Larger solids sink to the bottom and are stirred  up each time the FT SLO operates dumping large volumes of water into the sump.[About 3-4 times an hour.] Every 4 to 6 months we need to stop the flow, clean out the sump bottom and flush the system to clean out the pipes.

>.. If I had thought to use your design, I wouldn't have the problems with cleaning that I do. My design though allows my system to function well enough that I conserve all my floor space. I am limited by County Law to 200 sqft for the greenhouse without permitting and oversight by people who know nothing about aquaponics; they think it is aquaculture and are eager to regulate the sale of the fish. Not selling fish or veges, so no oversight desired, thus limited size. By putting fish below, most of the floorspace is devoted to growbeds.

>.. As of now, only half the greenhouse is growbeds, the balance is planned for root crops (carrots, beets, radishes, etc.). Those grow beds are not yet installed.

>.. On a side note, I tried to grow strawberries in home-made zip towers (see Bright Agrotech on YouTube). This did not do well in my site as I planted the strawberries too close together for the roots to develop properly, and I had real problems getting the water to flow well into the tops of the towers.
>.. Incidentally, about half the strawberries continued this year with the water flow going UP from the bottom about two feet, anything higher than about two feet is not growing. It seems that the roots grow down or the water can flow up enough to nourish the plants at that level. I did not use the [Bright Agrotech] specified growth media [plastic mesh], but tried my own mix of coconut coir and perlite about 60-40 by volume.

Good 'talking' with you guys, I've really enjoyed it!

Comment by Jim Fisk on June 27, 2014 at 8:55am

So it was going from the FT back to the sump? Problem there was fish waste going back to your sump. If you have a sump it should be clear (drinkable) water from the GB so your pump is not handling solids.

The T is right above the valve (red dot) over the FT.

Comment by Joseph Michael Martino on June 27, 2014 at 8:36am

Hey Jim and Lloyd!

Jim thats a beautiful design but I still dont understand the bypass!  It looks like a valve on the pipe going from the pump to the FT and a valve on a pipe going back but where is the connection between those two pipes? 

The AP garden is actually situated on the first floor of C-Building (freshman dorms) at The Evergreen State College.  It is primarily a demonstration system, no fish come out as food.  Its also sort of a second draft on a system we had built previously.  The water was pumped from the sump and into the grow beds which emptied into the FT.  We decided that was silly!


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