Aquaponic Gardening

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TCLynx's Blog – June 2010 Archive (24)


Perhaps it isn't exactly Aquaponic but canning our own produce is an important part of gardening and sustainability to me.

Today I'm canning some soup where the only ingredients that didn't come from our own garden is the corn, garlic and spices.

The corn at least was local and the rest, carrots, onions, potatoes, beans (3 types) and duck was all grown right here.

We have found that my soup is often so much tastier than the stuff from the store. I like to keep a shelf… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 25, 2010 at 7:30pm — 3 Comments

Day spent doing in the ducks

There is something to be said about knowing how your food comes to be your food. This step does turn some people vegetarian.

Today was a day for moving some of our ducks into new quarters in the freezer. That is right we were killing today. Killing one's own food does bring a closer connection to the whole process.

It does seem the closer the animal is to us, the harder the process can be. Most of us think nothing about harvesting a plant to eat even through that harvest is… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 23, 2010 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Spanish Moss as media test

I thought I would do a little test to see if Spanish Moss might be a suitable media.

I put six small catfish fingerlings in a small tank and a basket of Spanish moss under the inflow to the tank.

I started the test on June 12. Well on June 20 I discovered one of the six catfish looked like it's tail was all chewed up. Not knowing if it was a case of illness brought on by the Spanish moss or if perhaps there was fighting going on. I removed that fish from the tank and into an… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 22, 2010 at 8:38pm — 4 Comments

cheap swimming pools

Think twice before assuming a cheap swimming pool will be appropriate for your fish tank. Do some extra research.

I know that there are some people who have done it successfully but there are other situations where several months into operation of the system, certain types of fish start showing signs of illness.

Some types of swimming pool liners are treated with chemicals to protect the vinyl from UV, algae, and bacteria. Some of these chemicals are slow to release and can… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 21, 2010 at 7:58pm — 4 Comments

Water Chestnuts

Just lately I ordered some water chestnut plant starts. I've read that fresh water chestnuts (which of course are not nuts but actually more like a corm that grows attached to the plant roots under ground under water) are so much better than the canned variety that I thought I should try growing some for myself. They like a hot climate and I've heard they grow fast so it could be a great thing to have.

I'm not sure if they will like aquaponics or how best to grow them in aquaponics so… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 20, 2010 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Today, I just can't get very focused.

Perhaps it was due to the heat (and being pretty worn out from the past several days too.)

It is now raining pretty heavy and the temps have come down but it did get up to 101 F in the shade here today, I don't know what the heat index would have been though.

About all I accomplished today was installing a new bit of electronics on my main system (to control the automated valve I developed to operate the indexing valve on a CHIFT PIST system where the pump doesn't turn… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 19, 2010 at 6:05pm — No Comments

TCLynx 300 gallon systemBuilding a completely new system with experience

Now I feel a little out of order here since I realize that I probably haven't done a very good job of describing my main system or any of my other systems on this site. (The main system's story is a bit long and I don't quite feel up to re-writing that whole story at the moment.)

But anyway..... Now with a couple years experience keeping fish (I really didn't know much about keeping fish before I got into this) and nursing the bio-filters and coaxing the plants, I'm feeling a bit more… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 18, 2010 at 7:30pm — 8 Comments

I should be on video

There are times when I think how glad I am that no one is around to see what I've just done.

I'm often very wet when I have that thought.

See, I'm one to do quite a lot of quick change plumbing.

But now on later reflection, I probably would be a real you tube hit if I could post videos of the more spectacular incidents.

Plugging the pump back in but forgetting that I had opened that one ball valve to let water drain back so I could glue some plumbing. So… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 17, 2010 at 6:00pm — 4 Comments

Of Lumber and Liner

So why not make grow beds out of wood and pond liner?

In a word.


If you live in a place where termites can't happen, then check on carpenter ants.

One of the drawbacks with lumber and liner is that all sorts of creepy crawlies get in between the wood and the liner. Wood chewing creatures are no exception and they may not notice the difference between the wood and liner…

Added by TCLynx on June 16, 2010 at 6:00pm — 2 Comments

pH please have patience

We are talking about aquaponics which is supposed to be a living ecosystem, it is not a lab test kit. I have lately heard of several occasions where people used drastic measures to adjust pH and some of the situations were not so good for fish health.

Aquaponics is not like Hydroponics where you can tweak and adjust chemically. Any sudden changes can harm the fish and bio-filter and are to be avoided where possible.

First, an aquaponics system with time will naturally have a… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 15, 2010 at 5:00pm — 6 Comments

Deep grow beds

The common recommended minimum depth for flood and drain gravel beds is 1 foot deep. Some people do attempt beds less than that but the effective bio-filter in a shallow bed is more limited and managing flood and drain by siphons becomes farm more difficult with a shallow bed.

I'm now a very big proponent of Deep grow beds. Many of my grow beds are now 24 inches deep rather than just 12. I've discovered that the 100 gallon rubbermaid stock tanks are only a couple dollars more than a 50… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 14, 2010 at 4:29pm — No Comments

Drilling holes in plastic container Tips


A nice whole saw kit plus a few larger whole saws (of the appropriate size for bulkhead fittings or uniseal fittings of whatever two primary large sizes you are going to use if doing a large system) are definitely a must in the Aquaponics Tool kit

1- Don't put the hole through across a ripple, curve etc. Makes it impossible to get most bulkhead fittings to seal properly.

2- Don't push too hard on the drill, if the plastic is brittle, you…

Added by TCLynx on June 13, 2010 at 6:00pm — 2 Comments

Before you send water to your NFT pipes


Yes that was me shouting.

What's NFT, that would be nutrient film technique or when you put the plant cups in holes in a pipe or trough and trickle a film of water along the bottom of it.

An aquaponics system is more than just fish and plants, if you try to do aquaponics with only those two things, you are sitting on a two legged stool and something is bound to collapse. The most important part of… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 12, 2010 at 6:00pm — 6 Comments

Blue Tilapia

I have grown Blue Tilapia but am no longer growing them. I found it too

much trouble to keep them warm through the winter without using

electricity to heat the water.

Here are excerpts of the article I wrote on them for the Backyard Aquaponics Magazine (Full article with

the pictures is available in the 6th issue of the Magazine.)

Tilapia, Blue Tilapia, Oreochromis…


Added by TCLynx on June 11, 2010 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish are currently my only fish species in my aquaponics systems.

Here are excerpts of the article I wrote on them for the Backyard Aquaponics Magazine (Full article with the pictures is available in the 5th issue of the Magazine.)

Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus


Two to four…


Added by TCLynx on June 10, 2010 at 11:16am — 4 Comments

Gravel washing

Many people will ask "What's with this Gravel Washing?" The answer is you don't really want the random unknown sediment settling into your system and possibly damaging your pump or clogging up your grow beds and plumbing.

Now some media is fairly clean and some people get away with loading it into their grow beds and rinsing through with a hose and letting the water drain away outside the system. I don't really advise this one for most gravels though as it only really washes the top… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 9, 2010 at 6:31pm — 4 Comments


Something that most people with fish tanks exposed to bright light are going to have to deal with is algae. Now if you are talking about a display aquarium or an ornamental fish pond, you may need to resort to chemical or UV means of killing algae along with cleaning it out of the system, however, in an aquaponics system we have to avoid chemical methods and we really don't require the high tech of UV sterilization just to get rid of algae.

There is a really simple method of… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 8, 2010 at 10:00am — 2 Comments

Oh but it's gotten so Hot

Location, Central Florida, USA

This time of year is so hard for us. I have trouble spending lots of time indoors but it is so hot out here now that simply stepping out the door causes a drenching sweat to break out.

Learning to garden in this climate is difficult. We are definitely not in the temperate climate that most garden books teach about gardening in. We are also not really in a tropical climate since we do get freezes in winter so long term or perennial tropical crops are… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 7, 2010 at 3:16pm — 2 Comments

Pee Ponics

Alright, I've broached the subject of Pee Ponics in my Fishless Cycling Post.

Did you know that you can run a system indefinitely without fish?

I ran a Pee Ponics system for quite a while. It was my original Barrel Ponics system I built and cycled up fishlessly. Then I continued to run it fishless. I found that the pee ponics system needed about the same supplements as a system with fish.

Ok, I know many people get all grossed out by this, let me go into a little of the… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 6, 2010 at 8:00pm — 6 Comments

Automatic fish feeders

Well, some one beat me to the punch about Automatic feeders with a discussion but I'll post what I had started anyway.

When I started doing aquaponics I had no idea how much difficulty I would have finding an appropriate automatic fish feeder. And finding an automatic fish feeder was rather important since I have to be able to leave the system to the attention of neighbors fairly often when I need to travel. (I don't want to ask a neighbor to come over and measure out feed three times… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 5, 2010 at 6:04pm — 4 Comments

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