Aquaponic Gardening

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TCLynx's Blog (61)

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

Fishless cycling

Here is the basic of fishless cycling in a nutshell so to speak.

Dose system to an ammonia level between 1 and 2 ppm

then wait and test till ammonia levels start dropping.

If the ammonia levels drop below 1 ppm and the nitrite level is still below 1 ppm, then dose again.

If ammonia or nitrite levels are still high then wait and keep testing.

Eventually both ammonia and nitrite levels will drop.

Then dose to 1 ppm again and see how long it takes for both… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 4, 2010 at 10:00pm — 10 Comments

pH and tap water

Here is an interesting thing that most people may not know about tap water. When you first run the water from the tap, the pH will probably test out with a false low level. If you air out that water for a while and test the pH again, the pH will probably be much higher.

For instance, if I test the pH of my tap water right out of the faucet, it usually tests out at right around 7. If I bubble that water for a day and test the pH again, it will be up over 8. I have well water from a… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 3, 2010 at 10:00pm — 7 Comments


There is much comment about what might be needed to add to an aquaponics system to keep the plants happy. Once a system is mature, it will require less special attention, however, new systems do often need a little bit of something something to help get the plants off to a better start. The most common additive is sea weed extract. Original Maxicrop is the one I know of here in the USA. Make sure it is just sea weed extract and NOT the sea weed extract plus fish emulsion. We don't want to be… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 2, 2010 at 10:00pm — 4 Comments

Fish Feed

Fish feed can be a big dilemma for aquaponics. Especially for people who want to be as sustainable as possible or organic as possible or want to grow fish that are as healthy as possible to eat.

Here are the main problems with commercial fish feeds.

Most commercial fish feeds are mostly corn and soy based as these are commodity crops that are cheapest to make animal feeds out of. In this country it is becoming nearly impossible to get those crops organically and most animal feeds… Continue

Added by TCLynx on June 1, 2010 at 10:00pm — 6 Comments

It Was This Big!!!

Well Here is the blog post I promised about the BIG catfish. We had this girl for a little over two years and she was definitely an advanced fingerling when we got her. This one was from our very first batch of fish that we put in the system in March 2008. We harvested this fish March 31 2010.

This one was two feet long.

And she was so heavy that the kitchen scale couldn't hold her so we had to get creative and use the luggage scale… Continue

Added by TCLynx on May 30, 2010 at 10:00pm — 4 Comments

Testing out Nate's Towers

I don't really have a "system thread" here but I wanted to share my excitement about testing out some of Nate's vertical system components.

I've been trying to work out some good method of going vertical on my front porch and Nate finally provided a solution.

Here are some pictures of the start of my test. Currently this is hooked into my "big system" but once I give the towers time to get some bio-filtration established in them, I'll cut the 100 gallon fingerling tank and the 4… Continue

Added by TCLynx on May 28, 2010 at 10:00pm — 3 Comments

Basic Aquaponics System Design- The Things I so often repeat

Now we are probably getting into some of the stuff Sylvia really wanted me to write about. In some places I'm known for my patience in re-explaining many of the basic info needed for stable home aquaponics system design.

Things like the three major functions of media filled flood and drain grow beds (actually there are more than three functions.)

1-Media filled flood and drain grow beds provide Bio-filtration

2-Media filled flood and drain grow beds provide solids… Continue

Added by TCLynx on May 27, 2010 at 8:00pm — 16 Comments

Comming back around to the Earth

We are all different and yet, many of us find our ways back around to very similar points in our lives.

I am definitely not what many people would think of as "normal" at least once they know anything about me. My "Profession" is definitely not "normal." I've been a stagehand, techie, roadie, or the like for many years. I might call myself an audio engineer, lighting technician, AV technician and I've worked a wide variety of jobs. Most of them are nothing that the general public… Continue

Added by TCLynx on May 12, 2010 at 8:06am — 2 Comments

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