I started this about 6 months ago, because I stumbled across DIY aquaponics You Tubes, while looking for a way to stop having to buy filter media for my 2 fish tanks and Koi pond in my Living room. This started an obsession that has led me down a path of learning and applying all sorts of methods and ideas to use on my 1st aquaponics system. I use a host of recycled materials including a shampoo bottle, empty fishfood bottles, rolled up monster can( used as a pipe for a bell syphon) the box the shop light came in, as a gutter lined with window plastic, (filters i had already made -peanut butter jar, coffee cans), scrap foam from a manufacturing plant, just to name a few. i now have a sucsessful colony of red worms, even the snails have moved into the trays and are multiplying :) cuttings from plants grow like they were never cut from the mother plant. i recently upgraded the system adding several new trays, to my surprise the snails moved into the new trays on thier own and are growing well. it seems to be a fool proof system. My 19 year old cichlid even seems happier since i tied the whole system together, 2 fish tanks and a koi pond feeding the grow trays then to "Mr Ugly" my reactor draining into the koi pond, used as the sump tank for the system.
I used several methods i learned and I invented a syphon overflow to feed the trickle lines to the trays. a water bridge connects the 2 fishtanks, a pump in the koi pond fills a tray above 1 tank and a syphon overflow exits the other fishtank, feeding the trays, then drain into Mr Ugly, wich drains into the koi pond. I have a flush fill bell syphon system on several trays and the 4 big trays use a flood overflow, i periodicly pull a scrap piece of pipe out to flush the systemand replace like a flush fill. ( about 4 to 6 times a day ). my ph has managed to stay in range by itself, it changes after adding rainwater, but the next day it is normal again. I have not lost a fish for over 2 years! except the new feeder fish i bought that were sick already. my goldfish mixed with the koi are feeder fish the cichlid did not eat. i have a few rosies i am starting in the other fishtank, i was upset that 8 out of the 10 i got died within a week later, (this is the supliers fault not mine, as all the tanks are tied together and no adverse effects on other fish or plants) scrap foam cut into about 1 inch squares are in Mr Ugly as biological media as well as some filter floss. i have pepsi can and spice bottle with holes drilled in them as a drain cap for the pipes that exit the reactor. I tried buying "organic Herbs" to grow they were dead when i bought them as well only the basil survived in the trays. I cut clippings from my bay leaf plant and they grew like they never left the original plant. i have had some trouble getting the flow rates to work the bell syphon right, as well as adjusting the water level of 2 tanks across the room from each other. about 12 feet away the water bridge works great although it collects air i have to runa seperate pump to constantly suck the water n air out so it will keep working right, but i had a smaller pump already so i used it there. the fountain pump i got at rural king is great for only $27 it is made for a 5 foot fountain but works incredibly well to feed both the 1st tank and the isolated tray. wow I am excited to share this look above i have writtten a book just to say i like this group, Thank You for accepting me and here is where I am at in the NooB stage always learning and applying new methods as I can. Thank God I am single and own my own trailer !