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Aquarium Aquaponics

DIY Aquarium Aquaponics System

As I mentioned in another aquaponics post, I am planning to put together my own small aquaponics system for fun, and of course to see if I can get it to work properly. I’ve always been fascinated with both hydroponics and aquatic biology – among numerous other related topics – so it’s only natural (no pun intended – haha) that I would gravitate towards aquaponics.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, aquaponics is simply a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. Water is pumped from fish tanks to grow beds where plants (typically some sort of edible produce) take advantage of the nutrient rich water. The plants and gravel (or whatever growth media you use) serve to filter the water before it eventually ends up back in the fish tanks. Alternatively, you can also grow plants directly in the fish tanks using floating rafts of some sort.

For my experimental system I will simply be periodically pumping water from a small aquarium into a homemade grow bed, then allowing it to drain back into the fish tank – something similar to my ‘artist’s rendtion’ up above.

I’m going to make the grow bed using some PVC piping and some basic hydroponics supplies, namely small grow baskets and gravel. I’ll cut holes specifically sized for the baskets so that they can sit snugly in place.

I have ordered some small submersible pumps and tubing so I’ll be able to pump the water up to the grow bed. I have also been growing basil seedlings in preparation for setting this sytem up. We love fresh basil (and pay a decent amount in order to have a constant supply on-hand in the winter), so it seemed like a natural choice. It is also a good choice since it relies mostly on vegetative growth, unlike a crop like tomatoes which would be more complicated due to flowering requirements etc.

Anyway, I think its going to be a lot of fun! Hopefully I’ll be able to create what I have in my head – or at least something similar. I’m not known for my DIY skills, so this will be good practice.

As per usual, I will keep everyone posted on my progress!

[tags]aquaponics, aquarium aquaponics, diy aquaponics, hydroponics, hydroponic, grow beds, basil, growing plants, indoor gardening[/tags]

Written by Compost Guy on February 19th, 2008 with 8 comments.
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Get your own gravatar by visiting Jen(aside)
#1. February 19th, 2008, at 6:52 PM.

This looks awesome. I might be able to set up something similar. I’m looking forward to updates. 🙂 Thanks!

Get your own gravatar by visiting Mike
#2. August 18th, 2008, at 1:02 PM.

If you do this, do be sure to draw the water for the hydroponic tray from the bottom of the fish tank, ideally setting up a raised tray on the bottom under gravel with the pump intake below it. This will help keep your fish alive.

Get your own gravatar by visiting Nico
#3. October 20th, 2008, at 5:42 PM.

It’s been a while since you have written about aquaponics, did you ever set something up?

Get your own gravatar by visiting Darryn
#4. October 29th, 2009, at 3:07 PM.

I have fish breeding system and want to corporate aquaponics with pvc piping. what did you use for your grow bed to give the plants support?

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#5. October 31st, 2009, at 1:16 AM.

Sorry Folks – unfortunately this was a project idea that kinda fell by the wayside (and this website itself has suffered from its fair share of neglect!) So many ideas – only so much time.

Hoping to try this out at some point. May start with an outdoor garbage can system though.

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#6. October 1st, 2010, at 4:32 AM.

Aquaponics: I ran across this article and thought it was a pretty cool idea. Aquarium Aquaponics I've use my siphoned…

Get your own gravatar by visiting Ellen
#7. July 27th, 2011, at 4:34 PM.

If you do ever come back to this idea you will need to have some kind of solids removal before the water goes into your NFT tube (and back into the fish tank. The fish poo will build up on the roots and they will probably rot. Also, what doesn’t got caught on the roots will go right back into the fish tank. Additionally, you will need some kind of media for nitrifying bacteria to grow on, to convert the fish waste ammonia to nitrates the plants can absorb. One solution would be to set the fish tank up like a “normal” aquarium, with gravel on the bottom (which you will have to vacuum) and a filter of some kind, with the outflow plumbed into your NFT.

Get your own gravatar by visiting jim
#8. May 25th, 2012, at 9:09 PM.

does this thing work good or it needs some things added to it

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