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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 comments disabled.
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Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Mike
#1. 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 gravatar.com Nico
#2. October 20th, 2008, at 5:42 PM.

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