Introduction: Hydroponic Raft System Update + Aquaponics

This is the update for the Hydroponic system that I constructed and posted to Instructables last December, and now I'm also introducing the Aquaponics twin of this system. They both have the same basic construction regarding the grow bed, but the Aquaponics system has a 55 gallon drum for fish and a home-built filter setup.

Aquaponics is the use of fish waste as nutrients to feed the plants growing in a Hydroponic system.

The Aquaponics system is made of 3 main components, the grow bed, the barrel, and the filter. The way that the whole system works is that there's a pump in the grow bed feeds into the barrel, the barrel has an overflow that feeds into the filter, and the filter then returns water to the grow bed.

The filter was made of stackable storage containers that I drilled holes into the bottoms of. The different layers of containers allow me to swap filter media easily. Another benefit of this setup is the "raining" action made by the water which increases the dissolved oxygen in the system. I currently have 3 layers of filtration, coarse mechanical (sponge), fine mechanical (scotch-brite pads), and biological media (more sponge). I clean the mechanical media to clean out the debris that it catches, but I keep my biological media at the bottom and never clean it. The purpose of biological filtration is to keep a healthy colony of denitrifying bacteria in the system, these are especially important in an Aquaponics system because they make the fish waste in the water absorbable for the plants.

See my explanation of the basic grow bed setup in my last Instructable- https://www.instructables.com/id/Indoor-Hydroponic-...

The walls of the grow beds are made with 2"x6" lumber and the bottom is 3/4" thick plywood. I didn't include this in this^^^ Instructable that I've linked, so I figured that I'd just put it here for if anyone needed the measurements.

Thank you for reading my Instructable, if you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Comments

author
Majornav (author)2015-01-07

I forgot to mention that this is an excellent set up and very well presented.
Your roots, the sides of the trough, and rafts all provide plenty of surface area for the bacteria to grow. Probably more than your filter system.
Remember, aerate or die.
Friendly Aquaponics newsletter is a good place for more info.

author
jrusso2 (author)Majornav2015-01-07

Thank you for your feedback Majornav. I'll check out Friendly Aquaponics.

author
Majornav (author)2015-01-07

How many inches of fish?
Seems like you have too much filtration for this set up.

author
jrusso2 (author)Majornav2015-01-07

I believe that I have about 30 inches or so. I planned on buying some more Tilapia fingerlings within the next few weeks.

Only 3 of my containers have filter media in them, the rest are really for the extra DO. So, the amount of filtration just seems to be more than it really is.

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