Instructables
Picture of Small Aquaponic Unit
I am about to get heavily into Aquaponics and thought I would start with a simple unit just to test things out.

Aquaponics: is the symbiotic cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a recirculating environment. Alternate definition: An integrated hydroponics (growing plants in water) and aquaculture (growing fish) system. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquaponics

Aquaponic systems can be small like this one or large commercial setups. I have found http://www.aquaponicshq.com and invaluable source of information.

This system is very simple. Basically I put a box on top of my fish tank and pushed the pump through it and added some holes rocks and plants.

 
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Step 1: The Grow Bed

Picture of The Grow Bed
Side view
P1010005 (Medium).JPG
The Grow Bed is where the plants will grow. The grow bed medium can be anything that will support the plants. I used fine rocks but blue metal and so on is ok. Just clean it first.

In this example I have used an old plastic storage box. I drilled two large holes on one side.

1 For the Pump to go through
1 as an over flow valve in case drain holes fail.

Along the one side I drilled a series of holes to drain the water back to the tank.

Then simply placed the container on top of the tank at an angle to allow the drain holes to be flow back into tank and the pump and over flow to be near the top. (Look at side view)

The pump I am using is the standard pump that came with the tank. Any pump will do just needs to pump water from tank to the grow bed.

After washing the grow medium I place it in the grow bed.

Now I let the system run to ensure it doesn't over flow and look for any issues.
fishgrow6 months ago

FIY, Aquaponics HQ changed names about a year ago to http://aquaponicsnation.com. One of my favorite aquaponics sites to this day, but I wish they would have kept the old name. I liked it better.

This is awesome. I am going to use this idea for my homeschoolers. Did you start with seeds or did you grow the plant in soil first and then transplant them?
jaybiwafu1 year ago
A system which requires minimal space and at the same time very effective and convenient. Great job. Additional details about this system can be found on the link below.


http://farmingeek.org/farming-how-to/how-to-start-aquaponic-farming/how-to-build-your-own-aquaponic-system-from-scratch
jaybiwafu1 year ago
A system which requires minimal space and at the same time very effective and convenient. Great job. Additional details about this system can be found on the link below.


http://farmingeek.org/farming-how-to/how-to-start-aquaponic-farming/how-to-build-your-own-aquaponic-system-from-scratch
drichard584 years ago
Just wondering (new to aquaponics) - how do you feed the fish? Do you lift the grow bed out?
you feed them until the plants grow strong enough to have the fish eat the roots.
leja1965 (author) 5 years ago
Well all didn't go well. Seems I chose wrong plant as lettuce doesn't like wet roots. Also I couldn't control flow of pump so the box had too much water in it. I will add more holes and try another plant. By the way how many liters do you think the tanks is? Oh I don't use imperial measurements.
Lettuce is about the only plant that one can grow floating on top of the water with its roots submerged as long as you keep the water aerated. So I guess that ineed you may wanna use an airstone
Im sure you have done a lot of research by now, but all you need was more oxygen in the water.
I'm by no means a hydroponics expert, but I thought it might be helpful to pass along something I've learned with my own water culture hydroponic system. If you don't have an airstone to keep the water aerated (which you normally wouldn't if you are keeping goldfish), then you need to make sure the roots get oxygen in some other way. The best way would be to make sure that the roots have some 'air' space in the grow medium before they get to the nutrient-rich water. Since you don't have a flow gauge on your pump you have to make more holes in the box (only at one end, which I'm sure you knew anyway). There comes a point when you can only make so many holes though. If you reach a point where you can't really add more holes without compromising the support of the box, then you need to add more grow medium to the box. That way the plants sit up higher above the water then previously. That will give the plant the options it needs to grow out instead of down. And you will end up with less waterlogged roots. Hope this helps. You may also want to do some research on growing lettuce as well. I didn't know that lettuce will 'bolt' if it becomes too warm. That means your lettuce can go straight into the flowering phase before it really does it's vegetative (bunchy leaves) stage. In my ignorance, I kept a cold weather plant (lettuce) under too much light in a hot spot and had to deal with lettuce that grew more like a vine than a head of lettuce. I ended up throwing the whole thing out because once it starts 'bolting' it won't stop which can be a real disappointment when you are looking forward to eating your reward. Hope this info helps.
do a youtube search for hydroponic lettuce.. its grown in large quanities this way...
From what I have read you need to have a cycle on the pump so the roots are not flooded all the time, unless you are heavily oxygenating the water as with an airstone on your air pump.
cleddyf2 years ago
Trout are very fussy about water quality, rainbow trout are less so then brown trout though. You could try Perch as they are not as fussy about water quality and are quite tasty.In addition perch do not require as much water as trout and are not as territorial as trout.
I know a couple that has an entire aquarium with a 7-foot tank beneath it. They raise tilapia. Not a picky fish - expensive to get started though.
djwulfbreed2 years ago
What type of filter system is in the tank? I would suspect an under gravel since you want the fish waste to feed the plants but I wanted to make sure. If so are you removing the pump screens so that detritus is being pumped to plant bed. Also have you had any problems with over feeding plants or ending with excessive nutrients in the plant bed. This looks like a perfect scenario for celery or even wasabi root.
I have a question really. Were you or have you been successful growing watermelon in-doors with this type of setup? I am very interested in this type of "farming". I have a couple tanks not being used now and this seems to be a fun project for kids to learn a new possibly marketable skill.
how did this go?
Riojelon4 years ago

When did you put ze plants in? When zey have had leavez? Or when they were lil' zeedz?

shwa5 years ago
I like the idea of Aquaponics very much.keep your roots out of the stagnant water,unless the plant is very water resilient it is going to rot ."Backyard Aquaponics" have very good forum and it is from your part of the world so you can probably find a lot ppl near you willing to help .
UrbanFarmer5 years ago
Take a look at http://www.aquaponicsusa.com for complete compact systems, lots of information on aquaponics, including fish and veggies as well as government intrusion into growing your own food.
Please check out this howto on Aquaponics. Southern Regional Aquaculture Center Pub No. 4501
mbg0075 years ago
this site also has a lot of resource links and published research. <br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/aquaponic.html">http://www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/aquaponic.html</a> <br/>
This is a great idea. I am going to build one on top of my large fish aquarium. I just hope my fish will not eat the roots! I have a similar spin off this instructable for tropical aquatic plants. I hope you will check it out!

HAPPY PONDING

GAiL

www.pondplantgirl.com

forgoten5 years ago
what kind of plant would work the best? I saw that hydroponics work best with spice like rosemary, thyme etc is their any type of true food plant that don't just add flavor but can sustain people too? you get what i mean corn, tomatoes , potatoes something that is eaten by itself. i don't think i can use that much spice.
I grow a lot of basil. You can use it in all kinds of sauces and I make lots of pesto which is good on everything from vegies to pasta and pizza and even as a spread for bread. Pesto in the stores is awful, and expensive ($3.50 or more for 8 oz.). You can make it for less than 1/4 that price and it tastes much better. Basil is also nearly bulletproof. The only way I can kill it is to not give it enough water. If you make too much Basil you can always trade it with friends and neighbors for other stuff. The other plants you mention are doable (except the corn maybe) but they need much more attention and expertize.
nice design....
leja1965 (author)  explosivemaker6 years ago
Thank you
It really does look nice. Most setups look like a pile of plastic scrap, but yours is actually pleasant to look at. I have an Aerogarden (Xmas present) and it works quite well, both as a source of herbs and lettuce, and as a lamp, so I keep it in the living room where I would need a lamp anyway.
shooby6 years ago
Wow, a system with trout, that sounds awesome. Presumably that would be a 100+ gallon tank, maybe even double that, dunno really. What do you feed the trout?
leja1965 (author)  shooby6 years ago
No idea how much is a gallon but going to start with a 500l tank with about 50 fignerlings. I will make an instructable for it. When I build the system trout may not be the initial fish due to things warming up in Sth Hemisphere. I will feed them combination of fish food worms and duck weed. There is heaps of information about this on the forums at www.aquaponicshq.com
500l is 125 gallons. I do not think that you will be able to have more than 4-6 trout max, in a tank that size and I believe that trout are very picky about water quality. You would probably do better with Tilapia which are very hardy and good eating (from what I am told, I am veg) as well as being tolerant of crowding from what I have seen in other Aquaculture installations.
Aqua-Man5 years ago
1 normal goldfish needs a 50 gallon tank that is too small or goldish
gnr6 years ago
nice :) (but the part whr u plan to eat the trout is horrifying)
downgrade gnr6 years ago
Oh no! Protein from an animal that uses up less resources than a field of vegetables! Oh noes!
leja1965 (author)  gnr6 years ago
Trout is an eating fish. It is all about self sufficency.
z7eightball6 years ago
eat only veges if you like but leave us alone if we eat trout
leja1965 (author) 6 years ago
I lowered the water to allow for better flow of water and more airation for the fish. Now bubles are formed when the wter hits the surface.
EcoMotive6 years ago
Excellent idea. Hope it works out well. Is that lettuce?
leja1965 (author)  EcoMotive6 years ago
Yes. Planning to take leaves as we need them in kitchen. Once watermelon has formed seedling they will be placed in garden and I will spread the lettuce.