Aquaponics on a Recycled Water Tank With a Little Bit of New

Introduction: Aquaponics on a Recycled Water Tank With a Little Bit of New

About: I design and sell hydroponic systems

Firstly my thanks must go to all the "Instructablee's" out there

Without your ideas, designs and inspiration we would be in a very bleak and boring world.

THANK YOU to Instructables, for without their foresite for this website, we would all be playing in the dark.

For this instructable I had inspiration from the Bell siphon'ers and numerous Aquaponic DIY'ers on this site.

Here goes.

Do you know that one can grow food from guppies!

Not to eat, but by using their waste.

Step 1: The Begining

I was given a 2000L water tank that had been burnt in a bush fire on one side.

I looked and saw that if I used the unburnt side as the water retaining section it could work as a fish tank, but I had to lay it on it's side.

I cut down the central section that had been burnt and reinforced it with 2 x 4's.

Roofing screws and washers were used to attach the plastic to the 2 x 4's along the sides, top and accross the central section which was the covered with plastic offcuts from the cut away section.

I was lucky that the outlet was on the "bottom" of the tank and could thus drain it for water changes.

I used this tank for almost 2 years to breed guppies and tilapia in.

Step 2: Converting the Fish Tank to an Aquaponic System

I used 2 more 2 x 4's to reinforce the section where the (at that stage) the gravel bed filter would go.

Using a 2000L p/h submersible pump I pumped water through the gravel bed which acted as a filter for the tank.

As the algae began to grow and help filter the water (sorry no photo's) I came accross the Instructables Website and saw that instead of just a filter, I coud get edible plants to grow from fish S@#T (Oops, I mean fish waste).

Step 3: The Plant Growing Tank (new) and the Bell Siphon

I purchased a 60L Big Jim container, drilled a 25mm hole and inserted a 40 to 25mm poly prop pipe reducer. The 25mm section is inside the container with the 40mm part on the outside and sealed it in place with pratley's steel quickset putty.

For the bell siphon stand pipe I used an offcut piece of poly prop pipe (25mm) and for the "funnel" I used another 40 to 25mm reducer which I cut V's in to increase water flow.

The "bell" is made from another offcut piece of 50mm PVC pipe, sealed at the top with an end cap , drilled to fit a section of 6mm air hose as a siphon breaker

Step 4: The System

The 60L container was filled with pea gravel, (cheapest substrate I could find).

A piece of 110mm PVC pipe, with slots cut into it, was used as the gravel guard for the bell siphon

Siphon off and on, I had a short cycle (9 min) but as watercress was to be the experimental plant this did not matter.

The flow from the pump was split to allow a slower flow into the growing bed and the greater flow back into the tank for airation.

Step 5: The Result - First Week

Watercress seed was sown over the pea gravel

Step 6: Onto the End of the 3rd Week

There was not much happening for week 1 to the end of week 3., but as can be seen from the photo the end of week 3 was producing results.

Step 7: End of Week 4

Imperssive growth from the waste of approx 300 guppies

Step 8: End of Week 5

It's a jungle in there

The result was a growth of between 2 and 3 kilograms of watercress grown from seed in 5 weeks with the waste of guppies

Thanks must go to the Instructablee's out there for inspiring this project.

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    Uncle Kudzu
    Uncle Kudzu

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! That tank looks like a practical way to contain a good bit of water outside with plenty of surface area. Plus, the barrel gets a second life.

    Are watercress seeds difficult to find? That seems like a perfect little crop for an aquaponic set-up. Do the guppies do okay year round outside?

    Graham L
    Graham L

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, watercress seeds can be found on Bid or Buy, Ebay and some nurserys.

    The guppy tank is part of a larger setup where tilapia are farmed enclosed in a plastic tunnel. Due to the tunnel the temp is ok duing the winter months and the guppies survive,

    Without the plastic tunnel there would be frozen fish, as the area has been as cold as -7C