Indoor Aquaponics

Introduction: Indoor Aquaponics

I love aquaponics and have been tinkering around in the backyard working on my first system that I set up. But now, I'm thinking that fall is going to hit in a couple of months and my fish and plants won't survive the winter. My wife has been looking forward to me putting a system inside so that she can grow her herbs there. This is how I did it. I'm all about improving, let me know in the comments what I can do better. I also like to know what I did well, please tell me how awesome parts of my project are too!

Step 1: Grow Bed

I wanted to use most of what I had existing so I didn't spend any extra money. I did have to buy a couple of plumbing fittings, everything else I had lying around.
So I had a planter box that was 8"x40" and a bunch of sprinkler pipe and some other tubing.
The planter box has holes in the bottom and a drain pan, so the typical flood and drain system doesn't work here.
I cut a hole in the bottom of the pan of the planter box and fit the drain fitting through, I screwed in an adapter for the sprinkler pipe (1/2").
I used a couple of elbows to get the drain pipe outlet to where it needed to go, so it looks kind of funky in the air. 
The drain adapter that I used was pretty thick and sealed up with the bottom of the planter box and none of the water from the drain pan could flow out. I used a dremel tool to cut a couple of grooves in so that I could get some outflow going there.

Step 2: Inlet Water.

I had a fairly simple system set up to pump the water into the grow bed.
There is a pump with 3/8" tubing.
This goes to a flow valve for spot watering and clean out. (My previous system got clogged a lot. Too much fish poo.)
It has inserted a 1/4" barbed T about an inch before the flow valve.
I have 1/4" drip line through the whole box, which drips constantly. This eliminates the need for timers or any such gadgetry.
I would have preferred to do a traditional flood and drain system, but like I said, the planter box is what I had and my wife didn't want the 4" PVC that I suggested in the living room. Wonder why?

Step 3: Transferring Plants

I used quite a bit of the gravel from my previous system as the top layer of gravel in the new system. This helped to make sure that I already had some established colonies of bacteria to convert the ammonia (Fish poo) to plant food.
All of the rest of the gravel I got from an empty lot across the street. Last year we used it as a garden but it was too rocky, so I got some of the rocks to grow plants in! I made sure to rinse them well and sifted out the dirt and tiny rocks so that the gravel was between 1/2" and 1" diameter.
My wife had all her herbs in a starter tray and she carefully rinsed all of the dirt off of the roots and I dug little holes in the sharp gravel (Ouch!) and put the little plants in.

Now it just is the waiting game to see if her plants thrive!
Or if I kill them all...

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for posting this, I'm experimenting with a planter box just cut a hole and inserted the lip of a reptile pump to pump the fish water into the planter box and happens to sit perfectly above the lip of my 30 gallon aquarium. However it drains right away since it has holes in the bottom. Before I try to complete this does yours work since my experiment is similiar to yours.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for posting this. What pump did you use?


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You know, that is what I thought, but I was able to find a spot behind a lamp to put the tank and then the window box goes on the sill, which is generally an empty place. Keep looking, you'll find somewhere!