The idea of growing plants without watering - fertilizing soil, instead using fish as a natural fertilizing source absolutely fascinated me.
Therefore I created my own flood and drain aquaponics version.
Step 1: Step 1.
The central idea was to use simple materials in order to create an affordable -low-cost hydroponic system. My initial thought was this.
Having an old small (children’s furniture) table i constructed a wooden box in order to serve as the grow bed of my project. I lined it with geotextile, using spray glue a adhered it to cover all pointy edges of the metal corners.
Step 2: Step 2.
I then laid the pond liner creating an insulated container. I nailed the overlapping liner material on the outer rim of the box.
Step 3: Step 3.
At the base I made a hole with a hole saw aligned with the box underneath it. Diameter of the hole must be exactly the same as the pipe fittings diameter. After fitting the pipe in the opening apply silicone all over the connection waterproofing the connections on both sites.
Step 4: Step 4.
I fitted a larger piece of pipe to create a funnel for the siphon, which is critical for the correct function of the auto syphon. I glued three small pieces of PVC wedges on the outer walls of the pipe to provide even flow of the water inside the tubes.
Step 5: Step 5.
I then cut openings of 2cm height of the longer pipe cover to provide free circulation of water. It is important for the openings to be exactly 2 cm high in order to sustain a water level of 2 cm at the bottom of the grow bed which is important for the health of the system.
Step 6: Step 6.
A wider diameter pipe is used to cover the syphon system, prepare the pipe by making holes all around the pipe creating a filter allowing the water to pass but blocking clay pebbles going in the syphoning system. The level of holes must reach the height of the inner syphon pipe.
Cut and feet a circular disc of scrap plastic at the base of the pipe bolt fitting it exactly leaving a sufficient border for the external filter pipe to be glued on it. Glue with PVC glue the filter pipe on the circular disc make sure you leave a sufficient border on the outer side of the pipe so clay pebbles can seat on it and keep it in place.
Step 7: Step 7.
For a water tank I used a plastic box- container (Samla ikea, the bigger the better) which I covered with multiple layers of plastic paint to prolong its life from sun polymerization.
On the table surface I made a hole aligned with the box (grow bed) above and the water tank below.
Step 8: Step 9.
Everything was placed according to plan.
First water test was made. Adjustments were made for of the syphoning system.
When everything was working properly the clay pebbles were placed.
Step 9: Step 10(optional).
I secured a nylon sheet by sewing it on a piece of wire fence creating a perimeter dome used as a greenhouse-cover for the grow bed.
I used a small aquarium pump to transfer water from the tank below back to the grow bed.
The water circulation must be approximately every 15 minutes, the pump should be adequate according to the litters of water your grow bed can hold.
Add fish of your choice after a month’s proper function. =)
First Prize in the
Hydroponics and Indoor Gardening Contest