Our aquaponic system is finally working

Today has been an amazing day!  The aquaponic system is finally circulating water from the fish tank to the grow bed and back again.

We built a base for the fish tank so it was raised slightly above the concrete patio and insulated from the cold and heat.  To do this, we put some bricks on the patio and then placed plywood on top of the bricks…

Then Styrofoam was placed on top of the plywood and plywood was placed on top of the Styrofoam.  The corners were cut off for safety reasons.

TJ placed the fish tank on top of the insulated base.  Then he cut a hole in the side of the fish tank with a hole saw and installed the bulkhead fitting…

The rest of the PVC pipes were connected and the standpipe was put in place.  No glue was applied to the standpipe.  This allows us to rotate it to adjust the water height.  A screen will be placed over the opening before any fish are introduced to their new home.

The sponge filter that came with the water pump was attached to the grow bed’s bulkhead fitting so no small fish or prawn venture into the pump…

The water pump was finally turned on for the first time and the fish tank began to fill with water.  Some holes were drilled into the pipe so the water would aerate the water, but we may need to cut this pipe off and put another one on.  These holes were too large, so the water trickled out instead of jetting out as planned.

It took quite a while to fill the tank, but with the help of the aquaponic kids time flew by quickly.

After a while, the fish tank was finally filled to the brim…

…and the water began to circulate…

After we finished watching in complete disbelief as the water flowed out of the pipes…

…TJ cut the rafts into 2′ x 4′ sections so they will be easy to plant and harvest…

At the end of the day, our system was working as planned.  Here are a couple of photos of the system with the rafts in place.

Next, we will paint the tops of the rafts and cut holes for the net pots.  I will also begin cycling the water with either liquid ammonia or with some Koi that we borrow from a friend.  Then, all we need is some warm weather.

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8 Responses to Our aquaponic system is finally working

  1. This is amazing! I’ve never managed much outside of keeping a Beta alive for a year or so. You lot are so impressive, and I love learning from this blog! Way to go! Can’t wait to see how the fish adjust

  2. Lora K. says:

    looking good. have a successful aquaponics journey. since you have little helpers, teach them to plant and harvest too. if you plan to eat the fish, using a fishing pole would be fun for the keiki (kids).

    • Great idea! They’ll also enjoy noodling (catching fish by hand) after they get used to being bit by the tilapia. I get bit every time my fingers get too close to the water when I’m feeding them. Good thing they don’t have teeth…the fish, not my keiki 🙂

  3. Don Inodessa says:

    Hi y’all, been doing something similar the past few years. How are you heating your water in the winter? So far I have not lost any fish to the cold the these past few years. On the coldest nights double wrapped the tanks in plastic and used a small 60 watt aquarium heater just so the fish would have warm spot in the water, This morning’s outside temperature is 42F degrees. I didn’t wrap the tanks or put in my little aquarium heater last night so I am anxious to see what the temp is this morning in the water. Got down to 38 the other night and the water was still 62 so do expect that the water will be above the critical. My garden and compost pile is right ouiside the greenhouse so I am thinking of building an easy to open wrap of some kind around the compost and opening it up to the green house to use the heat generated from the decomp.

    I don’t have a whole lot of time to keep up my blog but thought you would be interested in seeing what I have done. http://aquadonics.blogspot.com/2012/03/dons-aquaponics-system.html
    Since the last update my fry have been transferred to 110 gallon Rubbermaid tank inside the greenhouse. The little darlings are 3-4 inches long now And I think the dad and moms ended up on the barbie this past summer. I don’t have any pictures of ’em but I also have fourteen chickens. My neighbors buy the eggs and that pays for the feathered ones dining and snacking.

    I don’t know if the email link is working on the blog page so if you would like to contact me you can email me at doninodessa@gmail.

  4. james_CA says:

    Can you give us some updates and more pics? Nice work. I will need to do my first AQ later.

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