Monday, July 19, 2010

Aquaponics beginning

After a year or so of wanting to do aquaponics, I've finally begun. For those of you that don't know about it, aquaponics is similar to hydroponics only instead of adding chemicals, you use a fish tank and the fish provide the plant nutrients and the grow beds provide the filtration for the fish.

I had some plans to build a 1000 gallon fish tank filled with tilapia and stick some growbeds on it and call it a day. It turns out, after some research, that there's recommended ratios and a few other things that just made it more complex than I was expecting. Not the least of which is our climate. For at least a month we have highs around 115 and lows around 90... and humidity. It's also quite expensive to do something that large, not prohibitively expensive, but enough so that I don't want to mess up. So for now I'm building a 100 gallon fish tank which will pump up about 50 gallons twice an hour to a 100 gallon grow bed filled with rocks which will siphon back down into the fish tank.

Building the outer frames for the fish tank and grow bed

I was lucky enough to get some tilapia fry (babies) off of craig's list, as it's expensive to overnight big bags of water from the hatcheries, and I only needed about 15 fish, which is well below any minimum order sizes. We did a trade for them too, which was an even bigger bonus. I gave her seed packs and quail eggs.

Those gray smudges are 1/2" long tilapia

I have a pond pump, and pond liner on the way. Both the fish tank and grow beds will be lined with pond safe EPDM. Until then....

Not so flattering pic... it 100 degrees in there


Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead said...

Can't wait to see how your aquaponics set up turns out! We started one a few months ago and also have tilapia in there. Just growing a few plants in our grow beds right now but they are absolutely loving it.

Wyndfire said...

We are doing this too! We got a 110 gallon commercial lobster tank off CL. We've modified it a bit, and plan to put the tilapia in there. If you want to split an order of fry, let me know! (We only need about 15 - 20 as well.) We also set up a duck-ponics growbed, which uses a 100 gallon stock tank in the duck pen (which they use as a pond). The plants in that one are just getting started.

Justin said...

Wow, that is awesome. You are an inspiration.

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