Aquaponics Adventure Begins


Hello everyone!

This post will be my way of tracking my progress as well as a place to get some needed information from everyone here.

My plan
My plan is to build a larger system than most people start out with simply because I have found through my reading that the larger the system, the easier it is (if a large garden is actually easy….lol) to manage the PH, nitrites and nitrates. Plus, the larger system (read that as larger FT) fluctuates slower when it comes to temperature and stress levels on the fish and plants.

My experience
My goal is to have a lot of veggies and such for my family as well as a small income from selling the extra produce at my local farmer’s market. I already have a presence at the farmer’s market for my wife’s arts & crafts business and I have seen many of the regular farmer’s do quite well from week to week. The only problem they have is dealing with the weather and the instability of what is available to sell week to week. I have been soil gardening for about 25 years now so I know how to start seeds and to care for the plants. I also have years of experience maintaining multiple freshwater fish aquariums so I am very well versed in testing the water and dealing with fish illnesses and such. I’m also a pretty good woodworker and with that experience I will be building a new fish tank building and attached greenhouse.

System Design
Since I want to maximize my space for fish and plants, I am planning to use 2 x 625gallon round FT that are 8′ diameter x 2′ high. These FT will be purchased from my local ag supplier and I have found a couple other people who use them for an AP setup already. I have not chosen a pump yet nor have I decided on the GB setup. I’m thinking about going the same route as JT by building my own GB’s but that is where I am having some trouble that I hope ya’ll can help out with.

I’m planning on a CHIFT/PIST setup but I’m a little confused on how to properly calculate the amount of maximum GB to FT/ST. I will be working on a basic design on graph paper that I can pop on the forum in another post but here’s the basic thinking. Hopefully you can all follow my thinking and help me with the GB sizing.

My FT building will be around 20’x20′ with a 20’x50′ greenhouse attached.

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W………………… FT ……………………………………………………………………………. GH ………………………. E
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*not drawn to scale

I’m planning to build a platform on the northern wall of the FT building that is roughly 16′ in length for the two FT’s. Underneath the platform would be 1 or 2 more of these 8’d x 2’h round tanks for the ST. The GB’s would be in the GH of course. I’m thinking that I would plumb the ST to pump the water up to FT1 which would overflow to FT2 and then FT2 would overflow to the GB’s. That’s just an idea that I came up with to ensure the water in the FT and ST are thoroughly mixed so I don’t have problems with one FT/ST having more nutrients for it’s GB’s than FT2/ST2. Whether that is the final design really depends on the number of GB’s that I have and whether or not they can be filled then drained quick enough back to the ST to ensure I don’t run out of water in the ST.

Another option would be to pump water from one ST to the opposite FT which will overflow to specific GB’s dedicated to that FT. Then have the water from those GB’s drain to the other ST which has it’s own dedicated GB’s. This may sound complicated but I want to grow 2 different fishies. 😀

I basically need some help figuring out the size of the GB’s and the number I need for the volume of water I will have available. I’m not sure if I should be calculating the GB sizes based on the volume of water I have available or by the sq. footage of the GB’s……

If I go by sq. ft, I think I need something like 6 GB’s at 12’x4’x1′ (is this too big for a 15/45 flood/drain). I don’t have the calculations of media volume to water volume in front of me right now. I believe this size GB is around 350gallons but with the media, only 40% or so of that will be water. With 1250 gallons available (let’s just use 1000gallons so I don’t pump the ST dry), that leaves me with a bunch of GB capacity. I may be completely wrong here so any help is appreciated.

That’s about it for now. I will be checking to see if anyone has responded and I will get back to anyone if there are additional questions.

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2 thoughts on “Aquaponics Adventure Begins

  1. Sorry to ask, but I’m seriously interested in applied aquaponics (as well as other stuff like hoop houses and chicken tractors). But I am unfamiliar with nearly abbreviation you used (AP, I think is aquaponics), but I’m lost on the rest,

    Can you help? Thanks.

    Like

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