Aquaponics Blog

Discussing everything related to aquaponics, with focus on home aquaponics projects.

Indoors Aquapoincs, revived

On October 12th, 2014, I stopped the indoors aquaponics system, after a psycho Tiger Tilapia killed all other fish in the tank, then died miserably.

Today, the system is (almost) revived, with the following:

  • Fish tank rinsed with water, and brushed all the dust, salt, and residue. No detergent or disinfectant were used. We didn't want to risk harming the growth of new bacteria.
  • New water pump installed.
  • New (very bright) LEDs were installed. Let's encourage the growth of plants with more lumens. I hope the LEDs will be in the correct spectrum for the plants.

I will keep the water circulating (fill - flush) for a week, before introducing some goldfish and fully grown plants. They're usually very affordable (mint goes for less than US$0.50 a pot), but not organic.

Only 4 LED bulbs were introduced, as they were expensive and I wasn't sure they would work.

Only 4 LED bulbs were introduced, as they were expensive and I wasn't sure they would work.

Update March 17th, 2016: I scattered some arugula (rocket - جرجير) seeds all over the hydroton, just as a progress baseline. I was surprised it actually flourished.

The water is circulating

Well, I went and picked up the new grow bed with the drilled hole for the siphon.. I was really impressed with the amount of plastic containers available :)

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I measured the depth of the grow bed, and decided I don't want anything more than 10cm of water in it. So I cut the siphon tube for 10cm

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I also cut stripes for water to come in the siphon bell..I might make them larger to allow water to drain faster, I still need to experiment with that.

Note that water will stop at the highest stripe, and I wanted at least an inch of water in the grow bed. I thought it will keep the system rich with bacteria, in case the water pump failed.

siphon tube.jpg

The lower part of the bell siphon is just pipes shaped to help direct the drained water, where I wanted it to go. The setup is in the living room and I didn't want water splashing everywhere :)

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That's the setup for now.. The water is circulating properly, but the pump speed is almost the same as the drain speed, which means, the grow bed can never be empty. This is not good, as too much water can drown the plants. I need to tune the filling to happen in around 20 minutes and the drain in something around 5 minutes.

Once I get that done, I'll fill the grow bed with hydroton, which are little clay pebbles the size of marbles. Get the plants and the goldfish

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment

Home Aquaponics Project

Aquaponics is a sustainable food production method, that combines aquaculture (growing fish for food) with hydroponic (growing plants in water). Plants grow faster, healthier, and with a delicious richness in taste. On the other hand, you're also maintaining a nice supply of edible fish, such as Tilapia.

I've been reading about it for almost a week now, and I think I'm ready to start my home aquaponics project.

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The diagram shows a simple indoors setup that we can build from available material. Once this proof-of-concept pilot succeeds, I can take it outdoors and scale its growth to accommodate more plants and fish.  A couple of points to pay attention to:

  1. It takes a few weeks for the system to kick-in.. Bacteria will need time to grow and populate the plants' grow bed.
  2. Oxygen is important for the fish, plants, and bacteria. So, make sure it's available.
  3. Since this is an indoors setup, grow lights are important for your plants.
  4. If you're using edible fish, such as Tilapia, make sure you read about their reproduction requirements and caring best practices.