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Aquaponics anyone?


New Member
My interest in this has grown and I am playing with a 10gal tank and a few plants. I have 2 ornamental pepper seedlings and 2 small basil plants floating over 7 small goldfish. Plants are still alive after 5 days. The largest fish likes to prune the roots, I just hope the fish food will tide him over so the plants can develop a bit of root mass.
Enough of that, what I plan on doing is setting up a 75-150 gallon tank and use Talapia and grow lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, beans, ect. Who in here has a set up? pics?
thanks in advance!!!


New Member
I built a deep water aquaponics system that has been cycling for about 3 years now. It's getting better and better as it matures. Bumper crop of okra, tomatoes, mint, and basil this summer. I'm experimenting with growing duckweed in the grow beds to feed to my fish and ducks, and so far so good. Just keep in mind that the larger the system, the more stable it will be. Mine is a 350 gallon fish tank with two 12 x 4 foot grow beds. I would not want to mess with anything smaller than that.


New Member
I have ran a 100 gallon chop NTF for a year, could not get it dial in well. Then I ran a ebb and flow with bell siphons off a 100 gal chop setup that did much better. Only when I ran both off the chop did the really exceptional grow start. I now know that both are viable systems alone, overwatering high nitrates and to much carbonate in the water were the problems.
I have had success strawberries, green onions, tomatoes cucumbers. water melons, discarded veggies like broccoi stalks, carrot tops (you end up with a flower not a carrot) lettuces cores wheat grass, barley grass. I recently added some popcorn from a bag and now have 3 two foot corn baby with a flower look for pollen. I experiment will so many veggies in an attempt to pull off as much nitrates as possible. I read tha corn and broccoli does this well.


New Member
We will be slowly buying all equipment and supplies. My family is excited about this project as it will produce healthy food for us.


I do, but I don't come on this forum much.
Fairly new to the forum. How can I help?


New Member
My biggest concern is not to waste too much time and money doing the WRONG things. I have been all over youtube , backyard aquaponics, ect and like most things everyones way is better. I do not want to do a grow bed at this time, maybe 3-4'' pvc . I was thinking of 2- 10' runs connected with a 180* and slope them to run back to the fish tank with a small pump running water to the pipes. Seemed simple to set up, maintain, and add to as needed. lettuce, strawberries, peppers, spices, ect.. and Talapia is what I plan on growing. How many fish? size? container size? gallons? That is where I am at.


Talapia are a hardy fish so good choice. In my state they are a controlled fish, and require a license. I went the harder road with Brook and Rainbow Trout. Running aquaponics is a little different from your average aquarium, as looks are not an issue. You can also pack many more fish in a smaller space as long as you have adequate filtration and cycling rate. I cycle my 500gal about once every 6 mins, or 10 times an hour.

It seems like you're talking about a simple NTF system. Yes, it can be done.

Lettuce and spices will be the easiest to grow, as all you'll probably need is fish, and some good healthy fish food.

Peppers, strawberries, or any other fruiting plant, will require higher amounts of nutrients. There's different methods of getting there. A lot of people use wormcasting teas. It's a great organic method. I prefer knowing exactly what I'm putting in, so I add organic or food grade chemicals. Any fruit bearing plant will require you to add Ca, Mg, K, Fe, and P. I use Calcium Sulfate, Potassium Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate, FeEDDHA, and Rock Phosphate; again, all organic or food grade. I also use Phosphoric Acid for pH down.


The number of fish is up in the air. You'll need to get a hold of a API master test kit. It has Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrates tests, and how you'll test how many fish your system can handle. Target Nitrate levels are 1-400+, or as my as your fish can handle. This is where Talapia is a good hardy choice; gold fish, like Shubunkins or Koi are an even a better choice. You always measure you tank by full grown fish, even if you buy cheaper fingerlings. The cheapest, and most common fishtank I've seen are IBC totes, and yes, I use them. You'll also need filtration and I recommend a moving biofilter and a swirl filter.

IBC totes are food grade and can normally be found on Craigslist or Facebook trading groups. I use trash cans for my filters.


Aquaponic systems take time to dial in, so you won't be harvestin the trophy plants until you experience level increases and your system matures. Think 6 months plus. It does take a bit of money, but it's highy addictive.


I read in the OP your wanting to use a 10gal tank. I'm gonna be honest, unless your 100gal+, I think you'll loose interest. It's very hard to control your system if youre using a smaller tank like that; not saying it can't be done, because I've seen it with small tanks work, but still, I wouldn't recommend it.


Well-Known Member
I'm going to photo bomb here, hope its ok ;)

I'm just getting into this and i'm addicted to it. Been spending a lot of time watching
youtube videos,taking notes and building. Actually found this part of the forum to
post a build thread for it. Using a chopped up 44gal drum (might be 55 dunno) and
a flood drain system with a bell syphon.

I find the whole thing very ineteresting indeed. As of a week ago i knew nothing about it.
Now i'm not working and have a disability,it's the only thing taking up my time at the moment and
i love it. Right up my alley.

I might post a build thread in this part of the forum.

I like the sustainability of aquaponics more than anything. My system will be running from
solar power as well.

Here's some pics.

Below is some of the components i made. Bell syphon, media guard and downtube.

Next photos are the barrel.

And where i'm up to at the moment

Still need to get a new pump and cycle it a few times to check everything
and that it will actually work then i can carry on building. The system is running off a timer
and solar power. Every two hours the pump runs for 15mins, six times a day, then off at night. A tiny reserve pump
will run at night at intervals to keep o2 up for the fish.

I also made a swirl filter. Not really big enough but better than nothing.

What i like about it is i'm broke but ive still been able to build this.
Total cost so far is about 30 dollars. I did have a lot of stuff lying around though.
I also think it's great to learn something new.



I used to do aquaponics as well so I can help where needed. I responded to your other thread with some advice as to Murray Hallam's website and a good starter book.
Like dumme said, you're going to need something larger than 10 gallons. Look into 100 gallons at a minimum if you want something more productive. Fish take time to grow as do vegetables so the whole system is going to take a while to get going. You need the fish to establish the bio filter which takes time. Then you have to establish the plants, then you have to babysit the whole thing.
Your fish are going to be the issue here. You have to figure out what fish you want and where you're going to get them. Tilapia come in different varieties and are a good choice, up here in Michigan we also use bluegill. Water temp is a source of problems because it can kill the fish if it's too extreme and it can kill your wallet if you try to fight it too much in extreme temperatures with the wrong set up.
The other issue you run into is that fish need time to grow. You can try to find a supplier that will sell fish that will grow at a mixed rate where some are ready before others but this isn't always a guarantee. I had a mixed growth rate twice and it worked out once so I don't have a sizeable sample to tell you if you should try it out or not.
I'm not trying to discourage you from doing it. I'm doing what everyone else did to me when I started getting into it, they gave me the truth. I looked at what it would actually take to do it and I decided that I would try to do it anyway. I hope you do because it can be rewarding. I just want you to know what it takes to get into it because it's not as easy as hydroponics. I was doing hydroponics when I found aquaponics and I thought aquaponics was going to be easy but it's not as easy as I thought due to needing frequent monitoring and feeding of the fish and plants. It's an amazing feeling when everything is going right and you harvest a fish for dinner with it's own salad that grew right next to it.
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