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aquaponics aquaponics aquaponics aquaponics aquaponics aquaponics aquaponics aquaponics aquaponics
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AQUAPONICS
Aquaponics is the blending of two different systems; Hydroponics which is the
growing of plants without using soil, and Aquaculture which is the farm raising of
fish.  Aquaponics is a closed loop system which takes advantage of the fish waste
to provide nutrients for the plants, and in return the plants, with help from some
common bacteria, cleans the water which is then returned to the fish.

A standard aquaponics system once initially set up will use only about 10% of the
water normally used for a similar sized soil based garden.  Also if you are
interested in growing an organic garden, it is not necessary to apply any fertilizers
due to the nutrients provided by the fish waste, and also by eliminating soil you are
taking most of the common garden pests out of the equation because most of
these pests begin their lives in soil so their is no need to apply pesticides.  

In a nut shell, if you feed the fish an organic food source the entire aquaponics
system can be 100% organic.
Here is a short video that shows the initial setup of my aquaponics system.  
In the video I go into a little detail of how an aquaponics system works, and
how I went about designing my system.

Aquaponics part 1
Home
Gardening
Since my aquaponics system is a new setup, I did not want to go into any great
expense on fish until I was confident the system was cycling properly and my water
quality was controlled.  To get the system started I purchased some feeder goldfish
from a local Petsmart.  The fish cost .8 cents each so I spent only about a dollar for a
dozen.  The goldfish are a good choice for a starting system because they are not as
picky about water quality, and oxygen levels as most other fish.  They should be
able to handle any swings in Ph, temp. and dissolved oxygen levels without too
much distress.
As you can see from the pictures, the little feeder fish grew very fast and within a
few months it looked as if my pond was stocked with Koi.
The above pictures are from inside the hoophouse.  The picture on the left shows the
1000 gallon in ground pond in the foreground, and the 500 gallon above ground pond
in the background. Notice the pipe running from the pump over to the above ground
pond.  I installed a "T" in the down pipe with a valve.  This allows me to control the
amount of water flowing into the above ground tank.  I also have a valve above the
pump that allows me to control the amount of flow over to the grow beds.  This set
up allows me a nice degree of control in the event I need to isolate a grow bed or
two, or cut off the water to the grow beds completely.  If I sent all of the water
straight from the pump to the above ground pond, it fills up quicker than the over
flow can handle, so by having the "T" and valve on the down pipe the water can
circulate right back into the in ground pond.  Having two separate lines returning
water back to the main pond also helps with the oxygenation of the water.

The picture on the right shows the individual grow beds.  As you can see there is a
half inch pvc line running across the back of the grow beds, and each grow bed has
an individual valve controlling water flow.  The grow beds are on a flood and drain
system using a Bell Syphon.  The Bell syphon drains into a 4 inch sewer pipe which
runs down and then over to the in ground pond.