Backyard Aquaponics

New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA
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Author:  bits45 [ Jun 11th, '14, 11:34 ]
Post subject:  New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

Hello everyone. I have much more to read on these forums. I'm new to this subject, only a few weeks into it. All my key pieces are set up and cycling now. Some small plants, from seeds, are now in the indoor grow bed. My fish tubs are outside the sunroom. I have a good area to try my hand with outdoor fish with indoor grow beds. I'm going to include on long outdoor grow bed after I get my fish. I'll be starting with simple gold fish to ensure I maintain both the heat and the cold with the Georgia seasons.

I'm waiting for the ammonia to drop by 2 before I introduce my fish into the system. I'm checking temps, pH and Nitrites everyday and logging on a spreadsheet. I use to raise tropical fish as a teen, so some of it is coming back to me, albeit slowly.

Here's some pics so far.

File comment: The grow bed is indoors in the sun room, plumbing goes through the floor to the fish tanks
grow_bed.jpg [ 214.29 KiB | Viewed 6993 times ]
File comment: using up some old wood to finish off the edges.
old_wood_stock.jpg [ 282.84 KiB | Viewed 6993 times ]
File comment: Overview front shot. Still working on boarders and shade.
front_shot.jpg [ 280.25 KiB | Viewed 6993 times ]

Author:  Continuum [ Jun 11th, '14, 13:17 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

Great system setup.

I would perhaps set up an overflow just in case there is a blockage to the FT. You would hate to have a flood in the sunroom, and those pipes look like they would fill up with roots fairly easily if you let them.

Author:  skeggley [ Jun 11th, '14, 21:33 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

Interesting set up.
Why not put the gb outside?

Hang on.....

You have AP pipes going thru the floor of your house.

Author:  guitarwes [ Jun 11th, '14, 22:46 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

skeggley wrote:
Hang on.....

You have AP pipes going thru the floor of your house.

Yeah, that's hard must be single. ;)

What part of GA? I'm near Statesboro which is about 40 miles west of Savannah.

Author:  bits45 [ Jun 12th, '14, 00:03 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

Thanks guys. It's small compared to your AP setups. Yup, I'm in Augusta, GA.

Since it's just a sun room with that low plastic outdoor carpet I figured why not plumb thru the floor. The house sump pump is also DIRECTLY underneath the grow bed floor - convenience for both the GB and the fish tanks.

I plan on having an outside grow bed too along the deck, after I re-do the deck (next). With six 86 inch high sun room windows I figured it was a logical place for winter growing as well as summer.

After last nights HUGE storm we had, I have to get my hard cover over the tanks this weekend. I'm thinking corrugated fiberglass with foam insulator board affixed to the underside of it. That will help keep the water temps down to a minimum in summer heat. For winter I'll plan on insulator board on the sides too - Still working out the small stuff. No fish yet, still cycling the system. Got more ammonia in there than I planned after using some gutter water, but it's been dropping steadily. I have my bacteria in place too, so hopefully that's starting to work for me. Much more to learn. I'm watching all the levels daily.

I may have "over sized" the air pump and air stone a weee bit - is that even possible? Maybe not. :-)

Between the famous Aquaponics book by Sylvia Bernstein, YouTube and blogs, I'm hoping to not kill too many fish right off the bat. Slow and steady.

File comment: bio-filter aerates the sump water too, along with Grow bed return.
bio-filter-2.png [ 1.18 MiB | Viewed 6954 times ]
File comment: my second version of a bio-filter. the filter material (simply buffer pads - white, red, green) sit on top of cut & sized plastic juice bottles. Waste drains thru more holes than you see here. Add many smaller holes after pic was taken.
bio-filter-1.png [ 466.5 KiB | Viewed 6954 times ]

Author:  bits45 [ Jun 12th, '14, 00:08 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA


I noticed you, and some others, opt to surround your grow beds with watering pipes. Why is that? I see many, mine included, that simply drain into the bed and flood. Does your method give you more options? Perhaps spraying on top of certain plants?

I'll look more into it.

Author:  skeggley [ Jun 12th, '14, 21:09 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

Hiya bits, the watering pipes are distributors for more even solids and nutrient distribution. My tomato barrels have pipes that supply same as yours and where the water enters there are solid roots, unlike the rest of the barrel. I don't have this with the distribution pipes. I have also noticed that algae is less noticeable with the dp.
There are however, many systems that perform fine without them. I just think that logically dp's makes sense.

Author:  bits45 [ Jun 16th, '14, 04:25 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

Well, I better share my "bone-headed" mistake. If for nothing else, to learn. So I've been cycling my 140 gallon for a couple weeks. I've dealt with some horrible rains before I got the hard top over the FT and sump.

I was waiting on the ammonia to drop some more before I purchased any gold fish. Ammonia was around 1 or 2 ppm and I had my first signs of nitrites showing up, .25 ppm. But some of my very small pants, new from seedlings, show's signs of weakness or wilting. So while a the store I picked up some FloraGro and FloraMicro nutrients.

I think someone here will probably tell me I should of stayed with Seaweed or something like that.

The good thing is I only applied 1/3 of what I should of and I have NO FISH YET. So, no real harm yet, unless all my plants die too. :naughty:

I added 1 cup of each for 140 gallons of water (sump & FT).

So, should I wait to cycle for my VEYR HIGHT ammonia to drop down from 8.0 ppm and/or flush some water from the system and add de-clorinated back into it?

Any advise is welcome.

At least I didn't have fish in there. :)


Author:  senamar [ Jun 16th, '14, 09:33 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

I'm about to write my own introduction but must admit I was thrilled to see a fellow Georgian posting just ahead of me. Your system looks well laid out and a lot of potential for the future! Good luck on the new deck.

(formerly of Kennesaw/Acworth/Woodstock area)

Author:  joblow [ Jun 16th, '14, 10:46 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

Fine looking system, I'm not sure about the GB in the house, I'm lucky my wife let's me in the house, but I'm sure she would allow a GB in :D

Author:  bits45 [ Aug 29th, '14, 09:48 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

Hello everyone from Augusta, Georgia. I see it's been a while since I've posted any updates. That darn "life" thing has gotten in the way of things, and working on a new deck.

Like all AP enthusiasts I've changed some things around, but not the overall structure. I have a split indoor GB with outdoor FT. I didn't have time this summer to stand up another outdoor GB, but next season I will, but naturally with additional improvements. LOL I'm learning from all of you and your videos.

My setup looks like a hooch for little people, but the shade and PVC corrugated panels have really kept the water temperatures down, even when it was 101 degrees outside in the shade. The water temps never rose about 82 degrees. I think the indoor GB is also acting as a water chiller, though the water is not in there very long - the GB floods every 15-20 minutes.

I've not killed any fish yet - I have over 30 gold fish now. I've not seen ANY signs of algae (except on tiny spot in the growbed).

I think the biggest mistake I did was plant a bunch of viney plants in the indoor GB. Silly me. :dontknow: I'll change some out of some lettuce.

File comment: Pretty self explanatory (fun with pink)
label_overall_covered_FT.jpg [ 239.54 KiB | Viewed 6696 times ]
File comment: The indoor Growbed with too many viney plants. Tomatoes, beans, squash, peppers and strawberries.
indoor_GB_August_2014.jpg [ 231.21 KiB | Viewed 6696 times ]
File comment: The overall system with it's "shields" ready for anything. There's a 44 gallon fresh water supply I keep covered with a white cover. I have a 1/2 inch pipe/valve running from it to the sump to add fresh chlorine-free water. I keep an eight-inch air stone in that 44 gals to boil off the chlorine and keep mosquitoes out, though it's pretty covered.
AP_covered-1.jpg [ 201.31 KiB | Viewed 6696 times ]

Author:  bits45 [ Aug 29th, '14, 09:52 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

Okay, just three more.


Now I need to poke around at your posts and learn more.

Any thoughts are welcome ones.

Take care!

label_uncovered_side.jpg [ 301.51 KiB | Viewed 6696 times ]
File comment: Here's the system uncovered showing the insulator board I use to cover the sump and part of the FT. I should raise cat fish due to the recycled filter box I use. LOL
foam_board_uncovered.jpg [ 247.8 KiB | Viewed 6696 times ]

Author:  bits45 [ Aug 31st, '14, 00:53 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

I finally got some pics of the indoor GB setup. I did discove new flexible PVC piping which came in handy for this GB. I can see using this for many small projects.

Here's a view pics.

Later today I'm hoping to play "AP Legos" and redo my filter. Possible into a small Radial Flow Filter of sorts.

One mistake I did make is that my FT is now much higher than my sump, giving me little room for a proper Swirl or RFF with drain. Next version will be mo-betta.


bell_syphon_run-away_stawberry.jpg [ 291.39 KiB | Viewed 6677 times ]
overhead_view.jpg [ 206.89 KiB | Viewed 6677 times ]

Author:  bits45 [ Aug 31st, '14, 01:00 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

Some more pictures.

syphon_chamber.jpg [ 169.7 KiB | Viewed 6677 times ]
bell_syphon_cover.jpg [ 385.94 KiB | Viewed 6677 times ]
over_syphon_cover.jpg [ 339.7 KiB | Viewed 6677 times ]

Author:  bits45 [ Aug 31st, '14, 01:01 ]
Post subject:  Re: New to Aquaponics - Georgia, USA

Here's the view of the drainage setup from the indoor GB.

Indoor_GB_Setup-1.jpg [ 215.55 KiB | Viewed 6678 times ]

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