It’s Like The African Jungle – Indy 23

Prue and Andrew decided to build an Indy 23 Aquaponics system after completing one of our 4 day Aquaponics Future Farm courses.

Well, without too much text we will show the photos.  These were taken just two months after the system was planted out.

The system is cycled although there are still some lingering pH issues that will settle down soon.

Seasol seaweed extract.

Seasol seaweed extract.

The system is regularly dosed with Seasol seaweed extract as per what we recommend for new systems.

The growth is remarkable from a new system that has 100 Jade Perch fingerlings and 25 x 1 year old Jade Perch in the second fish tank.

Beneficial bacteria are establishing their presence in the system processing the ammonia from the fish waste. This together with the action of the Seasol, myriads of microbes are at work building up a wonderful nutrient base that is in turn delivering excellent plants for food.

Indy 23 system builds are currently underway in Australia, USA, Spain, Cyprus, South Africa, Singapore, Indonesia, Israel, Philippines, Namibia, Thailand, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Austria.

So as the photos that follow testify...the shocking truth is that the INDY 23 Aquaponics system produces extraordinarily well.

Large healthy plant leaves.

Large healthy plant leaves.


Cucumber and Climbing Beans Aquaponics Indy 23 system

Cucumber and Climbing Beans







Zucchini in flower

Zucchini in flower









passion fruit

Passion fruit.


Lettuce. Many varieties.









More details about the Indy 23 Plan set can be found here.

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Aquaponics Chop 2 Powers on – 18 Months Later.

CHOP 2 Aquaponics Operating system

CHOP 2 Aquaponics Operating system

How quickly does time fly? Since building and testing his innovative toteponics system based on CHOP2 technology we caught up with Aquaponics guru Murray Hallam to ask how its all been going? Murray immediately lights up with his usual enthusiasm, “Can you believe it – its 18 months since we built that first system and its still functioning perfectly well, day in day out.”

The DIY Aquaponics DVD that features how to build this system in detail has also been tremendously successful with aquaponics enthusiasts right around the world enjoying Murray’s laconic style of instruction. So successful that Murray has started building kits for those people who want to buy a CHOP2 system pre-built with all the fittings ready assembled.
You can buy the fitting directly from his website in Australia or from Sylvia Bernstein’s Aquaponics website in the US which has American plumbing parts that are slightly different from the Australian fittings. But both fittings will work just the same.

Murray Hallam in front of his more recent CHOP 2 System

Murray Hallam in front of his more recent CHOP 2 System

“We’re selling around three IBC CHOP2 kits a week, going out our door here in Australia!” says Murray.

Murray has a two to four months back order for his quality line of aquaponics system built from fibreglass. Murray says Australians love building and tinkering on weekends with Aquaponics. “Most people with a little handyman skills like to assemble it themselves,” says Murray, but there are others who want everything delivered.

“We cater for everyone.” he says.

“The only thing if you buy our IBC CHOP2 system that you will need to source yourself are the concrete blocks and timber sleepers to hold the tanks in place. These things can be found in any hardware store.” he said.
But are there any problems with assembling the kits? Murray says most people that ring him usually have difficulty locating the pdf instructions that come on the DVD. “We usually explain where to find it and what software they need to view the file on their computer.” he says. “But the response has been great.” Murray says he continually gets fan mail and thank you emails in his inbox.

“If people follow the instructions they will build themselves a quality Aquaponics system.” said Murray. “But they have to follow the instructions. All the measurements and parts needed are on the disk.”
“And if they don’t want to build it they can buy just the parts they require from me.” he said.

Murray clowning around with "Gary" his talking fish!

Murray clowning around with "Gary" his talking fish!

Murray has recently created a special CHOP2 Toteponics forum on his website where owners of these systems can upload photos of their systems, shoot the breeze and ask questions. “I gives people tremendous confidence to see their own system producing great vegetables and fish at home.”

When Murray Hallam launched CHOP2 he wasn’t alone from some critics who said his design was flawed because he recirculated the water in the system in an unusual way. “Some people said that the fish would go blind!” laughed Murray, “It’s a total furphy because some of the suspended solids get returned to the fish tank!”

But all the solids are eventually filtered through the growbeds as normal and 18 months later the fish have been harvested and the vegetables replanted.

“We currently have lettuce, asian greens, a mustard bush, tomatoes and an aloe vera plant transplanted from one of my other systems.” he said.

Being an innovator Murray has begun testing the juice from black soldier fly larvae as a source of nutrient for aquaponics. “I’m using it in the same way you would add worm-juice to a system.” He adds. “I want to see how well it performs.”

So are there any secrets under wraps that we can divulge to our readers? Murray teases us with his mischievous grin. “I got a new Aquaponics system design based on CHOP2 – and its a little beauty, but I can’t say anymore!”

Like a lot of Murray’s inventions – he wont release any more information until he knows it works.

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Clontarf High Does 12 Months On Aquaponics.

Clontarf High has completed the first 12 months operation of its FloMedia Aquaponics System.  The system is based on CHOP 2 making use of auto siphons to provide the ebb and flow action that is so important for good aeration in Aquaponics systems.

Clontarf High Aquaponics Educational system under construction December 2010

Clontarf High Aquaponics Educational system under construction December 2010

The install consists of 3 x 1250 ltr windowed fish tanks and 4 x media beds together with 2 x floating raft beds.

The system combines to work extremely well. The three windowed fish tanks provide excellent viewing allowing the students to conduct their science projects with ease.  Having three tanks allows for three different species of fish to be kept.   The water flow provides for excellent filtration and nutrient delivery to the media and raft beds.

Aquaponic Raft beds ready for planting.

Marine Coordinator Adam Richmond says the Aquaponics system has been a hit with the students.  "There is so much science we can teach out of Aquaponics "says Adam.   "The variety and scope of subject matter that can be taught is expanding each month, it is a very exciting teaching tool"

Aquaponic windowed fish tank

Windowed fish tank with Jade Perch and one Cat Fish.

                      The FloMedia system combines both Media and raft systems into one dynamic Aquaponics unit.

FloMedia Aquaponics systems.

          Murray Hallam's Practical Aquaponics.
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Commercial Aquaponics – Why You Should Go Small First.

There’s been a lot of interest about commercial aquaponics recently and some discussion about how big should such a system be to become viable? Big is always best right? Not necessarily. If you envisage one of those broad acre hydroponic farms that seems to run for acres and acres off into the distance then you might be surprised that this is not the solution or even the future of aquaponics.

Gina Cavalieros Aquaponics Farm.

Speaking with Murray Hallam recently about commercial aquaponics, he sees this future very differently. Murray is big on small scale aquaponics that offers a secure future to the mum and dad operators running their own relaxed lifestyle but selling their produce not to big agri-business food chains, but directly into the community. Farmers markets, produce sold directly to restaurants, even food sold to other local food suppliers that redistribute your produce directly to the community.

Gina Cavaliero from Green Acre Organics is one such person doing the direct to restaurants route. If you thought the process would be difficult to secure a contract of direct sales like we did, then you are in for a surprise. Gina cannot supply enough food to meet the need in her local community. It seems fresh produce in peak condition is a much sought after commodity.

One of the smart things Gina did was to first build a mini micro aquaponics system. In her backyard you will find a very small floating raft system connected to a round outdoor pool fish tank. Here Gina is able to cleverly test out a range of produce from herbs to lettuce to test and discover what grows well in her neck of the woods. Living in Florida helps too. But until you test a range of of boutique produce you will never know exactly how well those greens will grow based on your climate conditions. A micro floating raft system gave Gina the necessary clues to what would work well in her larger system.

Building a small micro-system first is a clever inexpensive thing to do. No sales person or marketing guru can tell you exactly what to grow in your climate. You will need to do your own homework first. Some level of filtration is needed on even a basic small system like this.

The plants and fish are a litmus test to the experimental nature of determining the optimal growing conditions for her test plants. Of course in her main greenhouse the usual rules of filtration apply. Gina features even a degassing tank to heavily oxygenate any methane present in the system before the water is sent off to her floating rafts. But building a micro system is a terrific idea before taking the heavy investment in up-scaling to a larger more expensive commercial system.

Gina even lightly stocks her big tank with tilapia. There is no problem with the fish supplying enough nutrients to keep the plants well fed. Lightly stocking your tank with fish can also be less stressful to the farmer should something break down resulting in heavy fish losses which seems to have a compounding problem in heavily stocked tanks. Heavily stocked tanks also require critical attention to filtration and fish oxygen demand. Sometimes a lighter approach to aquaponic farming can be less stressful and more therapeutic and still yield good plant growth.

Incidentally Gina Cavaliero along with Sylvia Bernstein and Murray Hallam will join forces for a small scale commercial aquaponics class next April in 2012 in Florida. Murray Hallam will also reveal how to build a hybrid media system he calls FloMedia right into your floating raft system. The idea is that for the small commercial farmer wanting to grow a broader range of plants and vegetables, even root crops, FloMedia can be expanded to use fish nutrients along with your conventional system. This raises the opportunity for farmers to trial a broader range of fruit trees and larger plants in their locality.

Guest Blogger ECO Films 


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Aquaponics – FloMedia in Schools.

Murray Hallam's new flomedia hybrid aquaponics system is installed

Aquaponic Education in schools is taking off around the world but its not often you see a new hybrid technology installed that combines two very different aquaponics systems – floating raft and gravel media together in the one system.

This  aquaponics system pictured was recently installed at Freshwater Christian College near Cairns, Queensland.


It features Murray Hallam’s new FloMedia system that he devised that allows you to grow a variety of plants in the one setup.

Murray says he’s been testing his Flomedia technology for over a year and the response has been sensational. To make his fish tanks more accessible to the school kids, Murray created a fish viewing windows in his 2 x 1250 litre fish tanks.

The fish tanks are hooked up to 4 x media beds and 2 x raft beds. Murray says the fish tanks have half a dozen large Jade Perch in one tank and some ornamental Goldfish in the other tank. On top of the windowed fish tanks are smaller fingerling tanks which children can get a closer look and feed a variety of smaller decorative freshwater specimens.

Aquaponics in Education

Multiple grow beds in a Practical Aquaponics Education System

Murray Hallam was recently honoured with an award from the Science Teachers Association of Queensland. Murray says the teachers were “on fire” and incredibly enthusiastic about aquaponics. He says the feedback was so positive, teachers were explaining to him how aquaponics education can fit into the school curriculum.

Apart from learning life skills, teachers say Aquaponics can be integral to teaching students about Physics, Animal Husbandry, Water Chemistry, Horticulture , Aquaculture, General Science, Electronics and practical skills. They also get to eat fresh vegetables at the school canteen thanks to the fast growing salads the system produces.

Murray Hallam's FloMedia Aquaponic Systems

Murray Hallam - Practical Aquaponics.

Murray Hallam

Murray says his FloMedia system is powered by his CHOP2 method which he revealed and explained  in his DIY Aquaponics DVD.

CHOP2 allows the home builder to allow his tanks to be built on uneven ground and individual grow beds regulated independently with nutrient flow.

It also makes life easier for the various auto-siphons that regulate oxygen flow to his gravel grow-beds.

Murray says developing the dual system of aquaponics food production using FloMedia means heavy nutrient feeding plants like cabbages and tomatoes can be grown and supported in his gravel media bed systems while lighter feeding plants like lettuce and basil can be grown on floating raft. Combing the two systems together seems like a stroke of genius. Sorting out the water flow and pump issues is where Murray’s FloMedia technology solves these problems. Murray says that there is no better way to grow lettuce than in Floating Raft.

The only problem he says, is that for an average family running floating raft, they will grow so much lettuce, they wont know know what to do with it all.
Practical Aquaponics Educational FloMedia kits.....An ideal solution for a school system.





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