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Coverting an existing aquarium into an aquaponics system

Discussion in 'New Aquaponics systems - DIY' started by oceansgreen, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. oceansgreen

    oceansgreen New Member

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    Ok, to start off, i'll just give my 'conversion story' to aquaponics

    i have always kinda liked the idea of hydroponics for the cleanliness when growing plants indoors, but I HATED that i couldn't find an organic way to do it, then i found out about aquaponics from a freind on another forum and i think i wanna set a system up now becuase i like it:)
    but since i had done little to no research on hydro growth due to the inorganic-ness of it, i am kinda lost on the whole setup, i have this general idea, but feel that if i were to set a bed up right now i'd fail miserably and kill something:frown:

    now the question is this: I have a 50-75gal fish tank(can't remember which) with some cichlids, a sucker fish, and a soft shelled turtle in it that has been in my living room for aobut 5 years or so, PLENTY OF TIME TO 'cycle'
    i want to put a 8-10" deep bed right above the tank
    i know how to provide nutes to the plants, i've got that figured, fish waste, red wigglers, occassional banana peel and wood ash or something of the sort to supply pottassium and phosphorus
    but i don't knwo how to work the watering and draining, general pluming etc in order to well aerate and stop from over or underwatering my plants, some of the terms about this kinda confuse me a bit still, so if anyone could help, that'd be AWESOME!
     
  2. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Hi Oceans,

    There are lots of options,
    Flood and drain using an auto siphon,
    Flood and drain using a timer
    Continuous flow.

    As you already have filters on your aquarium you could do a mini NFT or DWC system.

    Lots of info on any of those in this forum if you have a search around.
     
  3. Yabbies4me

    Yabbies4me Super Moderator Staff Member

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    If the GB is sitting directly over the top of the FT, probably the easiest way to water the GB is with pipe laid across the top of the GB with holes in it, the water would trickle down through the expanded clay or growing media in the GB, then have an outlet in the base of the GB that drains directly into the FT.

    Make the outlet in the bottom of the GB so that it holds about 1/2 an inch of water in the GB at all times, even when the pump is off. Have the pump for the GB on a timer, maybe 15 mins on/15 off... or alternatively have the pump running constantly.

    You could also try a system where the pump runs 24/7 (no timer) and the GB floods, then drains via an auto siphon when the water gets to the max desired height in the GB.

    There are two types of auto siphon, a Bell siphon (look up "affnan siphon" on Youtube or in the search function here), and a loop siphon. If you are going to use a bell siphon, for a small GB I would use a 15mm PVC standpipe with a 25-15mm reducer on top, and 65mm PVC bell, I did in my small system and it worked a treat. (see "My indoor system" link in my signature below, plenty of pics there)

    For a loop siphon, 13mm flexible hose is probably better for small GB’s, and 19mm for larger GB’s. If you look up “loop siphon” in the search function here on the forum you should find plenty of info and pics, and it's pretty self explanatory from there.

    Cheers, Yabbies.

    Beat me to it Murray!... while I was furiously typing away!
    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  4. oceansgreen

    oceansgreen New Member

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    thx for that info, i think i'll do a loop syphon so that i'm not taking up any space inside the actual growbed


    also something i was planning on doing is laying out the GB according to square foot gardening, in order to fit more in the space, without crowding the plants of course:)

    p.s. i THINK that the fish tank is approx. 6ft by 2ft, not sure how far off i am with that gestimation, so that will be the APPROX size of the GB, so 13mm hose will work fine for that?
     
  5. Yabbies4me

    Yabbies4me Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Not too sure about the pipe size for a loop siphon, I use bell siphons, but that's a fairly decent sized GB you've got (about 220-230Ltr capcity I think), I'd be inclined to use 19mm. I'd imagine they'd both work though, the 13mm would just be slower at emptying the GB. I've seen 1/2 blue barrel GB's with 19mm.
     
  6. oceansgreen

    oceansgreen New Member

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    awesome! thx for the info

    won't be visiting my mother until late summer, so that's when i'll do this whole project(don't worry i'll get permission:D) and take lots of pictures... let everyone know how it went and after i get some experience with it i'll probably be doing aquaponics with edible fish as well:) and in a bigger enviroment hopefully
     

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