Well, we’re finally getting started with our first aquaponics system. In case you have no idea what aquaponics is, (and of course you would like to know) the short version is that it is the combination of aquaculture (fish farming) with hydroponics (growing plants without soil). The fish dirty the water with their waste, most of which is ammonia. A biofilter in the system contains two bacterium which convert the ammonia first into nitrite and then into nitrate. The plants utilize the nitrate as nitrogen.
So anyway, this first system is a spit, elbow grease and duct tape setup. Eventually I want to have three tanks: one for fish, one for a raft grow bed (plants grow on Styrofoam rafts with their roots going down into the water) and another for a flood and drain grow bed (plants grow in a medium like gravel, and the tank cycles through being full of water and drained of water). Water is pumped from the fish tank to the two grow beds and flows back to the fish tank via gravity.
I’m still waiting for the third tank which I will make into a flood and drain grow bed for plants, and will double as the biofilter. So for now I have one tank for the fish, and another tank for the raft system. I’ll set up a biofilter in a drum and wait to run the permanent plumbing until I have the third tank and have all my levels set up properly.