It is true that most aquaponics set ups look a little “Red Neck Engineered”, but this is my first set up. I will get better over time.
This tank is 160 gallons and can hold 20 adult tilapia. Though there are 2o fish in there, they are not yet adults. Because the fish that I started with are straight run, and not sexed; I hope that the females will get pregnant. I have placed different width pieces of pvc in the bottom. That is because I hope that some of those babies will hide in the little tunnels provided by the pipe pieces. If they can avoid being eaten, while I harvest the adults then I will not have to purchase new fry to raise.
I have read that in aquaponics, you use 25% of the water to flood your grow beds with. That gives me 40 gallons to work with at a time. That is how I figured out how big (and how many) grow beds to use.
These cement mixing tubs each hold 20 gallons. When you fill them half way with expanded clay pellets, there is still enough for 10 gallons of water to flood during each cycle. Hmmm, here is where algebra is finally used in real life. 4 (10 gallon x 1 tub) = 40 gallons. I guess that I did not need algebra to figure that one out after all. Oh well, someday I will find real life use for the algebra classes that I took.
Do you see the two totes under the far back beds? Those act as my sump. I needed someplace for those 40 gallons of water to drain into. They are each 27 gallons. That is 2 X 27= 54 gallons. More than I needed, but one was not enough. I had Steve connect them for me with that big piece of PVC Pipe. The tote on the right has a submersible pond pump that pumps the now filtered water back into the fish tank.
The system is set up to flood the grow beds every two hours. Steve has really started to take an interest. It is pretty low maintenance now. I keep a couple of buckets full of water to de-gas. That way when evaporation occurs, I can dump the buckets into the system with out harming the fish.
I planted bare root strawberries in the grow beds this year, so I do not expect fruit until next year. But I have a friend that planted one year old plants in her beds, and had sweet red strawberries the size of 50 cent pieces this year. I hope to experience that next year.
The orange buckets and the little dog in his kennel are not part of the system. Now that I know what I am doing, I can make my next set up a little more stream lined.