The Gardenisto

The Gardenisto is passionate about aquaponics, hydroponics, horticulture, and traditional gardening. The Gardenisto shares his knowledge to help other enthusiasts in their own gardening endeavors.

DIY Aquaponics System 2 Indoor

| February 24, 2021
DIY Aquaponics System 2a
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

After establishing the DIY aquaponic system in the living room, I started work on phase two of the build out. I made a few functional changes, like plumbing two waterfalls for movement and aeration. I also decided to switch from my DIY gravel filter to an external canister filter. I removed the upper grow boxes and created plexiglass net pot holders for the goldfish pond.

The removal of the upper grow boxes allowed me to achieve much cleaner lines. I created an aesthetically pleasing wooden wrap that follows the clean lines. I also did some finer wood work to wrap the waterfalls, and used aluminum strips to suspend the lighting.

I expanded the system with a 20 gallon tall tank. Its fed from the canister filter, and returns to the sump/crawfish tank. I added a sponge filter to the 20 gallon to helps polish the water. A sponge filter could probably handle the 20 gallon filtration on its own, but my stocking density is pretty high, and the point of the system is to utilize fish and plants to create balance. I couldn’t create that balance of nitrate production and removal without tying the plumbing back to the whole system where the majority of the plant life is.

The 20 gallon sits on a stand, made from the same wooden materials as the rest of the system. It ties together the aesthetics, but also elevates the tank to make the return to the sump functional.

DIY Aquaponics System 2b

At night, the led lighting on the aquaponics system is very soothing, and the sound from the waterfalls adds a zen like ambience.

I wanted to achieve an aquaponics system that is enjoyable to look at. I think I’ve achieved that, and I’m happy with how it all looks and operates. I did further enhance the experience with LED lighting in all tanks. I also did some aquascaping with dark slate stone and white high contrasting sand in the 20 gal. The sand increases the surface area for beneficial bacteria to inhabit, so it improved the system.

I have minor plans for more lighting, and an elevated sump style aquaponics system over the 20 gallon. Some other minor wood work will happen to create a more cohesive aesthetic, but I’ll be happy to call it ‘done’, soon and focus more on plants and automation with a raspberry pi microcontroller.

If you missed the part one, with an equipment list, check it out here.

Tags: , , | Comments

DIY Aquaponics System 1 Indoors

| August 14, 2020
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Our mountain town gets way too much snow and way too many cold hours to have an outdoor garden, so I decided to build an DIY aquaponic system in the living room, and bring the garden inside for year round growing. I also wanted to make the system as aesthetically pleasing as possible, whilst bringing an outdoor experience indoors in a tasteful way.

My indoor aquaponic design started off as a fairly simple design. As it came together, I made changes. Some of the changes simplified the system, whilst others were improvements that may have increased the complexity, aesthetics, or efficiency.

The initial setup uses two 4 foot by 15″ totes, with one elevated and offset above the other, with two additional 12 site grow boxes on the very top of it all.

I eventually simplified this, but pushed to quickly get plants ‘planted’ and the system cycling properly. If you are unfamiliar with a nitrogen cycle, its the most critical part to any aquarium, and definitely the most fundamental thing in aquaponics to understand. Click Here for a simplified explanation in a post from a few years ago.

Upper Boxes
The two upper grow boxes are Deep Water Culture systems that each hold about 2.5 gallons. and have 12 2″ net pot grow sites.

Upper Offset 4ft Box – AKA the Goldfish Pond
As the Name implies, this holds some floating plants and 8 goldfish. In this type of environment, the goldfish have grown very fast.

Lower 4ft box that acts as a Sump, and a Crawfish Tank
This Tank holds 6 virile crawfish, to help me gauge future aquaculture bioloads, stocking density and demand.

The first version of the system used a 410 GPH pump pulling water through a Bucket full of Filter Floss, before doing a DIY gravel filter. The sump/crawfish tank was given a an aquarium gravel substrate, and I added MarinePure bio filtration media which is amazing on its own.

The water is heated with a 150w aquarium heater, and lighting is a simple Lithonia 4ft 2 bulb hanging fixture, with two LED bulbs.

I designed the system to have a low overall electrical requirement, and high vegetable production volume.

This is part one. I thought its was important to share the bare bones, even if the system has been well established by the time of writing this and has evolved into having fountains, more aesthetic clean lines, underwater LED lighting, different mechanical filtration, another tank, and the addition of some game fish.