Aquaponics For Beginners


Aquaponics For Beginners

This is a place where Beginners can post questions and find answers.

Advanced Users are welcome to help the Beginners out.

Please KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) .

Members: 601
Latest Activity: Apr 9

Discussion Forum

High Ammonia

Started by Danny. Last reply by Jeff S Apr 9. 3 Replies

Cycling my fish less IBC system (175 gal) for 5 day now and added 1/8 cup of pure ammonia at the beginning of the cycle.  Got an 8.0 reading to start off with and have not added any ammonia, 5 day…Continue

water borne diseases

Started by Jack Dunbar. Last reply by Anne Phillip Apr 9. 3 Replies

Is there a simple and/or inexpensive tests for things like coliform, ecoli etc? what are some of the safeguards that we can do to limit the possibility of introducing these? I hear of a lot of people…Continue

building a small bell siphon

Started by Anne Phillip. Last reply by Anne Phillip Apr 5. 19 Replies

Has anyone built a system with a small diameter bell siphon?  I'm thinking of one with 1/2" or 3/4" stand pipe.What's your experience with smaller siphons, what issues or adjustments did you make to…Continue


Started by Gillian Burrus. Last reply by Jack Dunbar Apr 5. 10 Replies

 have been cycling since October, i know right before cold weather, but i do not want to get fish until i get this science part down.  I bought maxi crop so I could begin growing veggies.  Well my…Continue

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Comment by Leo White Bear on April 3, 2014 at 2:17pm


  The cycle time is fine as long as you cycle the 150-gallons of water every hour you should be good.  The difficulity I see is that you may not have enough filtration for the 150-gallon FT.  The consensis is to have a 1:1 ratio media to gallons of water so the 80 gallons falls a bit short for a mature system.  You can get away with adding another 40-gal grow bed later on when it matures with no difficulties.

  I am running a 55-gallon FT withtwo, 15-gallon grow beds and even though my ammonia, nitrites and pH are good the Nitrates are pretty high, 140ppm.  This is good news either way, it tells me I can add at the most two more 15-gallon grow beds giving me a 60-gallon grow bed combined OR I need to harvest some fish.  Either way is good news to me.

  Try to stick with the 1:1 grow bed to FT and you'll be fine.

Comment by Jack Dunbar on April 3, 2014 at 10:47am

Well, I guess this is a good place to start...I am so glad you guys have a beginner site. I have so many questions that I'm not sure where to start. I just set up my syst with a 150 gal Rubbermaid FT and (2) 40 gal grow beds with hydrocorn as a media. I'm limited for space in my basement and I wanted something to keep me occupied during our long winter months in New England. I'm cycling now with no fish. I used auto syphons that I built and they work great. My pump runs fulltime (costly) and it takes approx. 12 min to fill and 3 min to drain. I have 2 heaters... 1 300 watt and the other a 500 watt heater. for aeration in my FT, I have 2 air pumps and 3 12" stones. I have a grow light above that's 2' x 4'. I put herb plants in the grow bed (parsley, oregano and rosemary) They didn't seem to be growing that well so I added maxicrop liquid seaweed at the rate of approx. 24 oz to the 150 gal FT. It turned extremely brown and Ive been told it will dissipate and not hurt any future fish? can someone please tell me if that is true. my PH and temp etc is good and I'd like to add some Goldfish soon. my herbs didn't survive. I have approx. 1-2" of media that doesn't get wet when my growbed fills so when I put plants in do I hand water them at first or do I plant tem deeper in the media. I also have numerous herbs in peat pots and jiffy seed starter mix that I sunk into my media so they get watered. Is that bad? can the peat pots/potting soil leach into my FT and create problems. has anybody else done this with success? As soon as I get abit more computer literate, I'll try to get pictures. So in conclusion... Is my cycle time OK? I figure with media, approx. 2 x 20 gal of water gats cycled every 15 min x 4 times an hour that gives me 160 gal an hour and my tank is 150 gal. I've been told to cycle my tank once an hour.   

Comment by Keith Rowan on March 26, 2014 at 9:57am

stay away from the galv tanks/gutters, unless you're lining them

even if it's not "closed" you'll be recirculating lots of water through them, and ap water tends towards the acidic

Comment by Robb on March 26, 2014 at 9:34am
Thanks for any and all help. I'll send along a photo when I figure out how from this phone. Jim, I only have two tanks bolth at tge same level, both fish tanks and both plummed together. One has yellow perch, goldfish (the starters) and crayfish. The other has catfish and crayfish. I'm planning a 110 gallon conical bottom swirl filter up high in the greenhouse, to be installed when I get a break from work. Not being a "closed" system I used galvie tanks and gutters. Do you think zinc will be an issue?
Comment by Jim Fisk on March 26, 2014 at 8:15am

@Matt, it is the aerobic bacteria that you will pretty much never see that are present in the tens of billions and not the earthworms that protect your system. The earthworms help clean up the organics but rest assured it is the bacteria that do the real work, by far.

@Robb, what tank??sump, fish tank? I see nothing wrong with what you are doing there. This is not rocket science. If you do not get enough nutrients from your fish density just add some organic supplements like "fish fertilizer" or seaweed, etc. Nice size system btw.

Comment by Keith Rowan on March 26, 2014 at 8:12am

Robb,  you can cheat the ratio, as long as you base your bioload on the amount of filtration you have (volume of your growbed/media)

Comment by Matt Miskinnis on March 26, 2014 at 7:55am

@Tetsuzan, I have my fish tank and sump covered at all times I may get a bird pooping on the growbed bed, but I have little concern for that as the poop would have to travel well down or more inches of media, and the worms would take care of it, if it did.

Comment by Robb on March 26, 2014 at 7:08am
My question to you all is, can I cheat the Tank to Growbed Ratio Law (toward more tank gallonage) if I use good spring water (on a make-up float) and water the soil based plants (papaya, avacado, citrus, banana etc.) with water from the bottom of the fish tanks in a greenhouse? There are other factors like a decreased density (especially while starting out) and a swirl filter. I guess I should say we have two 3000 gallon tanks in a 1200sq ft greenhouse. I did see my first nitrates last week. And I need a little advice uploading photos...thanks in advance. Roob
Comment by Jim Fisk on March 26, 2014 at 6:15am

@Terry and Anthony. 50% is more realistic and Tony has two 30 cf  beds so I stand by my math: @225 gal total in the GBs and with only 2 GBs you can bet they will often empty at once and can use all the sump volume when that happens. Then if they (GBs) both fill at once you had better have a float switch in your sump to protect the pump when it runs dry. You need to consider both empty and full scenarios.

@Tetsusan's concerns: another reason to protect your outdoor system in a greenhouse. ANY warm blooded animal including humans, can introduce e. coli. However a healthy system, be it human, bird or AP, can handle a certain amount of pathogens as the "good" bacteria will win very quickly especially in an aerobic system. Otherwise any garden could be a real killer.

Comment by Tetsuzan Benny Ron on March 25, 2014 at 9:06pm

Thank you Matt. It appears that some people around the Pacific and other parts of the world, are using some times spring water or water that was collected from the roofs (especially in places where they don't have aquifer) and by doing so they are introducing E. coli that reside in the soil and on the roofs as a result of being excreted by birds, rats, pigs, dogs, cats and other warm blooded animals. So I did hear and see such cases in several places that I've visited. I'm glad to see that you haven't had such issue. BTW, in case of birds or bats visiting you system with or without your knowledge, they might have contaminated your water and it might be worthwhile to check this now and then. Thank you again for your kind response.


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