Okay, here is an update on my system. I planted a 48"X16' above ground pool in the ground 24"s, filled it with well water which I added a lot of lime ( my well water is so acidic that mosquitoes wont even lay in it) let it perk for three weeks then tested it and added 500 catfish fingerlings on March 19 2011. They were tiny and got lost in all that water.
The next step was to build a trough 25' long X 32" wide by 10" deep (Finished the trough about the middle of may, only had spare time to work on it). The fish were eating well and the water was getting very green. As this was an experiment to see if the fish would live and have plants on the side I planted a variety of hot weather plants. This is in a greenhouse in Florida and the temperatures can reach 115 degrees easily. I used Styrofoam rafts and peat pellets to start. I planted romaine lettuce, Thumbelina zinnias, dwarf marigolds, tomatoes, bell peppers, banana peppers, lemon basil, Siam queen basil, Greek basil, a couple of broccoli seeds, and a zucchini squash seed. These were the seeds I had on hand, some of which I didn't think had a chance. Most seeds came up and thrived the first month. The Thumbelina zinnias and marigolds forgot they were supposed to be dwarfed. The package said to plant them six to eight inches apart and they would get six to ten inches tall. They are now 30" tall and still growing. The romaine grew well for about a month and a half then tried to bolt so I ate it. Apparently basil loves a raft system, they are as tall as the zinias and very bushy and full even though I have cut them many times. The tomatoes just grew tall, set two tomatoes that a worm got. The peppers have both produced fruit I have enjoyed. The squash grew well to start then just fizzled out and died, no set fruit. The broccoli is still hanging in there. It isn't growing much but its still alive.
I finished a 4'X8' ebb and flow bed about a week ago and filled it with lava rock covered with white river rock to keep it from getting hot. Since this is a closed system the siphon wouldn't stop so I had to put my pump on a timer. It works well now. I have planted pineapple, tomatoes, squash and dwarfed marigolds in it so far.
Maintenance on the pool before I got the ebb and flow bed included testing the pool twice a week, pulling the water from the bottom using a pool vacuum bottom cleaner with the pump that came with the pool. I put all this good waist into my garden. When the ammonia would spike I would draw the pool down, similar to the upkeep on an aquarium just bigger.
The catfish are getting big, some look to be at least ten inches long. I bought a seine net to get them out with, but that is another experiment.
Next we are working on a trough to go down the side of the greenhouse. I then want to put in 4 more ebb and flow beds.