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AKA Fish Tank v2, AKA ‘The fishoning’, AKA lets get down to business.

I have been growing fish for a while now and recently I thought it was time to spice it up a notch. By ‘spice’ I mean bigger, and by ‘a notch’ I mean more plants!

I got an old metal frame, stripped the wood, put a fish tank at the bottom, some drainage pipe, some pots, some holes for said pots, some other pipes for those pots in the holes, and some clay balls for the pots in the holes.

So far so good. Putting it all together got me this…

NFT Aquaponics at home

After a few weeks I got some good greens off of this. And now it is time for MORE…

Phase 2 approaches.

Additional Notes:

There appears to be more than one way to supply that good nutritious water to the plants. The way above would, what I consider be an active system, since it requires a pump to push the water up then letter it run through all the pipes and back down to the tank. Importantly, the lowest pipe must be above the tank.

Alternatively, in a passive system, the water can be gravity fed into connected pots or pipes with the water level being controlled by a separate container with a float valve. This is a type of system used in some sub irrigation systems (see example #1 and #2). With some adjustments to the height of the drainage port, this passive system can be made to resemble the Kratky Method.

This system interests me so I am going to try and make a set of both using an IBC and some connections similar to those used in my project (and hydro- or aqua-ponics in general).

Some failure modes I have already experienced is having a pump failure and a full tank drainage. The pump failure is not too serious. If you rely on the pump for oxygenation it can be a problem for fish health, but an air pump is a quick fix for that. The pipes hold enough water for a day or two and can be topped up manually. In two instances (roots blocking a hole, and a bracket breaking) I had overflow at one point that caused all my water to be pumped out. That was pretty scary both times it happens, looking at it with a fresh cup of coffee could cause a potential spit take. With some water from my spare tank and some new water from the tap the fish seemed to bounce back no problem.

An improvement these would be to have the pump be higher than the bottom of the tank (say a bit below midway – I used some bricks as a temporary stand) and also providing some type of root shield so the pipes don’t suck the roots in (still need to get that one sorted). I can imagine drilling some holes in the pipe and wrapping some shade net around the holes would do the trick or spacing the outlet further away from the plants. However, it seems as though there ‘aint no stopping them roots from a’growing’.