Owens Aquaponics – “Aquapondics”

Author: Owen   Date Posted:2 September 2019 

Hi all.

I would like to share my fourth aquaponics setup. This setup has gone through many changes over time, and still isn’t finished yet. It has moved around my yard twice now, and now sits next to my big system. It currently acts as a seedling production system for its bigger brother next to it, and allows me to grow from seed in cups, allowing easy transfer to the beds I plan to grow out in.

As seen below, in it’s beginning it was a somewhat standard pond, with no growbed. It used a 3000 LPH pump and a small pond filter.

And there it sat in it’s little corner, pretty much doing nothing except providing a spot for my goldfish to cruise around in. I tried to grow duckweed in it as supplementary food for my chickens and fish in other systems, but as it only got reflected light in the position it sat, it didn’t go to well. Hence it then got moved.

I set it up in a new spot that received a lot more sun, added a growbed from a old chop ‘n’ flip and started cycling. The growbed utilises a 300L growbed and floods and drains using a bell siphon. The original pump was still in use, and a tee off was added to distribute water. In no time my nice clear pond was green. I used my UV filter that was in my pond filter, but I found it heavily affected the ability of the bed to convert ammonia and nitrites. So at first I added duckweed to try and clear up my mess of green water and algae. I also added some home made NFT. Supplementary air is supplied from 2 airlines run from the larger system next to it.

Sadly I found that this didn’t fix the algae problem, and the splashing from the water returning from the growbed just forced the duckweed underwater, where sucked up by the pump, went into the NFT and clogged it up. This caused overflows, and water loss from the system. I then removed the NFT, added some shade cloth, and created a little floating barrier to stop the returning water from disturbing the duckweed. The water originally running to the NFT was diverted back into the pond.

This little floating dam is made from 50mm pipe and is held in place with fishing line, so it is able to move up and down as the growbed fills and drains, but stay in the desired place to stop the duckweed disturbance. Some spare expanded clay was added to the bottom of the pond under the dam to stop algae growing where sun could penetrate the water.

Currently goldfish, which seem to be breeding, and yabbies inhabit this small system. I am surprised at how clean it seems to stay, how little maintenance it needs, and how it processes wastes. All I do is add top up water, and fish food at this stage.

As stated earlier, it is my seedling system now, and allows me to provide my larger system with a constant supply of plants.