4m 41sLenght

We are a couple coming from the aquatic ornamental area, Mrs formerly working in the import/export trade and Mr as a hobbyist. Due to the current drought and papers discussing water requirements between soil vegetable cultivation versus hydroponics and/or aquaponics cultivation, we decided that it was time to put our combined experience(s) to work and build out a system. This is our first home aquaponic system. The main fish pond is 13'x5'x3' deep comprising just under 1,500 U.S. gallons, lined with standard pond liner purchased through Amazon. The water is driven by a single 1/2HP sump pump. We started by tearing out a large raised soil vegetable bed. The area was raked clean, then a frame of OSB and 4x's and 6x's, along with an additional supporting frame around the entire structure was built and lined with standard pond liner in order to create the main fish pond. Before the pond was lined, sand and rice hulls were laid down and raked smooth, with a slope so as to ensure good movement of detritus from one end of the pond to the other. At the deepest end of the pond is a depression inside which sits the pump that drives the system. The pump pushes water up about 6'-7' to a 55 gallon barrel that's been plumbed as a swirl filter. From the swirl filter comes a 2" sloped pipe which serves as the grow-bed manifold. Each grow-bed drains into a single manifold that then drains into the fish barrel that sits at the other (shallow) end of the pond. Several crawdaddies and the about half of the mosquitofish reside in this fish barrel. The crawdaddies will, hopefully, reside relatively peacefully in boxes made of eggcrate or perforated pipe with one end screened off. This will help in harvesting crawdads that cannot be seen, and which have a lot of room to swim away. The system has been filled primarily with saved rainwater, though we've had to top off with some well water. The media beds are comprised of 55 gallon plastic barrels, cut in half along the long axis and set onto supporting structures on a raised platform. They are filled with red lava rock, the least expensive media option available to us. We feel that, while presenting some issues, one problem will not be present in that the larger growning plants should be able to support themselves well in this type of media. The system includes a 55 gallon swirl filter as well as a 55 gallon fish barrel. Currently stocked with bluegill, mosquitofish, goldfish, minnows, guppies and crawdaddies (crayfish, freshwater lobsters, mudpuppies, yabbies, call 'em whatever you want to, I call 'em good eatin'!) for protein. Lettuces, mustards, spinach, kale, chard, tomatoes, onions, pole/shelling beans and cucurbits comprise the vegetable matter.