New 500+ Gallon Aquaponics Build - Tilapia and Veggies - AQUASUS
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Old 09-26-2014, 10:47 PM   #1
bitFUUL
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New 500+ Gallon Aquaponics Build - Tilapia and Veggies - AQUASUS


Along with my planted tank projects, I've also been working on a new aquaponics farm setup and I figured y'all might be interested in seeing my progress.


Phase 1 of our new aquaponic system is pretty much finished!
We seeded bacteria, plants, and fish yesterday.
Some quick photos for now...


















Currently there are 7 Tilapia fingerlings during the initial cycle (I brought as much bacteria-covered-rocks from my buddies farm), so hopefully once the system is more established; I'll bring those Tilapia numbers up to about 30-40.

The system's water is dirty looking right now for two reasons; the sediment from the substrate is still settling, and I've added iron (seaweed) which causes the color to darken.

The IBC Tote (large plastic thing with frame around it) is 330 gallons (but holding about 300 gallons after cutting the top off). The sump next to it is 150 gallons. Each grow bed is a 40 gallon tub. Phase 2 will include Styrofoam rafts (deep water culture).
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Last edited by bitFUUL; 09-30-2014 at 10:36 PM.. Reason: Reason for Editing:
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:02 PM   #2
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looks, neat. Grow herbs and lettuce. You can always use them to cook.
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:26 PM   #3
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Nice!

What do you expect the fish/plant output will be on this system?
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:45 PM   #4
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I know nothing about aquaponics but have aways been intrigued. Can you explain the set up and what you expect to grow in each tank?
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Old 09-27-2014, 12:22 PM   #5
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This setup is gravity fed, the pump is in the sump and feeds water directly into the fish tank. Everything else uses overflows and bell siphons in the grow beds.

I've got a variety of Tomato, Sweet Potato, Lettuce, Arugula, Kale, Bok choy, etc for now. As the system ages, I'll pull things out and replace them. We're hoping to yield a nice amount of edible Tilapia each season, enough for our family/friends.
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Old 09-27-2014, 12:38 PM   #6
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So you pump the water into the top of the plant tanks and it constantly returns to the Tilapia tank through the bottom pipe?

How many Tilapia can you grow in that tote?

Do you have sand or soil in the bottom of the tanks or is it just rocks?

Thanks for the info.
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Old 09-27-2014, 01:00 PM   #7
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Nice setup, I've been dying to get one of these setup for years now, but not enough land. Looking to purchase a new place now and space for a greenhouse and aquaponics setup is high up on the priority list. When I get situated I may be PMing you for advise, if you don't mind of course.
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Old 09-27-2014, 04:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kntry View Post
So you pump the water into the top of the plant tanks and it constantly returns to the Tilapia tank through the bottom pipe?

How many Tilapia can you grow in that tote?

Do you have sand or soil in the bottom of the tanks or is it just rocks?

Thanks for the info.
I'm hoping to keep about 30-40 Tilapia total.
There isn't any soil, only inert rocks. I've filled the containers 1/2 full with lava rock (very sharp/porous for bacteria to live in), and top layer of river rocks (smooth, won't cut your fingers or plant roots).

Water is ONLY pumped from the sump, into the fish tank. Look at the last picture, the pipe on the right bends from the in-ground sump, upwards into the fish tank. Look at the left side, there is an overflow with bulkhead drilled into the tank. The water travels down through this pipe as it's being displaced, and it comes up and into the growbeds through pipes that are SHORTER than the height of the fish tank bulkhead.

Confusing, right? It's not easy to explain, but it's a very simple process. I hope this helps?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by r45t4m4n View Post
Nice setup, I've been dying to get one of these setup for years now, but not enough land. Looking to purchase a new place now and space for a greenhouse and aquaponics setup is high up on the priority list. When I get situated I may be PMing you for advise, if you don't mind of course.
Sweet, you'll love aquaponics, it's much easier than planted tanks (and you can eat the rewards). Sure, hit me up if you need some pointers.
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Old 09-29-2014, 02:30 AM   #9
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Pictures are back up.
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Last edited by bitFUUL; 09-30-2014 at 10:36 PM.. Reason: No reason, stop asking.
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Old 09-29-2014, 03:58 AM   #10
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Your pictures, they're gone.
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:37 PM   #11
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Pics are back up.
32 Tilapia are currently in the system, can't wait to harvest, I'm a hungry man.
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Old 06-26-2015, 03:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
looks, neat. Grow herbs and lettuce. You can always use them to cook.
I've never cooked with lettuce, trying it now.
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Old 06-26-2015, 07:23 PM   #13
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how big are the tilapia now?

+
You should raise Basa catfish too. That's the mekong catfish that the US catfish industry is afraid of. The reason is it's delicious. You can find them in the lfs, maybe.

Last edited by mistergreen; 06-27-2015 at 05:03 AM..
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Old 06-27-2015, 12:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
how big are the tilapia now?

+
You should raise Basa catfish too. That's the mekong catfish that the US catfish industry is afraid of. The reason is it's delicious. You can find them in the lfs, maybe.
The Tilapia are between 6-8" now, they should be ready to harvest later this year hopefully.
Catfish would be great, but I'd need another IBC tank, we can't keep the Tilapia and catfish together in the same tank.

I'll keep my eyes open for Basa Catfish, they sound delicious!
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Old 06-27-2015, 01:59 PM   #15
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Looks like a nice setup. I'll be watching this thread to see how it develops. Are you located in Florida?

I've been wanting to do something similar with the hydroponic part. I've already got a 3000 gal koi pond with an above ground filter. I gravity feed from the pond to a vortex chamber (to remove sediment) Then into a mechanical filter with pads and brushes. From there it pumps into an above ground bio filter thats heavily planted. I have a 1 1/2" drain off the bottom of the filter. I thought it would be a perfect to put some hydro pots in line with the drain and gravity feed back into the vortex chamber. It would be easy to set up, but I'm concerned about how much more I would heat up my pond water. I'm in an area that commonly gets 100+ temps.


I don't know how I missed it all these years but I was suprised when I found out tilapia is not a specific species of fish, but is actually a collection of several types of cichlids.
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