August 2014 update on my Aquaponics Setup. The summer has turned hot here in N. CA and everything is dry except my backyard aquaponics. Have been harvesting bush beans and strawberries. The lemon cucumbers are just now starting to kick it. I added some mosquito fish in with the Koi fish. Not sure how that was going to work but they are getting along so far. It has been a busy summer at work and I am ready to get back to swing shift after school starts. Morning are the best time to enjoy my garden and up till now that is only possible on the weekends.
I included below a separate video of some early morning activity in my grow beds. The local wildlife can be quite entertaining.
I want to thank all of you for visiting this site and I hope you have been inspired to grow something in your own yards besides grass.
See you in Sept.
My Aquaponics setup has been doing well for the last month. Strawberries have been producing and we have been eating them everyday. The lemon cucumbers are finally taking off and have their first blooms. The bush beans are doing well also and loaded with their first beans. Should be able to take the first harvest in a week to ten days.
I did forget to mention that I had a submersible pump fail. It started tripping the circuit breaker once in a while then finally wouldn’t work. It was used when I got it and it has been running since I first built the system in May of 2013. The price was right so I can’t complain. I had two more backups so it was a non issue.
I would like to say again that this system isn’t perfect and there is a lot of room for improvement but since it was built with mostly recycled materials I either found or had laying around I can’t complain. It is pretty much maintenance free, all being required daily is feeding the fish and adding water to the system a couple of times per week. I would like to ad a swirl filter to run the pond water through before dumping into the beds but that will probably wait until the growing season is over.
Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.
Update for my June 2014 DIY Aquaponics Setup. We have had a lot of wind this last month and a little bit cooler weather than usual. This has affected our plants in our traditional raised beds but the plants in the aquaponic beds are less affected. I think this is because they have a continuous supply of water whereas the traditional garden relies on hand watering and is more susceptible to possible drying from evaporation rates that are higher during windy days. Strawberries are already producing well and bush beans are all up and strong. The lemon cucumbers are struggling a bit but showing improvement as the days are warming up.
This is actually a hydroponics setup but it could easily be adapted to an aquaponics system. The advantage would be you would not have to ad chemicals to the water because your fish are already taking care of that for you. Using a small submersible pump you could pump the small stream of pond water into the wall and return it directly to the system without interfering with your original setup. I like how this guy has gone through the effort to paint his piping to blend in an look professional.
May report on my DIY Aquaponics setup for the 2014 season. This is a home made backyard system costing less than $200. I have had some minor issues but overall it has been working well. It uses a 220 gal. stock tank and two 4′ x 4′ beds filled with pea gravel. A little less than 100 gal of water is needed to flood both beds at the same time leaving 12″ of water (120 gal.) in the stock tank for the fish. This water is continually cycling 24 hrs per day and only the water that is lost to evaporation needs to be replaced, about 3 to 5 gal. per day depending on the weather.
My Aquaponics system isn’t large enough to grow everything we need so I am only going to grow 3 items in the system in a larger quantity rather than small amounts of many different things that I sometimes see others doing. It will be bush beans, strawberries and lemon cucumbers this year. The cucumbers and beans proved themselves in the aquaponics last year and I decided to transplant my strawberries into the setup from my conventional raised bed garden for this year.
I have 3 raised beds that are also 4′ x 4′ and in them I have planted tomatoes, green and yellow squash, cabbage, radishes, onions, and carrots. I am contemplating adding one more bed but not sure yet. I also have red potatoes growing in 30 gal trash cans.
I would like to add that I am trying to keep everything sustainable by planting only heirloom varieties and learning how to save seeds instead of buying them. This is a new mindset for me since I have always just run to the store and purchased what was ever on the rack at the time. Just about everything I have this year is heirloom with exception of the strawberries which I am not sure on. I did however establish new plants from them by transplanting runners into my aquaponics this season and those are already producing.
I hope to expand my backyard aquaponics in the future but have limited funds to spend at this time. My next project will be building my greenhouse. I started all my plants in the kitchen AGAIN this year and then had to keep packing the plants in and out of the house daily to get them acclimated to outdoors… what a pain.
I will make sure I do a better job this year of posting updates.
Please feel free to comment or ask questions.
Thanks again for visiting and come back soon!
This is a video from APgarden’s YouTube channel. More details about his aquaponics greenhouse setup is a must read. People like this who are willing to share their experiences about their aquaponic setups can not only expand your knowledge but also give you some great ideas to boot. I really like the greenhouse and must say I am a bit envious.
Sorry I didn’t get a video up for September. It was a very busy month for me and a few things didn’t get done. I will create a post about it in the near future maybe.
But back to the subject at hand.
If you have been following my DIY Aquaponics Setup site you understand this is a sort of experiment for me. My goal was and still is, to be able to not only eat garden produce from this but also harvest edible fish. To accomplish this I will need to graduate from Koi to a more palatable species such as Catfish, Bass, or Perch. These are readily available (and legal) in my location. Hopefully I will be able to do this by next season.
With that being said I must admit I really enjoy the Koi. They are fun to watch and take care of. Things seem to be more peaceful with them around. I can completely understand why people collect the rarer variations. The water plants are interesting also and are beautiful to boot.
Thank you for visiting and hope to see you back soon.
Here is my brief report on my DIY Aquaponics Setup on August 1st. This system has been running since early spring and overall has done well. That doesn’t mean everything has been perfect. My biggest issue has been getting yellow leaf on the older leaves of my plants, especially on my green bean bushes.
This points to the plants inability to harvest iron from the fish water. This could be because there isn’t any but my testing kit says there is. However my ph has been hovering a little on the high end, 7.5 -8.0 and that will reduce the plants absorption abilities. The fix is to add chelated iron which I have been doing regularly.
My overall plant growth has been slower than my conventional beds. This can be seen especially in my sunflower pants which also have been suffering from some black leaf along with my tomatoes. These I removed and replaced with other plants with the broccli doing the best, in this case better than the ones planted in my dirt beds. My one lemon cucumber plant has also done well the harvest count at 11 cuks so far.
The fish in this DIY system have been doing well. It would be nice if they were an eatable species but at the moment I am using KOI. They are fun to watch and will eat the feed right out of my hands.
I hope you are doing well with your own DIY Aquaponics or thinking about starting one in the future. I would like to expand mine but for right now I need to learn a little more about squeezing the full potential out of what I have. Will be planting winter crops soon and need to get my green house up.
Thanx for visiting and be sure to come back!
I was able to put my 1st diy Aquaponics setup together using a mixture of new and used parts, mostly used. It was completed under $200 and has 32 sq. ft. of grow beds and a 220 gal. fish tank. Began running in May and although results are not perfect they are doing fairly well. Check out the growth in the last 30 days (since my 1st video) and remember, if I can put together a diy Aquaponics system, so can you!