This is a guide on setting up the basics of your very first aquaponic system at home. This doesn’t take an expert to build, all you need is patience and common sense. If you wish, you may seek help from a carpenter but it’s not absolutely necessary. Just follow the clear instructions below and soon, you will be harvesting food from your very own backyard.
You will need:
(2) 55-gallon food-grade barrels, you may also use a 20-gallon barrel just as long as it is food-grade
8 feet of hose (any type that is sturdy)
(1) Water pump with a maximum of pumping out 800 gallons of water every hour
10 foot long PVC pipe
(7) L-shaped pipes
(1) T-shaped pipe
For the wood, you will need the following:
-Eight pieces of 2 x 4 x 8
-Six feet of 2 x 10
-Six feet of 1 x 8
The tools you will need:
1. For the holding tank (where your fish will be placed): Lay one barrel down to the ground and cut two separate openings. Size doesn’t matter just as long as you can see entirely through the tank and maybe reach something just in case one day you would have to. Make sure that there is still some piece of plastic in between the two openings that will serve as a support for a net/screen cover to protect against creatures that may have interest in your fish and from leaves and other falling debris.
2. Support base for the holding tank: the 2 x 10 pieces of wood will serve as the base. You will now need to draw a half circle on two of the woods, use the barrel as a template for these half circles because the barrel will be sitting on these pieces of wood. Leave at least two inches at the bottom of the wood so that the barrel is elevated. Make sure that the barrel fits just right on the base. To make the base sturdy, use the 2 x 4s to support the 2 x 10s. Use nails or screws to do this.
3. Grow beds for the plants and vegetables: Measure the height of the holding tank from the bottom of the base to the topmost of the barrel. The total height of the holding tank will be the height of the grow bed because it has to be higher than the tank.
Cut one barrel into half, lengthwise. Lay these down beside each other and measure from left to right, add four more inches to this measurement. This is the width of the grow bed stand.
Using the 2 x 4s, create rectangular notches on each side. Cut the 1 x 10s to serve as a platform. Combine the two.
Measure the length of the barrel halves, this is the length of the platform. Use some leftover wood as a support for the platform.
4. You now have the holding tank and the grow beds, next step is to install the pump. Installing the pump and pipe system is quite complicated and is best if you ask help from a plumber to make sure that you get it right. Here are the guidelines that you will want to make sure you inform the plumber of:
-All the other tanks will be dependent on the holding tank so the pump should be connected to the holding tank.
-Primary water flow will come from the holding tank so two large pipes must be installed so that the grow beds will receive enough water to flood.
-A separate pipe must be installed to enable excess water to flow from the grow bed into the holding tank. This pipe will prevent over-flooding