Well….our aquaponics system in Costa Rica has run for almost a year now and produced lots of tasty fish, veggies and herbs. It uses one pump and only 75 Watts to run the entire system. We designed to use gravity and auto-siphons to do the brunt of the work. All of the water is recycled and the plants grow in volcanic rock filled grow-beds that drain and fill every 15 minutes. There is no dirt of any sort. The rock beds act as bio-filters. They not only remove solids waste but the bacteria living on the surface of the wet rock convert ammonia into plant-usable nitrates.
Due to it’s totally custom nature, we’ve had to make some adjustments and changes in process. It was built without plans and based on concepts and ideas gathered from many hours/days on Google, YouTube and various aquaponics forums. I’ll have to give a shout out to Murray Hallam in Australia for giving us ideas and concepts and Backyard Aquaponics for the guide that helped us build our first small system out of IBC tanks.
One of the latest mods is the addition of sedimentation tanks that reduces the amount of solids being deposited into the rock grow beds. Being an outside aquaponics system, lot of debris and plant matter gets blown into the tanks.(many systems are built inside of greenhouses) These tanks cut down the amount of solids drastically. Now, an added benefit is that we can use the clean out valves to fill buckets with poo sludge and feed our dirt garden. No more fertilizer!
We just changed out the Jaguar Guapote with 20 catfish. The Guapote were too predatory for a small tank and we felt it was time to change. The tilapia are still doing great and breeding as well. They also taste great!
Over all the system has been great and I think we can call it complete…….but there’s always room for mods!