TPP 132: Aquaponics Interview on Changing Earth Podcast
TPP 132: AQUAPONICS INTERVIEW
ON CHANGING EARTH PODCAST
By Ken Jensen
Is Aquaponics a Viable system?
• Aquaponics is an extremely valid system.
What is an aquaponics system?
• Aquaponics is the marriage of hydroponics and Aquaculture.
• Hydroponics is cultivating
plant life in a bath of nutrient
rich water solution, instead of
soil, for large scale production in
a smaller area.
• Aquaculture is a design to grow fish or aquatic life like
shellfish, crawfish, snails, or … to help meet the popular fish
demand with little impact on the overall aquatic population.
1. Aquaponics is a marriage of aquaculture and hydroponics.
2. Uses fish to provide the nutrient content for plant life.
3. It gets rid of agrochemicals from typical farming:
1. Problems like the delta of the Mississippi where a
wetland is turning into an uninhabitable area
What materials are required for building
an aquaponics system?
• Typical Aquaponic system components:
1. Rearing tank:
1. Tanks for raising and feeding fish.
2. Large barrel or a stock tank, glass fish tank
2. Settling basin
1. Catches uneaten food and detached biofilms,
settles out particles
1. Where nitrification bacteria can grow and
convert ammonia into nitrates
2. Bucket of pebbles or other high surface
3. Not absolutely necessary though with a
good grow bed
4. Hydroponics subsystem
1. Where plants grow
2. Grow bed
1. Flood table
2. Frame it above the fish tank
3. Half barrels
4. Bath tubs even!
1. Lowest basin where water gravity flows. It is
then pumped back up to the rearing tanks
6. Water Pump
1. Mag Drive Pump
2. Submersible fountain pump
3. Pump from fish tank to grow bed
7. Air Pump
1. Get an aquarium air pump to oxygenate the water
8. Bell Siphon
1. 30 bucks on Amazon, or you can make one from pvc
2. Raised pipe in a bigger pipe
3. Bigger pipe has holes drilled in it
4. Medium pipe in top with an air lock on top making it
5. Drain from grow bed to fish tank
Different applications to grow plant life (this could be considered as the
1. Deep-Water Raft Aquaponics
1. Plants float in Styrofoam rafts in a
2. Recirculating Aquaponics or Closed-Loop Aquaponics
3. Solid media: (Gravel or clay) in a container. Container is flooded with the
1. Best for beginners because:
2. Easier to learn
3. Less parts, so it is cheaper
4. Media bed mechanically filters (solids), performs
mineralization (breaks down solids), and biofiltration
(attachment of bacteria).
4. Reciprocating Aquaponics, Flood-and-Drain Aquaponics, Ebb-and-Flow
1. Flood and Drain is simplest
2. Easy to build
4. Best for a 1:1 ratio (grow bed to fish tank)
5. Easier maintenance
6. Same media but it is flooded and drained using siphon drains.
5. Vertical Tower Aquaponics
1. Uses vertical towers that are trickle fed
from the top
6. Nutrient Film Aquaponics
1. Sloped bed of 1.1 to 1.4
2. Flow around 1L per minute
3. Plenty of root oxygen, water, and nutrients
Typical Animals (Rearing Tank: similar to Aquaculture tank):
1. Usually Freshwater Fish and Life
2. Tilapia is most common
4. Silver Perch
5. Eel-tailed Catfish or Tandanus Catfish
6. Jade Perch
7. Murray Cod
8. Gold Fish (Edible, but many don’t do it)
10. Temperate Climates and you don’t want to maintain water temp:
Bacterial Cycle (Biofilter)
1. Fish release ammonia through crap and gills
1. Toxic above .5 to 1 ppm so it needs filtered
2. Plant absorb it, but not efficiently or at high levels
(nitrates are easier)
3. You will not add fish the first day, so you may want to
add just a small amount of dead fish to give ammonia
4. if you don’t take lots of medication, you can use pee
1. direct or aged
5. you can just use your fish.
1. Keep feed to a tbsp/day
2. if you see algae bloom, cut back a
bit until it clears
3. this could take up to two months
2. We convert it:
1. Nitrosomonas convert ammonia into nitrites
2. Nitrobacter converts nitrites into nitrates
3. They create a biofilm on all surfaces in contact with water including
4. Using a bio filter essentially raises surface area
3. Seed your system with the right bacteria
1. aquarium or pond filters
2. aquarium or pond water
3. existing aquaponics system water or media
4. A test kit which tests pH, ammonia, nitrite
and nitrate is best
5. Let system run a day or two prior to fish
How Practical is an aquaponics system for
Long term survival?
• In survival situations, you may have issues achieving recirculation and water
1. You may lose energy input for pumps
2. A single failure point could lose all of your fish stock
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