Aquaponics Garden – Plants are In

It’s been so long, I can’t remember the last time I posted.   I took some time off from my project over the holidays, and have just begun to get back in the swing again.   This month, I began testing my tank and grow bed by filling them with water and cycling the system to insure the bell siphon would work properly.   I’ve now got it set where it takes about 35 minutes to fill the grow bed, then 10 minutes to drain.


This picture is of my first siphon setup.  I’ve since changed my bell from  2″ to 3″.  With a 3″ bell, I no longer needed the cap on the filter, as the bell fills the 4″ filter completely, not allowing any media to enter.   I also added a 2″ to 1″ reducer on my stand pipe which greatly improved the starting and stopping of the siphon.  Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the new siphon.

When I first started testing it was easy to set up and worked great.  Once I added my rock, it all changed.  I had to start over, adding additional holes to the bottom of my bell and filter to allow enough water flow.  Adequate flow is needed to insure the siphon will not break prematurely and leave too much water in the grow bed.    It is now set so that it will fill to about an inch below the top of the rocks, and drain leaving between 1 and 2 inches of water in the grow bed.

I ended up using 3/4” Arizona river rock as my grow bed media.  With the rock in and the system cycling properly, today was the day to go down to the nursery and pick up some plants.

  • Red Romain Lettuce
  • Swiss Chard
  • Zuccini Squash
  • Armenian Cucumbers
  • Green Bell Pepers
  • Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Sweet Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Anaheim Peppers

The only things I wanted, but didn’t find were carrots and broccoli.  Maybe next time.

Over the next couple of weeks I expect the whole system to cycle, then it will be ready to add fish.   For the most part all I have left is to buy the fish and the backup battery and the project is complete.

The last thing I plan to do is to finish landscaping the rest of the backyard, adding crushed red granite and some boulders; and if I can find some chicken tolerant plants, maybe I put a few of those around as well.


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