Aquaponics Design | Backyard System for Pat

Aquaponics Design | Backyard System for Pat

get a focus Rob here and in this week’s
clip we’re going to be taking a look at a bit of an aquaponic system design I
heard a chap hit me up in one of the older radial flow filter clips Pat g’day
Pat he asked for my advice on setting up his own little backyard aquaponics
system so I thought we’d have a bit of a look at some diagrams I’ve knocked
together and a few explanations on some components and a few tweaks that I do to
the system before we have a good gander at this system is we great if you could
hit that little subscribe button down there and then click on the bell icon
when it appears and you’ll be sent notifications when I upload the future
clips that we’ll be looking at different component builds and different aspects
of arm yeah setting up and running an aquaponics
system so that’s given me a bit of a rundown on the components you’d like to
add to the system to start off with this going to be an IBC fish tank so a
thousand litres two hundred and sixty ish gallons worth of fish tank then he
wants a followed filter a radial flow filter and then from there the water is
going to run out of to some grow beds he’s also a little bit up in the air as
to whether the water should flow back to a sub tank or a fish tank so because he
wants an IBC media bed I’ve suggested that had chop the top off an IBC
flip it over that’ll become your media bed and then the the rest of the IBC
container you can use below as you some tank and if that decides to expand down
the road and include some more media bed some flood and drain beds there’ll be
that extra volume in the sump tank to be able to handle that now there’s a few
ways you can plumb up your aquaponic system and there’s a few different
acronyms floating around the interwebs but today’s system is going to be
plumbed up split flows style so what that means is basically the pump is
bringing the water up from the sump tank it is splitting the flow to two separate
loops one loop is the fish loop and the second loop is the grow bed loop I will
be doing a clip further on down the line that does explain the differences
between the different ways you can plumb up the systems so keep an eye out for
that if you’re interested in checking it out so the best place I suppose to start
looking at this system would be to trace the water from the pump into some tank
so to begin with the pump itself I’d recommend Pat goes with a six to
eight thousand liter per hour pump mainly because you do need that little
bit extra volume movement per hour to make allowance for the head height of
the water being pumped up to the grow beds and the fish tank and also the the
walls of the pipe can slow the flow down and you’ve also got a couple of twists
and bends and different fittings in there as well so it does pay to go a
little bit over the top weird the pump so once the water is picked up by the
pump it runs through a line that has a tee or or Y fitting in it and that’s
what splits the flow between the two different loops following the first loop
the water is pumped through the pipe or hose up into the fish tank where the
accepted rule of thumb is to have an incoming flow rate that is the same
volume per hour as the fish tank volume is I personally would prefer to run more
than that in our system here I’m running around about 2,000 liters an hour or
double the tank volume every hour now into the fish tank we also have an air
line this is what will add movement to the water and help dissolve oxygen into
the water another good rule of thumb there is pretty much all the same as the
water at least the volume of the fish tank itself in air pump through there
every hour so at least a thousand liters or 260 gallons of air coming into the
fish tank every hour just to keep those fish happy now for this system i’ve
suggests maybe a 4,500 litre an hour air compressor and that will give enough air
into the fish tank and also to look after a few other needs in the rest of
the system now back to the water in the fish tank as the water enters the fish
tank it displaces the water that’s already in there but up through the base
of the solids lifting outlet so the sole is lifting outlet consists of a two inch
or a 50 millimeter pipe the runs from the base of the tank work collects the
fall and fish waste as well as any uneaten fish food and delivers it up
through the pipe to a sideways sitting t-fitting connected to the top of it a
pipe is connected to the port 90 degrees from the collection pipe and that runs
it out through a uni seal that’s been in installed in the side of the tank wall
out into the radial flow filter the sky would facing port in the t fitting is
left open and what that does is it prevents the siphon from initiating from
all the water flowing out of this system basically ensuring that you will
always have some water in there for the fish even if the power goes out have I
mentioned before the pipe or comes out through a uni seal installed in the side
of the tank wall and then down to the radial flow filter in all my designs I
have a valve in between the fish tank solids lifting overflow and the filter
itself mainly because I can just turn it off whenever I want to clean the radial
flow filter after I’ve turned off the pump into the fish tank of course. So the
water enters the filter via a stand pipe and is redirected using a stilling well
that allows the water flow to slow down enough for the bulk of the solids to
fall out and collect on the base of the filter and all the clean water is then
moved out through the outlet at the top of the filter down another 2 inch or
50ml pipe into the sump tank so now we’re back into some tank and we can
trace out the second loop that flows through the other line in the Y fitting
from the pump that one there runs out to the grow beds and is controlled at the
inlet if every grow bed by a valve with the media bed I’d set it up as a flood
and drain as it provides extra air to the bacteria and the roots of the plants
constant flow beds work well too I just like the idea of having extra air
available in the root zone for the bacteria and the roots as for siphon
types I really do like the bell siphon as I find them to be very reliable the
way I make them if you want to check out how I make them you can click on that
little link up there and that will take you to the clip the chooser how they
work as well as how I knock them together now the deep water culture bed
has a valve that comes through and runs into a little filter so I’ve decided to
use a little filter sock just to help keep out there any of the fine little
solids that do make it through the system and you can just hose it out you
know once or twice a week if you’re really concerned you can set up a little
canister filter like the one I set up for my mother’s chop and flip aquaponics
system and they’re great at collecting all those little fine solids out as for
the flow rate in to the deep water culture beds they do like a fairly slow
one so a retention time of one to four hours now in this bed here it’s roughly
around about 600 liters so a pet would be looking at a maximum flow rate in
there around about 600 liters and our slightly slower wouldn’t hurt it at
all as for the rafts themselves I prefer to use purpose-made food-safe grow rafts
I got mine from bluestone aquaponics thank you very much Dave when he bought
some XS in for his farm down south you can actually buy them from aqua
gardening here in Brisbane and I’ll pop an affiliate link down in the
description below if you want to suss them out you can use the extruded foam
insulation over in the States if you’re gonna have to double check this though I
think there is at least one brand that doesn’t have any fire retardant in it
I’m Irena rang up a manufacturer here in Australia and he told me that they use a
fire retardant in there so I decided to err on the side of caution and undecided
not to use it in my system you’ve got to make your own informed decision though
so if you’re in Australia ring up the manufacturers see if you can find
someone who has a product that’s safe the guide that I spoke to said he
wouldn’t use it in any system that he built so for that reason I’m sticking
with the purpose made rafts so underneath the rafts now in the roots of
the plants now I did mention before taking the solids out the reason being
is that the solids accumulating on the roots can inhibit the Oktay uptake of
nutrients but they can also promote some diseases and infections of the roots
themselves so it’s best to remove them when you can it is a good idea to have
well oxygenated water around the roots of the plant so I’ve included a series
of air stones in there as well they’ll also help give oxygen to the plants
themselves through the roots and also keep some infections and diseases away
and from the other end of the raft bed I’ve just got another little outlet pipe
just a one inch or 25 mil job’ that runs straight down into the sump tank itself
by the way just looking at this I’m grow bed way out you don’t need to run them
in a line you could have them running across the sump tank so you can
orientate them differently it’s just a good idea to have that some tank in a
central position just to make your plumbing easier so this little system as
it stands is a great little start but I do think it needs some tweaking just to
help it run a little bit more efficiently first of all we’re going to
look at the bio filtration requirements because it’s basically going to dictate
how many fish you can have in the system and as a result how much secondhand fish
food I’m excreted by the fish will be available as nutrients for the plants so
working out the stocking capacity of a small little
backyard aquaponics system is relatively easy
so the standard 300 millimeter or one foot deep IBC grow bed has the bio
filtering capacity to handle the waste generated by 12 fish that you would like
to grow out to 500 grams or one pound in weight now what I’d recommend Pat do is
increased the depth of the grow bed to 400 millimetres allowing him to stock
another four fish and that’d still leave him with a very sizable 600 litre ish
sump that he could um yeah then add more flooding grow beds on to if he wants to
down the track so now we know how many fish we can stock in the system we can
roughly work out how much nutrients per square metre or per ten and 3/4 square
feet we have to feed the plant so 50 grams is good for a lot of other salad
greens and some of the herbs the more nutrient hungry plants the fruiting
plant your cucumbers eggplants tomatoes and whatnot they will need closer to a
hundred grams worth of food per day so they have enough nutrition to grow
healthily now one of the problems here and this is why this is these statements
are very general is the fish food that you will be using will vary from brand
to brand and also from fish species to fish species not only that the fish
species themselves will take out different nutrients to other ones so
this is a very general rule of thumb so to get 50 grams in there for those fish
just to look after one grow bed one meter square grow bed they need to be
roughly round about 250 grams each the fish will only be half growing at the
time that they can supply enough nutrients for leafy greens for just the
media bed by itself what we’ve got to consider is trying to beef up the number
of fish in the system then the easiest way I can see for us to do that is to
add a standalone bio filter I’d pretty much will recommend Pat get a moving bed
biofilm reactor like we run in our system here our one has roughly 95
liters of the peo 3 bio media so 1 liter of this media has enough surface area to
home the bacteria required to process the waste from a 500 gram or roughly 1
pound fish in our climate here so it’s a very good media to use it’s
actually being designed for wastewater treatment so it’s pretty much well what
I would stick with sorry I’ve had added in 14 litres of this bio media he’d be
able to stock another 14 fish bringing it up to 30 and they should provide more
than enough nutrients to run these three beds I personally would up at 220
because every bag of fish I’ve bought there’s always been a few extra added in
there so probably 20 litres would be enough to cover Pat if he ordered 30
fish now as for the way that these bio filters work the water comes in through
the inlet it’s the base of the filter I’d use a 200 liter filter the same as
the radial flow filter and that will give a retention time of around about
six minutes on a 2,000 liter an hour flow rate that will give the bacteria on
the bio media a lot of time to process that ammonia in the filter as well
there’s also an air source because bacteria need oxygen
to perform the conversion of the ammonia to nitrite and then nitrate it also
helps to move the media around one of the benefits to that is it knocks off
any dead bacteria that is building up on the media keeping it nice and clean and
letting it run efficiently so once the waters moves through the media and gone
out through the drain pipe it flows down to the sump tank where it can start its
journey again either out to the fish tank or off to the grow bed side of the
system so there you go Pat I hope this clip is um helped you out with the the
general layout there’s a lot more I could have put into it I started off
with around about 8 to 10 pages but it would have made this clip a miniseries
so I’ve cut it back down to the bare minimums and what I will be doing over
the coming months as I get the time is releasing clips on individual parts of
the build may not help you out sorry Pat but things like clips on the radial flow
filter even a new clip on the solids lifting outlet the fishtank flow rates
all those sorts of things and when it comes to our reworking our system here I
will actually be doing clips that walk you through step-by-step how I’m making
each individual component so you get a better idea for yourself a few folks out
there with more experience the whole idea behind this system is to create a
very basic system that the water flows around in two basic loops I know
other ways you can trick it out with dual drains and all the rest of it but
um as a starter system I think this is a good place to start and as Pat and other
people who may want to use some of these components learn more about aquaponics
I’m sure if they’re like the rest of us they’re going to tinker and probably the
system will evolve over the next three or four years so just quickly for you
folks who are interested in buying a little bit of aquaponic kit I do sell
Venturi’s and uni seals so all the contact information will be down below
actually I might put a yum card up at the end here that will take you over to
our website and there’s links there to our Australian affiliate store aqua
gardening thank you very much folks and also to our Amazon influence the store
we can buy aquaponics gear veggie pods root pouches a whole heap of stuff so
you can check them out if you’re interested in supporting the channel
that way you don’t have to though once again I would like to thank you all for
coming along on do hope you’ve enjoyed the clip and don’t forget to hit that
subscribe button if you haven’t done so already and a special thanks needs to go
out to you awesome folks over on patreon who are helping to support the channel
in endeavors like this so thank you very much patrons as always you can find a
link to the super contributors thank you folks down in the description below
so pretty much we’ll leave it there folks I do hope your gardens and
aquaponic systems are booming and I will catch you next clip cheers all I have a
top one

About the author


  1. Thanks for watching folks & don't forget to subscribe & share the clip around with family & friends if you think it may help them too.
    Cheers all & HAPPY GROWING. 🐟 🌱🍅

  2. For this system and the solids filter to work do you need the flow of water to be going constantly. As currently my only runs for 15 minutes every hour to fill the grow bed

  3. Hi Rob,
    I watched a bunch of your videos when I was designing my Aquaponics greenhouse in Vermont ,usa
    So I thought I would share it with you.
    This time laps is it turning around to face the morning sun.
    My Goal was to be able to grow almost anything yr. round and not have to spend money heating and generate all my electricity. And build it with used materials I had accumulated in 30 yrs of construction.
    I think it is the only one of its kind.
    It is 30 x 13 and has a 6 kw AC pv array on top, 2 500 gallon fish tanks and 30 x 3'-8" dwc grow tanks.

    This is a clip I sent to some friends o Christmas morning I talk a bit about the making of the project.
    This one shows the latest growth
    My videos are not as well produced as yours but you can get the idea.
    Hope you enjoy , Kurt
    Sent from my iPad

  4. Thanks Rob , Its working well , the water has maintained 70F and the lowest the air has gone is 60F when we had 32 below zero F. The only heat is a 4500 watt water heater element in 1 of the tanks . It's looking like the power generated last summer will be plenty to power my house, and power and heat the greenhouse.
    The only issue I have had is snow jamming the casters, making it difficult to turn the building. Planning to put a skirt around it this year to keep the snow out. I just put up photos of the construction on my Facebook page if interested . If you want see the multi fish tank Automatic feeder it is on my YouTube channel, you're welcome to use or improve it.
    Cheers, Kurt Fischer

  5. I want to know if anyone is using Fresh Water Mussels in their system to filter water would seem a very natural thing to be doing??
    >> Are there any of you doing this?
    >> How successful is it?
    >> What if any problems could occur by introducing Mussles.
    >> What are the best filter-feeding animals we could use in our Aquaponics systems.

  6. Hey Rob… You are doing a great job in teaching people about aquaponics… I have also witnessed the potential of aquaponics… Because of great people like you, i taught myself aquaponics and its a huge knowledge… Self sustainability is the key… Thank you… Big love from India…

  7. Hey Rob came here in South Africa to teach us how to build acquaponics so that we as the youth can sustain ourselves.I like to be thought about this so that we can feed our communitys

  8. hey there,
    last year i built my own filtration system but it does not look like the water is filtering properly and i tend to forget to clean or replace the sponges.
    Is there a good brand of filter you can recommend?

  9. hello guys. i want to start a habby aquaponics farm. i want to learn. now there are 2 diff courses available. murray hallam in aus and ryan chatterson US. any idea which is better? i will appriciate any advise. thanks

  10. I don't understand the placement and design of the sump tank, specifically the outlet that leads back to the fish tank. Would it not be better for the fish to have a separate sump tank for the grow beds to drain into and then pump that sump tank back to the fish? That would separate the plant filtered water as a cleaner source of fresh water for the fish tank.

    *Update: Ahh NVM, I see you updated the design since this year old video. I subbed and looking at the current stuff I found the updated design in a video from I think last week. You have the filtered tank water running into the top of the grow beds then draining out to a separate tank then back to the fish…looks good from what little I know about it. Thanks for the vids and the insight.

  11. Your videos are awesome. I've learned so much on Aquaponics. I'm looking to use your design as a reference to build my first aquaponics system. I have some questions: What's the size ratio of the fish tank to the solid filter? As the water flows from the fish tank to the solid filter via gravity, does the solid filter have to be positioned at a certain level in relations to the fish tank? Same for the solid filter to the sump tank. Are all the PVC pipes the same size? If so, what is the recommended size (US measurement)?
    Sorry for the many questions. Appreciate your work.

  12. Hi, thank you for this great video. Loved it.

    Also, does anyone have any experience growing tilapia in colder weather like NE United States.

  13. This has got to be the most educational and practical video for beginners I've seen yet. Great Job!! Subscribed!

  14. Hi Rob, I am new to aquaponics and really appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us. I've been looking at numerous systems and I'm curious whether one can expect to outweigh the cost of setting up and running an aquaponics system such as the one you describe in this video.i.e hydro cost in running the pumps, purchasing the media, fish food and cost of materials. Any info would be much appreciated.

  15. Q. How do you control the fluctuations in water temperature over the year for the fish ? Ps great video and diagrams.

  16. Couple of questions. Can I base a system solely on PEO3 bio filters, a sump tank, a fish tank and PVC down pipe style hydro grow system? How much PEO3 can I effectively have in a 200L filter drum or how many fish can a single maxed out 200L drum sustain?
    It seems like PEO3 is far more effective?

  17. Hi Rob, thanks for this very useful information! i have a question: does both the solid filter and the moving bed biofilter need to be below water level of the fish tank? thanks!

  18. Too me it looks like an over engineered system that is using too much electricity. It'd be cheaper too just go to a fruit market.

  19. Just started looking into this as a hobby or possibly more. This video and explanation was very helpful. thankyou

  20. Amazing video I think this is the first on of the hundreds ive watched that has actually explained things where I can understand. Thanks for the great video

  21. very impressive explanation, the diagram flow really helps, the best explanation so far, love from Philippines.

  22. Hey mate just wondering what you have used to stands on your main system? I'm looking at moving mine around and trying to get idea for supporting my media beds over my sump.

  23. I found from my experience that it costs more in fish food and electricity than the market value of the plant production it provided. Im still in process to incorporate a system that lowers the costs.

  24. Can I have my fish tank over flow to my filter then be sent to my grow beds with the pump in my sub tank

  25. Only thing I have to say is replace the top of your bell with a see through glass jar, so you can see if it's roots or media clogging up the syphon tube…

  26. After doing some research, Bio-filters and solid filters can get very expensive. This really is an amazing design, and its very economically responsible form many aspects. What I would do just to spend the day with you and pick your brain!

  27. Have you considered adding electrolysis to accelerate the conversion of ammonia into nitrates?

    Also could I use dog food instead of fish food?

  28. I've been watching these videos for a few months and I finally got my system set up! Thank you for all the help!

  29. Mbbrs are a waste of time and money and only create new problems in aquaponics. They are great for aquaculture when you have no export but are not good for aquaponics. IV removed 4 in the last year from big grows and all are doing much better post design change

  30. I am always curious about the electricity cost for these kind of setups?.does installing solar panel will have benefit or cost same in a long run..taking maintenance etc into consideration..tq in advance

  31. Rob, I have a novice question for you. But first, I absolutely love how informative and thorough your videos are. Thank you! As for my question, what is the benefit of using the "Y" pipe to send water back to the fish tank as well as to the grow bed rather than simply making it a truly circular system?

    Thanks again, you rock!

  32. Well… I loved it. But im so new in these things that i feel i will never be capable of building that… Do you have or know where can i find a step-by-step for the building system?

  33. Love it .. learned so much from this.. about to start my setup in the high tunnel greenhouse hybrid I built.. check it out sometime and please give me some input!

  34. Hi Rob, Im in a bit of a rut designing my setup.

    I have two tanks I would like to utilise if I can, I discovered a 10,000 liter plastic tank buried underground, that's been collecting water off the rain gutter. I also discovered an even larger concrete tank on the surface, also collecting rainwater from the roof. My basic thinking.. Sump, and fishtank!

    My questions.
    a) If I start with a small fish population, can I just use the water volume replacement vs fish added vs size of the grow beds instead of trying to circle the entire volume?
    b) Both tanks are pretty airtight (particularly the "sump tank", the surface tank has a 2ft by 2ft square manhole at the top, that I could replace with a perspex / glass light hole, Is this enough light for the fish? should I open it further?

  35. Talk about expensive to run ! Buy fish food source power to run pumps plus install cost plus maintenance pleh ! no thanks. Earth is a better medium cost comparative.

  36. Thanks for the detail explanation. I am at the verge of planning to start my aquaponics. Your explanation makes my planning easier!

  37. I tried Aquaponics for 3 years. The only thing I could grow is okra. Tomato and peppers did not do well. Greens did fair. I did not try lettuce. I had 2 float tanks and one rock bed. The rock bed did the best. I had a swirl filter that worked fairly well but could not keep all the continents out. And my drain on my grow bed did not work very well. My fish did well. I started out with goldfish about an inch long. They grew in one year to pan size. I turned them loose in a lake nearby. And got more minnows. I used IBC tanks.

  38. You are the Aquaponics king.. your videos are college professor level but better.. thank you.. new subscriber…

  39. G'day from the UK! Just discovering this fascinating system and your video is amazing! Informative and inspiring! Well explained and easy to follow too – brilliant. Just subscribed so look forward to seeing your other vids on the subject 🌱👍

  40. Fantastic system and information. A one bed system seems to be plenty for me. 12 fish. That's a lot of fish. I don't do 12 fish fries a year now.
    I subscribed for sure

  41. Hi Rob, thanks a lot for your excellent videos. However, I do have a question. With respect to the required fish feed of 50g or 100g, is that amount of fish feed per day needed constantly throughout the lifetime of the fishes? That is, should the fishes constantly be fed with exactly 50g or 100g feed per day, beginning from when they are fingerlings to when they've reached the harvest size? Or does that amount of required daily fish feed change as the weight of the fishes change?
    Thanks in advance for your response.

  42. thank you rob. I am making a small one for my apartment for right now since I cant have a normal one outside. Even with me having some experience from helping others with there bad thing they left town without me understanding everything. Well I want to use some of your filter and use it with one I helped make see if I can get all the solids out of it. my filters going be at the high point and use gravity to take it to the grow beds my fish tank going to be on the bottom and I'm putting a over flow on the second filter back to the take be safe then sorry. I may need to ask questions if I run into a problem

  43. Hi Rob, can you clarify why you used a sump? My logic tells me that with a sump you are mixing filtered water from the plants with dirt “ammonia” water, does this not dilute the water you need for the plants and also send back dirty water to the fish? Would an in-line system not work better, pump the filtered water straight from the end of the plants back to the fish tank?

  44. How do you make the stilling well? Is it basically like a 4" PVC pipe or is it something bigger? Also, what's the white thing (compartment) on the bottom right of the screen at 8:16 (under the DWC), with the three pipes perforated at the top, that the outlet of the DWC seems to run through?

  45. Looking to add 2 more beds to the chop system I have. What size sump do you recommend? They all will be flood and drain

  46. QUESTION – At 4:18, why is the upper part of the Tee left open if the output within the radial flow filter's stilling well is at the height of the water level that you want anyway? Wouldn't that prevent the siphon from forming and sucking out all the water from the fish tank?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *