On this page, we will see my aquaponics system, and those of others on the internet, and contributors.
This is what my system looked like when I finished making it. This was before adding any fish, plants, or really anything else but water. I wanted to make sure it wouldn't leak after filling. I had to drain it, seal it, and refill it. (Notice the puddle under the valve.)
After fixing the leak, and adding some bacteria kick start, I moved the system into the garage where I did a short cycle of 2 weeks. Then, I added far too many goldfish (40-50) because they were cheap. They cost less than $8.00 at my local pet store. After a massive die-off, I began to investigate what I was doing wrong. I started with too many fish, then fed them way too much. This caused massive amounts of ammonia to develop. No veggies wanted to grow in the system either. I removed the dead fish, (and the rest of the live fish) bought some tilapia, and some catfish, isolated them in a smaller tank that was easy to manage, then introduced them to the aquaponics system a month ago (May 2013). So far, no death since then.
Update: November 06, 2013
After a long summer, and about 200 cucumbers from the original cucumber plant, I decided to move the system back inside mid October. I planted some radishes and beans, and left the pepper plant in the planter inside the system. I pulled one fish out with a net. The catfish was about 12 inches long. He got a fin stuck in the net, and still has part of the net attached to his fin. I will eventually remedy that too. Everything seems to be growing well, and only one fish died all summer.
I am also including pics of the hydroponics system finally finished and growing veggies in the greenhouse. The tomatoe plants are loving the fish fertilizer.
As you can see, we have placed the aquaponics system in a corner of the garage most out of the way leaving the garage completely useable. I have 2 florescent lights hanging above the system, and 2 flood lamps above the plants I want to give a little boost. Inside the tank, the fish were hating the cold weather creeping in. They hated it so much, that one of the tilapia decided to die. Now that the tank is inside the garage again, the water is warming up again, the fish are more active, hungry again, and making more fertilizer.
I have studied many websites on the internet talking about growing fish, plants and both in small areas. Many of these sites have said a family of 4 can be fed from this small setup. I think this could happen if everything lines up properly. My fish are not growing as fast as I would like, and I haven't found the right veggies to grow consistantly and year-round. Some more experimenting, and I will have it down.