Simple Aquaponics Growbed From Recycled Materials
I built a simple aquaponics system today and I thought I’d share a few pictures. The awesomeness about aquaponics is the ability to recycle/upcycle so many old materials into your aquaponics system; the possibilities are limitless! Junk yard aquaponics onward!
I got this used fish tank from a hydroponics shop called Brite Ideas (What a great place, even for second hand materials). I gave it a quick wash and I’ve now been using it for about 2 years.
|Stay hello to some big gold fish! (and fathead minnows)|
I cut out a piece of old plywood. I figured 2ft by 4ft would be a good size for this fish tank (110 gallons).
You may want to weatherseal any non-treated lumber to be used in outdoor aquaponics systems…
I completely forgot to take a picture of the 2×4 support framing that was used under the plywood. Basically, you just make your 2×4 cuts and lay them out on the plywood to make sure everything is square. Screw the 2×4 piece together and then flip it all over to screw the plywood down to the frame. To get an idea of what the frame looks like, imagine 2×4 pieces around the outside edges of the plywood and a center support piece in the middle.
I did however snap a picture of one of the frame corners… Better than nothing I guess.
|Square it up|
Once the entire base was finished, I installed some old 2×10′s (we found them in a flood) for walls. I put a bunch of screws into the side walls because the weight of the water will be pushing them apart and I don’t want them to separate over time. Set screws into the bottom 2×4 frame (not the plywood) and also on the corners you can place about 3 screws joining the side walls together.
I previously got some recycled pond liner from someones old backyard water feature. It’s important to preform a leak test on used pond liners to make sure there is no holes. I let water sit for about 2 hours monitoring for leaks. I did find a few smalls holes but I had enough excess length to slide the pond liner around and find a good continuous spot with no leaks. It may be that some of my trimmings will end up in the land field, but at least I was able to save the bulk of the pond liner from the dump. My eco-work for the day has been accomplished. Do I get a green badge or something?
With the pond liner all sorted out, it was time to drill a hole for the bulkhead. This is where a good holesaw kit comes in handy.
Oops, the hole was too small! I didn’t account for how thick this pond liner was. No worries, Dremel tool to the rescue. I just needed to carve out the hole a tiny bit. While I was at it, I got to thinkin’ bout how someday someone will dismantle this aquaponics system. It may be me in 2 years or maybe it will be someone else in 10 years. Who knows. I still thought it’d be nice to leave them a message.
How about some trim? We saved this stuff from going in the dumpster at church well over a year ago. I’m so very happy it’s finally getting used Unfortunately it was only 4ft long and earlier in the day I decided to make the aquaponics system 4 foot 2 inches. Doh! So, the walls hang out of the trim a tiny bit… but hey, this is junkyard aquaponics right? It can’t be perfect! It does look good for what it is though.
I installed the stand pipe for the bell siphon and my favorite part is testing out the siphon action. Of course I always build the bell siphon last and it takes forever for the stinky silicone to dry/cure. Actually, that stinky smell may be me.. considering I have been sweating out in the sun all day with my power tools gettin-ir-done.
Kittehs love construction!
I’ll add more pics this week when I finish testing the bell siphon, gravel guard, and filling with medium and transplants from an old system.