Posted by: grandma | November 11, 2007

Changing Ideas

I found out quickly that a girl from the states needed more hands on help from someone a bit closer.

I found Morning Star Fishermen and took a class on their methods. You guessed it; there methods were just the opposite of my Austrian Mates. I really wanted to stay with them, they seem to focus on their vegetables and they looked impressive, but I was having too much trouble with timers and their solutions with siphons and not being able to maneuver well enough on the web site. I was just in total frustration. My Austrian Mates @ Practical Aquaponics used the flood and drain method (The grow bed is flooded periodically and various medium can be used for the root system). With A Fish tank and a grow bed(s) of at least 12 inches of pea gravel (Which is also the bio-filter, pump, timer, siphon, and a sump pump).

NOTE: I had this set up running continuously and they never clean out their grow beds/bio filter… when I broke down this system three months latter.  It really was surprisingly clean even at the bottom of all that gravel.

Pat, Operations Director from Morning Star Fishermen suggested that I use Deep Water Culture. This is where the plant roots are suspended over oxygenated fish water. In their system all you need is a fish tank, clarifier, bio-filter, grow beds, a pump and some PVC pipes (siphons) and /or stand-drain. This system has to be cleaned all the time. Not hard but just something you got to do.

Later when my system was all up and running, Pat made me promise I would check out Aquaponics Journal. Most of them do it the same as Morning Star except Travis HugheyHe does his in 55 gallon barrels and he does flood and drain in pea gravel… super easy… one day I will add his method to the mix.

To do the Deep Water Culture We had to get two large sheets of Styrofoam (to cover the tank that was going to be my grow bed) and cut 1 7/8” holes. About each hole 4” apart all over. Glue the two sheets together and paint them with a non toxic water base paint (tempera).We had the drain near the bottom of the tank, but Pat wanted me to add a stand pipe (More on that later).



  1. is it possible to use the flood and drain method as well as the floating plants? why did you not use the flood and drain method?

  2. I wanted to, but for flood and drain Dad had to run electrical wires out to a timer box and hook that up to some switches…blaa…blaa..yuck. so reluctly I went to flating plants. I turly wanted to do flood and drian.


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