Curent tank set up

2nd System

My second Aquaponic Set up 

I was in total frustration not getting my first system running until I found Morning Star Fishermen, I took a one Day Seminar, and Their methods were a-little different then the Austrians. Morning Star used Deep Water Culture (the plant roots are suspended over oxygenated the Fish water). My Austrian Mates used Flood and Drain. Pat, from Morning Star, made me promise I would check out Aquaponics Journal.. He knew I was having trouble deciding what to do. Most of them do Deep Water Culture .To change the Grow Bed to Deep Water Culture We had to empty out the gravel. (Note: the water had been running about three months continuously through the gravel tank and had never been clean out… when we broke down the system It was surprisingly clean even at the bottom of all that gravel.)

  • cut to size two large sheets of Styrofoam. 
  •  Glue the two sheets together.
  • Cut in a 4”  grid pattern  1-7/8” holes. 
  •  Paint the Styrofoam with a non toxic water base paint (tempera).
  • Add a stand-drain. We had the drain near the bottom of the tank, and we add a stand Pipe  (A pipe perpendicular to the drain)– to keep the water at a height of about 2” below the top edge. 
  • Thanks to my son David, He had us add a overflow drain for any emergency. (Sure glad we did this, it has come in handy a zillion times.)

For a Clarifier we used a 55 gallon drum. Our pump was pumping 750 g.P.H. 

pvc in clarifier

It stirred up the water, so David added some pvc to the bottom of the pipe to cause the water to enter the clarifier at a slower rate.  

For the Bio-Filter we added an old cast net we had, that my dad had made for me.

bio filter


2nd system- what is what

November 2007 After my system was up and running I discovered from  Aquaponics Journal   That Travis Hughey, does Barrel-Ponics, 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.



  1. This is a great aquaponics setup. I hope to design something similar soon.

  2. You will have to send me some pictures. If you have any Q? feel free to ask, I have found lots of resourse.

    I have a few update yet to come

  3. Barrelponics by Travis Hughey has been the best resource for me. I would love to see an update on your system once spring comes around!

  4. Sorry, I have had lots of changes in my personal life reacently. I am giving my system a face-lift though. One of my containers sprang a leak. It will 3 times as big.

  5. Hi!
    I have an aquaponik system too! Your ideas are great and i will try to get some of them in my german aquaponik system!
    Keep it up!
    greeting simon

    • German? never herd of it. you will have to tell us how they differ.

  6. I believe you might be near me in Florida. Can we come by to visit and see your operation? We live in Inverness. We are building our system. I use to work at New Alchemy Institute on the Solar aquaculture. Great work.

    • Sure, Yall come!! I live in Pinellas Park

      My system has changed alot, sorry I have not had time to post about it, but I am going to really soon. I promise.

      You could go to Morning Star Fishermen. That is where I took classes. They are close too! morning star fishermen
      Dade City Florida

      they have a very nice facility and their tours are only a $5.00 donation.

      What do you do with solar? I am very instrosted.


  7. We are in Wesley Chapel, and will be building our system soon…any advice on where to get tanks, liners, grow bed medium, etc. on the cheap?

    • YES

      First do you know how big you want your system? To find that out ….you need to know how many plants you want….you need 1 fish for every 2 fruit bearing plants….and 2 fish for every 10 leaf plants. I did not understand this at all so I thought If I wanted fish for a year and plants for a year….well its does not work out like that.

      I also would recommend the week long class at Morning Star Fishermen….then are just North of you in Dade City It will be well worth the investment. I volunteer there often. I would be happy to help you if you need.

      Morning Star Fishermen does have a few systems for sell . They have a instructions on a system DIY that will provide 1,000 lb of fish and 1000 lb of plants every year for $7,000 …..(let me know I can get you the info)

      be sure to buy a EPDM liner – not the liner at home depot / lowes….for ponds….it is great for ornamental fish but it will put a toxin in your tank and you will be eating your fish and plants. (that bit of info I would have loved to have…that was a cost of several hundred dollarsbuying and replacing)

      ***Always wash your liner ….they recommend you lay in the liner down…fill the tank with water allow to sit for several hours up to 24….and then do this again- about three times….wish I had know this too….

      You can buy a above ground pool if you would like and sink it at least half way in the ground. (remember if your ponds are in the ground, the temp will stay more constant which is a plus in the winter months when every one is losing there fish and you are still doing great.) also wash this liner also three times. One guy recommended not using this liner cause Tilapia eat algae and they HAVE punch a hole in the liner. but other people do like it. (it is cheap- I think you can buy a 1600 gallon pool for 325 at Sams. I wish I had gone this way…)

      for a EPDM liner I believe Paul from Wildrose lawn care in Lutz….would have good prices…. …besure to tell him Jan sent you…He is a great guy he is a good resource for information. I use Adams Nursery here in St. Petersburg – and there prices were very good…it beats shipping it.

      Let me know what kind of system you are building….flood and drain or raft….raised beds…and I can give you more details. the filtration system is also important.

      My new system I use rafts (float system) and flood and drain ( with 1/2″ rock….very import the size of the rock)

      Hope to meet you at MSF

      MSF Volunteer

  8. I have to agree about Travis Hughey’s barrel-ponics being my best resource. He has a ten growbed system which uses 8 blue barrels and an in-ground home-made tank. I’ve seen it work in person and it gives awesome growth results. That system is my next project before I try to produce enough to have extra veggies to sell. I plan on bartering any extra fish for things which I don’t intend to grow. You may have to make your stands for your growbeds out of metal in Florida but other than that his system should work fine since he is located in South Carolina. He has a nice group on yahoo at

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