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New Hydroponic System I built that is efficient for those of us who are spatially challenged!

Hey Guys, I've been working on this for several weekends and finally posted a video of it. I designed this unit to fit in 1 square foot but be able to hold 12 plants. I built it from materials readily available to anyone with a hardware nearby. About the only thing you may have to order online would be the timer and the pump.

Anyway, this is my project! Check it out!

I will be posting a detailed "HOW TO BUILD" video after this weekend. I have all the shots filmed but I haven't edited them together yet.

My goal is to get as self sufficient in food production as I can with my limited space. I figured some of you out there have those same goals and might be interested in seeing my creation.

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Tweaked your idea

I loved your idea, I took it and build my first aquaponic system using your idea. Here's how it turned out, I don't have anything growing yet, but we should see here in a few weeks.

AWESOME! Wow you are fast!

You are the first to build it so far. I'm not experienced with aquaponics so it would really be cool to see how it works for you. Have you done Hydroponics before? I didn't put it in my video this time but make sure you wash the hydroton rocks as they can cloudy up your water. I usually put them in a strainer and give them a good wash.

Look how my water got dirty here at around 1:30 min into this video.
I think thats what happened to you.

Great job though and love the bell siphon at the bottom!

Thanks! your video inspired

Thanks! your video inspired me!

I'm not experienced with aquaponics or hydroponics. This is my first go at it, so I'm sure there will be a learning curve. I did have to take it apart a couple of times already and deal with some water leakage. Now I'm getting a really high PH in the fish tank, so I think I might have to switch the rock out, even though none of the rocks respond to vinegar, so I don't think there is any lime in it. I am also adding a fish tank heater to the fish tank to heat the water up some.

so far so good though, I hope to see some sprouts pretty soon.



Christians should not be warmongers!

Really interesting and seems practical..

I suppose it is a nice learning experience also for the whole family to integrate something like this.

Very interesting.

Thanks for posting this.Seems like a good project to take on.

They should add this to open

They should add this to open source ecology

- Grow Mushrooms at Home

God Bless you for bringing permaculture to DailyPaul front page!

wonderful innovations cant wait to see the next video!!!

A true flower can not blossom without sunlight and a true man can not live without love.

Sepp Holzer is not God

but it is easy to see why a gardener might get confused. He's coming to the US - out of my price range, but there should be fresh youtubes soon!

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

Big bump for DIY liberty!

For those with just a bit more space, look into "barrel-ponics" - a little fish in the system makes it even more self-sustaining.
THANK YOU for making "how to" videos of this. You just never know... I posted a beginners aquaponics video that my subscribers all watched and then the view hits stopped coming in and it got bumped down my "video manager" page - out of sight, out of mind. About a year later we were looking to send the video to someone, and it had almost 40,000 views, not it is over 60,000. People are hungry for this information, and it is one thing to make a video and say "See what I did" but it is much harder to find the videos that say "Here is how YOU can do it."

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I am guessing one male betta would be a perfect fish for this?

Since bettas aka"Siamese fighting fish" can breathe air unlike most other fish and can thrive in small amounts of water.Have you used a betta for a small setup like this before?I am thinking a small setup where tilapia would be too large a fish.

A good rule of thumb

is 1/2 pound of fish per gallon of water. Bettas should work fine, although I have not used them. I have used goldfish and they got fat and happy.

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I want to set up a better outside aquaponics system in the spring, I have seen multiple systems on line. You are right, many show what they built, but very few show exactly how to build it. What's maybe more important is how to keep it balanced and maintained. How is your system doing?

Here's the thing about maintenance...

If you use the right kind of fish, maintenance is hardly required at all.

I have a pretty elaborate aquaponic system at my house with tilapia. They can tolerate seriously nasty water, they eat pretty much anything, etc. For tilapia, their only real requirement is that the water temperature be pretty high--above sixty to live, and above seventy-five (give or take a few degrees) to really grow.

Catfish are even easier--similar tolerance for muck, higher tolerance for temperature. They just get bigger.

Get a simple kit for testing pH and ammonia, check every once in a while (especially at first), and if you see a problem, fixes are easy. If the ammonia is high (constantly high, because natural spikes will occur as the nitrogen cycle develops) you should remove some fish, increase your water volume, or add more plants to your system. pH usually isn't a problem, so long as you use something chemically neutral (gravel works surprisingly well and is "less-than-dirt" cheap!).

I'm in Michigan, what would be a good food fish to raise?

Tilapia won't work except in the summer months, I was thinking perch or catfish, maybe trout? What I am doing now is running water from a small, 5-6 hundred gallon inground lined pond stocked with goldfish into approx 130 sq ft of raised bed gardens. A constantly running pump pulls the water through a small biofilter, then it's splashed back to the pond. As the on ground garden beds need watering, a valve simply redirects the water to the gardens. As the pond loses water, I just add fresh. So its not a true recycling system, it uses fish water to irrigate the garden.

The garden beds are 1/3s, compost, vermiculite, and peat moss. Since I started irrigating with the pond water, the growth of the garden has been amazing.

You're definitely going to want to stay away from tilapia

The heating costs alone would be enormous. Perch or catfish would work, trout tend to grow much more quickly if they have adequate space, but you could get a decent amount in a 5-6 hundred gallon pond, for sure. As far as feeding and water maintenance go, however, catfish are going to be easiest. They're basically water raccoons. Catfish won't really spawn unless the water is warmer, but I imagine it gets warm enough in the summer. Not from Michigan, so I can't say for sure, but you should be safe with any of the above. No reason you can't do a combination, either! (just make sure you set up a different take for any fry so they don't get eaten!)

It's not, at the moment...

We are building a new dome for our final, permanent system and renting a tiny trailer in the meantime. The dome is done, now we are working on a rocket mass heater. Then we will set the system back up.
The last time I checked, there was still celery growing in a pot that I just tossed into a shed last fall when I broke the system down, so I guess it might still be growing celery... lol!

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"My goal is to get as self

"My goal is to get as self sufficient in food production as I can with my limited space."

Ok... but would it work to setup a marijuana grow room --- for those of us who live in states where such activity is legal.. of course..

Jefferson's picture


cannabis grows very differently than lettuce, and you claim to be in a state where it is legal, then space shouldn't always be an issue. Many times in an "illegal" state, freestanding or wall hanging vertical gardens are used to maximize the use of minimal lights and energy used to cool the room. They will use several small cuttings and arrange them around the light. This lower wattage approach is done with hopes of not alerting the power company. Google "sea of green technique."

In a state where legal restrictions are less, one would typically use individual pots or containers as the root ball needs to be as big as possible. The bigger the roots, the bigger the fruit/flower.

So if one were legally allowed to grow say 10 plants max for personal use, one would want to make those plants as large as they possibly could rather than getting the same out 100 tiny plants.
(which would be illegal, if that makes any sense)

Disclaimer: The author of this post shall not be held responsible for any actions taken as a result of reading this post. This post is strictly for entertainment and or educational purposes only, and does not promote or condone any illegal activity whatsoever. Not valid in all 50 states. Some restrictions apply. Only one coupon per purchase. Batteries not included. Some assembly required. Company paid spokesman and not a board certified lawyer. The statements shown on this website have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. See customer service representative for details....;)

If only your governor

would exercise sovereignty and stop the feds!

No, Amendment 64 (Colorado)

No, Amendment 64 (Colorado) allows for the cultivation of 6 plants PER ADULT living in a household. And the Gov, Law Enforcement and even the City Council has conceded that people are allowed and will grow within their homes.

Jefferson's picture


does it say about greenhouses? Can they be attached to the home? There is no substitute for the sun, especially when the power pill comes. If you had a solarium attached to your house that would seem to be ideal. Believe me when I tell you that you don't want to get a whole bunch of lights and air conditioners if you don't have to.
If it were me, I'd have a solarium with a stained concrete floor and a drain, and dirt in containers. Beginners are usually advised to start out using dirt. It is much more forgiving of mistakes than hydroponics because the plants react less quickly. If you have a pump go out or mix your nutrients wrong, it can devastate the whole thing pretty quickly.
I'd have 6 (or 12) gigantic Christmas trees with a reading chair right in the middle.
BTW, do you need a roommate for the summers? I don't take up much space, and am fun to party with....;)

Seriously though. Congrats on getting your laws passed. I have a friend who is working on some large scale projects there. (Stuff that would make your jaw drop) I want to go and visit just to see it in all its glory.

It says you can grow in a

It says you can grow in a private, enclosed and locked space.

It's pretty vague by design. Personally, I consider my entire backyard a Private, Enclosed (and if I put a lock on my gate) locked space.

But to bluntly answer your question, yes, I'm pretty sure greenhouses would be allowed -- although I don't think that natural sunlight really replaces the consistency of a 1000w HPS light and a timer.

The yellowing leaves are a sign of mineral deficincy

Add some neutralized wood ashes to your nutrient solution.

Cool project. Well made.

Use outside or with LED grow lights.

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or rusty nails?

Yellowing in aquaponics is often iron deficiency. Those with money buy chelated iron, those with a "make do or do without" attitude put a few rusty nails in the system.

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Here's more information.

Photos of plants with Mg, Mn, Mo, N, P, S, n, B, Ca, Cl, Cu, Fe and K deficiencies.

Use these maps to find the wood ashes you need.

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great link!

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Oops forgot maps

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Spot on dude. I've been

Spot on dude. I've been looking to do something like this myself