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Biofilter Update – Aquaponic System Design


1 Month update of diy biofilter.  This 5 gallon biofilter is designed for a 75 – 125 gallon tank.

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Aquaponic System Design – Biofilter

Video on the construction of a Biofilter using inexpensive materials.

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New Aquaponics Video “Organic Gardening of the Future”

I just released the introduction to my series on “Aquaponic System Design.”  I will be delving into the construction of several highly-optimized systems with an emphasis on permanent operation.  These systems are fairly inexpensive and offer a maintenance-free approach to organic farming.

If you watch this video, please comment, and if at all possible, plz subscribe.  Youtube will be the conduit by which I deliver this information to the public.  This Blog will act to discuss some of the finer points as the videos come out.  I will be releasing the first video in August.

Fish Tank inside my Laboratory

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A small Aquagarden I built in Marin County, California

Aquaponics is the merge between hydroponics and aquaculture.  Each field has its own drawbacks;

AQUACULTURE: waste buildup, water must be flushed, filters must be serviced, pathogens and the reliance upon a non renewable means of production.

HYDROPONICS: waste buildup, water must be flushed, pollution due to dumping of expensive nutrient solution, pathogens and the reliance upon a non renewable means of production.

The previously mentioned drawbacks do not apply to the Aquaponic method of growing fish and vegetables.

In Aquaponics fish are used in hydroponic systems.  As the fish secret feces, urine, and waste through their skin bacteria in the system act to convert this waste to food for the plants in the form of nitrates.  The system is a closed system in the sense that the once the system is established and balanced the nitrogen cycle can be contained within the system and run indefinitely.  When combining aquaculture and hydroponics we can see that the water no  longer needs to be flushed.  For growers and farmers of all types seeking an organic means of food production this is possibly the be all end all means of natural food production.

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Custom Aeration Units in Aquaponics

Using custom aeration units is something to consider as a dabbler in Aquaponics.  Here is a picture of a unit I designed that slices the bubbles into a fine mist.

Smaller bubbles improve surface area contact which allows for better gas exchanges.

A design I implemented for maximum efficiency.

Various "Venturi" prototypes.

Tree application: Multiple injectors designed to catalyze breakdown of organic debris.

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Aqua Gardens

Aqua Garden

This is an “Aqua Garden” I constructed for under $200. This modular system was designed to produce up to 80 heads of lettuce every 30 days via a small 400 gallon Koi pond.

I had so much fun building this system.  I can remember learning about biology in science class growing up, fascinated with the complexity of life.  Whenever I would pass a stream or a river, I would always stop to watch the creatures in the water.  Building these systems are my idea of “Liberty” and the “Pursuit of Happiness”.  We can do whatever we want once we break our own programming.

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My research with Aquaponics.

After experimenting with a dozen different designs I have developed an inexpensive yet structurally sound system.  This involves the use of fiberglass, epoxy resins, and wood; using the right epoxy formulas are crucial to structural and chemical integrity.  I design my systems using 1″ fittings and special redundancies for indefinite operation; next to no upkeep as the system runs like a nuclear reactor for years providing food.

Nitrate Reactor

Detailed construction

The importance of basic engineering concepts come into play during this stage.  I decided to reinforce the sides of the tanks with a “belt” made from epoxy reinforced 2x stock.  After assembly the belt was hammer-drilled with 3/4″ lag bolts, tightening the belt around the sides.


After going through a 130 degree F heat cure and a post cure the units are ready for employment.

380 gallons – 1,400 liters
A great degree of prudence when into the design of these systems.  Once installed, it would have to operate reliably for several years with no maintenance.  Eliminating bottlenecks such as debris concentrations, potential clogs, and oxygen “dead zones” was my primary intent.
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Organic food year round with my indoor garden.

"Indoor Garden"

We can feed ourselves with healthy, sustainable, food while keeping ourselves independent from a failing non-renewable agricultural system!

Aquaponics is sweeping the world and unlocking the solution to world hunger!

We need this technology here in America not just in the THIRD WORLD!

Aquaponics is a merge between hydroponics and aquaculture.  Both systems benefit from each others’ weaknesses.

Simply put, the fish feed the plants and the plants keep the fish alive by cleaning their water of poisonous waste buildup.

What a novel concept.

We as a society have an affordable way to produce fish and vegetables which does not include chemicals.  This is an important concept because chemicals have had a large impact on our waterways and environment as a whole.  This technology offsets carbon emission while nourishing our communities.

Many people own homes with property available for these systems.

Considering the amount of developed land we already own – our mission statement could be a reality.

Mercury is eliminated.

We all know how bad mercury is and how prevalent it is in our society.  In America many already consume debilitating levels of Mercury; it is in much of our fish, high fructose corn syrup, vaccines, and medications.  This technology offers Mercury-free fish thus reducing our Mercury intake.

Radioactive pesticides are eliminated.

Many still don’t know that our agricultural sector uses some very nasty pesticides, fungicides, and other chemical products.  These chemicals are the ones “approved” for use by various agencies.  We do not need to use these pesticides as there are much better natural alternatives out there at a slightly higher price.  Aquaponics breaks the chain of reliance upon these chemical manufacturers and allows people to verily control what they consume.

Look at these organic strawberries I grew with the help of some trusty goldfish.


Benefits of locally grown food:

Many Americans have become reliant upon centralized distribution systems for food.  We transport our food across great distances for consumption, reducing efficiency and standards.  We pack our food with chemically based products to preserve freshness, and then we refrigerate it for the journey.   Locally grown food reduces carbon emissions, is of superior quality, and offers larger selection and variety.  Locally grown food is more expensive for many reasons but it remains our destiny as consumers.

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