Aquaponics . . . Just BIGGER!

I’ve always wanted a Koi Pond, so after experimenting with my small aquaponics system, I’ve decided to go big.  I’m going to try to keep a pictoral record of the construction progress of my full sized aquaponics koi pond.  I’ve been researching this for the last two years and started digging last month . . . little on the digging each week when I have a chance.

Here are the first few pictures of the progress on the Koi Pond:

Koi Pond

The pond is about 10 feet wide and 28 feet long with a maximal dept of about 3 1/2 feet.

Koi Pond & Dogs

My dogs have been helping . . .

Koi Pond East View

The digging is now done.  Next stage is to place the skimmer, waterfall and filtration systems.  I will build some lifted grow beds that will sit along side of the pond to help with filtration . . .

It has been quite the project thus far. More to follow . . .

Aquaponics . . . A Work in Progress & A Great Hobby!

“Aquaponics . . . what in the world is that?”

It is the question that I get all the time when people first see the raised garden grow-beds sitting above two 50 gallon water tanks powered by eight beautiful little Koi.  I’m about two and a half months into my aquaponics gardening experiment.  Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.

Koi in Aquaponics Tank

I installed my aquaponics system in late October and look at the results in just two months:

Adam's Aquaponics Garden

Three different kinds of lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, stevia, lemon grass, cilantro, cauliflower, and bell peppers . . . to name a few of the plants that are doing very well.  Here in Arizona, we just got our first below freezing temperatures (it was 30 degrees the last few nights) so I’ve had to cover the plants at night, but they are doing very well.

Koi tank and sump tanks

The 50 gallon trough on the RIGHT holds the Koi and the 50 gallon trough on the left acts as a sump tank keeping the water in the Koi tank balanced.


A single water pump pulls water from the Koi Tank to the highest grow-bed at the top of the image above.

Modified Venturi Gravity Siphon

Venturi Siphons

Then using simple 1 inch PVC modified Venturi siphons, the water is pulled from each grow bed by gravity back into the Koi tank and sump tanks.  (Yes, those are shotgun shell Christmas lights).  The grow-beds are lined with 45 mil pond liner and filled with “Pea Gravel.”  (No dirt – just water and gravel – amazing!) Water was crystal clear within 48 hours of starting the system.  It really is THAT simple.  (My father is probably rolling over in his grave.)


I have been amazed at the rapid growth of the vegetables and herbs . . . three times faster than I had imagined.  The only maintenance in the last two months has been feeding the Koi once a day . . .

The Family Puggles

and occasionally topping off the water in the Koi tanks (my dogs prefer to drink the water out of the Koi tank instead of their water bowls).

Adam's Aquaponics

My wife loves the fact that she never has to water the plants, and she has yet to pull a single weed . . . gotta love it when you provide maintenance free food for your family.

Aquaponics . . . my first attempt

After doing a great deal of reading I decided to put my Koi to work.  My wife was tired of the fish smell from the fish tank in my office at home.  So, the two 50 gallon water troughs that weren’t in use in the barn became the new home for my 9 koi and 3 plecos.

Aquaponics with one grow bedAquaponics with four grow beds

This worked really well over a period of a few weeks. I had three other grow beds I had build a few years ago while doing some Square Foot Gardening, that were just sitting by the side of the house.  I emptied them  out and filled them with pea gravel.

The Koi and Plecos are in the tank you see in the foreground.  The second trough holds 50 gallons of water as a sumpt tank.  A single water pump pushes the water from the fish tank to the grow bed.  The bacteria in the gravel break down the fish byproducts and nitrates and feed the plants that filter the water.  I was amazed that the water was crystal clear within 72 hours. The plants are growing three to four times faster than in the standard gardens I have planted in the past.