Aquaponics Pond Paradise . . . Paths Untrodden

In paths untrodden,

In the growth by margins of pond-waters,

Escaped from the life that exhibits itself,

From all the standards hitherto publish’d—from the pleasures, profits, eruditions, conformities,

Which too long I was offering to feed my soul;

Clear to me, now, standards not yet publish’d—clear to me that my Soul,

That the Soul of the man I speak for, feeds, rejoices most in comrades;

Here, by myself, away from the clank of the world,

Tallying and talk’d to here by tongues aromatic,

No longer abash’d—for in this secluded spot I can respond as I would not dare elsewhere,

Strong upon me the life that does not exhibit itself, yet contains all the rest,

Resolv’d to sing no songs to-day but those of manly attachment,

Projecting them along that substantial life,

Bequeathing, hence, types of athletic love,

Afternoon, this delicious

Ninth-month, in my forty-first year,

I proceed, for all who are, or have been, young men,

To tell the secret of my nights and days,

To celebrate the need of comrades.

Robert Frost

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Aquaponics Koi Pond . . . Progress

Had a little time yesterday to work on the second grow bed.  Placed an 8×16 foot liner in the grow bed area that sits a foot above the pond.  After leveling it out and dropping the liner, I transferred my 1″ siphone over and plugged it in.  I filled the grow bed with water and then brought in my gravel.  You can see the finished images below.

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As you can see, the algae bloom is cleared up and the pond is doing fantastic.  You can almost see the bottom of the pond clearly now. We’ve had a couple of bull frogs join us and they love to sing bull frog at night. . . . It drives the dogs nuts.

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Pond Persistence

I’ve been working on this pond now for the last four months.  Little by little it is taking shape. I never realized it would take this long, but I have learned a great deal about pre-pond design, making walls, plumbing and filtration.

I placed my bottom drain, swirl filter, skimmer and found a large water trough to use at the top of the waterfall.  The swirl filter was designed by cutting the top off a 55 gallon barrel below.

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Once the filter was placed, I filled in the area and this is what it looks like from the top.

Swirl Filter 3

With these pieces in place, walls have been shored up and the waterfall base has been built.  You can see the skimmer in the center of the image.  I was impressed with the Helix Skimmer from The Pond Digger.  I got my bottom drain plumbed, concreted in and smoothed out.  You can just see it (bottom drain) at the base of pond (I’ve got it covered with a piece of underlayment.)

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I decided on the Koi Toilet from The Pond Outlet and I’m hoping that the 4″ drain will accommodate for the ducks.

The The Pond Outlet has a much better image of this bottom drain that I included below:

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Bottom Drain with aeration line (fromm http://www.thepondoutlet.com)

I’ve reinforced the waterfall base with cinder block and used a 100 gallon water trough as the waterfall collection tank.  this way I can plant some plants in the top of the trough that will further hide the waterfall.

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So, the next step is to begin laying the underlayment to protect the liner from holes.  Stay tuned . . .

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.

Pump

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.)

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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.