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One Barrel System Final Setup

Here are the steps to set up the one barrel system, before planting your plants:

  1. Prove water flow and no leaks
    1. Make sure plugs in barrel are screwed in tight, so no leaks.
    2. Set barrel on level surface in a full to partial sunny area, near a power plug.
    3. Fill barrel with water to about 3” below the opening of the fish tank
    4. Setup the timer so it will turn on the pump periodically. Ex: 0:15 every 2 hours, more often in warmer weather
    5. Run the system for a while and make sure there are no leaks
    6. Determine drain protector cover, media,  and water height.
      1. drain protector cover: Measure the height from the top of the edge of the grow bed.
        Ex: top of drain protector 1” shorter that edge of growbed
      2. Media: fill the growbed with media (i.e. washed clay beads) to about 1”, or more below the height of the drain protector cover. This way water won’t wash beads over drain protector and into drain.
        Ex: 2” or less below height of edge of grow bed.
      3. Measure the height of the water in growbed when it is at its highest. Ex: 2” below the top edge of the growbed. You want the maximum height of the water to be about 2-3 inches below the surface of the media.

Ex: top of drain protector to top edge of grow bed = 1”

Top of media to top edge of grow bed = 2” minimum

Top of water to top edge of grow bed = 4”; you want water 2”-3” below surface of media

  1. Confirm height of drain protector cover, media,  and top of water
    1. Ex: top of drain protector to top edge of grow bed = 1”
    2. Top of media to top edge of grow bed = 2” minimum
    3. Top of water to top edge of grow bed = 4”; you want water 2”-3” below surface of media
    4. Plant plants so their stems are above the media, their “butt” is below the top of the media, and their roots are below their “butt”. Roots will grow into the water and live there. Transplant when roots are long enough to touch the top of the water, ex: about 2” long.
    5. Adjust the water height
      1. If your water height is too high it will flood the plants and often float some of the clay beads, at least until they gradually fill with water.
      2. The ½” drain pipe should be setup to adjust the water height. You can remove it and change it to properly set the water height.
      3. Remove drain pipe and drill holes at the maximum height you want the water to be, EX; 4” or 5” below the top edge of the grow bed. You can always rebuild the drain pipe with another piece of PVC pipe if you mess up.

Water Level

Reference: see section “water”

You will want the water level flooded to a specific height in the growbed. After I took this picture I drilled two larger holes (not shown)  in the drain / overflow pipe to set the level I wanted for the maximum water in the growbed. I choose for the water to be 1″ to 1 & 1/2″ below the top of the clay beads at it’s highest level. The holes need to be large enough that they drain the water faster than the pump can deliver the water, else your plants will flood and your clay beads will try to float.

I have installed a 2″ PVC pipe to act as a strainer so that the media (beads) don’t get into the drain / overflow pipe when I need to remove it for cleaning or inspection.


One Barrel System Questions and Answers

One Barrel Aquaponics System Details

One Barrel Aquaponics System Construction

One Barrel Aquaponics System

One Barrel System Final Setup (This post)


School Project

Aquaponics Project

One of the High School student I taught Aquaponics to, built a one barrel system and grew plants. Because she did the project during the late fall and winter they grew indoors. No pollination of course but lots of greens!

Hi Bob,

Suuin had great feedback from her project, everyone is very impressed and she educated quite a lot of parents and students who visited her booth.

Here’s a picture of her stand.

Thank you again for your mentoring

112 Native and Adaptive Plants for North Texas

Tree Planting Guide TA&MImage: TA&M

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Texas A&M AgriLfie Research and Extension Center Bldg C

17360 Coit Road, Dallas, TX

Texas A&M has training classes that will help you learn some useful survival skills. This class discusses native plants. You can ID which plants and how to plant your own native and perennial plants.

This is good information to know if you are making your backyard or country land into a resource to provide you with permanent plant products.

To Register (Required):

Upcoming Courses:

Resource: Tree Planting Guide On-Line

Disaster Education Network (EDEN)


Nitrogen Cycle Startup

FAP nitrite spike during startupClick on chart for larger view of Friendly Aquaponic’s start up chart.

Friendly Aquaponics has some very practical info in their recent newsletters. It is about how to start you system, which is called the Start up Cycle or the Nitrogen cycle.

The info is revealed over several newsletters

Check it out:

Start here Part 1 and Part 2 with these newsletter

Then  read these:

“Clean Water” section of startup here in newsletters: #125, #126, and #127.

Then read Part 3 in NL# 148:

You can get more info and my free to download startup chart here:

Startup Cycle Data Tracking

Testimonials for Aquaponics Class

10 September 2013 Beginners Aquaponics Class




I saw the Dallas Morning News article on Aquaponics, and I am wondering if our group–Greater Lewisville Newcomers Club Garden Group–could visit to see a demonstration/explanation of aquaponics on Sept 9 at about 10 am. We have about 40 women members, and an occasional husband.

Becky Bertoni


Our Garden Group members from Greater Lewisville Newcomers Club enjoyed Bob Jordan’s Aquaponics class on  September 9, 2013. We certainly had a wonderful time learning and seeing your aquaponics systems.

Thanks to Bob for his time and generosity in explaining how it all works–aquaponics may be the future of gardening!

Becky Bertoni



Our garden club was in unanimous agreement after your presentation yesterday.  It was enjoyed by us all. Your presentation included the positive benefits of aquaponics.  The manner of your presentation where you also included your mistakes was very helpful and appreciated.  Thank you for showing us about aquaponics on a Powerpoint presentation and also in your garden.

Lois Heckart

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