One Barrel Aquaponics System

by Bob on February 5, 2013

One Barrel AP System

In my articles Best First Aquaponics System  and Starter System I stated “The best aquaponics system to start with is the fill and drain system built in an IBC container.” Well I still believe that, but not all of us have enough room or the weight capacity for a 275 gallon IBC, even if it holds only about 175 gallons at most.

For those of you that have less space, are on a tighter budget, or just want a small herb garden close to your kitchen, my one barrel Aquaponics System is for you.

Here are some of the features:

  1. Cost $70-$100 if  you pay retail for all parts
  2. weighs about 170 pounds when full of water
  3. About 3 cubic feet of grow bed area
  4. 6″ of media
  5. 4″-5″ of nutrient rich water
  6. unobtrusive fish tank in the bottom
  7. quiet to operate, all you hear is a relaxing light water fall
  8. Attractive, sturdy, water tight, mar resistant polystyrene
  9. Comfort knowing you are reusing vs purchasing another oil product
  10. Great for a herb garden!

The system holds 17-18 gallons of water and the pump cycles 5 gallons of that through the grow bed as your timer instructs. That leaves at least 12-13 gallon in the fish tank all the time.

Timer 001

I use the mechanical timer from Harbor Freight available for around $10.

I chose Plant !t for the media since it is easy to use, light, works well, reusable, and has lots of pores for the helpful bacteria to live in. I’ll add a little river rock to help buffer the pH. It provides a slow release of the calcium or calcium carbonate which acts to buffer, or cancel out, the acid the bacteria naturally make as they die.

Barrel1 018

The fish I chose are Petco feeder “goldfish”. I say “goldfish” because they call them “feeder” fish, as in feed them to your other pets, and often the fish you get are several species. When I bought I got  goldfish, a smaller dark fish?? and a mosquito fish, I think. They called them all “feeder” fish. The price is very low, the fish are very hardy, will eat lots of kinds of fish food, and poop a lot.

Remember fish poop becomes ammonia, which become Nitrite, which become Nitrate, which is plant fertilizer. Plants that have all the nutrients, water,  air, and sun they can use grow like crazy. The plants grow twice as fast as when in dirt and are happy at 4 times the density. That works out to a lot of healthy produce out of a small grow bed!

The more water you have the easier it is to get your system pH and Nitrite and Nitrate to balance and stay balanced.

So for those of you wanting a first system or just a small one you can use for your spices and keep close to the kitchen, I highly recommend this One Barrel Aquaponics System!

Stay tuned to this website! I am writing a how to book that shows a step-by-step method for building this system. It will have lots of pictures and all the details you need to build this fun little system! See this link.

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