A rambling description of the growth of our aquaponics system:

Our aquaponics system has been a labour of love and remains a work in progress.

It started as a proof of concept with a NFT table (given to us by our friend, David MacKinnon), a bucket of water and an aquarium pump to circulate it (no fish at this stage).



That worked, so we moved to the media bed idea. That took  but more effort – construction of the supports, finding and cutting the beds, cleaning the media and, of course, the plumbing  (many $$$$$ indeed!).

Then we added a few fish – a few donated goldfish in a single tank.

That second incarnation was the NFT table and 3 media beds, the fish tank and a sump. All survived the winter in a DIY greenhouse.


DIY greenhouse
Proud builders of our DIY greenhouse


Deciding that it all worked well, it was time to ditch the greenhouse and add a fourth bed. The NFT table went later as well, to be replaced by bed number 5 and a second sump tank.

An extra tank was added to hold more water. It was planned to be some kind of filter, but it wasn’t effective.

Next came a pipe bed, running higher than the others along the fence.

Later we added a bed to hold lettuce and the like on a raft. This bed needed a constant flow because, with its addition, our pump didn’t have enough flow to satisfy a sixth bell siphon.

That bed was plagued with algae. To resolve it, it became a constant flow media bed.


Dutch Buckets
Dutch Buckets


Finally, four Dutch Buckets were added, supplied by the flow from the pipe bed and dumping into the sump directly. They will be for Sweet Potato in Spring. We had issues with the roots in a regular media bed and ended up hacking them out with a hatchet and putting the media onto the garden.

The Dutch Buckets have been taken down and replaced with a single tub for the Sweet Potato and Wasabi. All the pipes and stuff made the area look untidy and I’d made a mistake with the type of bucket. I didn’t realise that they were slightly translucent, allowing enough light to allow the growth of algae on the perlite inside.


Related Blog articles:

First steps

Ready for production

Second stage aquaponics

A new bed

Finally fish

Dec 2017 update

A new tank

Winter 2018 walkthrough

Summer October 2018