Our Aquaponics Operation


We no longer operate the aquaponics operation but are leaving the information up for others that may be interested in starting their own operation.

Our aquaponics operation consists of a greenhouse and a fish room. We run a variation of the CHOP Mark 2 Operating System. The only difference, we use two separate pumps. One from the sump to the grow beds and one from the sump to the fish tank.

Our greenhouse in the winter.

IBC in sump




The greenhouse has a buried sump tank – a 275 gallon IBC tote buried to ground level and three grow beds.





 The grow beds are made of half IBC totes, filled with pea gravel. There are two pumps in the sump tank. One pumps water through 1/2 inch pvc to each grow bed. Each grow bed has a bell siphon that automatically drains the beds every time they reach about an inch below the top of the gravel. The bell siphon returns the water to the sump tank.

 The second pump pumps the water from the sump tank into the fish room and fills each fish tank from the top.

 Our fish room is insulated with power and heat. We keep the room at 80 degrees F during the winter. This helps keep the water temperature from going too low for the tilapia. The water temperature is usually between 68F and 74F and has stayed within that range with outside temperatures as low as 28F.

Back to the system. The pump fills each tank from the top. Inside each tank we have a Solids Lifting Overflow (SLO). This is basically a 3 inch PVC pipe going to the bottom of the tank. There is a T at the top with the drain going to the side. Here is a diagram:

















The fish tank water then goes through a radial flow filter, then into a swirl filter, then into the bio filter, then back to the sump.



Bio Filter


So, the water is constantly going from the fish room to the sump, from the sump to the grow beds and back to the sump, and from the sump to the fish tanks, through the filters and back to the sump. The radial and swirl filters remove the solids and the bio filter converts ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. The plants remove the nitrate and return the water to the sump. The sump returns water for the fish. It’s been operating for almost 9 months and the plants and fish are thriving!