Episode-1976- Why I Switched to Aquaponics — 18 Comments

  1. Jack, could you ask Steven Harris to evaluate your basic aquaponic system using solar/battery power? Not necessarily to replace the grid but for back up or supplemental power.

    Also, check out Osmobot ( for automated capture of system metrics (i.e. water temp, air temp, pH, etc…).

    Or if you are knowledgeable, check out Raspberry Pi 3 electronics to add components like fans, lights, same metrics as osmobot.

    Raspberry Pi 3 Computer Board – $38
    32 GB MicroSD Card (for computer) – $14
    Raspberry Pi camera – $30
    Water level switches – $9
    Temp sensors (water) – $10
    Temp/Humidity/Pressure (air) – $12
    PH sensor – $40
    Relays for turning off pumps or lights, etc – $9
    12VDC to 5VDC power supply for the Raspberry Pi for $10
    5VDC 2.5A Power Supply – $10

    • Eddie,

      If it’s not too much trouble, could you put links to where all those components can be purchased? Did you research that these are best prices? Thanks!

  2. If you dont know how to program these Raspberry Pi’s contact Adam Allard ( He is helping me program mine.

    Regarding the greenhouse controller… Here’s a rundown of what I would use to build that system:

    The base computer system consists of:
    * Raspberry Pi 3 Computer Board – $38 –

    * 32 GB MicroSD Card (for computer) – $14 –

    * 5VDC 2.5A Power Supply – $10 –

    * Raspberry Pi camera – $30 –

    On top of that is where we would add whatever sensors or controls that we want.

    Water level switches – $9 –

    Temp sensors (water) – $10 –

    Temp/Humidity/Pressure (air) – $12 –

    PH sensor – $40 –

    Relays for turning off pumps or lights, etc – $9 –

    You could power all this with a deep cycle 12V battery (like for a boat) and then trickle charge that batter with solar.

    We would need a 12VDC to 5VDC power supply for the Raspberry Pi for $10 –

    You’ll need to calculate how many things you want to turn on/off and multiply the number of Relays ($9/ea) that you’ll need.

  3. One thing i remember from 1976(i was 8) was my grandmother giving me some bicentennial quarters with the ” little drummer boy” on the back. She told me I should hold onto them, as they were special. But like any 8year old, I spent them.

    • It would be nice to have them since your grandmother gave them to you but today they are worth exactly 25 cents.

      • I agree. Luckily though i was smart enough to save to Morgan dollars she also gave me. They are safely stored away along with my TSP ant silver and other silver rounds. 🙂

  4. 1976, I was in 2nd grade but really spent the bulk of the school year in the hospital with cancer…yep, that was a long time ago.

  5. I use an IBC system and have had good results as it has run non-stop for the last 4 years. For medium I used pea gravel (which was against most recommendations) because I wanted to mimic a stream bed. I clean out the sediment build up in the grow beds every couple years and use it as fertilizer in my outside garden beds. I have also thrown in worms and they have reproduced nicely in the system. The one thing I plan to change is to put it outside instead of in the green house because insect pests seem to get in but the predator insects don’t. The following things grow surprisingly well in this system: Celery, Jerusalem Artichokes, and Potato(as long as the start is planted above the water line). The gravel is nice to put potted plants in as a temporary holding place till planting in the ground as well.

  6. Is the smaller pump you recommend overkill for a system using a 55 gallon fish tank and a 16L cement mixing tub like you recommend for an ebb & flow bed?

    • More than needed, same brand and pick the 550 gph and it would be plenty.

  7. Looking at Tractor Supply, the cost for the Rubbermaid 100 gal stock tank is actually cheaper than the 50 gal stock tanks right now, at least in my area; there’s a $15 sale on the 100 gal ones, so it’s 69.99 for them vs 74.99 for the 50 gal ones.
    I live in Central Kentucky, as a reference point for where they’re selling them for this price.

  8. Jack, just wondering about using cinder locks and pond liner for the holding tank? Digging it into the ground a few feet and lining it would give me something a little more attractive to help convince the boss, and it would allow me to better fit it to some unusual shapes in my area of installation. Any thoughts?

  9. Was looking at aquaponics and notices duck ponics. Now i know you have use in the food forest for the nutriant. But if you had need to replace the fish it looks like you can sub in some ducks. Might be a winning combonation.

    • Duck Ponics is a cute idea if you have a VERY SMALL NUMBER OF DUCKS. It isn’t scalable and it isn’t practical at any meaningful scale.

  10. Could you use light colored sand or rock dust, which is free, in the bottom to better see the fish and gage water quality? Does muck build up on the bottom to quickly make it impractical?