Aquaponics in a Barrel
If you are looking for an introduction to aquaponics that is simple to build, fun to watch and demonstrate to friends and family the joy of soil less gardening. This small unit may be for you. It is capable of growing various vegetables and herbs and would be a wonderful addition to the home kitchen as a source of fresh herbs and occasionally (depending on the species used) a fish or two. What it most likely won’t do is provide the vegetables to sustain someone on it’s own. That is for a much larger system. Fish production is also limited because of the small size of the unit. The actual production possible is mainly dependant on the operators ability to manage it.
I have personally grown tilapia in this system to about 1/2 Lb. Not a lot of them, just a few. I have grown tomato plants and papaya trees in this system with nothing more than 4 each of 1/2Lb. tilapia as the nutrient source. Remember this is not magic. This systems fish tank at the lowest point in the cycle will only have a little over 20gal. of water in it. In my opinion it’s simply not practical in the real world to grow high densities of fish and have a system that is forgiving at the same time.
This unit is specifically designed as an introduction to aquaponics and to make one familiar with the principals involved with minimal expense. It is very adaptable to situations where conventional electric pumps may not be practical. This is all about learning fun and not intended to be a commercial unit in itself although I believe the principles can be enlarged to do so. Please read this material in it’s completion before attempting to build this unit.