Vertical aquaponics can be built at any size. The smallest size could be small enough to fit indoors or even large and made for outdoor use only. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to construct a vertical aquaponics system with flood and drain.
First identify two similar sized plastic tanks as the size and shape of these will depend on your frame. They will need to be in the region of about 50 gallons in size. Be mindful that the plastic is not toxic and nor were any former contents. They need to be dark in colour to reduce build up of algae. One of these tanks will form the Fish Tank and the other the grow bed. The ratio of the size between tanks is important to ensure the correct balance in the nutrient cycles. More information about making an aquaponics fish tank.
You will need to erect a frame onto which your tanks sit. The exact nature of this frame will be dependent on the size and shape of the tanks.
Create a Bell Syphon to the aquaponics. A bell siphon should be made of two open vertical pipes to allow water drain into them. The outer pipe is called the siphon pipe and sits over the standpipe by use of gravity. Ensure the siphon pipe cap is not sealed at the top. It is better to have too tall of a siphon pipe a than one that is short.
The grow bed will need to have a drainage outlet which will connect to the bell siphon. We also advise that you add an overflow outlet in case of a malfunction with the bell siphon. Cut a small hole at the tank base and insert the bell siphon. Then connect a quarter inch pipe from the base of the grow bed. This pipe will feed into your fish tank when the system is set up. Ensure you use appropriate plumbing fittings in order that there are no leaks.
Place the grow tank onto the frame and then position the fish tank below the grow bed. Ensure that the outlet from the base of the grow bed feeds into the fish tank. Also, fit the overflow pipe in place, and that too should feed into the fish tank. You should be in a position that the Grow Bed tank sits over the Fish-tank. A pipe feeds from the grow bed (base of the Bell Syphon) into the fish tank. Your overflow pipes also need to feed into the fish tank. It’s always a good thing to maximize the oxygen levels in the water so the more the water can be aerated when returning into the tank the better so keep this in mind.
Add the grow bed media to the grow bed. Setup grow beds so the maximum water flood level is at least 25mm (1 inch) below the top of the grow bed media. This helps prevent algae as most algae needs water and light to grow. Your bell siphon will need to be adjusted to the correct height.
Add the pump into the fish tank and, using a flexible hose connect up so that the pump feeds the grow bed. You will need to ensure that the pump has an ability to pump the volume of water in the fish-tank at least once every hour. Also ensure that the pump has sufficient power to lift the water to the height of the grow bed.
Different plants grow well in Vertical aquaponics, you can use this system indoor too. These include leafy varieties such as lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, okra, various peppers and even certain spices. But you’re not only limited to the green leaf products you can also grow many other plants like beans, strawberries, peas, melons and sweet potatoes. With its roots dipped in the water, almost all plant can obtain the mineral salts it needs to grow quickly and well using this type of gardening style.