Aquaponic Terrace setup

Hi Team,

I have been doing lot of research work on a sustainable business model for my venture into farming. I had decided to club growing vegetables and dairy farming together as a project. My journey into the dairy farming side of it is documented in a different thread here I would like to talk about a test set up for growing vegetables/greens.

After considering many options, I decided I should try my hand in Aquaponics. Now this is a new technique, not many have tried and since it was untried, failure rate I think is higher. So decided to have a small set up on my terrace do all the experiments and then venture big.

As usual, I would like to share what I do so that my fellow forum members can point the mistakes I do and guide me accordingly.

Hi Nithin,

Even I am also on same path. I am running small Aquaponic model since last 2 year and got fair amount of idea what we can expect. lets connect sometime to discussed more. 

Sure Thawait :slight_smile:

we can connect over the phone or skype… (nithin.pawar is my id)

Hi team,

taking the journey forward… I have a personal belief… “If you find help coming from unexpected sources, nature is showing signs that you should continue doing it”

Similar thing happened to me, I was researching on aquaponic setup and bumped into fiberglass water storage tanks, molded and light weight, single piece, easy to transport and can be custom made to suit any size/requirement. Reached to the website of Ideal Fiberglass and found they had some products which highly impressed me… so just took the phone and called them, reached their factory next day morning accompanied by my equally exited niece.

After knowing about my purpose, the people there showed me a tank which was just about right for me, it was lying in their junk stuff. After a slight round of negotiation, we both were happy with the price we arrived for it. After doing some circus and trimming of the sides, it fitted into the back seat of my accent.

This molded fiberglass tank was ideal for a startup like me. First i thought this to be growbed, but since it was moulded 1 piece and no water leakage I decided this suits best for fish tank.

Now the hunt was on for a growbed. First I thought i will go to some plastic seller and buy tubs and drill holes in it, then i decided to check out some scrap vendor and was surprised, internet has no junk seller on the net for India/Bangalore… business idea for the taking…

As I was on the net scavenging for grow beds, my mom came and told me that there are some tubs kept outside on the road near my place which might suit. Next moment I was on my bike heading towards it. Shocking as it was, I found lot of labsinks disposed off on the road. Checked with the caretaker and he was very happy to give it free of cost (wanted to get rid of it) there were about 20 of them lying there, in next 15mins I was there again with my car.

Never in my imagination had i thought porcelain sinks would be so heavy, I think they were about 20kilos each  ??? I could fit 7 of them in my car and was worried about the shocks, somehow got it home and there was a bigger challenge there. Taking them to the 2nd floor (terrace) took me 3-4hrs just to transport the 7 tanks to my terrace and I was exhausted to the core.

The physical exhaustion was relieved by some tender coconuts and the emotional happiness of getting the 2 main ingredients for my set up. Fish Tank and Growbeds  :sunglasses:

I have added some pics of the fiberglass fish tank and labsinks(growbeds)

Now it was the turn to setup the system, I had to work really hard to get the stains out of the sink but then once clean they were ready for setup.

Meanwhile went to the aquarium shop and got a few fishes, I chose mollies as aeration would be a problem for gold initially. Once the set up is complete and running will introduce goldfish. It was all about drilling holes in the wall, getting the wiring done and installing a suitable water pump.

After doing things at a snail’s pace with all the plumbing taking about a day (ideally it should take an hour for a plumber) we got the bell siphon up and running. The idea was to pump the water to the grow-beds and as per the flood n drain technique, drain the water back to the fish tank using a bell siphon. I started initially with a single growbed for testing, expansion in future :slight_smile:

We first tested the bell siphon set up with a glass jar and manually pouring water in the grow-bed as it was the first time - and it worked :slight_smile: once testing was done and we knew that bell siphon works, then we went ahead with water pump installation.

Hurdle  :frowning: : the water pump I got was not sufficient and was not pumping water to the required height, so that went a waste. So, when setting up, please look into the rating and necessary power to pump the water high enough as per the requirement.

Solution: bought a different pump and now it works fine.  :sunglasses:

will post some more pics soon along with further updates.

We also made a small video-log  :sunglasses: More of a school project types…

I will make a better video (hopefully) once the setup is complete.

Hi Team,

Regret the delay in posting, I have been held up with other commitments.

After introduction of the fishes, I went on to do some sprouting of methi seeds and dropped them into the growbed. All exited, I used to watch it everyday to check how much it grew. 5-6 days later I could see the first few green leaves coming out and I was like… SUCCESS!!

But the first few leaves never multiplied :frowning: only 1 plant kept green and all others died… and dried too  :'(

Flop show… then I lost interest and just ignored the system… but 1 plant kept up and grew about 4cms. That got it the interest again, he was the one who inspired me to get back.

Then I did some post mortem on it… points I learnt

  1. Squirrels were feasting on the plants
  2. Pigeons were on it, pooping all over (could not see earlier due to rains washing it out before i came home from work)
  3. Pump was not on for long and only for a few hours

So I now decided to go for it again…

After planting same for the second time I also introduced an automatic timer.

Water pump now starts at 7am and every hour 30 mins on, 30 mins off then finally switches off at 730pm

I was very confident as this time watering was plenty but I still had not taken any precaution for the animals n birds, however, the sprouts were plenty this time :slight_smile: WOW…!!

But then again same story :frowning: initial sprouts were good then started fading out… I’m like grrrrr >:( >:( now… then I started reading the journals again on the net to understand where I was going wrong… this time animals n birds somehow were away, busy with the gunny bag I left for the squirrels to play with  ;D

FISH…!!! that was the expression and the answer… I realized the plants are not getting enough nutrients as the moleys I had were good breeders not great poopers  :stuck_out_tongue: now come the poopers in the scene, got 14 nos of medium size gold fish… 4th day (today) I can see visible difference, plants are greener and they look happier too, standing erect and notable growth

I’m very happy again now… the fish-plant ratio… most important aspect. I hope I have the combination right this time around.

Will keep you all updated…

1 Like

Hi Nithin,
Congrats on your Aquaponic setup and enthusiasm.
Keep posting, the happenings


Really interesting! Thanks for sharing. It has been on my list for some time.
I think extruded clay beads/ pellets will make a better medium than pebbles/gravel.
Check out these clay pellets

I must say it has been a total flop show as per my first experiment…  :-[  :'(

After fixing the initial issues by adding better fish, ensuring birds and rodents stay away still it did not work out. The new problem im countering are…

plants grow well initially but then turn yellow and die :frowning:
grow medium i just looked deep inside has turned green
I think all the algae growing is blocking the roots and they are not able to breathe
I think the water flow is not continuous, I have a timer which stays on for 30mins every hour

I would request the farmnest team members to tell me where I’m going wrong, what should I do to get the system working?

Adding some pics for better understanding

The main problem of trying to multitask… time planning has to be accurate or you end up not giving time to few tasks. Exactly what happened with me…

After the methi plants were torn apart by the pigeons, squirrels and others… I had almost given up aquaponics… thought I will invest some money, make an enclosure to prevent plants and start again. Meanwhile I got a boost when I was browsing online, I saw a fountain pump for just about 650/- online which would pump water to 8ft.  ORDERED IMMEDIATELY…

After about 15 days of getting the delivery, one fine sunday I was at home (my new full time job is too taxing, no sat sun offs  :'( )

So then that day came and I reset the whole system, removed all the pebbles, put in the hydrotron clay pellets, cleaned the fish tank, installed the new pump. The water flow had tripled so I set up an additional grow bed too.

this time I chose chilli plants… and in about 3 weeks saw some young flowers… hurray… after 8 months of part time experiments… i finnaly was able to get a flower… cant wait for it to turn into the vegetable…

Some images for you guys…

1 Like

great job, it’s nice you didn’t give-up. Any plan to introduce edible fishes later on?

Thanks Senthil, I never give up in life  :sunglasses:  … just joking, I wish it was true, given up lot of efforts half way in the past…  :-\

Anyway, this time I did not and guess what guys, the flower is now a vegetable… My first green chilli is grown in my aquaponic setup my first self grown vegetable, grown without soil. Its celebration time for me … just sharing the excitement with you all fellow farmnest team

Congratulations Nithin,
How did you use seeds , i mean did you drop it directly to growbed ?

Hi Nithin,

Great to see somebody else trying out Aquaponics in Bangalore.
I have also been running a small setup in my balcony for the last few months now.

Have had bad luck with sustaining fishes but plants seems to be doing good.
I have tried Singhi fish earlier as I can get them live in a nearby fish shop.
Managed to sustain 2 finally and they seem to be happy until one I found dead outside the FT and the other totally vanished.
Looks like result of cat trying to pry them :frowning:
Now I am trying climbing perch (Koi) and have managed to sustain 2 finally. They are doing great :slight_smile:

Should be harvesting few onions and potatoes this weekend.
Other than that Arabi and tomatoes are growing well. Chillies not growing well though.

Will post some pics here later. Will be nice to catch up sometime.


I harvested about 6-7 chillies today, lot of flowers blooming in neighboring plants now… but it also has some pests… now Im wondering how to treat the plant without using chemicals…

[member=2867]akthar_123[/member] : I had thrown some seeds into the pots which my mother maintains, old school soil method… once they were about 2-3cms tall I transplanted them into the grow beds.

[member=13263]PankajBodo[/member] : Good to meet you here, I have not yet tried luck with those breed of fish. I have just used Gold fish in  my system as I know they produce lot of waste. It will be nice to meet you and checkout your system too, plese post some pictures…

Hi Nithin,

Congratulations on your first harvest  :slight_smile:.
On the pests I think you can search this forum for organic way of tackling it. Read somewhere about neem solution and something called panchagrava.

My tomato plant is growing well. Have also planted two chilli plants now. Posting a few pics. I am using an air pump, though pics are not too clear due to obscure location of the setup. Lets plan to meetup sometime. I live in hsr layout. How about you?