Newbie from Washington state

6 posts in this topic

Hello everyone Wes here from Washington state new to Aquaponics, actually haven’t even set up one yet but I am in the planning stages looking for any and all advice, I will be reading threw the forms for info and to hopefully avoid any beginner mistakes. I will be starting small, very small really I’m in a apartment and my system will be on my porch for now at least due to a lack of space ( 3 kids and the old lady). Hoping to get herbs and basic veggies out of it for now. Me and the family have actually recently switch to a plant based diet so I won’t be consuming the fish I do believe I am going to go with a continuous drain and fill set up with gold fish, and expanded clay as my medium. So any advice to my current planes will be greatly appreciated.


thanks in advance too all.


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Hi Wes,

Welcome to APN.

Since you don't want to eat the fish, maybe I can recommend a cheaper alternative that can be built in stages.  I don't know what size aquarium you are considering, but systems from a 10 gallon to a large aquarium can be done.    I have a 75 gallon system I run with astm c 33 sand going at the moment. I don't recall what I paid for the sand , but it was in the 5 to 10 dollar amount for a bag. The last time I bought hydroton it was 55 dollars to fill the same amount and its performance was not near as good. Hydroton is great for growing worms in the system.

One of the many problems beginners have cycling the first system.  I would encourage you to read up on fishless cycling or cycling with fish if you haven't already.  From my own experience and the descriptions from others, systems work better if the fish tank has been going a month or so before adding the plants. It is certainly not a requirement, but I tend to see a lot of "my plants aren't doing well" or have poor growth with "add fish and flood growbed." The pH swings and other problems that happen during the initial cycle play havoc with cheaper test kits.  I personally like an aquarium with hang on the back filters and then pump to the growing system from there. Since I use sand it's overkill, but I like it for the times that small pumps get stuck as the filter still helps process and clean fish waste. 

I would strongly recommend basil or green onions as a first plant choice.  They are really easy to grow in these systems. If you decide to go with sand I would invite you to read up on IAVS.  Best of luck to you with whatever route you choose. 

PNWurbanAquaponics, GaryD and ande like this

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Thanks for the advise I was not aware of letting your system cycle first that definitely could help avoid some issues off the start, can you elaborate more on what your saying about what may be a better set up since I don’t plan on eating the fish? I didn’t quite understand sorry. But I think I will go with basil and green onions too start with 


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My main thought was to fish-less cycle with ammonia if you can find pure ammonia.  The biggest cost saving is the sand vs the hydroton media.  You will need a stand and a container for the fish. A 20 gal aquarium will handle a few fish.   Since it is still likely cold where you are, would be good to consider and research a little more and ask questions I think.  

If you haven't read about IAVS. I invite you to check here for some member threads.

IAVS in florida

VKN IAVS  (lots to read , but worth it  IMO.)

My indoor setup 


My setup is an improvised setup of old pieces I had laying around. Certainly not the best one on the forum, but will give you some Ideas.

PNWurbanAquaponics and GaryD like this

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On 22.1.2018 at 7:36 AM, PNWurbanAquaponics said:

 So any advice to my current planes will be greatly appreciated

Hi again PNWA

Take a look at Hugos systems, all very nice, there is link to his ap-blog in the posts, 


edit to add: A nice documentary of his system cut/paste from the blog

quote :

In march, a team from the best gardening show on french TV, “Silence ça pousse”, came in our home and gave me the opportunity to present my lab and share my vision of what can be edible indoor garden.

You can watch it  HERE:ça_pousse_!.mp4

It is in french, but I hope you will enjoy the images.


Edited by ande (see edit history)

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