You can treat aquaponics as a hobby or as a business. In either case, you will need a set of aquaponics plans and the basics on how to set up your aquaponics system. There are various ways you can set up this system. The basic plan of the Aquaponics system involves the rearing tank (fish tank). This is the heart of the system because this is where the effluent and solid waste from the fish are created which form the food for your plants.
The second component is the Solids removal component. The effluent from the fish rearing tank is treated to remove organic matter. This matter is in the form a suspended and settle-able solids.
The third component is a bio-filter. This is used to remove the ammonia and nitrate in the effluent. This is the waste product in the water that if left there, would be detrimental to the fish. It is the key nutrient for the plants.
The fourth component is the hydroponics system where the nutrient rich effluent moves through the roots of the plants. The nitrates not taken up by the plants are removed by bacteria growing on the underside of the floating polystyrene sheets or within the growing media.
Finally a reservoir is used to collect the water, and a sump pump sends it back into the rearing tanks.
Rearing Tank Plan
All aquaponics plans involve a rearing tank. There are many sizes of fish rearing tanks you can design, however, they are all basically the same shape because they have to hold water. Your tank should be cylindrical and open on the top. The bottom should be cone shaped. At the base, the pipe to move out the effluent needs to be attached. The size of this tank can vary from a small tub. The shape of the cone bottom, forces solids to the center bottom of the tank created a natural cleaning action. In the plans listed, this design is key to ensuring that the waste from your fish is processed properly.
Pump Gravity bed System
In this system the grow beds are elevated above the fish rearing tank, and the effluent is pumped up to the beds and then gravity moves it back to the tanks.
In this plan, the effluent is captured at the bottom of the conical shaped fish tank, then a sump pump is used to pump it into the grow beds. This is a simple approach that does not use the biofilter, but the solid waste is removed as part of the sump system.
Sump or Solid Waste Collector
In most aquaponics plans a settlement tank is used along with the sump system. Removing the solid waste will prevent the pipes in your grow bed from clogging, and potentially preventing your plants from received the full nutrients they need. The key to the settlement tank is a baffle. This forces the solid waste to the bottom of the tank where it can be removed, and the liquid effluent can be pumped into your beds.
The Layout of your beds will depend on the type of growing system you plan to use. Below you can see the layout of a system you might use if you have a green house.
Constant Flow System Plan
In a smaller system, you may want to use a single grow bed. The aquaponics plans below, illustrate growing the plants in a floating bed design where the roots are growing directly in the water. In a constant flow system, not show below, is an aerator of some sort. The roots of the plans must have a source of oxygen to grow properly, and thus you need an aerator. It can be as simple as using an oil-less air compressor.
Drip System Plan
This is what your system might look like if you were using a drip system and you were growing your plants in a solid medium like perlite. The effluent is allowed to drip through tiny holes drilled in the piping above each plant.