This is Ivan’s third system. Originally he bought an off the shelf BYAP system, however this only encouraged Ivan’s curiosity about aquaponics and started him down a path of experimenting with ideas of his own, where a second smaller prototype system was put together using components obtained from local hardware stores. Eventually he had sufficient confidence to embark on a major aquaponics design using a combination of second hand IBCs, blue barrels, an off the shelf tank and other components that would certainly transform his boring backyard into a functional food-producing one.
His third system is vast and fairly complex to get a grip on at first, but it’s well designed and very carefully thought out, in fact he went to great lengths in designing his system in 3D using Google Sketchup before building it.
At the heart of the system is a 2000L off the shelf tank. Water is pumped from here to a few different areas through a sequencing valve. If you’re not sure what a sequencing valve is, try looking online for further information. It’s basically a distribution valve that has one inlet port (from your pump) and then a different number of outlet ports depending on the one you buy. Say you have a 4 port valve, one inlet, and four outlets. When you turn the pump on, water will flow out of port 1, then when you turn the pump off then on again it will stop coming out of port 1 and come out of port 2, then when you turn it off and on again water will flow out of port 3. Then port 4 and then back to port 1. This sort of device allows you to have many growbeds and by switching the pump off and on you can water different growbeds sequentially rather than all at once. Of course, a timer or similar is used to continuously cycle the pump off and on. But back to Ivan’s system.
In the first zone (port 1) water is pumped into two complete IBC’s that act as very deep growbeds, filled with blue metal rock media. These growbeds drain straight back into the 2000L fish tank. In the second zone (port 2), water is pumped to 4 blue barrels filled with media (with fruit trees planted in them) and a 500L BYAP growbed. These also drain back into the fish tank. Another IBC acts as an additional raised fish tank that is turned over with tank water every time the pump is turned on. Water from this raised fish tank overflows back into the 2000L fish tank. As you can see from the plans, this system is still going to be added to over time. At the moment, a third zone is planned with 1 additional complete IBC and 4 blue barrels filled with blue metal rock media. To get the latest updates, get online and check out the latest posts on Ivan’s third system.