New Outdoor System

This is the overall layout of the new system that I setup in my parents backyard. It’s basic, small, but I hope more thought out than my last garage system.

The system is based off of Travis Hughey’s Barrelponics system. You can download his barrelponics manual from if you’d like to setup your own system.

Here is how my system is different:

Fishtank: My system uses goldfish as opposed to tilapia. It has a high alkaline level, but is also a very hearty fish. There’s also an algae eater in there. On top of that, it’s cheap to replace if something goes wrong. I also added valves to the pipes that feed the fish tank so that I can control how much the grow beds flood. I also have some little air pumps pumping fresh air into the fish tanks cause I was concerned at one point that the water falling in from the grow beds wasn’t enough oxygen for the fish in the tank.

auqaponics fish tank

Upperflood tank: There isn’t one. Instead I have a simple repeat cycle timer set up and that in conjunction with the above valves means less money for electricity. Plus, It also means you don’t need to buy a 3rd barrel for the upper tank. You can get a Hydrofarm Digital Adjustable Recycling Timer at this link. I’m told there are advantages to having the upper barrel but I haven’t really seen them that much yet.

Growbeds: Minor changes from Travis’s system. I added a pipe at the rear so that the water from the two tanks is shared, thereby keeping water levels equal no matter what. I also added some valves to the pipes that feed the fish tank so I can control the escape of water better. The valves were a great addition. My only regret is not putting the pipes that share the water way lower. Oh well.

Greenhouse: I didn’t want to build a full size hot house in my parents backyard, nor did I feel like I could justify that expense. the little one only takes up about 6 square feet of the backyard and is 6 feet tall at it’s highest point. Doors swing open on both sides to get to the fish tank and the grow beds. This is what it looked like originally. It’s made out of pressure treated wood, plastic wrap, and has a fan on one end to help cycle air through.

It how looks like this, with additional single pain windows for the roof and dual pain windows on the sides, with plywood at the bottom cause there’s no light needed to hit the elevated grow beds.

You can also see my little external, non-hothouse unit in the back. The plastic is to protect the fish, no other reason.

This is an old video of the entire unit, explained form top to bottom. If you have any questions, just leave me a comment.


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