Intro: I have been tinkering with Aquaponics for a few years now. I have been keeping various species of fish since I can remember and having a love for fresh fish and produce, it is a natural fit! For the past few years, I have been using a modified gravel bed system with IBC tanks. This has worked well but between the already short growing season in NE USA and my crazy life/work schedule, my system is just getting up to full steam when the sun and temperatures are dropping for the season!
Idea: I am now thinking about setting up a smaller system indoors to grow fish and plants year round. The only free area is a living space on the second story. Since it is a "living area", I have to have the design approved by the chief which means it cannot be an eyesore!
I am thinking about a modified Rack System with a 50Gal fish tank on both ends. The grow area will be two 2'x4'x1' stacked beds with independent adjustable lights. The bottom grow bed will be a DWC raft that will also act as the sump. This will be for low growing produce like lettuce, etc. The second grow bed will be stacked on top of that. The light for this will have more travel so taller plants can be grown. I was originally thinking of using gravel for this bed but at nearly 900lbs, I am concerned about weight. I am not sure how yet but I plan to incorporate at least a mechanical filter into the design and if I do not go with the gravel, will need biological filteration as well. With the outside supports, a reflective cover can be added to reduce noise, increase light deflection, and neaten up the entire unit. Having good results with growing seedlings on standard fluorescent lights, my initial plan is to use T-12 Daylight shop lights (2'x4' - four bulb).
Thoughts, suggestions, better ideas, stories?
Oh and as with everything else, this is on a tight budget!