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13.10.2015 admin
I had the opportunity to take a self-lead tour of the gardens, a truly magical experience.  I meandered through the gardens, embraced the silence, followed every tiny side path and yes, was the very last person to leave the garden. While there’s plenty of information out there about the benefits of aquaponics, let’s talk about some specifics regarding aquaponic system design that could be particularly useful in mitigating some of the risks and challenges often found in aquaponics. Our aquaponics farm is designed with the flexibility to run in a “decoupled” mode wherein the fish system can be operated independently of the hydroponic plant system.
In decoupled mode, water from the fish tanks flows through the filtration system as it does in normal operation, but it doesn’t pass into the hydroponic troughs, rather it returns back to the fish tanks via a separate line.
When the fish system is running on its own loop, the hydroponic system can also continue flowing via its own pump. Variability in temperature can be highly stressful on fish, and if you’re not able to properly control temperature, fish may stop eating. Another advantage of system decoupling is that hydroponic troughs (DWC) can be run at their own flow rates if so desired.
Deep Water Culture troughs, fish tanks and filtration system.  Image via Colorado Aquaponics. Other reasons for having a decoupled system include the fact that you can cycle your fish system independently while growing plants in your hydroponic system. When reconnecting the two systems, it’ll be important to ensure that the ammonia and nitrite compounds have been fully oxidized and exist at safe levels for the fish.
As is often the case in commercial aquaponics, the majority of the revenue is in the plants, so having your plant system entirely dependent on your fish system creates a single-point-of-failure scenario, which can be avoidable in a decoupled system. If you have an issue with your fish system for any of the reasons cited above, you can still continue to run your hydroponic system on an organic nutrient solution so that you’re able to maintain your production crop, your customers, and your revenue stream.
From The Publishing OfficePowerHouse Hydroponics is an independent digital publication specializing in hydroponic technology and soilless growing methods.
Letter From The EditorAs the editor of PowerHouse Growers Group (PHG), I strive to ensure that our content is timely, well-researched, and on the cutting edge of urban agriculture and sustainability.


The annual horticultural competition is open to all Island residents, and aims to make the Island a brighter, greener place to live. It’s set to launch with a special event on board a Red Funnel car ferry on Tuesday 26 May. Schools, businesses, community groups, towns and villages on the Island are being called on to take part in the event. The organisers of this year’s event hope that the appointment Alan Titchmarsh as patron of Wight in Bloom will emphasise the Island’s green credentials and help inspire Islanders to get involved in Wight in Bloom this year. An awards ceremony will be held in August, where prizes for the lucky winners – one for each of the 7 categories and an overall winner – will hopefully be presented by Alan Titchmarsh.
Green-fingered Islanders can join in by completing the entry form which will be available in the 22nd May edition of the Isle of Wight County Press. Efficient grow light stands bring the sunshine indoors. The super efficient T5 lights help you grow faster by providing 15-20% more lumens than traditional grow lights. It’s a highly productive ecosystem with many extraordinary benefits, most notably its ability to conserve water using minimal, if any, discharge. To provide some context and scale, I’m using my aquaponics facility, Flourish Farms, which occupies a 3,200 square foot greenhouse. In normal operation, the water from the fish tanks flow through a series of filtration tanks and then out into the hydroponic system. A single pump returns the clean, filtered water back into the fish system.
The filtration, or life support, system (LSS) is designed to provide the proper mechanical and biological filtration necessary to support appropriate water quality for the fish. In our farm, water is pumped from the last deep-water culture trough back to the first trough, maintaining a continuous flow through all four troughs. In other words, when the entire fish and plant system is running in normal operating mode using a single pump, the hydroponic pump could be used to circulate water at a variable flow rate through the DWC troughs as well.
Or perhaps you started as a hydroponic grower and you wish to add on an aquaculture component later in the cycle.


Water temperature, pH, Alkalinity and other factors affecting water quality might not be properly aligned between the fish and plant system, so adjustments to these levels may be necessary to make a seamless transition and minimize stress on your fish. Other elements in the hydroponic nutrient solution could be problematic for the fish if found at certain levels. Diluting the solution or exchanging it with fresh water may be required to help reduce any potential toxicity, and to allow you to safely reconnect both environments.
Tawnya and JD Sawyer operate a 3,200 sq ft aquaponics farm called Flourish Farms working in partnership with the GrowHaus, a non-profit urban farm, food hub and marketplace located in a food desert community in Denver, CO. It features a simple toggle clamp for easy lamp height adjustment, and the fixture has an internal reflective finish that directs more light to plants. First and foremost, it hedges against the possibility of a system failure, which could destroy a large portion of the fish population.
This requires the running of two pumps, but if the aim is to increase the flow rate through the hydroponic troughs, then the separate DWC pump and plumbing gives the operator the ability to do so. Another popular design is to keep your fish system in a separate facility, or “head house,” and your plants in a greenhouse.
I don’t know any fish farmer (amateur or experienced) who hasn’t lost a good majority of their fish at one point or another. The two systems can still be hydraulically connected so that the fish water can be delivered to the plant system, but not necessarily be returned to the fish house. Temperature could also be managed independently depending on the location, environmental controls, fish species etc.



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