Contact me

But please remember to leave an e-mail address so that I may respond.

This Blog Post Goes out to Robert in Texas who contacted me through my web site but didn’t leave an e-mail address for me to respond.

He asks for some pointers and notes how I often recommend starting small. Well yes small is subjective and you are in Texas where I guess everything is bigger (well at least till you start comparing to OZ.)

Anyway, 3 spas 600-700 estimated volume each. And plenty of space, lumber, plumbing fittings and a couple pumps and blowers. What do I suggest.

I’ll start off bombarding you with questions if I could.

Well how deep are those spas, are they the kinda shallow ones or are they the deeper variety? If deeper then I say start with the deepest one to make a fish tank.

What is your site like? Super flat or do you have some elevation change?
Do you want to use just the spas as fish tank and grow beds? Or are all the spas to be fish tanks and you will add other containers as grow beds? Do you want media beds or raft? Or towers?
What is your climate like, TX has a variety of those, are you in SE TX with the almost tropical wet gulf climate or are you in the interior or West with a more desert climate? Do you get the cold where you are, will you need a greenhouse or would you rather go for a system that can survive what winter you do get?

What kind of fish do you want?

As to the pumps you have, inspect them closely, if there is any metal other than stainless steel in contact with the fish water, I would avoid using them for aquaponics since not only can the metal leach and become toxic to the fish but it will eventually corrode to the point of pump failure in aquaponics. They also tend to be a little more energy hungry than I like to use. However, I know some people who have successfully used spa pumps so if you don’t mind the extra energy consumption, go for it. As long as the blowers are oil-less they could also be useful to you, depending on the type of system you go with (if it is a flood and drain media system the blowers may be extreme overkill for supplemental aeration but if you do raft beds you will likely make good use of them.)

To “start small” I would use one (or two) of the spas as fish tank and sump tank and then scrounge for some other smaller containers to use as grow beds and set up a system with 500-600 gallons of fish tank water and 1000-1200 gallons of flood and drain grow beds for a nice “small” starter system. Make sure whatever gravel you use won’t affect your water pH.

Answer a few more questions and I might be able to give you more details on design ideas.

4 comments to Contact me

  • Robert

    Hi TCLynx. It’s me again on the hot tub/spa issue. Sorry about the email thing. I’m only just getting somewhat literate on using blogs–and actually truth be told the internet on investigating things. My email is I have few others also.

    At any rate. To answer a couple questions. All the hot tubs are roughly the same height. About 32 inches. The are different shapes (obviously shaped to accomodate 2-4 people each) Generally speaking 1 is an octagon with a deep center. The other two are roughly square.

    I live around Bryan/College Station. Home of Texas A&M university. The weather is humid 80-90% if we are lucky-usually much higher. Roughly in a normal year 32 inches of rain. Although this year is a gross exception. (no rain since january)

    The site is reasonably level. Actually not to bad at all. The soil that will be supporting the tubs is sand. And I mean a lot of it. Sharp beach sand with virtually no organic matter. Doesn’t hold water worth a hill of beans.

    My plans are to put the spas in my barn which is 50X60. Easy access to spark tricity and water there. It needs a new roof in one area so I’m short circuiting a few things and putting in a clear plastic roof when it’s repaired. It’ll make a reasonable greenhouse which I greatly desire.

    The grow area needed is inconsequential. I have the good fortune in this case of having plenty of land. Roughly 200 feet in all directions except between the barn and the house. Even then I can do a lot of shifting of grow space before it gets to where it will interfere with corrals and other things.

    I am interested in aquaponics for a couple of reasons. One. It is an incredibly cool concept and you don’t hafta buy a bunch of fertilizer like in hydroponics. Buying feed is no big deal. Two. In this part of the country. It isn’t oil that a man needs. It’s water. Not a lot of it here and my big thrust over the past few years has been to conserve it.

    Oh. The feed question brings a few things up. Haven’t decided on that. I am leaning toward catfish, tilapia or possibly bluegill. fishing minnows are another side product, but that is for personal use. I don’t like the idea of tilapia for professional reasons. (side note here–IT IS NO FUN GOING OUT TO A STATE OWNED LAKE AND HAVING TO PICK UP 400 DEAD TILAPIA ON THE BANKS WHEN THE WATER TEMP DROPS DOWN AND THERE IS A GIANT FISHKILL. BEATING AWAY VULTURES. UGHH. sorry about that. I may have to do it at work when the time comes. But I’d rather not do it at home)

    • TCLynx

      Hi Robert, I’m glad you were able to find my answer even though it didn’t show up in your e-mail.

      Yes water is and will become even more precious. Aquaponics is very water efficient but you do need a bit of a stockpile of it for initial filling of your system.

      So it sounds as if you are thinking the spas are 3 fish tanks. If you can dig down a little or if the floor of the barn is lower than a sunny direction out one way or another then you could simply set up a bank of beds for each spa and feed them from an Aquaponics Indexing Valve so that you could still get plenty of filtration without needing a sump tank. Then have the beds drain back to the spa (this means the beds need to be high enough to drain into the spa.) Or you could look into a CHIFT PIST or CHOP set up to avoid pumping directly out of the fish tank.

      To “start small” I would say start with one spa and get a balanced system up and running with it then decide how best to use the other two spas.

      I think 600 gallons is a really nice size for a fish tank. It lines up neatly with using a 6 way indexing valve to feed 6- 200 gallon or 12- 100 gallon grow beds.

      I also think tilapia are over rated so applaud the idea of using catfish and/or bluegill. I have grown out some nice catfish and we think they taste better around here and are certainly easier to clean. I only just started with some bluegill so it could be a while before we know how easy they are to raise.

  • Ron Kirby

    I am new Aquaponics readings this AM temp 79 ph 7.4 nh3 0.5 nitrates 5.0 nitrates 50. I am about 4 weeks into fishless cycling. My question is plants are not growing very fast and starting to turn yellow. Should I be concerned and if so what should I do?

    • TCLynx

      Is it the new growth turning yellow? Perhaps with the veins still staying green? That new growth yellowing while the veins stay green is a sign of iron deficiency. Since your pH is still up a bit and it’s a new system. You may want to add some chelated iron to help with the problem. Also with a new system I usually use some seaweed extract to provide more trace elements since fishless cycling really only provides nitrogen and not much else.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.