A Very Special Home Aquaponic System

home aquaponic glass house

One of our clients, Shaun from Vancouver BC, surprised me with some fantastic photos of his home aquaponic system.  I don’t know about you, but I had to step back and admire the detail and craftsmanship that has been put into this masterpiece.

Not only is this one of the best glass houses I have seen in a backyard, the aquaponic system inside is very detailed and well thought out.  It does not stop there.  Shaun has aquaponic systems in his basement running on lighting that look just as good as this one. which are used for holding brood stock and breeding for growout upstairs.

Talk about bells and whistles, Shaun has everything, from media beds to floating rafts and seedling tables.  The fish system includes a drum filter, radial flow filter and even a nexus ezypod makes an appearance.

The growth has also been exceptional with all the usual leafy green suspects, and a mountain of fruiting plants, tomatoes of all varieties, cucumber, eggplant, capsicum (peppers) and even watermelon takes the stage.

This is very interesting considering most people wrongly think this level of filtration will negatively affect plant growth.  It doesn’t.  In fact it looks to be better than some I have seen without filters and very much more forgiving of user error.  But as usual, I have my “aquaculture bent” on, so let’s leave the talking to the photos…

With Shaun’s permission we have put together some photos that say the rest.

Thank you Shaun we are fans of your work.

Enjoy!
Paul

 

 

home aquaponic glass house

One of our clients, Shaun from Vancouver BC, surprised me with some fantastic photos of his home aquaponic system.  I don’t know about you, but I had to step back and admire the detail and craftsmanship that has been put into this masterpiece.

Not only is this one of the best glass houses I have seen in a backyard, the aquaponic system inside is very detailed and well thought out.  It does not stop there.  Shaun has aquaponic systems in his basement running on lighting that look just as good as this one. which are used for holding brood stock and breeding for growout upstairs.

Talk about bells and whistles, Shaun has everything, from media beds to floating rafts and seedling tables.  The fish system includes a drum filter, radial flow filter and even a nexus ezypod makes an appearance.

The growth has also been exceptional with all the usual leafy green suspects, and a mountain of fruiting plants, tomatoes of all varieties, cucumber, eggplant, capsicum (peppers) and even watermelon takes the stage.

This is very interesting considering most people wrongly think this level of filtration will negatively affect plant growth.  It doesn’t.  In fact it looks to be better than some I have seen without filters and very much more forgiving of user error.  But as usual, I have my “aquaculture bent” on, so let’s leave the talking to the photos…

With Shaun’s permission we have put together some photos that say the rest.

Thank you Shaun we are fans of your work.

Enjoy!
Paul

 

 

About the author

Paul Van der Werf

Paul is the Operations Manager for a 4400m2 integrated aquaculture pilot project in the United Arab Emirates desert he designed and built. This is a commercial aquaponics pilot to evaluate integrated farming in arid climates.

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20 Comments on “A Very Special Home Aquaponic System

  1. That is absolutely fantastic, beautiful, and so much care taken. Very inspirational.

    Reply
  2. Thank you for your kinds words Paul. I have learned an incredible amount from all your free information, including building our radial flow filter from your designs.

    I know you’ll be able to help us get over our current hurdle and feel that much more confident in executing it with your help. You have an incredible amount of knowledge and experience… I am in awe. I think what we’ve accomplished has been mostly luck, and yes, perseverance too. It’s been so helpful having you explain how the finer working of things so hopefully we can repeat this in the coming years.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Holy crap that is an impressive setup!

    Reply
  4. Man Shaun that is one awesome setup. Paul I am glad I found your site. I actually found it through Gary’s forum. Without you guys I would have thought that aquaponics was “made easy” not to say that it couldn’t be. I just would have had a media bed full of fish poo. I am actually putting together my first system right now. hope it turns out good.

    Reply
  5. eddiemigue

    That is one beautiful and productive system. Nice done!

    Reply
  6. jerry

    very impressive!

    Reply
  7. shaunmavronicolas

    Thank you for all the encouraging feedback!

    It’s not been an easy road, of late more so (long story short… just had to sterilize the system and begin things from ground zero again). All the comments and looking back this past season remind me to hang in there ;-)

    Much still to understand and learn, made many mistakes along the way plus had some bad luck recently, but gotta get up and move forward! Glad to have been able to have Paul share some of his wealth of knowledge with me, as too others on this forum, so thank you to everyone!

    Reply
  8. eddiemigue

    Sorry to hear that you had a significant setback. You’ll have that up and running in no time. Continued success!

    Reply
  9. shaunmavronicolas

    Thought I would drop a little update as Paul has helped guide us through the sterilizing of our system as best was possible (wasn’t possible to get to every nook) and get things back up without some of the mistakes we made the first time.

    Our biggest surprise so far is that we’ve been able to grow tomatoes with a system that was fired up on Feb 1st, seeding happened 11th Feb. System took a long time to cycle (was a real challenge juggling 100 or so fish). We’re past that and are very surprised by the tomatoes. Never expected what we have seen. Will have to send Paul some pics ;-)

    We had no problems growing watermelon, peppers and egg plant last year (as can be seen above), this time around no go at this stage, no idea why. They just won’t grow. Hopefully this changes for next years planting…. at this stage it’ll have to wait until next year as it’s too late in the season for them to give us fruit.

    So it’s going to be a tomato fest with cucumbers and lettuce greens. A great start.

    Thank you again Paul!

    Reply
    1. Good news Shaun,

      I look forward to the photos!

      Cheers
      Paul

      Reply
  10. Ludger

    sorry to read about your problems Shaun,
    i know it sometimes is difficult to talk about such setbacks, but are there lessons learned, you can teach us?
    If you didn’t change all your media, your reduced success with watermelons, peppers and egg plants, is probably a problem with the fruit succession. They don’t like to be planted at the same spot in the garden either, while tomatoes are known to grow in the same spot for 2 or 3 years without problems.

    good luck
    Ludger

    Reply
  11. shaunmavronicolas

    Hi Ludger. The media was sterilized with Chlorine, so it can be considered “new” as such. Since the water chemistry is very different to what we had, something is up in that regard I feel. It could also be we did not completely get rid of the water mold/fusarium we had and this is affecting the roots of these plants but not those of the tomatoes and cucumbers. Am trying to figure this out…

    In the meantime we’ll enjoy the tomatoes and cucumbers.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  12. Ludger

    Hi Shaun,
    sterilization will help against bacteria and some fungi, but allelopathic chemicals emitted from the plants themselves will not necessarily be destroyed. (What did you actually use to steilize your system, I somehow doubt you really used Chlorine (thats a green, poisonous gas)) You probably used either Calciumhypochlorit or Natriumhypochlorit. I don’t know if raised Calcium or Natriumlevels can have such effects?

    Good luck, to figuring this out.
    Ludger

    Reply
  13. shaunmavronicolas

    Ludger, it was Calcium Hypochlorite, correct ;-)

    Reply
  14. Guy McGowen

    Wonderful pictures Shaun. A few helpful hints if i may. Microbial sterilization always preferred over any chlorine product. True, that defeats the original purpose. But in nature nothing is ever “sterilized”. It out competes for the food source if organic life form or recycles the elements if inorganic (contaminant) material.
    I have spoken with Aquaponic store owners and their well educated staff many times. Large expensive filtration devices can be replaced with smaller microbial filters. All waste and or unknown toxins that sneek their way into your system are all reduced into their elemental form, (nutritional form). Additionally while completing this bioremediation task they create loose electrons in the mixture (slur) that can be collected with a receptor . Dr Oppenheimer’s experiment yielded 2500 watts in 24 hours using a 300,000 gallon waste treatment facility tank without chlorine, during its oxidation cycle. Not enough to run your home but certainly an addition to your homes needs. Take care Shaun. Future thought: think verticle!

    Reply
    1. Hi Guy,

      I am interested to see any White Paper on this product.

      Regards
      Paul

      Reply
  15. shaunmavronicolas

    Hello Guy. You’ll have to share more as Paul mentioned… ;-)

    For peace of mind, I just sent some plants in for analysis and if we discover that we’ve not gotten rid of what we had we’ll have to try a different approach perhaps. Hoping though we did a good job, TBS.

    By vertical… what are you referring too, growing vertically or bioremediation?

    Reply
  16. Melody

    Wow. My dreams arent this beautiful. This looks like heaven to me. I cant even get a small set up going yet and look! I am in awe. I want a lovely puddle of love bubbles, wink Paul, and i’m shown the ocean. Lovely work Shaun.

    Reply
  17. shaunmavronicolas

    Hey Melody, thank you for the kind words.

    Believe me, on the topic of “newbies”, I am. I have only been doing this 2 1/2 years now, having never growth a thing in my life before, nor done any kind of plumbing or had fish. I do wonder now how I could have missed out on so much, but believe me, this has not been an easy path so far and many a time certainly been down about not getting things right. Let’s not forget the constant battle with thrips and spidermites (what I need to learn all about this too LOL ;-) ). Things are still in much flux, I’ve no doubt though that with help from Paul we will get onto a more consistent and smoother path.

    One thing, I have persisted, despite all the setbacks… so far anyway. Might seem a lot in the pictures… it has taken the better part of 2 years, it never happened overnight. Hang in there, I’ve learned much from Paul… and continue to try and understand and learn things from where ever I can. If I can do it so can you! Wishing you much success.

    PS… all this has given me much appreciation for ethical farmers, both urban and rural, it’s a wonder they do this for a living.

    Reply
    1. Melody

      Hey Shaun. Found my way back to enjoy the piece again. Great stuff. After getting my seedlings pounded 3 times by 5″ of rain, i have conceded to mother nature. Would like to know the facts on artificial lighting. I realise you utilise a lot of sun. Thanks Again, newbie ; )

      Reply

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