• Members of the previous forum can retrieve their temporary password here, (login and check your PM).

1000+ gallon aquaponics setup

Migrated topic.


Rising Star
I've had my IBC aquaponics system for about a year now, but due to lack of reliable build information it wasn't quite right.

The biggest issue with the system I was facing was flow from my fish tanks, through my solids filter (55gal drum #1) and bio media (55gal drum #2). This is because it's only gravity bringing the water back to my sump. However, this weekend I finally got around to revamping the fish side of my system. I originally had a single 2" PVC pipe draing from each tank to my solids filter. Now, I have 3" pipes from my tanks and between the barrels.

Before uping the pipes I could only run 1 tank at medium flow before it would overflow and if I ran a second tank my 55gal drums would overflow.


Heres the system breakdown:

4 - 275gal food grade IBC's
2 - 55gal drums (also food grade)
1 - 1/3HP 4000 gallon/hour waterfall pump
1 - 70L/min air pump
8 - 4" air stones

1", 1.5", 2", and 3" PVC pipes along with necessary elbows, connectors, and valves (a small section of 4" PVC to surround the bell siphon)
Uni-seals for sealing the pipes going through the barrels and fish tanks.

I also used caulk, hole saws, a deburring tool, and other various tools.

For the growing media, I did a lot of reading, more reading and lots of researching. IMO, expanded clay pebbles (Hydroton) is the best choice. It offers a lot of BSA (Biological Surface Area) which you cant have enough of. The clay is also 100% neutral when it come to PH. Some other medias claim to be neutral and they either aren't, or they require months to stabilize. I used 8-9 bags and prices vary depending on shipping. I was able to obtain them from a local supplier to avoid shipping.

To add more BSA I added ~2000 bio-balls to one of my 55gal drums

All said and done I've spent under $1500 in parts (including 2 LED grow lights), a lot of time, blood, sweat, and tears. Plenty of cursing and throwing objects, as well. :p


  • 20200401_134345.jpg
    2.1 MB · Views: 0
  • 20200404_182232.jpg
    2.2 MB · Views: 0
The first image is before the 3" pipe upgrade. I have to get some pics of the grow area yet.
Correct. The 3 tanks against the wall are the fish tanks. The 4th tank to the left side is the sump tank.
Top Bottom