This is a guide to modify a cylindrical container into an aquaponic fish or aquatic animal tank for inclusion in a hydroculture system. A barrel, over-sized bucket or new container (garbage) bin can be used to make this aquatic tank: containers that are over 30 gallons are ideal for this project. The purpose is to use ornamental fish waste to fertilize plants. Here are project assembly components to choose from.
All component materials should be nonhazardous/noncancerous. For tools and supplementary instructions see: hydroculture DIY
- cylindrical plastic container: new plastic recycle bin, barrel or over-sized bucket
- threaded elbow
- corresponding threaded adapters
- water pump
- washer with screen
- Additional pipe, o-rings and connectors: use 1/2in to 1in pipe and smaller tubing for water flow.
- smaller size tubing and pipes are suitable for drainage. 1in piping offers less restriction, and larger sizes are unnecessary for water flow.
- pipe primer and cement
For an outdoor aquatic tank an overflow connection with a screen must be installed close to the top. Use two threaded fittings, with a washer with screen in between: it may not be necessary for this connection to be especially watertight.
High voltage water pumps can be a hazard if damaged or mishandled. BLDC pumps are efficient and usually operate on a much safer voltage. An airlift pump may also work, if the aquaponics system doesn't require high water pressure. Use wider diameter pipe to carry the water above the height of the tank, then it can be diverted into multiple smaller channels. No electrical connections or not watertight components may be exposed to water. Plug components higher than water-level or have a drip loop, so water does not drip into an electrical socket or other connection. The choices of how to transfer water from the aquatic tank to the plants are as follows.
For an external water pump, a hole has to be cut into the side of the cylindrical container, 1/3 way from the bottom. This must b
Make connections from water pump connection to wider diameter pipe, using proper connectors. The pump's electrical wire must be long enough, and it cannot be exposed to potential damage, and the connection away from potential water contact. On the side top of the aquatic tank, drill a hole to insert a threaded plug and o-ring from the outside. From the inside fit on pvc threaded snap tee, o-rings to the threaded plug. The snap tee is to hold the pipe attached to the pump vertically inside the tank.
For an airlift pump, smaller diameter pipe keeps air and water pressure higher allowing water to flow further. This can limit the height a water-flow can reach and water-flow pressure. Micro-sprinklers may be useful as micro-drippers in this case.
Connect to other hydroculture systems
This aquaponic setup can be connected to an aeroponic or hydroponic system.
If the growbed or plant container is to be lower than the tank, a check valve and additional water pump is required.