Aquaponics Home System – Part 10: Water Flow

This is the aquaponics system as it looks at the moment:

Below you’ll find an overview of the water flow in the system (you’ll have to click the picture to go to the full size drawing):

The water is pumped into the plant tank and due to gravity the water is sucked into the fish tank. It then flows from left to right in the fish tank since the pump sucks up the water in the right side of the fish tank. The water flows from the front of the plant tank to the back and down the drain. This way the water carries nutrients from the fish to the plants.

It’s important that the plant tank is placed higher than the fish tank in order to let gravity do half of the work. The water pump is placed below the fish tank. For the return path I use PVC pipes and for the pump I use aquarium hoses.

2 comments on “Aquaponics Home System – Part 10: Water Flow

  1. -

    I can imagine that the pump can be “seen” on the power bill. Have you thought of any way to make it solar powered? I like the idea that such systems are largely self-contained, energy wise.

  2. -

    @Henrik: Good point. The problem is that the pump will be running 24/7(/365) to keep the system alive. Although the pump only loads with 65 W it’s going to add up over a year. Take a look at this calculation:

    P = 65 W

    Hours in a year:
    365 days/year * 24 h/day = 8760 h/year = 8.760 kh/year (kilohours per year)

    Energy per year:
    65 W * 8.760 kh/year = 569.4 kWh/year

    Electricity rate:
    1 kWh = 1.8 DKK (Danish currency)

    Price per year:
    (569.4 * 1.8 DKK)/year = 1025 DKK/year

    Price per year, US dollars:
    (1025 * 0.1810 USD)/year = 186 USD

    Bottom line: This is going to hurt!
    NOW I’m motivated to make the system run on solar power 😀 It would be challenging – a large energy reservoir would be needed to keep the system running at night.

    A question on strategy: Why is it smart to make these systems self-contained? I agree, I feel that way too, but what would the logic argument be? Is it the classical war between light and dark, distributed versus centralized power, hippie farmers versus suits – the battle that keeps the world ALIVE?

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