Here are some ideas about materials.

Bulkhead fitting – When you make a hole in a container to connect a pipe, a bulkhead fitting provides the seal around the hole. Bulkhead fittings can be expensive. Use this as a cheap alternative.

Bell siphon – Essential for growbeds.

Bell siphon design description from the University of Hawai’i

Containers are just things that hold water. The three main containers are the fish tank, growbeds and biofilter. The grow beds and biofilter are often combined. Bulkhead fittings and pipes connect these containers. Water flows through these pipes circulating the materials through the system providing waste removal and nutrients.

My first aquaponic system was an extension of a small raised koi pond. The pond was constructed with cement blocks and lined with EPDM pond liner. The biofilter was made from Rubber Maid containers and polypropylene trash cans. I struggled with bulkhead fittings. I used ABS fittings and washers to make up the gap of the fitting. There is no glue that is fish safe and that will stick to polypropylene.

When I added growbeds I used cement mixing pans and cinder rocks.

These are the materials I used for the temple system

  • IBC tote – fish tank from Craigslist
  • polypropylene trash cans – biofilter
  • polypropylene package strapping – biofilter material
  • cement mixing pans – growbeds
  • lava rock cinder –  Growbed material. Although is hard on the hands its lighter than gravel, cheaper than clay balls
  • electrical conduit fittings – bulkhead
  • aquarium silicon sealant – for bulkhead seal
  • PVC pipe
  • Microbe-Lift /PL – establish bacteria


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