This is a picture of a 55 Gallon Barrel System I’ve been experimenting with at the farm.
It’s a 55 Gallon Barrel over a 35 Gallon Fish Tank.
This used to be a Soil Based Barrel System that had a 4 inch pipe in the middle that you put your kitchen scraps in and the worms would compost it and feed the nutrients to the rest of the soil to grow the plants.
The barrel has 72 holes in it and each hole was a 4 inch slot that I heated up and bent out with a 2X4.
I’ve had this sitting around for a while and I was looking at it and figured I could make it into an aquaponics system.
So this is what I put together.
It’s important in an aquaponics system to have solids filtration and a biofilter to grow your bacteria in. To achieve this I got some pond filter and cut it to the size of the bottom of the barrel.
I also drilled a bunch of 1/4″ holes at the bottom of the barrel so the water would drain back to the fish tank.
The way I’m getting the water to the system is via a 1/2″ pipe that goes from the pump, right up the middle (remember I had a 4 inch hole already there from the old soil based system) at the top of the pipe I have a pvc fitting that is a 360 degree sprinkler fitting.
So the water comes up and gets sprayed to all sides of the barrel.
And since the holes were made to be staggered, the water flows down the barrel like the old plinko game on that one game show.
So the water will travel all the way down and come out the bottom.
The holes weren’t drilled to fit the normal 2″ net pot or a cube. So I would put two 2″ rock wool cubes in each hole but water would still get through a bit which is why you see some algae on the outside of the barrel.
So if you were to drill the holes to not have any gaps on the side (so water couldn’t get out) you could have a really nice system.
With this particular barrel I can grow around 140 plants.
It seems to be working well, I have some Red Chard and Green Chard in this system.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Try it, experiment with it, let me know what you think.