Saturday, November 28, 2015

Aquaponics Workshop & System build for Savour Soil Aquaponics.

A fair few months ago I was asked to put on an Aquaponic Workshop by Michael from Savour Soil Permaculture at Laidley in SE Queensland. Was a bit hesitant at excepting the offer as I haven't had much experience at teaching but must say I'm pleased I did.

The workshop was held last weekend (21st Nov 2005) & covered the basics of setting up an aquaponic system for folks interested in expanding their food production in their backyards or small holdings.

A basic split flow aquaponic system was assembled from recycled components on site for Michael & his family. It made a great teaching aid on the day to help explain some of the basic construction methods & parts of a working aquaponic system. 

Here's a bit of a look at the system as it stands today. 

Must say that I was very pleased with how the system went together.  It's also fantastic to see Michael's family's enthusiasm in learning about the system as well as their eagerness in wanting to stock it with fish & plant it out. 

In the clip above I mentioned a suppliers list of sorts provided to the attendees & have also included it here below for those that might be interested.

Hope you enjoyed the clip & find the info useful.

Suppliers information for SE Queensland & Australia. 

Fish Hatcheries & Feed Suppliers.
I have bought from the first 2 and had no problems whatsoever. Ace Aquaculture has been recommended to me by a few folks that have used them.

When ordering your fingerlings it is a good idea to ask if they sell small amounts of feed for your new swimmers. They grow so fast that it doesn’t pay to buy too much at once.

These folks supply Australian made Ridley aquaculture feed.

Stock smaller 4kg buckets of fish feed.

Farm supply store will also often stock some aquaculture feed as well. It isn't always out on display so it pays to ask the sales folks.

Pumps & Plumbing.
I've bought a few air & water pumps from Guppys Aquarium & found them to have great prices.

I've bought other pumps like the Jebao (the one used in Michael's system) from a few reputable Ebay stores that deal in aquarium goods. It's always an idea to check out their rating before buying from them though.

The "Irrigation Store" is an online based site I buy my bulk PVC, barbed irrigation & bulkhead fittings from. They have a fixed $20 delivery fee on all orders. Works out a lot cheaper than the 2 big box hardware stores,

Valves with removable blue handles are purchased at Trade Link Plumbing supplies for those that are concerned with little (or big) fingers fiddling with the system ;-)

I sell Uniseals, venturis & Root Pouches Australia wide through our small "Bits Out the Back" blog store.
Ordering info can be found in the link below,
OR you can PM me at
OR Email me at
Remind me you’re from the workshop & I’ll work out a bit of a discount for you ;-)

Best place I've found for IBC's is on Gumtree & have picked up a few really cheap ones through there.
Barrels can be found at markets, farm supply stores like Sprengers (, Gumtree & also recycle stores/centres like Reverse garbage (
My preference is for IBC's & barrels that have had food stuffs in them as they are normally easier to clean out.

Growing Media.
If you're in the Ipswich area H2Gro are a local hydroponic store that sell the clay based media & will offer a discount depending on how many bags you're buying,
Last time I checked they were selling 45L bags for $25 each with is almost half the price at other retailers.

If you're after growing medium other than clay many folks recommend road base AKA blue metal here in SE QLD as mentioned in the workshop. Please keep an eye out for contamination like concrete that both Michael & I found in the blue metal at our suppliers.
It's a good idea to do a vinegar test on any rock you want to buy to see if it will raise the pH in your system. You can do this on site at the landscape suppliers with a jar full of white vinegar. Pop a handful of rocks into the vinegar & if it starts to bubble it's best to discard it as it may keep the pH constantly high in the system.

Backup Air System.
I did mention that I've made up my own 12V Backup air system in case of blackout. I followed the plans on the link below.
PLEASE NOTE, any work on 240V electrical circuitry HAS TO BE carried out by a licensed electrician.

Useful Sites, Forums & YouTube Channels.
I have a playlist on our YouTube channel with some of the projects/builds that have gone into our aquaponic & aquaculture systems which may help you out with a few ideas,
I also have other playlists covering different aspects of our urban farm if you’re interested in a look.

Nate Story from Bright Agrotech has some great info on some of the finer points of aquaponics,

Backyard Aquaponics forum is one of the oldest aquaponic forums & has a load of enthusiastic members posting about their own systems & helping others.

Paul Van der Werf from Earthan Edge is one of the world leaders in integrated aquaculture & is a local to boot. Have found his site to be jam packed with ideas on DIY backyard builds, commercial systems & technical help. He has made it a subscription site but is well worth checking out if you're interested in building a small commercial aquaponic system.
His Facebook page has some useful posts as well & is well worth checking out.