Sunday, May 27, 2012

Aquaponic NFT & Ebb and Flow System Plan

The plan for converting our hydroponic ebb and flow system to an aquaponics NFT and ebb and flow system.

Funny that the plan continued to change throughout the process, but this is how the conversion project turned out. I'll give you the photo tour of the pieces and share what I've learned.

The project started because we had an old hydroponic ebb and flow table (once a Marine Science Touch Tank) that we were sick of paying for overpriced nutrient solution. The story of the history behind the aquaponics conversion - Part 1

Built a NFT (Nutrient Film Transfer) system to supplement the grow beds.

The large pond we were digging, allowed for a significant amount of grow area (more than the two grow beds. We found great PVC tubes and decided to add an NFT component. We added 1/2 inch hosing and individual drip emitters (these were a bad idea-clogging). Eventually, I removed a majority of the emitters and just allowed for constant flow form the holes in the 1/2 inch hose. I just needed to help each plant get roots down into the bottom of the pvc. Because of space we stacked the PVC tubes vertically, with each draining into the one below it, and creating a cool water feature.

1100 gallon pond awaiting tilapia
The whole system with starts in.

Here's the links to a few of the other blogs about the conversion, and additional photos.


  1. How will you clean the tubes when replacing initial plants with new ones? Is any media (at all) going in there? And I'm wondering how expensive it will be to pump (2 pumps) through the system, which I think would do well on a timer... Thanks. So far, looks good.

  2. Carol - Pumps can be shut down (temporarily) for any cleaning. Both pumps are relatively inexpensive to run. I've actually change the pump that runs to the NFT system to be extremely small, and have the PVC gravity fed into each other.
    No media flows into the system, we have screens.
    We're actually finishing off our first year and things went great.
    My biggest problem was the rats that got into my compost and the AP system (eating my peppers and tomatoes).

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