|Homemade biofilter creates aquaponic magic!|
Here's a few simple steps and tips to help you build your own aquaponic biofilter for less than $40.
Note: My filter uses a 1/2 inch intake (from a small pump) and a 1" output. You could easily double that by using a 1" intake and a 1 1/2"-2" output.
|1A: 1" PVC to two elbows create a "swirl"|
5 gallon bucket
1" sch. 40 PVC elbows
1" PVC T
4" of 1/2" drain hose
16" PVC 1"
3" PVC 1"
(note: most of my PVC pieces were scrap)
Some sort of a ball valve for the bottom drain
2 Media screens (I used bucket lids and drilled)
Media (I use a combination of bioballs and hydroton)
Aquatic tank filter material (I use Matala filter)
First, I drilled the hole for the 1/2" output drain (for sediment) and added a drain hose and ball valve, as low as I could get it on the bucket (see top photo). I drilled the larger hole for the 1" output drain close to the top of the bucket (I had a scrap bulkhead - may look funny).
I built the PVC piece pictured in figure 1A. I'll cover this with media screen (about 2" up from the bottom of the bucket) to allow an area for particles to settle. I can use the valve on the 1/2" output to drain/clean the sediment. I'll pour directly into our outdoor gardens or pour through the wormbeds, as this area is typically full of fish poop.
|Media screen made from extra bucket lid.|
I put the lower screen in place and cut some of the matala filter material into a circle (snug fit) above the bottom media screen. Followed by adding 2 gallons of blue bioballs (a product that has a lot of surface area for bacteria to grow on) and covered with hydroton, some of which already had bacteria from my other system. The bacteria will form on it's own, but takes much longer.
Note: I'm testing out this product (bioballs). You could probably make due with hydroton or even pea gravel, etc. The important part is having lots of surface area on your media.
I'm experimenting with the idea of topping off the bucket with hydroton and putting plants in here. Just a thought. I'm sure it works great either way.
|The hydroton already has bacteria growing in it.|
I put the lid on and added the 90 degree elbow to the 1" input tube. I had to add an adapter for the 1/2" hose that will bring water up from the tank below. The water will flow down the tube and swirl out the solids in the bottom of the bucket. Then the water (full of ammonia) will rise through the media and the helpful bacteria will convert ammonia to useable nitrates.
|I may try and add another matala filter|
below the media screen
|I needed to add an adapter to work with 1/2" input.|