Been working on this system for a long time as I am doing the system design and construction… Really surprised at the total lack of Aquaponics in the area… learning how to build out a CHOP I AP system was find what I can on the web and go get into it! My AP system is not anything so inventive or new— thought what I was designing would supply all the water I needed from one pump but the 2nd pump is working at watering the towers and will do the NFT channels also…1200 sq ft chinese style greenhouse. 1200 gal of water in 2 tanks and sump 2 large media beds ( sandponic or iAVS) do the filtration and grow beds for vines (44 toms in!) hope to have 1800 grow sites… hope to prove out as a model for a much larger GH that will use Geo-Thermal heating and cooling —trying to make it work year round without fossil fuels for heating or cooling… more on the GH later…have been doing a ‘fishless’ cycle going into the 2 nd weeks fish coming soon!!
I appreciate all the hard work you’ve been putting into the system. Also love the geothermal inclusion!
In my experience there is not one way to do aquaponics. While sandponics will certainly have limitations, so does a media system filled with lava rocks. For instance the lava rocks are going to be a literal pain to dig through when you are trying to pull roots. A better alternative might be a base layer of lava rocks combined with hydroton or expanded shale as the top layer to allow for ease of digging through the media without roughing up your hands too much. Ultimately your media needs to be inert so it doesnt leach out any unwanted chemicals into your water. Also some other qualities of media would be porous and lightweight. There is a company in SE oklahoma called Symbiotic Aquaponic. They have expanded shale readily available and cheaper then what you would find in a store. You may want to reach out to them to see if you can purchase any?
Sometimes you have to work with what you got though!
Potentponics is a strong believer in the dual-root zone method for growing in aquaponics so take what he says with a grain of salt… or sand in this case.
For some constructive criticism some issues you may encounter with using sand as the growing media would be the following:
Sand is heavy, especially when wet
Without adequate filtration before the beds, the sand could get clogged up very quickly with biosolids as well as plant roots. Once clogged the sand can easily turn anaerobic and would require cleaning which can be rather difficult and time consuming.
Sand is relatively expensive, especially if you have to continue replacing it!
Sand can move throughout the system and clog filters or settle in tanks or stay suspended in the water which could cause turbidity issues.
Are you planning on growing the fish and plants to sell or for yourself?
Hey now dual root zone production is the gold standard in basicly every commercial aquaponic cannabis facility, every fruit tree facility, and most medicinal herb production facilities currently doing large scale commercial production of those crops in aquaponics. It not only works its been proven to work time and time again and provides a better product than growing with out it in every crop. Thats easily quantifyable with terpene and flavonoid testing this isnt an argument any more.
Now compare that to failed sand beds who refuse to release any data metrics on production and have 0 commercial facilities using the method vs millions of dollars made per year with dual root zone production.
Not remotely the same to compare the 2 methods. Dual root zones planting actually works.