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  1. Murray, just wanted to start out by thanking you…. your videos have been most inspirational to me in getting started with Aquaponics.

    That being said, I live near Cleveland, Ohio, US agricultural zone 6A, and it regularly has sustained freezes here during the winter time. I am afraid that i have found no information on how to use Aquaponics in my area (without a greenhouse and heat applied). Obviously the fish tank can never freeze… but what do i do with it outdoors during the cold winter months when vegetation ceases to be viable in the grow beds? My thoughts were that you would treat it like a fish tank and pump out 20% of the water, replacing it with clean water….

    As someone just getting into this, currently in between jobs, I obviously can’t afford greenhouses and heaters going outside all winter… am wondering if you have any tips for those of us living in more temperate climates.

    • Hi Anthony,
      It is very difficult to do Aquaponics in extreme cold without some shelter for the plants and fish. Many have small systems in their basements or garages. Perhaps that is an option for you.

  2. I guess what I am trying to figure out is this: can i shut down plant production in freezing months, put a heater in the pond, and flush 20% of my water once a week to keep fish alive and growing (slowly) in winter months where it would be difficult to keep pond warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit? We have some local fish that actually are worth quite a bit in our region (yellow perch) that live in the local waters here…

    I know i eventually want to build a large greenhouse and do a larger production space, but that is just too expensive for me starting out right now.

  3. I was even thinking of running some piping through a large compose pile to use to heat it in the winter time… to keep my electric costs down and pond from freezing. We just had one of the mildest winters on record this year, but that could be just some fluctuation and not the new norm… it is hard to say with climate change factored in.

  4. Hi There I am trying to find where the PDF is available for sale but have been unsuccessful. Can you please send me a link to the page?

    Thank you

  5. I’m still a little iffy on how the water drains from the fish tank back into the sump tank in the Chop2 Mark system…if my pump stops unexpectedly, does that mean all the water is dumped from my fish tank? I’ve watched all three videos over and over…did I miss something?

    • Hi Savvas,
      You need a fish tank and some sort of arrangement to grow plants. In most small home style systems it is good to go for media beds such as gravel filled containers. Perhaps you should go to my You Tube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/MurrayPonics/videos and sign up for the SILVER membership on this site to get knowledge on the subject.

    • Anthony I was looking into this myself recently and found it impractical to shut the system down during the winter months. Even though some fish can over winter in frozen ponds the bacteria (biofilter) that makes fish waste edible to plants will surely die. It takes a complete cycle of the system to replenish the biofilter in the spring before you can plant anything and by then you have already lost a good deal of your growing season.

      I would love to hear feedback on this but my suggestion, if you still want to do it that way, would be to transfer some of your outdoor system indoors for the winter so that you don’t have to start from scratch every spring.

      • Hi Maddy,
        Aquaponics performs much better in any climate in some sort of protected environment. It can get expensive to do in extreme hot or cold climates. It all depends on how it will benefit each individual as to it’s worth and therefore investment. I feel it would not work too well as you have suggested.

  6. Murray, I am using an old Jacuzzi for my fish tank. It holds about 300 gallons. I only have goldfish for now. It has been up and running for six months now. I know you occasionally loose a fish here and there. Lately I have been loosing two to three a day.
    I got a test set from your friend Steven Handrop here in San Diego, CA USA and all my water parameters seem to be right on. I even took a bottle of water to my local pet store and they confirmed the water was perfect.
    I only have a 4×4 plastic grow tray above the fish tank. It now has zuccini, strawberries, one pepper plant, some kale and tomatos.
    I am experimenting with my Bell Auto Siphon that I got from Steven Handrop.
    I was almost ready to stock it with some other fish until my goldfish started dying. Do you have a link to anywhere on your site to address the topic of fish dying? Thanks

    • Hi Joe, There are many reasons why your fish are dying. You really need to test for ammonia and the other parameters. A pool shop test does not usually give you the info needed for fish keeping.
      It is easy to over feed your fish and this leads to all sorts of fish problems.
      Stop feeding for a few days, and let the system settle and get a good set of readings for all the parameters. A good test kit to buy is the “Freshwater Test Kit” It will give you about 700 tests so it is good value.

      • Hey there Murray,
        This is Stephen Handrop, I recall this client in particular. Great guy. Anyway, his jacuzzi system was tested with 3 kits, all of which were for fishtanks.

        Here is what was used:
        API freshwater aquarium kit
        API saltwater aquarium kit (needed the phosphorus kit)
        Red Sea Reef Potasium kit.

        His parameters were normal; nitrogen cycle was completely well under the threshholds for all 3 tests (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate). There was little or no algae in his tank and there weren’t enough fish in the system to be concerned about D.O. levels. His fish were standard store bought feeders (goldfish). New tank syndrom was not a possibility because his tank was set up more than 6 weeks in advance, also ruling out possible chlorine issues from the tap water used. He had his system set up perfectly and 3 months into working with him there were still unexplained fish deaths. Feed used were tetra flakes. It was basically a giant fish tank with a 4×4 filter bed on it. And yes, I dosed his tank with Maxicrop 2% Iron chelated (underdosed with 2 capfulls).

        I am aware that with feeders sudden unexplained deaths are a normal occurance and can account for up to 20% of your purchase, but he was losing around 50-60% out of 20 and 30 count fish purchases within 2 weeks.

        Also, not sure why he thinks you and I know each other but I did plug your dvds to him fairly often. Outside of University of Virgin Islands and University of Hawaii research, your info still offers one of the best commercial approaches to aquaponics farming.

        • Hi Stephen,
          Thanks for the feedback.
          It is very difficult to know why the persons fish have died. It will be a water quality issue of some sort. Sorry about the late reply, I have only just seen this comment. Somehow missed my attention.

  7. hello, I’ve seen some movies and are really interested you can have designs to make this for home use.

  8. Hi, Im currently researching aquaponics, I would like to know the Difference/ purpose of a swirl filter and a minrilisation tanks that you have on the Indy 23 system

    • Hi Stephen,
      The swirl filter is a device to collect the solids from the fish tank and the mineralisation tank is a simple device to process those collected solids in order to capture more nutrients for the system.

  9. Good day,
    I aquaponics practice on a small scale in southern Brazil, in Porto Alegre. After see your videos, I am performing several tests, but I have doubts.
    1) should be added worms grown on the bed when?
    2) What variety of worm is the most appropriate?
    3) As for “Good Bacteria”, it forms naturally, or should be added through any product?

    Thank you, we are changing the way to make vegetables and fish here, with their support.

    • Hi Joao,
      You can add worms if you wish, but they usually just turn up, but good idea to speed up the process by adding worms if you feel inclined. Red wrigglers are the best but, worms in general are good.
      The “good” bacteria is naturally occurring. Once again, you can buy if you wish but in my opinion it is a waste of money. If the conditions are right, it will happen.


  10. Hello everyone… Thank you to everyone that participates in this forum, especially Murray.

    I discovered aquaponics at the end of last years summer and I have been researching a learning since. I recently acquired a 450 gallon (roughly 1700 liter) fish tank, 2 8x2x1 ft grow beds and 12 vertical 5 ft vertical grow towers. I am placing the system on the south side of the house with the most sun exposure throughout the day. I live in Eugene Oregon and the local university describes our growing season as follows:
    “Zone 6
    Willamette Valley Warmer summers distinguish this Zone from Zone 5, average temperatures being 5o to 9o F higher. Average winter lows are similar or lower than those of Zone 5. Much of the Valley has a long growing season, with 279 days in Portland. However, Portland may also experience icy winds blowing down the Columbia. Zone 6 extends from Longview, Washington to Roseburg, Oregon. This of course includes Salem, Corvallis, and Eugene, Oregon.”

    I am in the process of looking through plans for the right set up to connect all the pieces together. I realize after some research that my ratio of gb to ft is off so I am looking for more materials to expand the gb.

    Our growing season is coming right up and I would like to get things up and going to take advantage of the wonderful weather. I would love any advise on set up and fish to use. My family does not like tilapia so I am looking for an alternative.

    Thanks for the help,

  11. Hi Murray is it OK to use standard poly styrene foam for my floating raft or should I use a specific type of foam, Cheers

    • If Polystyrene is the best you can get then use it. Someday a better material will become readily available. Until then polystyrene is it.


  12. Hi Murray,

    I was wondering if plastic was a good choice for the fish tank or the grow beds?
    I was about to buy a 1000 litre polyethylene container (the tote foodgrade container). But then I thought about plastic leaching and I could not tell myself that it was a good idea to have the same water running over and over again in plastic. Especially if we eat the fish…
    What do you think? And what material do you prefer for your containers/grow beds?

    Thanks a lot

    • Hi Des,
      LDPE is said to be a food safe plastic. The IBC containers are made from LDPE or HDPE. It would be a wonderful world if we could avoid plastic altogether but, unfortunately that is not the way things are. There is a lot of research available on various plastics so it would be prudent for you to do some reading LDPE and HDPE and satisfy your mind on just how at risk you feel you are. Personally, for me, it is very very minimal. I now eat fish and vegetables regularly that are very, very clean and pure. Far, far better than anything I can buy in a regular supermarket, and most likely better than certified organic produce.
      The road to food purity, food security is a journey, not a destination. Anything that you can do to improve your situation is good but don’t allow road bolcks to get in front of you on your journey towards better food and sustainability.

    • That depends mainly on your fish load, and if you have intermediate filtration or not. Generally it is about every two years. We have systems that have gone to 5 years and three years is not uncommon in home systems.
      I hope this is helpful.

  13. Hey Murray! Hope all is well.. I’ve been into Aquaponics for a while now and finally have the space to set up my own system! My knowedge of AP is a few years back when you came out with the CHOP2 system.. I was curious if you have improved this system in any way since then that I should implement now instead of later, also.. do you have any plans to add a swirl filter to this system?? thanks!! Adam

    • Hi Adam,
      Many of our CHOP 2 systems have filters as part of the system configuration. Swirl, radial, particulate filters; any kind of filter system that is available can be plumbed into a CHOP 2 system. CHOP 2 is about the way in which water is distributed or managed in an Aquaponics system. CHOP 2 makes it very easy to incorporate a filter or a series of filters into an AP system. CHOP 2 makes it very easy to isolate any particular portion of the system for maintenance, or to add new beds or other components during a system expansion phase.

  14. Dear Murray,
    Thank you for your great website.

    Is there a way I can subscribe to your blog via email so I know when new blog posts are up?

    Thanks again

    kind regards,

    • Hi Rachael,
      If you join at the Bronze members area you will be informed every time there is a new blog post.
      I hope this helps.

  15. G,day Murray. I feel that my vegetables,especially lettuce are growing too slow. Is it possible to have not enough fish? I have 4 IBC grow beds and one IBC for the fish (12x 500grm to Ikg) perch. Regards Rowdy

    • Hi Garry,
      Lettuce usually take 4 weeks from seed to plant out, then 4 weeks from plant out to harvest. This can vary seasonally and by variety of lettuce.
      Is your system new?
      I hope this is helpful.

  16. Hi Murray, do you have any new info as to when “Aquaponics for profit” may be released for sale?

    • Murray, Thank you for your quick reply. I’m looking forward to that online series. Also thanks for being a no B.S. guy. Look forward to meeting you someday.
      Durango, Colorado

  17. Murray, I am getting ready to put my system together. Before the water from my fish tank goes to the grow beds, I have a swirl filter to capture the fish poo. From what I see, in your Chop system, you have the fish poo go directly into the grow beds. Am I doing this wrong?

    • Hi Shawn,
      It is a good thing to incorporate a swirl filter. Systems that are lightly stocked can be safely operated without a filter, but if you are able it is a good thing to fit a swirl filter. Our CHOP system is about water distribution throughout a given system, It is not about “to filter or not to fiter”
      I hope this is helpful

  18. I have watched the 3 dvd set and read many articles over the last few weeks but have lost my ratios on some things. I have a 600 gallon steel tank with a 30″ depth with epoxy lining. I am trying to figure out how many square feet of grow beds for that fish tanks and how many gallons I need for a sump. I would like to extend my grow bed ratio as much as practical since we are planning to do this as a Farmer’s market business and have access to two more 600 gallon tanks and a 20′ X 60′ commercial greenhouse.

    • It is always good to have two tanks. If you filled that greenhouse with beds it would be good I feel.|

  19. Hi, I’m new to this and have much to learn, but am in the process of building a system. I have an existing neglected pond with a water feature and about 40 gold fish living quite happily even though the water has gone green. The surface area would be in the order of 9-10sq m, and would have about 9000litres of water, with the depth being mostly in the range of 700 to 900mm with the deepest point being approx 1100mm. There is a reasonable amount of build up on the bottom, could probably be up to 100mm.

    I am planning to erect a small green house purchased online, 4.3m x 2.5m, and build trestles etc for garden beds filled with a growing medium yet to be decided.

    My major question what is the best way for me to get started and would very much appreciate some required advice as to the best way to go about what needs to be done. If I was starting a new system from scratch, there is plenty of info available as how to go about it, and am confidant I could get the system going, but since I am using an established pond, am unsure as to the best way to start.

    Assuming all the construction, plumbing, pumps, grow beds and anything that needs to be done is completed, I assume that I would circulate the grow beds with fresh water ensuring that the water circulation system works, ph etc are ok, then introduce the pond water and let it flow for a period to establish the bacteria required in the grow beds? How long would this period be, and can it be improved by seeding the grow beds with the right bacteria?

    One of the very 1st things I will do is to get a decent aerator for the system, but is there other precautions that I should take when starting the way I am? I am also intending to use a fairly high flow rate pump for water circulation.

    Should I clean out the the pond before I start?

    Can I use the waste on the bottom in the cycle some how or just dispose of in the garden?

    Does this mean a water change in the pond, or will the waste build up on the bottom break down aerobically due to better aeration and circulation?

    I assume that there are plenty of nutrients available, and I really don’t want to remove them from the system if possible.

    Any advice for my particular situation or If I could be directed to some info regarding this would be greatly appreciated. I have not found anything that has dealt with this particularly.

    Many thanks and kind regards,

    Bernie Mackin

    • Hi Bernie,
      Yes, hook it all together and run the pump. No need to clean the pond unless it is a real mess. If you do clean the pond or a filter then the waste will be well used on the standard garden. Letting the system circulate for a time is a good idea. Test regularly until the cycling process is complete. That should not too long if the pond is already mature and nitrates are already present.
      I hope this is helpful to you.

      • Thanks for the quick reply. I haven’t built anything yet but pan to do the system in 2 stages. 1/2 of the green house at a time. Is there any type of bacteria that can be purchased, as I already have a cyclonic bio filter for the pond and when I purchased it, it came with a sachet of bacteria. When first used, was fantastic and developed a huge worm population till I went away for a while, and it developed a problem and went septic. I have not been able to get the worms back since. I plan to do some mods to make this filter into an RFF only with a purge valve to drain the sludge.

        Do you know of any bacteria that can be purchased for preloading the beds, with the type of bacteria which you want, so to speak?



        • Hi Bernie,
          The beneficial bacteria is naturally occurring and given the right conditions will multiply and populate your system. The system needs to be “cycled”, that is the process of adding an ammonia source and developing the naturally occurring bacteria and microbe colony. The reason systems can go septic is most often lack of aeration and water movement coupled with over-stocking.
          I hope this is helpful

  20. I live in the USA, what is the cost of each membership?
    I have an ex1sting system, 3 100 gall. stock tanks, 1 with goldfish 1 with tilapia the other with makeup water. One grow bed with stone ( 3’x5′) the other expanded clay(3’x4′) both have 9″ of grow media. I also added 4 x 20′ sewer pipe which gave me 10 holes/ pipe.
    I started approx summer of 2014 and finished summer of 2015.
    I am looking for new ideas.
    Lew Coulson.

  21. What is your view on polyculture ( I think that’s what it’s called , mixing top, mid and bottom feeding fish )?

    Is it possible to use polyculture to limit or eliminate need to feed the fish by creating a natural ecosystem /balance ? I was thinking of having a few trout , and catfish ( as main fish to be grown out ) maybe 5 of each in one of the ibc’s. Then I also planned on breeding ghost brine n few other shrimp and minnows in the second tank to be used as primarily feed for the trout and catfishe .I also will be adding a plecostomus ( sucker fish ) to each tank to help with water quality control ( along with the shrimp)

    thank you so much once again for sharing your immense knowledge of aquaponics

    • Hi James,
      My best guess is that it is possible and would be a wonderful thing to achieve. Lets know how you get on with your project.


    • Hi,
      WE have closed “Bronze” membership due to unrelenting spam attacks…..sorry. Only “Silver” and “Gold” are available.

  22. Hi Murray
    Love your work !

    I was wondering how to monitor the over all water level in a CHOP 2 system ? as the fish tank is a constant hight and the sump is continually pumping and filling as the auto syphons dump therefore always at a fluctuating depth . how does one monitor evaporation and know when and by how much to top up the water ? if i was to install a ball valve to keep the volume of water in the system constantly the same where would i put it ?

    i have another challenge : i have build a chop 2 system in a green house using 3 fibreglass bath tups as grow beds and one as a sump – but foolishly did not consider the volume of the sump – i must either place the sump ( which i have built into the floor with a floor board lid to save space ) Or can i reduce the depth to which the auto syphons drain in order to JUST be able to accommodate the 3 beds water volume in the sump ? what is an acceptable depth of water to have remain in the bed when the auto syphon stops ?
    as i am on a tight budget i have used 50/50 gravel and leca – but find the medium displacement is only ± 60 % so my sump can not accommodate the minimum depth required by the pump and the 3 x 40% of the grow beds water ;(
    thank you so much for your generosity of knowledge
    Will Boyes
    Cape town
    South Africa

    • Hi Will, The ball valve is the way to go. Place it a little less than half way up in the sump. That way the sump will be topped up little by little when the water level is low. If you find a ball valve with a brass arm you can bend the arm to make fine adjustments. Fortunately, it is rare that all three beds will dump at the same time. You can adjust the holes in the “bell” of the syphon so that the syphon stops draining a little higher thereby leaving a little more water in the bed. It is fairly normal for the bed to be about one-third water, that is, the media is two-thirds of the volume and the water is one-third.
      I hope this helps. Regards Murray

  23. Good Morning Murray.
    Im very new to Aquaponics on the Gold coast down the road.
    My buddy and I are coming to do a walk through with you soon and seriously thinking of doing a class too.
    I was hoping you could point me in the right direction.
    I have a current greenhouse 8 mtrs x 4 mtrs wide with power and water with inbuilt irrigation from my huge water tank (very lucky)im about to do a chop and flip system though i have one simple question.
    The current patch has bird netting over the top which has perished and shadecloth around the sides .Should I get a clear solid type film to build with as I see in many of your clips or should I use some type of shadecloth.I am thinking shadecloth your reasoning behind your advise and help would be appreciated .Kind regards

  24. hi,
    i want to start aquaponics in my home terrace around 1000 sqft, can u advise for fresh vegetables.

  25. Just recently discovered your site and have been reading and investigating as much as I can. I will shortly be joining the silver membership level. One question I currently have is based upon several of your videos where you are in a greenhouse setting. For plants that must flower to produce, how do you handle pollination in a greenhouse setting?


    • It is relatively easy to get bees into your greenhouse. (not in winter if you are in an extreme climate) Many of the crops grown do not need pollination unless you are intending to save seeds for next year.

  26. Thanks for the bronze membership. I am a retired deep sea chief engineer & am looking to manufacture 1.8m to 3.2 m long wicking beds, scoria beds & associated pipework connected to a cubic metre plastic cube (used to transport goods) where the fish are living, lift pump for aeration & moving water, from base of cube to beds… now I can learn more about the runni g of the system! Once again thanks.

    • Yes Steve, unfortunately the bronze section had to be closed down because of that. Free membership areas tend to attract the wrong crowd sometimes.

  27. Hi, Murray ! I’m looking forward to buy your Dvds with online download, which would allow to view them from abroad without going throug all the complicated process of physical delivery. I am in France and not sure if it’s the same players, if it would be allowed to be delivered. So do you think it would be possible ? Thank you for sharing your experience ! All the best.