AST is making a name in aquaponics! The system featured in these photos is the same Small Scale Aquaponics system explained in one of AST’s many educational YouTube videos, see video. This de-coupled aquaponics system runs on two separate loops, one for the fish tank and filter and one for the grow beds and aerated sump tank. This allows the operator to have better control of nutrient inputs in both systems and manage each one to achieve optimal production levels.
As explained in the AST Filters YouTube video “Decoupled Aquaponics Garden System Kit (800 Gallons) Grow Produce and Fish without water pumps” this system circulates water from a 250 gallon fish tank, filled with juvenile Koi, into the Endurance 2000. This water is then returned to the fish tank using an air lift. The water that is returned the fish tank is free of ammonia, thanks to the bacteria-filled bead bed inside of the filter that converts the ammonia coming in to fish-friendly nitrate going out. All of the sludge (ie. Fish poop) that is collected in the bottom of the Endurance filter is then discharged into a digestion tank for further nutrient conversion, aeration and settling. This digester has a dump valve at the bottom to drain out that sludge and keep the system running smoothly and free of solids.
The second loop on this system is the hydroponic loop for the grow beds. This loop runs between the blending tank, used for nutrient additions and additional oxygenation, and the grow beds. The water is fed from the blending tank into the grow beds, circulated throughout and then returned through a drain pipe back to the blending tank.
The coolest part of this system is everything is AIRLIFTED! That means there are NO water pumps! All of the water draining from the fish tank to the filter, the digestion tank to the blending tank, the blending tank to the grow beds, is GRAVITY-FED and then airlifted, using small tubing inserted at the bottom of the pipe elbows, to push the water back up into the tanks. This not only saves energy and cost on your system, but also provides oxygen rich water, which is critical for the fish and plants to be stocked at maximum densities and still produce efficiently.
Did we mention this filter operates completely hands-free?? Spend more time focusing on the plant production and less time with your hands dirty!