FoodMachine Growbed Construction and Plumbing Part II

Published: 30 December 2012

Plumbing growbeds correctly is very important for the success of any aquaponic system. One of the keys to remember is that gravity should be used, whenever possible, to move the water within the system.

In the FoodMachine at LaHaina Family Farms, the water in the fish tanks is higher than the water levels in the growbeds. Therefore, gravity is what moves the water from the fish tanks into the growbeds. In addition, the water flows from one growbed to another without the use of any pumps. The water pump is needed only to move water from the end of the second growbed back into the fish tank.

This first picture shows the pipe that connects the two growbeds at the end farthest away from the fish tank. Effectively, the growbeds are plumbed together to form a giant “U” shape.

At LaHaina Family Farms, the pipe actually goes through the wall of one of the growbeds, as seen here.

A bulkhead fitting is used to create a watertight seal between the pipe and liner.

Teamwork makes stretching the liner and putting the bulkhead fitting on much easier!

This is what the bulkhead fitting looks like once it is attached. Obviously when completed the liner sits tight against the side of the growbed wall.

The water is gravity fed out of the fish tanks through these pipes and into the end of the first growbed. The valves are so that the flow can be easily adjusted, should the need arise. Pipes through which water is gravity fed are twice the diameter of the pipes through which water is pumped.

Once all the plumbing is done, and the beds are filled with water, this is what the end looks like.