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Garden Setup

 

Welcome to the exciting world of aquaponics.

Now that you’ve got your kit, you’re on your way to enjoying lush, happy plants and a nearly maintenance-free aquarium.  We’ll cover the physical setup of your Garden - how to put it together and how to adjust settings. We’ll help you through the biological setup, which is just as important - your fish and plants will support one another but you’ll have to help get them started! Finally, we recommend taking a look at the articles found in our Support Tank that can help answer some common questions and offer tips and options on how to keep your Garden thriving.

 

 

 

 

 

Part 1: Getting Ready

First off, unpack your AquaSprout Garden and make sure you have everything. It may help to lay the pieces out according to where you’ll use them. You should have:
 

  • AquaSprouts Grow-Bed
  • Light-Bar Kit
  • Submersible Pump
  • Rubber Hose
  • 2 Rubber Seals
  • 2 Grow-Bed Legs
  • Bag of Clay Pebbles
  • Timer
  • Water Inlet & Inlet Nut
  • 3 Drain Screens
6 Drain Risers

 

Ready?

1. It’ll be easier to set up the aquarium before you set the Garden up over it, so go ahead and place the aquarium where you want it, and arrange any gravel, decorations, supplementary filters or air diffusers. Fill your aquarium with clean, non-chlorinated water. Avoid using water straight from the tap! TIP: To de-chlorinate tap water, use a de-chlorinating product (available from your local pet store or visit www.aquasprouts.com/shop)


2. Place the grow bed legs on either end of the aquarium.
 

Tap water quality varies from place to place. If you want to use tap water, have a sample tested at a pet store or aquarium store and adjust the chemistry as necessary, and make sure to use a dechlorinating product! Bottled spring water is another good option, if your tap water is unsuitable.

3. Slip one of the rubber seals over the threaded section of the water inlet and insert the inlet into the hole in the center of the grow-bed with the threaded end and hose barb downward. Slip the other rubber seal over the threaded end of the water inlet, then thread on and tighten the plastic inlet nut, flat side upward. (Fig. below)

4. Insert one of the drain screens in the water inlet on the inside of the grow-bed.


5. Remove the pump from its box, make sure the pump hose barb is in place, and attach the rubber hose to the pump by gently working the pump hose barb into the end of the hose up to at least the second ridge.


6. Attach the other end of the hose to the barb on the underside of the water inlet. (To make this easier, you can remove the hose from the pump with the pump hose barb still inserted, then replace the pump on its hose barb fitting).


7. Place the grow-bed and attached pump on top of the aquarium over the legs, and affix the legs. The legs should snap on to their fitted positions on either end of the grow bed.

 

IMPORTANT: One side of your grow-bed, a short section of the wall of the bed is lower. This provides an emergency water overflow back into the tank should your return drains become clogged. You can place the overflow slit toward the front or rear of the aquarium, but make sure it faces the side where you want the gap between the edge of the grow bed and the edge of the tank (see fig.). Even with the emergency overflow, check your drains for debris and build-up periodically.

8. Insert 2 drain riser sections and a screen into each of the drain holes to the left and right of the water inlet inside of the grow-bed. This sets the depth the water level will reach before it drains back into the aquarium (otherwise known as the return drains).

NOTE: Two drain risers is the standard configuration for the AquaSprouts grow bed, but pump flow rates can vary over time or if hoses become clogged or kinked, and you may need to use one or three risers in each drain to keep water at an appropriate depth, or you may wish to experiment with more or less water in the grow bed. Add or remove risers to adjust depth, but be careful not to overflow the grow-bed.
 

9. While you can attach the light bar at any time, it’s easier to attach it before you add the clay pebbles to the grow-bed. Simply slide the 2 side light-bars inside the left and right ends of the grow-bed. Next, attach the plastic connectors on each end and then connect the ends together with the middle light-bar piece with the drilled holes. Lastly, screw on the light-bar hooks and add a grow-light of your choice. TIP: If you decide not to use your light-bar when setting up your Garden, leave the foam plugs inside the light-bar slots to ensure pebbles don’t enter.

10. Empty the clay pebbles from their bag into a bucket or basin, then rinse them thoroughly to remove dust and debris (make sure you repeat this process until the flushed water is CLEAR). Once they’ve been rinsed, fill the grow bed to your desired depth. The quantity of media provided should be enough to fill the grow bed to near the top. NOTE: If you rinse them with tap water, be sure to add a bit of dechlorinator to it!
 

11. Set the timer, then plug the timer into a ground-protected outlet and the pump into the timer. Our recommended setting is to run the pump for 15 minutes of every hour, but advanced users may wish to experiment with their own schedules. When pump is off water should not remain in the grow bed, it will return to the aquarium via the water inlet/pump.

To set your timer, depress the tabs set in a ring around the center clock face in the times when you want the power ON, then turn the dial until the arrow points to the current time. A pen or other small object may be useful for pushing in single tabs. For the default setting of 15 minutes on per hour, you’ll want to push down every 4th tab.
 

Your Garden is set up and ready to go! We recommend adding plants at this point so that they have time to establish strong roots while the tank is cycling and are ready to take up fish wastes by the time you’re ready to add fish.