I have a 3/4 acrepond at the lowest point on our property. Our entire property drains to this pond before discharging to a drainage ditch. We are thinking of digging a pond or two at the top of the property (5.5 acres). Water could be transferred (pumped) from the 3/4 acre pond to the smaller pond at the top and then gravity fed to all other locations for watering gardens and fruittrees. Instead of using a traditional aquaponics system, could I build rafts to float on the ponds? Media beds would probably be out of the question as they would go anaerobic without moving water. I was thinking of a few rafts on each of the upper ponds to utilize the surface water but not enough to cover the entire surface. An air pump may be needed to make up some of the lost surface area. I am certain all of this has been covered in depth but I am too new to know what words to search for. The first pond dug would account for about 1200 square feet of surface area and the second would be around 300-400 square feet. These would be close to the house and easy to maintain. The larger pond could also be used I guess but it is over 100 yards from the house.
We get plenty of rainfall to maintain all the ponds. I think our average is about 50" per year. These ponds would serve as our rainwater catchment as everything that falls here ends up in the lower pond anyway. The two smaller ponds would keep fish/prawns as well. The 3/4 acre pond is currently stocked with LMBass and bluegill/red ear.
If you are watering from the upper ponds, don't grow plants there, breed animals instead.
When the water gets to the bottom pond, that's where you want to clean it of animal waste by growing plants.
That way the fish, prawn whatever are getting filtered water.
If you pump to a point above the upper ponds you can use waterfalls to add oxygen to the water.
If you are not too worried about what you get from the lower pond, grow reeds and cat tails, they provide food, fuel, biomass, all kinds of things, and as mulch they are not going to sprout on land.
If you put one of the top ponds above the other, you could grow duckweed in that one, allow it to overflow into the slightly lower one, which would hold the fish.
A floating open bottom greenhouse could help keep the ponds free of ice. It could have a hoop house top and dark metal suspended halfway into the water.
You could even use a coil of black hose , fitted with a PV powered pump, to aerate and heat the water.