Aquaponic Gardening

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I'd like to startup a small system over the winter. I just plan to grow a few leafy greens/herbs and get some practical experience before building a bigger outdoor system in the spring(Southern Ontario Zone 5).

I was just wondering what kind of extra considerations i should account for with setting up a small system in my basement. It'll likely be a 50-ish gallon fish tank and a couple smaller media beds.

What about things like humidity, odour, noise? How much will it affect the humidity in my basement?

anyone have any recommended tips/products for this type of situation?

Thanks,
Calvin

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I expect the humidity will probably be the biggest thing you should worry about. Do you already have a dehumidifier for the basement?
yep, when we move in this past summer we had to run it pretty much continuously for the first 3 weeks. The house had sat empty for about a month without much air movement during a really humid period.

at least i know it works :)



TCLynx said:
I expect the humidity will probably be the biggest thing you should worry about. Do you already have a dehumidifier for the basement?
Odor should not be an issue, if you detect bad odors then look for something wrong so you can fix it.

Noise, well air pumps and pumps can make some noise but unless you are sleeping in the room with them it shouldn't be too bad. Perhaps hang the air pumps so they don't vibrate against things. Siphons can sometimes cause rude sounds but most people get used to that. Pumps coming on/off might disturb some people but not others. Worst complaint I had about the indoor system and noise was my mom saying she always had to pee when she was visiting because of the sounds of trickling water from the aquarium system (which could be heard through out my house as it is a very small house.)

Lighting will probably the biggest thing other than the humidity that indoor system have to contend with.
In my 55 gallon arrangement I'm losing about 1 gallon a day, because I've got low bright, hot lights, and a shallow growbed. I'd advise getting a 4'x2'x1' planter box if you're intending the system to be long term. My vegetables are doing great, but the bed is far too small. My wife has been grateful for the air filter, and notices it when it's not on.

The water's not noisy at all, I run aquarium pumps. The fans make some noise, and generally, you get what you pay for. The first room I had it in didn't have adequate ventilation, consider your make-up air source.
Hey Calvin, I can only speak from my experience. I have an unfinished basement so I'm not down there all the time, but for my setup those three items aren't really an issue.

-Humidity: very little exposed water, plus it's unheated so not much evaporation. I have bigger problems upstairs from cooking and bathing. Humidity hasn't gone over 60%. I use a dehumidifier to get it back down though I've had to do this before I set anything up.

-odour: Haven't noticed any once system up and running. There was a slight 'off' odour while cycling, but only if I stuck my nose right up to the water. Now the water smells good!

-Noise: I currently run a raft system, so there's no bell siphon draining every so often. Just a constant trickling sound (like a little water feature) and the buzz from my diaphragm pump. I could fall asleep beside it if I had some comfy furniture down there.
Daniel, that's more water loss than I have. Is your water heated, or is your evaporation all from the growbed and hot lights? I lose much less, but I have a T-12 two tube 4' fixture, which is very cool and not very bright. Maybe it's because my plants aren't that big yet and I don't have alot of transpiration going on because of that?
Water is heated in the tank with a 200W heater, light is a 400W HID. Details at http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5873576/new_closet_aquapon...


Paul Letby said:
Daniel, that's more water loss than I have. Is your water heated, or is your evaporation all from the growbed and hot lights? I lose much less, but I have a T-12 two tube 4' fixture, which is very cool and not very bright. Maybe it's because my plants aren't that big yet and I don't have alot of transpiration going on because of that?
what kind of fish are you raising and what temp are you keeping it at?
Tilapia - 10 fry and a pleco in the 55 gallon tank. Temp temp varies through the day, but stays between 77-79 F generally. Growbed is usually a degree or two hotter.



Calvin Schmidt said:
what kind of fish are you raising and what temp are you keeping it at?
When the water is warmer than the air, there will be more evaporation.

Hi Calvin, I found your post on the basement set-up this past winter. Did it work? What fish are you using? I'm trying to find a source for tilapia but no luck in Ontario. Any advice on fish? Thanks, Jill

Bluegill are an appropriate fish for smaller setups and they don't require you to heat the water over 20 C to keep them eating.

If you can do a larger tank (like 1000 liters or 300 gallons) you could raise catfish but I don't like to grow them out in smaller tanks since I grow them so big.

 

If your basement is going to stay pretty cool, you might even grow some trout but you need lots of aeration and water flow for them.

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