Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Hi All, I am trying to build a hoop house and aquaponics system in my backyard this summer and I was wondering if there was any Northern california, Bay Area,Valley, or Hills members or set ups that I could visit.  Any good training programs, suppliers I can learn from?

Thx much!!

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Not sure about Max Meyers. I'd do a little more searching. If all you want is a small system for yourself keep researching all the forums you'll do fine.



Averan, I guess we do read it differently. DFG is only involved in closed systems if fish are sold for human consumption. In my case, my fish are my hobby and raised exclusively for that purpose. Fish that I raise are sold to other enthusiasts for hobby purposes. If and when I choose to eat them, then their use has changed, and that is my choice and mine alone. DFG doesn't have a right to tell me what I can or cannot put in my mouth. Their only concern is when I sell fish for someone else to put in their mouths directly, and ensuring that the fish do not find their way to an open body of water. The same rule applies for all livestock and their edible products. I can buy, sell, and possess chickens, pigs, and a milk cow without permission from the gov., and I may eat the eggs, bacon and milk. However, I may not sell the milk to the public for human consumption without all the permits and inspections, and for good reason. We know the conditions in which our own animals are raised, but not what we buy at the market. Hence, market products need a watchdog to ensure public safety. Small dairies are being forced put of business by big dairy influence on legislation. Now they must sell their milk labeled "pet food, not for human consumption" in order to circumvent the rules.

The same principle can be exaggerated to make the point. Suppose you wanted to grind your fish up into a salve to be used as a beauty cream. If you used it on yourself, then go ahead, that is your choice. If you wanted to market it as a pharmaceutical, then proper R and D, an gov approval would be in order. It would be ridiculous to imply that the gov had authority to make you get FDA approval for fish paste you put on your wrinkles in the privacy of your own home.

DFG has made an allowance for hobby fish keepers to operate outside their jurisdiction. Why would you not take advantage of that?

i'm all for taking advantage, but i'm no fan of getting fined, arrested or having all my equipment confiscated.

i keep rereading your pasted quotes and they do not specify that fish for consumption need be sold commercially.  they just say 'for consumption'.  i want to make sure that my venture is completely above board and am not willing to take any risks given last year's raw milk busts and stings.

i thank you for your efforts and interpretation, but i am not coming to the same conclusion as you and prefer to err on the safe side.  i'm not ready to stock yet anyways, so i'll keep on researching until i have a solution that i'm more confident in.  besides, i DO want to make a business of this.

Fair enough. And none of this is applicable to commercial interest anyway. Commercial sales of food fish is no gray area. It should not be a problem getting a permit for Sac Perch, they are natives, and there is a check box for them right on the application. I'd apply now, it takes time. I understand that Peter Shaw has been at it for months, trying to get permit for catfish at Cabrillo College.
I may be able to supply you with broodstock when you're ready, as I will be a commercial fisherman. Good luck.
Todd, Max Meyers of NorCal AP is a good guy, very experienced and passionate, and well known, well liked and respected by all I've met who have also met him. He is involved in a number of local projects, and I've visited with him a few times, straight shooter. I don't know if you've had a different experience, or perhaps just implying that Peter doesn't need professional advice, but Max is good in my book.

Todd Sowell said:

Not sure about Max Meyers. I'd do a little more searching. If all you want is a small system for yourself keep researching all the forums you'll do fine.



Jon, could you post any photos of Max Meyers systems... other than the one he built at Ukiah High....

haha!  so funny because that's what i thought when i looked into him way back when.  he still hasn't added any systems to his website.....which just makes me wonder what he's been up to.  he's a member on this site now, maybe he'll chime in himself?  :)

Rupe, I don't have any pics, but I'll drop Max a note to visit this thread.

Depends on what kind of system Peter is looking for. Backyard or something bigger?.

I think everyone is skeptical, including me, of folks who offer training without a lot of systems in operation. He offers "Aquaponic Certification" but what does that really mean? There are no formal acceditation bodies in existence and no standards for instructors. That's the rub for me. I see alot of people offering training with little experience.

In my opinion, the only training programs worth paying for are the UVI training and Nelson and Pade. I have not attended either of these but since Dr Rakocy has more experience than anyone and worked at UVI for so long that training has to be at the top of the list. He has also worked with Nelson and Pade so that brings credibility to their program. Also there is now a course at the University of Wisconsin for credit that is in conjunction with Nelson and Pade.

If someone wants to give a class on aquaponics to introduce people to the basics and principles that's great. I just don't like all these people setting themselves up as experts and charging big bucks for their courses.

Max may be a great guy and have a lot of knowledge, I hope he does. I did go to his website again and saw that his upcoming training is about 700 less than previous trainings.

If Peter wants to go to a course that's up to him and I hope these discussion help him out.



No need Jon.... I'm sure Max is a "good guy".. and probably well-intentioned...


And he did build a system for a friend at a resort down in Nicuragua...


And apparantly has designed one for a mob in Santa Cruz....


My beef is simply... that he promotes himself as a "certified Aquaponics system designer " .... and a "Commercial Aquaponic System Designer/Installer"... and offers courses in "commercial" aquaponics, without apparantly actually running one himself.... and apparantly, after having "certified" himself...


And offers "aquaponic certifications" to those who might take his courses.. based on god only knows what??


And , sadly... the few that have attended his courses... all seem to say, and do the same... most with glaringly little to no knowledge of aquaponics generally...


The Santa Cruz operation is a prime example.... "a light commercial system capable of producing 20 to 30,000 pounds of vegetables and 4,000 to 6,000 pounds of fish per annum"... (ah yeah, a "light" commercial system eh)


It hasn't even been built yet.... but is offering courses in "commercial" aquaponics... and aquaponic "certification"... and "scholarships"


Don't get me wrong... Max is not the only one doing this kind of thing, or making such claims... but there's just not the demonstrable real experience, or justification to back such claims...

I gotcha, Rupe and Todd. I haven't anything to add or refute, I only know him from a few brief visits, more of a personal reference. Rupe, you sure know a lot, I'm constantly amazed. When i first heard of Santa Cruz Aquaponics closing their doors, I googled it, and found your post in BYAP announcing the closure two weeks prior. Amazing you know know my backyard better than I do :)

Gotta watch the Oz man. He hears everything!

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