Aquaponic Gardening

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Hey Everyone,

I'm Nick, First post, Glad to be apart of this website.

Im getting started on building a small system for a restaurant in Wilkes Barre, PA. I'm with Wilkes University and we have a $1500 Sam's Club environmental sustainability grant to improve the sustainability of a small business. We decided to choose a place called the Euro-Bistro and implement a system inside to grow their basil and subsidize some of their lettuces. 

Currently I'm planning on using a raft system, with T5 lights to supplement the natural light. I am considering using LED's as there is some sun that gets in but I am unsure on the differences between LED lights. I am also considering building one but again I am unsure on what makes for the best LED for the job.

I'm also curious on cycling, This will be my first system and besides nitrogen dosing is there anyway to speed up this initial process? are there any frozen bacteria cultures that I can introduce to begin the nitrogen cycle?

But looking forward to creating a sustainable project, any help or advice is welcome

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In some cases it might be more of what the lethal temp swing in as opposed to the absolute lethal temp.  I know bluegill can survive freezing water,   However they are not really too keen on the water dropping from 65 F down to 35 F in under 8 hours, my catfish were not too happy with it either though they all survived I think it may have been a near thing.  So if the water volume is big enough to resist extreme temp swings and the winter low temp doesn't get below their absolute lethal low, then they survive.  If the water body is too small and the temp swings are too great, may be hard to keep most types of fish alive through the extreme swing season.

I have a question about cycling, i have a 90 gallon fish tank being donated to this project that was used to hold some convicts, wondering if

A) that water is cycled and can be used to start the plants, with any necessary adjustments

B) if convicts have any problem dealing with talapia.

The water alone will only help a little bit in jump starting the cycling since most of the bio-filter bacteria are on surfaces of the filter media rather than in the water.

okay, first off thanks for everything so far! we are at the purchasing stage. we have decided to use a

Pro Series 400 Watt Induction Grow Light from inda-gro.

we also have a space constraint that will cause us to need to separate the grow bed from the fish tank, the tank will need to have pipes going 8 feet in the air to clear a door way, this means we will need 2 pumps to control the flow of water. my question is, is there such thing as too much flow? i do not know if there is an ideal rate of transfer for water in a raft system. i am thinking of a 250 Gallons per minute pump, the grow bed is -30 gallons, the tank is 90 gallons

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