Aquaponic Gardening

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So much discussions have come about regarding the viability of aquaponics as a business.

Can it work, or not?

and why?

In Canada (Toronto specifically) the focus for local has been huge. Being in a cold climate we cannot source certain products locally, and they come from California, or Mexico. I have no experience running aquaponics on a huge level (I've got a small setup on the second floor of my restaurant)

But what I dont get, is why is a hyroponic/greenhouse setup selling, say cucumbers viable?

We have greenhouses in Ontario growing peppers, cucumbers,  year-round in a cold climate. so these guys have heating costs in the winter, probably artificial light for the lack of sun in the winter - and I am sure they are turning a profit? (They wouldn't be in business if they werent making money!)

Regarding additional income streams such as consulting, training, farm tours

That is all part of the business IMO. My restaurants turn a profit from all aspects of the business. (ie. Catering) but are base is dining in/taking out)

If you look at my restaurant model, I've got 3 cooks, 2 waitresses, cost of rent, heat, hydro, enormous food cost (30-40% in many cases) TONS of competition, and at the end of the day we turn a profit.

from 7am to 10am we sell 3 eggs, 3 bacon, homefries, toast and coffee for 3.99!! plus I got to pay all those other costs. but money is made because of turn-over.

Why NOT aquaponics? (forgive my lack of knowledge)

But if you've got say, 4000 sq. feet of grow beds, ample lighting etc. and you follow what most of the experts are saying. (ie. say 27 holes per 2X4 raft)and decide to grow, say buttercrunch lettuce

4000 sq. feet should technically give you a gross production of 13,500 heads of lettuce?

obviously you stagger the harvest cycles, have an ample amount of seedlings ready to replace the harvest.

Is it unrealistic that 4000. sq. feet of grow beds, with proper lighting, fish to plant population etc. will output, say 10,000 heads a month?

am I missing something here? (again, forgive my lack of knowledge regarding aquaponics, growth times)

I'd love to dive in and learn aquaponics, grow year-round for the many, many local restaurants that "do" source locally but simply cannot find them.

I guess I am trying to figure out what one could expect out of total production, then discuss the input costs etc.

Would love to hear your opinions.

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Hi Peter S,

Sorry, I just don't get it. This is open forum which means it's all blablabla. Why would you question others experience or suggestions? I noticed your page has nothing. No pics, no descriptions, nothing to tell me who or what you do/ have done. Are you planning on hiring one of us? Do you dispute what Rupe has to say? if you do...that is what forums are for, to discuss issues......Please by all means go first if ya feel the need to taut. 

easy Carey.  ;)

I think Peter realized that he liked the info Adam shared and thought he'd like to hear the same info from Rupe.

I do think he could've just gone and done a little investigation on Rupe himself by checking out his profile and links instead of asking him to post it, but then he probably figured that info would be useful to others if shared in this thread.

Peter, am I right?

I say it can work and many people are taking a stab at it right now. Some banks actually will loan money for aquaponics if you can show a good buisness plan and invest personal assets showing that you also have something to loose if it goes under.

I think we will see profitable commercial aquaponics within the next 2 years.

Hello, I agree, the bank cannot loan money without other assets at this time,  make sure that you are clear on this exact idea, We are certain this is true, it keeps me up at night! The future is ours to screw up, so stay away from aquaschiesters!!!!!!

These are people who want your plans and run with them, a word to the informed,  Too many people just want the profit and never farm, that's the problem, We ask people to grow a business and not to buy a aquaponics farm, it will work for all that follow this tried and true method, the science proves this point over and over again. I personally built my first system in 1991 in austin texas using catfish , it worked then and it works now, be Leary of bad info or uniformed  non producing consultants, ask them if they farm every single day or not, if no why not???? We farm every day of the year with a smile and a good attitude,

            Please consider only what you as a person can do!   Thank you Adam Harwood

Here, here Adam. I like the way you put it. Too many times we get caught up in the "making money" part and forget you still have to farm. If you can't or won't farm then you won't make money. Sometimes when you can farm you don't make money but then if money is what drives you, you shouldn't be in the farming business. Too many people want to sell the idea of Aquaponics and forget to tell the buyer the part about having to be a farmer.

 The only thing that makes it impossible would be wanting to make millions.

@Peter.. and everyone...

I'm  as open to scrutiny as anyone else maybe... and should be...


I come from a commercial hydroponics background many years ago... shut down due to a marrage breakdown... about 180,000 holes...


Last "reincarnation" was back in about 2004....


20 tables.... 8 x 12mtr channels (400 holes each) -=> 3200 holes per table -=> 64,000 holes...




As you can see from the stored channels... the original commercial system.. was a bit bigger...



I've been a keen gardener since (literally)  I was a "tot"... based on organic/permaculture principles taught to me by my grandfather and father...

Also an avid fisherman since the year dot... and with declining fish stocks.. I undertook 4 years of aquaculture studies (with distinctions)...

During that time I discovered aquaponics.. and as part of my systems... incorporated my hydroponics knowledge into a hybrid system..



I've recently moved... and just started putting together some more hydrid media/NFT systems to determine fish:media:plant ratios...


Here's the first module... 3 weeks old... (and 3 weeks of near constant rain...





You can see the evolution of my home systems, going back 6-7 years... on the BYAP forum... and some of my client installations in my photo gallery here on this forum...


And if anyone is interested... here's a short segment done for TV Sydney... (excuse the couple of bloppers in the clip)

I apologize to all I may have offended. I must have been in a bad or defensive mood or something. His tone just rubbed me the wrong way for some reason (even though it wasn't directed at me). Cheers Peter.

@ Averan: Thanks for the reminder...Cheers

@ Adam & Tom: Yep I too agree.One is either a farmer/ gardener or not.  Money/ income is the natural by-product of success.

@ Travis: I plan to make millions. I have to. That's the only way I can come home. But I am far from that goal and will be a long trek before I get there. I hope I can make it for retirement. But then again. I think it is easier for me here in China than it is for you guys simply because  of the population and economic differences. I think I'd have a much harder time stateside.

Sorry.. correction... to the "last reincarnation hydro system"


"20 tables.... 8 x 12mtr channels (400 holes each) -=> 3200 holes per table -=> 64,000 holes..."


Should read...


20 tables.... 8 x 12mtr channels (40 holes each) -=> 320 holes per table -=> 6,400 holes...


To give you an idea of the original commercial hydro scale... google pic taken in 2007 after everything had been closed down..



All the "soil" areas above and beside the 20 tables pictured... were all covered by hydro tables... 

One of the points I often make is regards to scale... and "commercialisation"...

The small hydro operation... 6,400 holes... was as much as I, and some occassional part time labour... could cope with...

The full scale "180,000 hole" operation basically employed myself and 5 other people... virtually full time...

What a wonderful place you have Rupe. How I envy you.

My respects as always.

Sadly Carey... the hydroponic operation and property.. are longer operating... and no longer mine... haven't been for some time...

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