Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Are you interested in growing commercially?  Do you already grow commercially?  This is the place for exchanging ideas and experiences, and making new contacts in commercial aquaponic agriculture

 

You might also consider joining the Commercial Aquaponics discussion group for lots more information and discussion

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Well, there are several reasons not to do rafts over the fish and if the fish are in the raft tank, the clairifier won't keep the fish poo/fish food off the plant roots.

 

I currently have two fish testing the water in a raft tank for me, problem is you can't easily inspect/see your fish under a raft.  The rafts also reduce the amount of water surface with access to air and thus reduce the dissolved oxygen in the raft tanks which will need even more aeration if the fish are in the same tank with the plants.  It is hard to keep fish food from fouling the rafts if there are fish in the same tank with the rafts.  Fish can disturb the plant roots and some types of fish will eat the plant roots.

 

Most people find if far more effective to have the fish and plants separate.


David jones said:

Well I want to raft over fish rather than raft in seperate tanks from fish...so the tank need to be deeper than normal...DWC-Deep Water Current...

 

shouldn't I run clarifiers if i am going to remove solids?

Sylvia Bernstein said:

David, we are primarily focused on the home market, but we do carry the towers and can help you with those. Click here to visit our website.  Not sure what a DWC tank is - one with clarifiers? - and why you feel you need one?  If you are going with a hybrid system you won't need clarifiers...

David jones said:

Does anyone have a list of trusted suppliers for the equipment required to build my system? In the U.S and on the mainland are the stipulations...

I want a multi faceted system...media beds, towers, and rafts...which dictates DWC Tanks for fish...

Any thoughts or ideas...I could really use the help!

David, you worry me a little with the statement "we have the expertise to run it, just not the start up tech info"

For a commercial scale start up I would hope that some one has been to one of the many classes or workshops out there that would give at least the info needed to run a system using whatever method those teaching the workshop specialize in and be able to get help from them about options for buying equipment as well as knowing the parameters needed to source one's own equipment.

 

Unfortunately, there really isn't yet a standardized model for combination systems though we do have a few members here now starting to add some media beds or towers onto their raft commercial systems and other members have started up research systems on a small scale that are combination systems but I doubt any have been running long enough for them to give hard numbers about how to run/stock/feed it in different situation.

 

My large system (though still backyard scale, not commercial) Has a 700 gallon fish tank that flows into gravel beds which drain into a sump tank where the pump is.  The pump drawing from the sump feeds the fish tank as well as towers, NFT pipes, a raft bed and some other additional growing/seed starting methods.  All the additional growing spaces drain back into the sump tank.  All the solids are kept in the grow beds in the system so I don't need so much fish or fish feed to grow lots and lots of plants.

 

If you want to grow more fish and the plants are not as important, then adding a clarifyer or swirl filter or whatever for removing the solids becomes more important and that should get the water from the fish tank before it goes through a pump.


David jones said:

TC -  I am building a mid to large scale commercial system with a community co-op and need solid info on equipment and start up costs associated with that equipment, we have the expertise to run it, just not the start up tech info, where to secure the tech and the best combination of methods...we want a hybrid system of rafts, towers and media beds to capitalize on as much growing space and produce versitility as possible. The system needs to accomodate Tiliapia, perch and prawn maybe Trout...

Any other thought?

 

David,

I understand what your looking for but do not know of anyone in the states that have those ready available. You don't find ready made "kits" for commercial type operations. The other thing you mentioned about using a clairifier for  DWC (Deep water culture-floating raft) with using fish in the same tanks as plants won't work. Just as TC mentioned the roots get covered and then cannot get "fed" nutrients or oxygen to the roots. Clairifiers and filters for "cleaning" the nutrient water before entering the grow beds is essential to this.

I didn't see where you mentioned what you wanted to raise in your system for production and this needs to be put into writing so you will know exactly what your needs are. The multiple systems you said you wanted, the suggestion TC spoke of in her system - flood and drain going into sump then out to towers and floating raft was an excellent ideal in itself. The flood and drain offer the clairifier, filter, bio-filter set up in one complete form and works very well.

Do you have an ideal of how much food your going to need to grow? and have you figured the ratio of fish, water needed to make it happen? The only suggestion I have in a system that is mostly of what your looking for is a used hydroponic farm that has closed that used the raft system. You could get the system at a much reduced price if you find one and add to it. Murray has done commercial systems and his latest DVD(Aquaponic secrets) has a section on the things your looking at and talks about things you need for commercial. He is not in the US but could do some solid consultant work for you to get what you need or send you to the right people. It would be better then spending $100,000 on a system to not have it work. You could even look into Growing Power if your looking at mostly green leafy types, but their system is more labor intense, and that would add costs which is not what you want. We all wish you the best in your endeavor and hope you succeed,  but right now you need to move up to the next level in your quest.  You could also possibly start visiting commercial operations and speaking to them, seeing about equipment.   
TCLynx said:

Well, there are several reasons not to do rafts over the fish and if the fish are in the raft tank, the clairifier won't keep the fish poo/fish food off the plant roots.

 

I currently have two fish testing the water in a raft tank for me, problem is you can't easily inspect/see your fish under a raft.  The rafts also reduce the amount of water surface with access to air and thus reduce the dissolved oxygen in the raft tanks which will need even more aeration if the fish are in the same tank with the plants.  It is hard to keep fish food from fouling the rafts if there are fish in the same tank with the rafts.  Fish can disturb the plant roots and some types of fish will eat the plant roots.

 

Most people find if far more effective to have the fish and plants separate.


David jones said:

Well I want to raft over fish rather than raft in seperate tanks from fish...so the tank need to be deeper than normal...DWC-Deep Water Current...

 

shouldn't I run clarifiers if i am going to remove solids?

Sylvia Bernstein said:

David, we are primarily focused on the home market, but we do carry the towers and can help you with those. Click here to visit our website.  Not sure what a DWC tank is - one with clarifiers? - and why you feel you need one?  If you are going with a hybrid system you won't need clarifiers...

David jones said:

Does anyone have a list of trusted suppliers for the equipment required to build my system? In the U.S and on the mainland are the stipulations...

I want a multi faceted system...media beds, towers, and rafts...which dictates DWC Tanks for fish...

Any thoughts or ideas...I could really use the help!

My concern was health of the fish and had forgotten about the reduction of dissolved Oxygen...THANKS! looks like seperate tanks it is...that will add quite a bit of space to the project...what are your thoughts on number of seperate tanks that some systems use...I have seen some with a seperate tank for everything under the sun...degassing...solids seperation... ph correction, so on and so forth.

 

I would think, the fewer the better.



TCLynx said:

Well, there are several reasons not to do rafts over the fish and if the fish are in the raft tank, the clairifier won't keep the fish poo/fish food off the plant roots.

 

I currently have two fish testing the water in a raft tank for me, problem is you can't easily inspect/see your fish under a raft.  The rafts also reduce the amount of water surface with access to air and thus reduce the dissolved oxygen in the raft tanks which will need even more aeration if the fish are in the same tank with the plants.  It is hard to keep fish food from fouling the rafts if there are fish in the same tank with the rafts.  Fish can disturb the plant roots and some types of fish will eat the plant roots.

 

Most people find if far more effective to have the fish and plants separate.


David jones said:

Well I want to raft over fish rather than raft in seperate tanks from fish...so the tank need to be deeper than normal...DWC-Deep Water Current...

 

shouldn't I run clarifiers if i am going to remove solids?

Sylvia Bernstein said:

David, we are primarily focused on the home market, but we do carry the towers and can help you with those. Click here to visit our website.  Not sure what a DWC tank is - one with clarifiers? - and why you feel you need one?  If you are going with a hybrid system you won't need clarifiers...

David jones said:

Does anyone have a list of trusted suppliers for the equipment required to build my system? In the U.S and on the mainland are the stipulations...

I want a multi faceted system...media beds, towers, and rafts...which dictates DWC Tanks for fish...

Any thoughts or ideas...I could really use the help!

This is where you will need to do more investigation on a commerical level and have found the answers your seeking that will correctly help you.

David jones said:

My concern was health of the fish and had forgotten about the reduction of dissolved Oxygen...THANKS! looks like seperate tanks it is...that will add quite a bit of space to the project...what are your thoughts on number of seperate tanks that some systems use...I have seen some with a seperate tank for everything under the sun...degassing...solids seperation... ph correction, so on and so forth.

 

I would think, the fewer the better.



TCLynx said:

Well, there are several reasons not to do rafts over the fish and if the fish are in the raft tank, the clairifier won't keep the fish poo/fish food off the plant roots.

 

I currently have two fish testing the water in a raft tank for me, problem is you can't easily inspect/see your fish under a raft.  The rafts also reduce the amount of water surface with access to air and thus reduce the dissolved oxygen in the raft tanks which will need even more aeration if the fish are in the same tank with the plants.  It is hard to keep fish food from fouling the rafts if there are fish in the same tank with the rafts.  Fish can disturb the plant roots and some types of fish will eat the plant roots.

 

Most people find if far more effective to have the fish and plants separate.


David jones said:

Well I want to raft over fish rather than raft in seperate tanks from fish...so the tank need to be deeper than normal...DWC-Deep Water Current...

 

shouldn't I run clarifiers if i am going to remove solids?

Sylvia Bernstein said:

David, we are primarily focused on the home market, but we do carry the towers and can help you with those. Click here to visit our website.  Not sure what a DWC tank is - one with clarifiers? - and why you feel you need one?  If you are going with a hybrid system you won't need clarifiers...

David jones said:

Does anyone have a list of trusted suppliers for the equipment required to build my system? In the U.S and on the mainland are the stipulations...

I want a multi faceted system...media beds, towers, and rafts...which dictates DWC Tanks for fish...

Any thoughts or ideas...I could really use the help!

Aloha David, You don't want the fish and rafts in the same tank because the fish will eat your plants roots! You also have feeding issues and when a fish dies(it happens from time to time) you will not see it. I recommend you buy Friendly Aquaponics Micro System Manual for the best info on rafts. The system can easily be scaled up or down.

 

I buy my pumps from Aquatic Ecosystems and my other construction supplies from the big box stores. I get food grade liner from water catchment companies.

David jones said:

Well I want to raft over fish rather than raft in seperate tanks from fish...so the tank need to be deeper than normal...DWC-Deep Water Current...

 

shouldn't I run clarifiers if i am going to remove solids?

Sylvia Bernstein said:

David, we are primarily focused on the home market, but we do carry the towers and can help you with those. Click here to visit our website.  Not sure what a DWC tank is - one with clarifiers? - and why you feel you need one?  If you are going with a hybrid system you won't need clarifiers...

David jones said:

Does anyone have a list of trusted suppliers for the equipment required to build my system? In the U.S and on the mainland are the stipulations...

I want a multi faceted system...media beds, towers, and rafts...which dictates DWC Tanks for fish...

Any thoughts or ideas...I could really use the help!

My beds are flood/drain. I use a loop siphon instead of bell because the loop is on the outside and does not take up growing space. I have some pics of a bed posted on my page dated Oct 2010.

Michelle Silva said:

Chris,I don't have net tanks. The system is set up returning from the last fish tank back to the raft tanks as gravity feed. The problem is the way it's designed now, the water level would be higher  if I incorporate the gravel beds at the beginning of the raft tanks or (to place just out of the fish tanks would be tricky too, the last IBC tote is buried a little into the ground)and would no longer gravity feed..it's a bit hard to explain.

I would design it different if I did it again,would build the raft tanks out of wood and raise them  i/o two  cinderblock high on ground and probably put the fish tanks in the ground. That would also allow the vertical return to drain directly into the last fish tank i/o the small pump that is at the end of the long vertical tower trough.. It's crazy, I  have three pumps already! There were solenoid issues (not having enough presssure to open one and close the other) to be able to send water over to the vertical stacks using one pump,,was easier to just add a second pump. However, just this week I spoke to a plumbing supply house here and learned about a no pressure switch (think that's what it's called) that will work,but it would cost another $100 or so to get that set up and I already have the other pump.I am seeing some oil and was thinking it might be from the second pump that was just bough locally at Home Depot. It's concerning me, so was looking at more options.

Could you explain more how you have it run out the gravel beds? I was originally wanting it to be flood and drain so the worms could be in there. Is there a constant level in yours?
Chris Smith said:

Michelle, I was able to integrate my gravel beds into my systems easily as gravity is doing the work. It was as simple as replacing net tanks with beds at the proper height. If you cannot add them into your system in this fashion you can always use a separate pump to feed the beds. I will soon being adding new beds that will be fed by a pump in one of my troughs. Worms are great for media, just be sure to use worms that have not been fed any manure in recent months.

I have never had a problem with roots clogging anything when feeding roots to the fish. I use 2" and 3" pipe for drains and 1/2" plastic mesh to keep fish in their tank.

I now use black cinder as my medium. I have had problems with bad blocks of coir. The cinder has many advantages over coir. I will be posting about my new method very soon.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/myaxkfjlheqf4u6a/

 

Shows rosin from pine resin affecting plants,fish and .........humans?

 

 

 

Wow,possibly, I never checked.  So far, I am still needing to buy from a lot from other local organic farms until more is ready to harvest from mine.. ..only harvesting lettuce, some herbs and soon some other greens(Pak choy),some didn't do well that I planted early (broccoli,cukes,etc),some like squash have blossom drop or rot, some other flowering things were having a bit of a slow start,getting cherry tomatoes now,but when the weather turned the cold they started to not look that great. The strawberries are flowering more and see some fruit.
Peppers- I accidentally planted in the rafts i/o verticals,but are coming up and flowering nicely- only planted a few rafts of them, won't be enough for the members yet..still figuring that part out.

I planted a little of this and little of that instead of enough for all but I'm having fun with it...looking forward to the herb towers being fully grown in so can harvest a lot from them!

I went to an Ag conference Monday in Wimauma, mostly all about soiless farming and the benefits of low and high tunnels in Florida ..wish I had one now ...very interesting.
Sylvia Bernstein said:

I think you are the only commercial aquaponics farm I've heard of that is offering a CSA style model.  Are you the only one?

Ken, we have approx 10k sq ft of space and need to maximize the space as much as possible. The plan is to have media beds as well as towers and rafts, as it stands, and seperate tanks for fish, Tilapia, perch and prawns, possibly trout, but don't think a trout run is feasible with our set up. We want to include a germination area as well as enough room for pumps, clarifiers, if needed, and degassing tanks.

 

I have noticed that Nelson Pade has a large commercial system for sale...what are you thoughts on those compared to pieceing on together guerilla style.

 

Anyone else have thoughts on these systems that are available?


Ken Richardson said:

This is where you will need to do more investigation on a commerical level and have found the answers your seeking that will correctly help you.

David jones said:

My concern was health of the fish and had forgotten about the reduction of dissolved Oxygen...THANKS! looks like seperate tanks it is...that will add quite a bit of space to the project...what are your thoughts on number of seperate tanks that some systems use...I have seen some with a seperate tank for everything under the sun...degassing...solids seperation... ph correction, so on and so forth.

 

I would think, the fewer the better.



TCLynx said:

Well, there are several reasons not to do rafts over the fish and if the fish are in the raft tank, the clairifier won't keep the fish poo/fish food off the plant roots.

 

I currently have two fish testing the water in a raft tank for me, problem is you can't easily inspect/see your fish under a raft.  The rafts also reduce the amount of water surface with access to air and thus reduce the dissolved oxygen in the raft tanks which will need even more aeration if the fish are in the same tank with the plants.  It is hard to keep fish food from fouling the rafts if there are fish in the same tank with the rafts.  Fish can disturb the plant roots and some types of fish will eat the plant roots.

 

Most people find if far more effective to have the fish and plants separate.


David jones said:

Well I want to raft over fish rather than raft in seperate tanks from fish...so the tank need to be deeper than normal...DWC-Deep Water Current...

 

shouldn't I run clarifiers if i am going to remove solids?

Sylvia Bernstein said:

David, we are primarily focused on the home market, but we do carry the towers and can help you with those. Click here to visit our website.  Not sure what a DWC tank is - one with clarifiers? - and why you feel you need one?  If you are going with a hybrid system you won't need clarifiers...

David jones said:

Does anyone have a list of trusted suppliers for the equipment required to build my system? In the U.S and on the mainland are the stipulations...

I want a multi faceted system...media beds, towers, and rafts...which dictates DWC Tanks for fish...

Any thoughts or ideas...I could really use the help!

David, while I've been to Nelson and Pade's facility a couple times and know their systems to be very high quality they are 100% focused on UVI style raft growing.  Sounds like you are looking for a more flexible solution than that.

 

David, I believe DWC actually stands for Deep Water Culture.  My questions was more about why you are looking for a tank with that as a criteria.  Reading through rest of this thread clarified where you were coming from.  Thanks

David Jones said:

Well I want to raft over fish rather than raft in seperate tanks from fish...so the tank need to be deeper than normal...DWC-Deep Water Current...

 

shouldn't I run clarifiers if i am going to remove solids?

Sylvia Bernstein said:

David, we are primarily focused on the home market, but we do carry the towers and can help you with those. Click here to visit our website.  Not sure what a DWC tank is - one with clarifiers? - and why you feel you need one?  If you are going with a hybrid system you won't need clarifiers...

David jones said:

Does anyone have a list of trusted suppliers for the equipment required to build my system? In the U.S and on the mainland are the stipulations...

I want a multi faceted system...media beds, towers, and rafts...which dictates DWC Tanks for fish...

Any thoughts or ideas...I could really use the help!

David, Nelson & Pade sell beautiful systems that are scaled down versions of the UVI system. These systems are VERY EXPENSIVE!!! There are much more economical ways of constructing raft systems. There is no need to elevate raft beds(unless you like to spend extra money) when it is easy to lift rafts up to working height. The Friendly Aquaponics system is an economical evolution of the UVI model.

I have been integrating media beds and towers with the Friendly system. By doing this I have been able to eliminate net tanks and clarifiers. My goal is to keep 100% of nutrients in the system and reduce the fish load needed to grow a maximum of plants. Reducing fish load saves money on feed and aeration.

One important thing to consider is what crops are you wanting to grow. I believe that it is best to design a system around the crops that you intend to grow and the available space. Raft method works best for crops such as leafy greens that the entire plant is harvested. Media systems are better for larger and longer term crops. I have celery and chard in media and I harvest off these plants for 2-3 months. I think it is best to decide what it is that you want to grow and go from there.

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