Aquaponic Gardening

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Hello, I am new to aquaponics and haven't yet set up my system, but I was wondering if anyone has done any type of cost analysis?  in other words, what did that tomato you grew actually cost you?? and at what point do you see a return on your investment?

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Michelle that is a very difficult question to answer. Costs across the country vary greatly. In CA the cost of Hydrocorn is less than $25 for a 45lt bag. I SC the cost is over $40 per bag. Are you installing in a greenhouse or outside? How big a system are you looking at? You could go on and on with costs. If you are willing to pay the price they are getting for organic foods and equate that to what you raise in aquaponics you may break even one day but I doubt it. Just factor in your time and you will never break even. Now there is always the exception to the rule but very few. I operate a soil garden and a what I consider a fairly large aquaponics system. The cost for my soil garden would never even come close to the cost of my aquaponics system. I however love working on the aquaponics system as they are always issues that need to be addressed and many have no clear cut remedies. It's time consuming and challenging; not as easy as some websites suggest. Start out small. Think of it as an adventure. Tom

Thank you Tom, I appreciate your response  :)

You might want to design and price out your components.  I see it as a long term investment.  However, it is difficult to put a price on clean, fresh produce.  You really would be hard pressed to buy produce that is as tasty and satisfying as that which you can pick and immediately consume.  How much you plan for maximum output in your system plays into it too. 

Some are able to build systems on the cheap.  There are many options as to components, found, rescued VS off the shelf.  Systems can be purchased almost ready to go and you may even be able to hire someone to build it somewhat turnkey for you.  Price can vary quite a bit depending on how you go about it.

Good luck

Hi Michelle, so glad you’re looking into AP!  I love it and it is becoming more than a hobby at my house. 

Do you already have a pump?  That is one of the must and a bit pricey item.  A good one will run around $80-200 where I am.  Get the best you can, be sure the pump will pump over 6-7 feet.  Look closely at the gph gallons per hour too. 

The grow bed media is the next; at least it was to me, do research to see which one you will be able to afford.  I went with pea gravel because of cost, I really wanted the clay balls, but opt out of it.

Thank you all for your comments.  I thought a cost analysis might be difficult to come up with for the very reasons stated but I asked the question just on the off chance someone had done it with their own system.


Becky ~ Yes, I already have a pump and it should work just fine, at least in the beginning.  As for media, I was contemplating the Grow Stones but I haven't seen too much feedback on them as far as AP is concerned.  How is the pea gravel working out for you? Do you have worms in your media? or are you able to have worms in pea gravel media?...just thinking the stones might be too heavy and close together for a worm colony??.... 

I try not to - still working toward full productivity.  

Michelle said:

but I asked the question just on the off chance someone had done it with their own system.


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