Aquaponic Gardening

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Hello friends,

 

I am trying to find an alternative to polystyrene floating raft beds and am curious if anybody on here can point me in the right direction.  I remember seeing a youtube video months ago where some people were using raft beds that appeared to be made out of plastic and fit together almost like a puzzle in an interlocking fashion.  These seem ideal and I would love to find some for a closer inspection.   Any information or help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

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 Vlad,Actually my experience is with hydroponics,old style. I think keeping it simple is the way to go. I actually have my own ideas.But i came here to see what people are doing and if i like it,i use it.

 

   

Yeah, this site should be fun for you then. There's a host of interesting characters doing some very cool stuff and everyone seems to have their own little niche or "thing" going on...

My 'schtick' is using "fishless" bio-ponic systems to grow food without having to purchasing any hydroponic nutrients. Since it seems to me that all that is entailed by keeping and feeding the fish costs about as much as store bought hydro nutrient solutions...so in reality no gains there, except of course the water conservation aspect...which to me is kinda off set by relying on very unsustainable practices like relying on fish food harvested from the oceans the way that it currently is...I grow a lot of food "hydroponically" but do not purchase hydroponic nutrients anymore...

Ideas are good. Trying them out to see if they work is great too. Not all of them do, but there is much to learn from fails as well. And (ideas) sometimes come from the 'darndest' places...i.e trying to figure out why my cat isn't allowed to eat certain vegetables/food directly led me to devise a simple way for to extract biological phosphates (in a way that is immediately bio-available to plants) from the humonia I have lying around. Weird.

Good luck to you and I hope you try out some of those ideas and let everyone know how they worked out and why. 

Ok Vlad, I think perhaps you should take the comment about the cat to the threadjackers group and explain more cause you got me interested now.

And that "passive" hydroponics paper has me thinking since I have a system I use for quarantine but it doesn't necessarily always have enough plants going to handle using up the nitrates when I have small fish eating high protein feed.  I could set up one of those hydro Trough ideas next to it and when ever the nitrates start getting high in that system I could send some water over and grow a cycle of lettuce or something with that water.  I will probably add some mosquito fish into that trough just to take care of the mosquito larva without having to buy dunks.  I see no reason that a batch of water from AP that is really high in nitrates would not work very well to run a cycle of lettuce the way the paper describes.  Lettuce is one of the things in AP that seems to need the least amount of supplementing with other nutrients and by avoiding the mineral salts used in hydroponics you don't have the salt buildup in the left over water the way you do when doing it hydroponically so probably even less reason to change out the water.  Only thing to keep an eye on would be too much Biological oxygen demand still residing in the AP water that might cause one to want to add at least a minimal amount of aeration or circulation into the trough.

Hum, I wonder, if it is well filtered before being put in the passive trough and then left exposed to the sun for a day or so to give it a bit of UV before placing the covers on, maybe that would have an effect.  Gee I wish I had the time, money, materials, and lab to really check into all this.

IDK TC, sounds like a decent idea if I understand correctly. What's the worst that could happen if it doesn't work out? Filtering, a bit of aeration and/or UV/sun sterilization all seem like they would only help your idea to work out for the better. I wonder if you'd get significant salts build up from the quarantine water evaporating (I'm guessing you salt your quarantine tank). Guess you could always dilute a bit with well water?

Well, if it makes you feel any better, you at least deserve the time, money, materials and lab

 Im trying to make it work by not having to buy anything.Im either moving to a remote location or i consider the problem of not being able to purchase supplys down the road.So Vlad is there a section here where you explain your system? So far ive been considering fish and now im curious about people using errr-chicken poop.
 
Vlad Jovanovic said:

Yeah, this site should be fun for you then. There's a host of interesting characters doing some very cool stuff and everyone seems to have their own little niche or "thing" going on...

My 'schtick' is using "fishless" bio-ponic systems to grow food without having to purchasing any hydroponic nutrients. Since it seems to me that all that is entailed by keeping and feeding the fish costs about as much as store bought hydro nutrient solutions...so in reality no gains there, except of course the water conservation aspect...which to me is kinda off set by relying on very unsustainable practices like relying on harvested from the oceans the way that it currently is...I grow a lot of food "hydroponically" but do not purchase hydroponic nutrients anymore...

Ideas are good. Trying them out to see if they work is great too. Not all of them do, but there is much to learn from fails as well. And (ideas) sometimes come from the 'darndest' places...i.e trying to figure out why my cat isn't allowed to eat certain vegetables/food directly led me to devise a simple way for to extract biological phosphates (in a way that is immediately bio-available to plants) from the humonia I have lying around. Weird.

Good luck to you and I hope you try out some of those ideas and let everyone know how they worked out and why. 

Well...I've generally got 4-5 different systems running in different sort of ways...the newest one has 8 IBC media beds and 546 square feet of rafts...it is currently cycling with humonia...

Chicken poop makes me a bit nervous, and I think at least some of those people are doing so based on misrepresented information gleaned from 'green water' culture. Personally, I'd stay away from that one as a direct input, though there are other (safer) ways to incorporate your chickens and fowl into your loop...

So lets see...remote location...safe...not being able to purchase supplies...I think your own urine, properly aged and perhaps processed a bit might be your best bet...You can make KOH out of rain water and the ashes of hardwood trees (it's really super easy) as a pH buffer and as a K boost for fruiting plants. A worm bin would be good to have...I've ran systems using just a sock full of worm castings and a bit of humonia (aged human urine) before...with additions of dried crushed up powdered bones as an extra source of P and the homemade KOH for extra K and pH buffering. I'm trying out an idea that uses aged human urine as the source to make a 3 part nutrient (one N heavy, one P heavy, the other somewhat N and mostly K heavy with trace elements included...All you need besides the urine is a source of Mg...Epsom salt is what I'm using, but any source will do (MgO whatever...)...You coming from a hydro background I'll skip the plant biology as it relates to nutrient uptake particulars in certain phases of development...This may interest you for your purposes and potential setting...http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/group/fish-less-systems/for...

I've been doing this all summer and the plants are loving it so far. I'll test more indoors in the winter time since I usually have more time then but so far so good...

There might be some other things of interest to you in the "Fish-less Systems" group...http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/group/fish-less-systems  that you could adapt to suit your needs...

Ok Vlad, I'm doing a test of it. 

Aquaponic Lynx non recirculating test

I didn't do any extra filtration but I did draw the water from the sump which is a clean water sump.  No leaving it out in the sun either as yesterday was cloudy with the bands of Sandy going through.

Now you may see in the picture that one of the bus tubs has air lines.  I want to compare if aeration improves growth and if so, how much.  I've done hydroponics where the plants were supported above the water and the plants always seemed to grow way better where there was more aeration so I'm not convinced that totally passive is really the most effective way to go even if lettuce can be grown that way.

The foam boards are just 1/2" and not painted or anything.  It's what I had on hand and I didn't want to muck about.

Notice that the foam boards are wired down to the tubs.  Small seedlings don't weigh enough to hold a foam board down even in mild wind gusts.  Yesterday we were seeing some pretty big wind gusts.  No, I didn't have the seedlings blown away yesterday, this was something I learned long ago with egg cartons and peat pellets.

Very cool TC. I'm almost certain the bin with aeration will work better. Passive air space does kinda work, it just sorta seems to suck. Passive airspace in addition to added aeration (pump/stones) is what I now do in all my little systems. Trying to skimp and be more "sustainable" on the big system might not be all that smart, hehe...The wind here's been crazy the last couple of days (it gets that way often here). I Woke up to a bunch of big potted plants lying down. It'll be real cool to see what happens here side by side...air, no air... 

The new farm is looking real good from what I can see. Is that DuraSkrim or some other type of liner in those beds?

Durascrim.  Those are my rail and liner beds in the background.  Has the media bed on top and sump/raft bed below.  (kinda like Murray's FloMedia.)

FYI the rail and liner method is NOT cheaper.  Metal is expensive.  But replacing the wood and liner beds every few years because of termites here is even more expensive in the long run while I expect the rails and liner to be longer lasting.  IBC's would probably be the cheapest way to go if you can get a good clean source of inexpensive ones to use but I'm not going to use "recycled" IBC's for a commercial system.

Yeah, the price of metal has skyrocketed around here as well...You might want to think about capping off the ends of those pipes (if the pipes were cut after being galvanized), they might last longer...not that they'll be rusting out any time soon or anything, they look pretty heavy duty. 

It looks so weird seeing the durascrim all exposed and out in the open like that! I'm so used to always seeing it encased in wood...

I lucked out in that I have an all natural fruit juice factory super close by with tons of IBC's. Many of the local farmers sell them apples and things so I was pretty OK with buying those IBC's. The cost of brand new IBC's is pretty ridiculous...

having the liner exposed is a bit of a risk when it comes to something possibly puncturing it, however, putting insulation or wood around it makes a perfect place for pests to nest so I opted to leave it exposed.

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