Aquaponic Gardening

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grow directly in a stream or pond-attractive aquaponics!

I was introduced to an idea that a local pond guy is trying to start here in AZ, that he is calling aquapondics.  his idea is that you can grow right in the sides of the stream and in the pond.  it wouldn't have the ebb and flow.  Anyone have any thoughts on how well this would work and without the water going up and down and any other issues that folks may realize may  come up?  I was wondering if there could also be a separate raised grow bed attached that still looks like part of the pond/stream system.  could it be possible to do an ebb and flow with it?  or would we need to access space underneath and so do a raised bed but hide it by rocks so that it looks like part of the pond.  I'm not clear on all the plumbing even though I have a tote system.    trying to make aquaponics beautiful as I don't care for the tote look.  if this idea doesn't work I guess we could still do a pond to expand our system but do wooden raised beds and find a way to hide the PVC. 

any thoughts on what might be able to grow or ideas on how to set something like this up would be greatly appreciated!

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I have found that any water, especially with the level of nutrients we have, exposed to the light is a good medium for the growth of algae. How would that fit in with what he has in mind with aquapondics where the display of water, I suppose, would be central to his idea? Maybe the exposed water could be well shaded by trees, or maybe shrubs growing in the same water? Do you have any links to his ideas? 

no links.  I'd be the first doing this that I know of.  if you are interested in seeing his work, though, google "pondgnome in phoenix."  In order for it to look good, It seems I'd be pretty limited with how much I could grow in the stream area, although growing in a few pockets along a long stream still sounds nice, while having other areas for my kids to explore, but it seems the main growing areas would need to be bogs or ponds off of the fish pond; growing beds that look like another pond.  If the garden bed needs to be higher than the pond that would need to be raised up with some dirt or rock, making it more complicated, although it could look beautiful if done right, the way I'm picturing it. 

As for sun, sun is a factor in my yard in Phoenix as we only have one tree and have done that on purpose, trying to not block our view of the mountain.  We do plan on planting some semi-dward fruit trees, or bushes, like u mention, could help with shade.  I've spoken with folks with koi ponds who like the sun because they have a lot of floating plants on top of the pond and I hear that pond plants thrive here.  thx much for your reply!

You cant just grow any plant as a marginal. The reason AP works is because your getting gas exchange either by a flood and drain or by highly oxygenating your water. Planting on the side of a pond wont do this. Now you can use pond water in an AP system if your fish load provides enough nitrogen for your plants but it thats entirely dependent on the water quality of the pond and the stock volume of fish. 

Its not about the water going up and down, its about the oxygen content of the water which will vary depending on temperature, water movement/disturbance and biological oxygen demand.  In treatment wetlands for instance "forced bed aeration" is often used to provide oxygen to the media.  Flood and drain wetlands for treatment are referred to as "reciprocally flooded vertical flow wetlands".

Nutrients may not be concentrated enough in a naturally occurring pond or stream to get good growth....if they are I would question the source.  In a constructed environment you would control the fish load and feeding regime.  This can certainly be done using strategically placed water drop structures and/or airstones

Hi guys, thought I'd offer up what GardenPool is doing.  Growing food in and on a pond is a major element of Dennis' plan for his system.  The algae growth in the pool is free fish food as tilapia love the stuff.  And on top he grows water hyacinth in winter (edible) or water lettuce in summer (not edible, but dried his goats eat it), but only letting the pond get about 2/3rd covered.  There are some plants I'm sure would grow well at the margins - our native yerba mansa comes to mind and I'd also try water spinach. Regardless, I would want a pump on the pond sending the water through some kind of filter media grow beds in addition to plants growing in and on the pond.  He prefers his ponds in full sun to maximize algae and plant growth.

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