Aquaponic Gardening

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Hello All,

I'm working on small scale aquaponics setup that is suitable for living space (i.e. family room, bed room.... etc.).  Has anyone done this ? I'm wondering about issues it might bring ... moisture, noise, smell ??? 

Obviously it can not be large single unit based on 300 gallon aquarium. Rater I want it to be collection of smaller units that can be less imposing but become part of every day living space. 

I'm new to this (other than reading Sylvia's book and few videos and salt water aquarium experiences).  Any help would be appreciated. 

Thank you,

Cliff

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I have a 10 gallon aquarium with some cherry shrimp and houseplants in my spare bedroom.  We used to have a bigger aquarium in there and plant buckets.

 

Many people in colder climates do indoor aquaponics.  For small set ups you won't be growing out plate size fish but You can still grow herbs and veggies if there is enough light.

Cliff, lots of people have done this and it can work out quite well...but you are smart to think it through in advance!  There will be water noise (music?), extra humidity in the room, and sometimes leaf droppings...or bug droppings on the floor if you get a bug attack,  You should probably just count on some water hitting the floor occasionally, no matter how careful you are, so make sure it is on a floor surface that can handle some moisture.  Smell shouldn't be an issue at all.  The only time an AP system smells is if an anaerobic zone forms, which shouldn't happen if you are flooding and draining, you make sure any dead fish are removed quickly, and you don't overstock.

Also, as TC pointed out, you will want to consider grow lights in your evaluation. How to hang them, how to power them, and how much heat they are going to throw off.

Depending on your climate, you may need to figure on running a dehumidifier if you have lots of aquaponics going in the house (in other climates especially during winter this might actually be a good thing.)

 

Keep some towels near by even if the floor is cement or tile.

 

An mylar emergency blanket hung like a curtain around a lit system can help keep the light down to a more bearable level in the rest of the room (this is what I did for hydroponics in the living room at my previous apartment before I discovered Aquaponics and moved to a house where I could have it outside.)

Hi Cliff, I've had a small system going for about two months. I have a picture posted. It's working great. I would suggest a larger aquarium if you have the space. My next system will be 20 or 30 gallon allowing room for 2 or three verticals and something other than tropical fish. Good advice from TCLynx...keep towels handy. I've noticed no humidity problems and the only noise is the "music" of the water dripping into the aquarium. Go for it...you'll be hooked!

I have a 20 gallon tank with a 20 gallon sump, ebb and flow media bed system in the house.  It is no different than having an aquarium and houseplants. Except there is less cleaning of the tank than a traditional aquarium setup. The media bed is a much better filter than traditional aquarium filters. We also use wood heat which can tend to dry out the environment, so I think it helps to balance things in our home, as far as moisture goes.

Thank you for quick replies. Excellent suggestions. I haven't thought about water splashing. Also, very good point Rick - "no different than having an aquarium and houseplants". 

To summarize so far...

1. Have a towel handy  :)

2. There will be some music .... water sound

3. Extra moisture (I wonder how much .... I live in Washington state... i.e. a lot of moisture... , where winter is typically somewhat mild - mostly mid to mid 40s outside and about 55 to 60 in the house. )

4. Possible bug. 

5. Consider growing lights.

6. No extra smell 

 

Now, followup questions :

1.  I'm thinking about simple raft type growing beds (no medium) sitting directly above the fish tank (no separate media filter but using old aquarium style filter - bottom gravel area of the aquarium about 2 inches with about 1 inch gap at the bottom where water will be drawn off to the plants.  Would this provide sufficient bio filtering?  I guess the real question I should ask is .... is separate sump tank necessary? 

2. Production - What can I expect from 30 gallon fish tank system in terms of production? How much of what can I expect to grow from such system?  Any suggestion of what I should grow during the winter?  I know I want Kale, mustard green and some herbs for winter. Anything else you recommend?  And for those plants your grew, how much does it produce? How long does it take until the harvest?

Clifford

 

 

Thank you Sylvia, 

 On smell consideration, I was worried about the growing bed with worms in it. Would worm add any "smell"?

Sylvia Bernstein said:

Cliff, lots of people have done this and it can work out quite well...but you are smart to think it through in advance!  There will be water noise (music?), extra humidity in the room, and sometimes leaf droppings...or bug droppings on the floor if you get a bug attack,  You should probably just count on some water hitting the floor occasionally, no matter how careful you are, so make sure it is on a floor surface that can handle some moisture.  Smell shouldn't be an issue at all.  The only time an AP system smells is if an anaerobic zone forms, which shouldn't happen if you are flooding and draining, you make sure any dead fish are removed quickly, and you don't overstock.

Also, as TC pointed out, you will want to consider grow lights in your evaluation. How to hang them, how to power them, and how much heat they are going to throw off.

If you are doing a raft type system, you will be limited in the amount of worms that would thrive.

The noisiest part of the system would probably turn out to be the air pump.

Is the aquarium filter enough, Probably if you are only growing as many fish as the aquarium filter system can handle.  The plants would simply be reducing or eliminating the need for water changes hopefully. 

How fast and how much the plants will produce will depend on the plants and how much light/nutrients they get.  You will need to learn to balance the amount of fish and how much you feed them with what the plants can use up under the conditions you put them in.

 

Kale can be a little slow to get going but giving good conditions you can continue harvesting off it for ages.  Mustard greens will likely do very well if you give it enough light.  Herbs too.  And you might also add some lettuce and swiss chard to your list of things to grow indoors.

 

In the Pacific Northwest, you might find running a dehumidifier to help out, I know in the Humid South East, we run a dehumidifier most of the year.

Thank you TCLynx,

I got dehumidifier and all support equipments. Looking forward to get my system going... 

Cliff

TCLynx said:

If you are doing a raft type system, you will be limited in the amount of worms that would thrive.

The noisiest part of the system would probably turn out to be the air pump.

Is the aquarium filter enough, Probably if you are only growing as many fish as the aquarium filter system can handle.  The plants would simply be reducing or eliminating the need for water changes hopefully. 

How fast and how much the plants will produce will depend on the plants and how much light/nutrients they get.  You will need to learn to balance the amount of fish and how much you feed them with what the plants can use up under the conditions you put them in.

 

Kale can be a little slow to get going but giving good conditions you can continue harvesting off it for ages.  Mustard greens will likely do very well if you give it enough light.  Herbs too.  And you might also add some lettuce and swiss chard to your list of things to grow indoors.

 

In the Pacific Northwest, you might find running a dehumidifier to help out, I know in the Humid South East, we run a dehumidifier most of the year.

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