Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Hello everyone;

I'm sorry I haven't posted about my new AP venture here before. I keep meaning to, then get distracted by something shiny!


Anyway, I'm in the process of setting up a commercial AP system in the Twin Cities, in Minnesota. I'm currently renting some greenhouse space in Hugo, but once the business proves successful (here's hoping!) I intend to move into the Urban Core and build an ultra-efficient greenhouse there.


Howling Moose already has a pretty decent internet presence. I'm actively maintaining the not-pretty but plenty of information homepage at, there's a twitter feed, a blog, a Facebook page (which mostly mirrors the twitter feed), and a thread over at a competing AP forum (BYAP).


The plan is to start in two connected 100' x 30' greenhouses. In each, there will be an IBC for a fishtank, draining into two 100 gal gravel-filled rubber stock tanks, and from there into deep water culture troughs, using standard rafts. The troughs will drain into a buried IBC, from whence the water will get pumped back to the fishtank IBC.


One of the greenhouses:

Rough, incomplete sketchup drawing of the plan.

Making the many, many rafts:

Video tour of the empty GH.


-Karen Swanberg

Howling Moose Gardens

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I don't know how many folks on this board are in Minnesota (although I know there are a few =) ), but I'm going to have three workdays in the next week or so, and hopefully really push things hard out at the Greenhouse.

Tuesday, June 28th (this Tuesday)
Starting around 9:00 am and going until whenever. I hope to rent a soil compacter for this day. Come get your hands shaken off! =)

Saturday, July 2nd (I know, it's the 4th weekend, but that's when people responded that they're available)
If we get enough soil compacted, this will be a trough building day. Table saw!

Tuesday, July 5th (again with the long weekend, fool!)
9:00am til whenever.

I have a doodle poll for availability, if anyone is interested! I reciprocate work days.

Way to go, will be watching your progress
Karen you should touch base with growing power up in your area. Might shed some ideas for you. He is by fare the largest producer in your neck of the woods.

Hi David;

Yup, I have. Thanks!

Hello all!

Howling Moose Gardens has been changed to Swanberg and Khan Aquaponics! (

New article up at Heavy Table, a Minnesota local food magazine: Swanberg and Khan Aquaponics, in Hugo, MN (extra points if you recognize the shirt I'm wearing in the pics)

New video tour!

You're going to run all of that from 2 IBC's and gravel bed filter's?

Todd, I've designed the system to be able to add on more fish tanks and gravel beds if necessary, but it is designed to be a low density system.


     So how much raft do you have under production now?  And How many fish and how much gravel bed are supporting it?  What are your nutrient levels?  Do you think you have the right amount of fish so far or do you feel you need more or less?

I know any answers to this are going to be very preliminary but I bet having a record of what you think about it now may be interesting to you in 6 months or a year and further into the future as the system changes.

You go Girl, Keep up the good work!!!!!  I'm jealous in a way, it is already starting to get too hot for lettuce in FL.

Hi TC!

I'm keeping a journal about these questions. :-D

I don't have as many rafts in production as I'd like, because we're building more seedling tables. I'm finding if I plant directly into the troughs, I get things damping off. I think I have about 30 rafts (at 48 holes/raft, roughly) going right now in the troughs, with 16 more seedling rafts (81 holes per) sprouting.

My nutrient levels are not yet high enough.  I don't have enough fish. It's tough to get fish in MN during the winter, so now that things are warming up, I'm going to change that. I have probably 170 fingerling yellow perch, which I'm considering starting fish, and we're still trying to decide which fish to run big-time. These days I'd prefer catfish, but you can't get them here without some serious issues.*

Things always go more slowly than I'd like, but we're getting there!

*Anyone interested in those, I'll expand, but it's all licensing and regs. *yawn*

Really, not allowed catfish there?

Well, would you really have a good market for them anyway?  And an IBC is a bit small for growing them out at least the way I like em so maybe the perch are a better choice anyway.

What about trout?

I would like to learn more about setting up an AP in MN here, and the best way I know how to do that is to volunteer to help with someones set-up. Who would like a willing volunteer? Please contact me direct at 612-309-4765 Scott. I am self-employed so my schedule is flexible, and I can help a few days a week. Looking forward to hearing from someone in the TC.

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