Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

I've been thinking about some of the differences between aquaponics and soil gardening. One difference in particular interests me. It seems like soil gardening relies on soil microbes (bacteria and fungi, particularly) to contain and store soluble nutrients right at the rhizosphere (root zone) to keep them from being washed away, whereas aquaponics bypasses that particular problem simply by containing all the nutrients and recirculating them. Aquaponics still relies on bacteria, but it seems less dependent with that particular aspect. What implications does that have in choosing one over the other? Which one has more potential? Better to rely on containment by recirculating nutrients or by fostering microbial life?

That thought keeps leading me to this question: Is aquaponics the food production of the future, or merely a stepping stone as we transition away from conventional agriculture? Is aquaponics our end goal? Just a far lesser evil? Or will it forever be included alongside other growing methods in the grand scheme of caring for our earth?

I'd LOVE to hear people's thoughts....

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Weed and delicious trout and veggies. What a plan. I still plan to add some compost tea to my system. Shouldn't hurt the fish and will provide many more plant foods. I need a separate system for just such experiments without risking our delicious trout. Did I mention how delicious they are??

How are you making that compost tea Jim?

Hi all,

My personal reasons for using (raft) aquaponics:

In the place I rent, I am not allowed to dig the ground to make grow beds,

So when I learned I can have grow beds high like a table, I put some aquaponics up (saves on my back, too). Also I regretted the days when I had a fish tank - now I have one (I can't see the fish very well though, because it's an IBC). I would have got problems with the landlord too, if I had brought tons of gravel or lots of hydroton, so I used water, that can easily be pumped around or drained away if really needed. (A raft system also gives my system a bigger overall water volume, which makes it easier to get it biologically stable.

I know about the media bed ebb and flow oxygen advantage - I test aeration under the rafts for the moment, maybe even some ebb/flow trick with feet holding the rafts over the water level for a limited time during some "sorta" ebb.

Since I don't have a greenhouse (yet) that covers it all, only the grow beds have small greenhouses, while the fish tank just has a white lid that I close at night. For the moment, the fish need to be freshwater species, because I hardly heat the water, as long as the aquaponics system isn't inside a greenhouse or winter garden.

The planned side-product of the aquaponics experiment, apart from lots of fun work, are leaf vegetables, maybe some tomatoes too, and an occasional fish on the table, Aquaponics for me was just the thing I like to do, that I can do in my backyard, and can I can carry away when if I have to move (one metric ton of water with fishies at a time, I mean :-)

If it is the gardening of the future, I don't know, but it certainly is the ideal backyard gardening for the person who likes both fish and plants, and who lacks a garden. Record yields are not my concern, and weed is not legal here :-)

Funny enough, French people, when they hear "hydroponics", think "weed", and "aquaponics" is an unknown term for them altogether.

I'll try wicking pots on to of one of the rafts, because some plants will just never like to dip in water. I'm not so sure, though, if I'd take the risk to water the top section with fish-unfriendly things.

Bye

Johan

Trout in an aquaponics system? wasn't supposed to work, they say. What did you do to make that work?

Jim Fisk said:

Weed and delicious trout and veggies. What a plan. I still plan to add some compost tea to my system. Shouldn't hurt the fish and will provide many more plant foods. I need a separate system for just such experiments without risking our delicious trout. Did I mention how delicious they are??

Many people in Colorado especially at high altitude use trout instead of other fish they are alot more cold tolerant and don't seem to be effected by altitude the same way other fish are when you get above 8,000 feet 

You know, Grow Power does this exact same thing. I never really considered it as a growing technique (since I'm not crazy about the rest of Grow Power's aquaponics designs), but it makes more sense now. Thanks :)

Steve R said:

I think most people associate hydroponics with weed production.

Johan Prins said:

Funny enough, French people, when they hear "hydroponics", think "weed", and "aquaponics" is an unknown term for them altogether.

I'll try wicking pots on to of one of the rafts, because some plants will just never like to dip in water. I'm not so sure, though, if I'd take the risk to water the top section with fish-unfriendly things.

Bye

Johan

That's weird! 30 years ago, at work, we had hydroton-filled hydroponics basins everywhere around the office with decorative plants, just because with hydroponics they could do without watering on week-ends, and even a week with the offices closed.

No link to weed :-)

If trout are a native fish in your area like they are around here, you can raise trout in your AP. Always try and use native fish as they are used to your temps.

This is big trout and bass country here at 2-3k feet in the mountains. Ours seem to tolerate 48F to 75F if only for a few days at the extremes. In the Winter we heat with wood and now 100' of 3/4" pvc mounted on metal roofing and all painted black and hanging on the GH N wall. On a sunny day the solar will bring the 2000g system up a good 4F and the GBs another 2F so 6 deg F in one day not bad. Add the woodstove and gain another 4F. In the Summer our artesian well water runs about 55F so it is easy to pull down the temp via a water exchange and we usually will do a trout harvest while we do that. Dropping the water to 1' deep in the 330 ibc is the easiest way to select and catch the fish. Then I top it back up with the cooler water run into the 275g sump (not directly into the FT) and we are back in range.

Johan Prins said:

Trout in an aquaponics system? wasn't supposed to work, they say. What did you do to make that work?

Jim Fisk said:

Weed and delicious trout and veggies. What a plan. I still plan to add some compost tea to my system. Shouldn't hurt the fish and will provide many more plant foods. I need a separate system for just such experiments without risking our delicious trout. Did I mention how delicious they are??

Yeah, it's interesting....aren't aquaponic/hydroponic systems supposed to be weedless? ;)

Johan Prins said:

That's weird! 30 years ago, at work, we had hydroton-filled hydroponics basins everywhere around the office with decorative plants, just because with hydroponics they could do without watering on week-ends, and even a week with the offices closed.

No link to weed :-)

Tell that to my japanese maple tree.... I pick seedlings out of my grow beds all the time!

Alex Veidel said:

Yeah, it's interesting....aren't aquaponic/hydroponic systems supposed to be weedless? ;)

There are weeds and then there is weed

Scott Roberts said:

Tell that to my japanese maple tree.... I pick seedlings out of my grow beds all the time!

Alex Veidel said:

Yeah, it's interesting....aren't aquaponic/hydroponic systems supposed to be weedless? ;)

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