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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Ah, I understand... I'll miss one element for that here in my place: the cooler water - but I should try a trout or two among the roach I have, after having gone through one summer and having experienced the max. temperatures.

Trout can be bought everywhere around here, they swim half a mile from here in the river, too.

Jim Fisk said:

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??

(double post - deleted)

Back to the initial topic, I think that aquaponics has a part in the future but perhaps not as we're doing it now (i.e. highly mechanized).  

The Chinese have stocked carp in their rice paddies forever.  The ancients who lived in the amazon put them in water channels between raised islands for growing crops.  They would scoop out the fish waste seasonally and put it on the islands.

People will always raise animals, and raising fish takes up less feed inputs than any other animal, especially if you have a way of dissolving oxygen and getting rid of the waste (like aquaponics).

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