Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

I have invested in a Growing Spaces 22' geodesic greenhouse which comes with a 1,000 gallon water tank, so my hope is to start an aquaponic system, using tilapia.  Based on what the company indicates, the water temps should be fine for tilapia (I live in Carson City, NV, where the winters are cold).  The GH will have 330 square feet, but I don't want to use all of it for aquaponics.  It will be a combination of veggies, fruits, flowers, aquaponics and snactuary - a place to read and meditate.  Also, I live alone so I don't want to have a ton of fish and not know what to do with them all.  I'll be coming ere often for advice and hope you are patient with me.  That's all for now. 

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1000 gallons is more than you need for not so many fish but I suppose it will help with temperature stability.  You can grow a lot of veggies using not so many fish, How are you going to have enough space to set up an aquaponics system to keep up with 1000 gallons of tank and still have space for other things?

If you are going to heat this greenhouse then maybe the water temp will be ok for tilapia, however, if it is just you and you don't want so many fish, perhaps you should raise something that won't breed out of control on you during the hot season.  Like maybe channel catfish (which by the way will survive cold water even if you are not heating the greenhouse to room temperature year round.)  And with that oversize tank, you can let the channel catfish grow big if you want.  Just be sure not to stock more fish than your filtration/plants can support.

Thanks for your reply, that's why I'm on this site - to listen and learn.  The main pupose of the tank is for cooling the GH in the summer and heat it in the winter.  It's a solar operated GH, to include some underground 4" tubes to keep the soil warm in winter and cool in summer.  Maybe I should go with Koi - then sell some if they turn out nice.  The GH is made to be self-sufficient, but not with aquaponics in mind.  Can different species of fish be mixed - like Koi and Catfish or Trout?

Don't worry about the extra fish, make a few contacts with local markets, restaurants, local growers markets or even set up a road side ad for selling fresh fish, take the extra fish to a local mission to feed the homeless, or trade your fish with someone who has something you need.
Either way, I don’t think you’ll have a problem getting rid of fresh, toxic free, parasite free fish. ( have you seen some of the fish in our waters these days ? )  Some of them won’t look a gift horse in the mouth but you might find one or two who will tell you it has to be government approved. ( more of our growing police state ) They are the ones on the government dole.  Make it pay for its self. If I could afford a structure like yours, I would make it pay off. I'm a disabled Veteran so I'm on a fixed income and have to work my way up from inexpensive to something like what you have. My ultimate goal is to have several very large Greenhouse setups with fish, vegetables and fruits to sell, while supplying everything I need. My Bees will provide all the natural
pollination required for those plants that need it.  I already have all my tanks and pumps and will start out by using re-purposed / recycled carports like what you find at Costco. They make good frames and with a few modifications, will make great Greenhouses. I too have the problem with winter temperatures, plus snow-loads
here in Southern Oregon.

Hi Bob - you mentioned bees -

where did you place the hive? Inside or outside?

I'm currently learning as much as I can about Aquaponics, aiming for commercial production.

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Evelin, Southern Germany

Howdy Jeff

As you dig into the subject you will see the ratio of fish to plants need to be in balance with each other.

Less fish support less plants.  Less plants clean less fish water.

Large amount of water is a little easier to work with because it takes more time to change the chemistry of  large amounts of water which gives you time to react.  Temp change is slower also.

As you harvest fish/food it affects the balance, not allot but just don't make big changes (removing fish/food) and it works easy .

I'd try starting with the square foot area you want for grow beds and that will tell you how many lbs of fish would be required to support the beds.


One thing I will add to that recommendation.  There are a few different schools of thought on aquaponics.  Be sure to understand the recommendations you are following and apply them to the correct method of aquaponics.  For instance, if you follow the UVI recommendations about how much to feed the fish to grow a certain amount of plants, you also need to follow their methods concerning settling thanks and net tanks and solids removal!!!!!!!  If you are doing low density (meaning less amount of fish) aquaponics where you leave the solids in the system for mineralization, you need to design the system a bit differently and make sure you have enough aeration to deal with the elevated oxygen demand.  You can actually grow a rather large amount of plants per pound of fish in a system if you are not removing the solids but you do need to make sure the system is equipped to handle those solids without turning the system into a toxic or smelly mess.

I don't remove solids from my systems so far.  I've had anywhere from 3 1/2 to 10 square feet of growing space per pound of fish in the system.  I have lots of filtration and aeration for my systems.

jim mckee said:

I'd try starting with the square foot area you want for grow beds and that will tell you how many lbs of fish would be required to support the beds.

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