Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

this is a site for the aspiring aquapon to post their questions and have them answered by the more experienced members.  No question is too basic!  This is a great opportunity to tap into advice from some of the most experienced growers in the country.  Go for it!

Views: 1085

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Anybody considering aquaponics gone to one of the seminars to train how? I found one in San Diego. They have more formal ones at UVI I guess but expensive. Of course, you could always go to Hawaii to the Friendly folks. Sounds like a great excuse to spend a week on the Big Island, Ha Ha. Wonder if my wife will buy it? Also, can't decide between the media, or raft method. Which takes less effort to daily maintain?
Hi Jonathan,

The general rule of thumb is if you want to grow commercially, go with raft based, and if you want to grow as a backyard gardener, go with media based. Raft is going to give you more production of both fish and plants and is easier to maintain as a large system, but is more complex to build (needs clarifiers to remove solids, for example) and needs to have solids removed at least daily. Media based systems are simple to build, and there are free guides on the net - search for barrelponics - and they can be build inexpensively out of recycled materials. And you can grow a wider variety of plants in media, and never have to remove the solids from your bed.

Both the UVI short course and the course taught by Nelson and Pade are excellent, but are focused on raft based, commercial systems. I"m not familiar with the course in San Diego or the Friendly AP in Hawaii course, but I'm with you - how good do they need to be to justify a trip to San Diego or Hawaii? (I'm going to send quickly before my husband sees that ;-)
The folks in Hawaii are also raft based. The really cool thing to me is that they grow Malaysian giant prawns in the produce tanks (under the rafts) and they don't eat the roots. These look really tasty on their website and you probably wouldn't get "attached" to them as much as the fish (maybe)! Anyway, I'm not thinking of commercial anyway (still like my day job - DDS) but it might be fun to have a system big enough to feed my family, friends, neighbors and/or maybe sell a little at the local Farmer's Market. Fresh, local veggies are hard enough to come by around here anyway (Eastern AZ) though we are members of a CSA now and get local veggies in season and eggs too but imagine, local fresh fish!
Off (Luch break) to check my sprouts in the small (4 x 5) temp greenhouse on the south side of the house. Snowed 8 inches yesterday but sunny now!

Sylvia Bernstein said:
Hi Jonathan,

The general rule of thumb is if you want to grow commercially, go with raft based, and if you want to grow as a backyard gardener, go with media based. Raft is going to give you more production of both fish and plants and is easier to maintain as a large system, but is more complex to build (needs clarifiers to remove solids, for example) and needs to have solids removed at least daily. Media based systems are simple to build, and there are free guides on the net - search for barrelponics - and they can be build inexpensively out of recycled materials. And you can grow a wider variety of plants in media, and never have to remove the solids from your bed.

Both the UVI short course and the course taught by Nelson and Pade are excellent, but are focused on raft based, commercial systems. I"m not familiar with the course in San Diego or the Friendly AP in Hawaii course, but I'm with you - how good do they need to be to justify a trip to San Diego or Hawaii? (I'm going to send quickly before my husband sees that ;-)
Thanks for creating the newbies forum Sylvia.

I am a newbie to this - have been reading up stuff online and trying to figure out how best to start.
I want to start off with a basic system to see if i can do this before expanding to a larger system. if things go well might even try commercial system later.
And i don't plan to go to Hawaii and spend that kind of money on learning this yet :)

A few questions:
1) I checked out the local Petco today and they have goldfish but no telapia.
Is goldfish ok for doing this? The lady at Petco mentioned that they are ok for my weather here in Texas. I am not planning on adding any heater to the tank to avoid additional expense.

2) planning on a 50 gallon tank - I guess i can put in 2 goldfish in that? planning on 20 gallon water going to the growing media container. Will 2 small goldfish support any plants at all or do i need to go for larger storage tank and growing media?

3) what should be the surface area and height of the growing media with this?

4) thinking of going for media based system - reading your comment here and the other literature seems easier to maintain and less investment and seems better to start of with this. is this right? if i have any success at this and later on want to go for commercial might try raft system.

I am sure i will have more questions as i go along.
hay there. Gold fish could be fine but only two little gold fish will take a long time to build up much nutrients. As for how much media you need for a given amount of fish well I tend to base it on fish that are likely to grow to eating size but in a system as small as yours, you are not yet ready for that I think. Anyway, here is a rule of thumb we often repeat over on BYAP
MAX fish stocking per minimum grow bed/fish tank volumes
3 kg of fish per 100 liters of flood and drain media filled grow beds with 50-100 liters of fish tank
(1 lb of fish per 5 gallons of flood and drain media filled grow beds with 2.5-5 gallons of fish tank)

Of course you also need to make sure you won't run your fish tank to low on water while flooding the grow beds so if you are growing max fish in minimum fish tank, you will also need a sump tank to deal with water level fluctuations.
And to continue on with what TCLynx was advising optimally you will have 12" of media in your bed, with the top 1" being kept dry. But, again, for a smaller starter system like yours you could get away with less depth. Best media is a product called Hydroton - light-weight, easy on the hands, holds air and water well. It is pricey, though, and pea gravel works as well.

And, yes, I recommend you start with media based, and consider moving to raft if you decide to go commercial.

Please post a photo when you get setup!
Sylvia,

I am in the process of building the Micro-System from the Friendly AP site. They mention that it is okay to have the "slug" on the bottom of the raft system as long as it keeps smelling clean (like compost). Am I missing something here? I am thrilled to be jumping into this.


Sylvia Bernstein said:
Hi Jonathan,

The general rule of thumb is if you want to grow commercially, go with raft based, and if you want to grow as a backyard gardener, go with media based. Raft is going to give you more production of both fish and plants and is easier to maintain as a large system, but is more complex to build (needs clarifiers to remove solids, for example) and needs to have solids removed at least daily. Media based systems are simple to build, and there are free guides on the net - search for barrelponics - and they can be build inexpensively out of recycled materials. And you can grow a wider variety of plants in media, and never have to remove the solids from your bed.

Both the UVI short course and the course taught by Nelson and Pade are excellent, but are focused on raft based, commercial systems. I"m not familiar with the course in San Diego or the Friendly AP in Hawaii course, but I'm with you - how good do they need to be to justify a trip to San Diego or Hawaii? (I'm going to send quickly before my husband sees that ;-)
I think by "slug" you actually meant sludge? If there is sludge building up in the bottom of the raft tanks, then there is a good chance that it is going to be using up dissolved oxygen that you would rather let your plants and fish use. Also, there is some risk that if you stir up that sludge, you could release hydrogen sulfide and other not so good stuff into the water which can be responsible for fish kills if adequate degassing is not in place before the water gets back to the fish tank.

However, this is always a matter of degree. There is often a small amount of fine suspended solids that can make it through a system. How bad something is can be hard to tell from a note on the internet. Chances are if the sludge building up in the bottom of the raft tanks is going to be really bad, it will also be building up on the plant roots and you will be able to see it gumming up the roots, if it is doing that, you can expect that the plants may not do as well as they would otherwise.
TCLynx, Sylvia - thanks for your responses.

i was thinking of 2 little goldfish thinking of their ultimate grown up size but thanks for correcting me there.
i guess i will put in 20-30 to start with and maybe start removing some as they grow?
i am optimistic i will not kill all of them to start with :)

i will go with pea gravel to begin with - its cheap and is stored in my local home depot checked it out.

on the lookout for barrels - as soon as i get those i will get the gravel and start the water running for the 4 week bacteria growing period. can think of other details during that time.
so chlorinated tap water is bad means i will have to get the water from a local creek.

yes, i will post pictures.
Hi Roy,

Chlorinated water is usable in small amounts, if you have to use it...

Luckily, chlorine can be dissipated from water by exposure to sunlight and aeration. Adding a "bubbler" to a container of water for 24 hours is usually enough to make it safe.

The problem with tap water, is that some water suppliers dose with "chloramine" rather than chlorine...

Chloramine, while it does eventually breakdown through exposure to sunlight (UV), can't be dissipated by bubbling as chlorinated water can be...

And by the very nature of the compound, breaks down into ammonia or ammonium.... depending on pH...with possible fatal consequences to fish... or at the very least to an elevated "ammonia" spike in your system...

Indeed Chloramines can pose a risk for both human hemodialysis patients as well as fish. Chloramines easily enter the bloodstream through dialysis membranes and the gills of fish.

The most effective nonchemical method for removing chloramines is by activated carbon and certain spectrum UV wavelengths can also breakdown chloramine...
.
Activated carbon does not adsorb chloramines but rather removes them through its ability to act as a catalyst for the chemical breakdown of chloramines to innocuous chlorides in water.

This catalytic reaction involves the formation of a carbon oxide intermediate (CO*). This reaction is as follows:

NH2Cl + H2O + C* = NH3 + Cl- + H+ + CO*
Wow, rupertofoz, that was a hell of a chemistry lesson! Thanks for that. Roy, you can get stats on your local tap water from your municipal water board. They are required to test your tap water on a regular basis and make those reports available to the public. I've found that we don't have a chloramine problem here in Boulder, but you may where you are. I do just what Rupert advises - I leave water exposed to the air for 1 day if I'm aerating, 2 if I'm not, and if I'm really in a rush I'll use aquarium water conditioner to de-chlorinate. Rupertofoz, what is your opinion of those de-chlorinating conditioners?
Yeah, I'd be pretty worried about the notion of keeping a layer of sludge on the bottom of a raft system channel. I'm with TCLynx. Even if it doesn't go anaerobic it is going to start coating the roots of your plants. I'll see if we can get Rebecca in here to offer her expertise, though.

TCLynx said:
I think by "slug" you actually meant sludge? If there is sludge building up in the bottom of the raft tanks, then there is a good chance that it is going to be using up dissolved oxygen that you would rather let your plants and fish use. Also, there is some risk that if you stir up that sludge, you could release hydrogen sulfide and other not so good stuff into the water which can be responsible for fish kills if adequate degassing is not in place before the water gets back to the fish tank.

However, this is always a matter of degree. There is often a small amount of fine suspended solids that can make it through a system. How bad something is can be hard to tell from a note on the internet. Chances are if the sludge building up in the bottom of the raft tanks is going to be really bad, it will also be building up on the plant roots and you will be able to see it gumming up the roots, if it is doing that, you can expect that the plants may not do as well as they would otherwise.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2019   Created by Sylvia Bernstein.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service