Aquaponic Gardening

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Some of you might be interested in the unique aquaponics system we have created.

We are currently working on developing this system into a kit to facilitate year-round, individual-scale food production anywhere in the temperate zone.

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Have you got pictures of the system??

The video seemed to suggest that your system is a run to waste drip irrigated system...

What media do you use for the "drip irrigated" component... and do you collect and reuse the water???

Correct.  The base system is just drip irrigation, and straight through.  There is no grow media.  Grow beds and recirculation can be added, if your water supply is expensive enough to make water recycling worthwhile.  But we believe in the vast majority of areas this will not be the case for some time.  Sorry, no pictures yet.

I'm with Rupert.  Not really seeing an aquaponics system here...just using fish water to irrigate plants.  Am I missing something?

It is definitely not a typical system.  Our economic analysis told us that, for our target market, grow beds are not worthwhile.  So we eliminated them.  We are focusing those resources on other areas instead.  That's not to say they cannot be added for use in areas where water is scarce, as the system is also very flexible in that regard.

One of the major benefits of aquaponics is due to the fact that it uses about 1/10th of the water of a soil system of plant growth.... certainly a major factor here in Australia, where water is of paramount importance... indeed during the just past 8 year drought, water restrictions meant watering of gardens was banned at least every second day... and only available by hand held hose for 1-2 hour periods at dawn and dusk....

 

And in general... drip irrigation of soil gardens... is not anywhere near an efficient means of irrigation, particularly in hot climates... where most of it simply evaporates before getting to the roots....

 

And just what exactly do you intend to include in your "kits".... the greenhouses and drippers????

 

I think you have failed to understand the basic requirements of dealing with fish wastes.... unless your system is intended to basically be a "raceway" style of aquacultutre... relying on constant replenishment/turnover of the water in the fish tank/pond...

 

Sorry.... but I think you do "aquaponics" a disservice to brand your system as an "aquaponics system".... most koi ponds are more "aquaponic" than your design.... and your design just isn't unique even in the form you propose... which is essentially how many aquaculture operations currently deal with effluent water...

 

Heck... even my grandmother used to water her plants and garden with water from my grandfathers koi pond...

The kit includes everything necessary to build the system in our video, excluding some standard tools.

Rupert, thanks for your input but it is a bit presumptuous to make such harsh criticisms of our system based on a few simplified drawings.  Obviously some details have been left out.

We are confident that drip irrigation alone provides enough water savings to make economic sense in the vast majority of areas.  Our system has been tested in drought conditions, and losses were minimal.  In those areas that must contend with poorly-considered government restrictions as well as drought, grow beds and water recycling can be added, as mentioned.  But restrictions generally aim to prevent evaporation losses from sprinklers, which can be quite high.  Our drip hoses do not have this issue.

Our system is obviously not for everyone.  It is aimed at users in the temperate zone, and who have a relatively reliable water supply.  But it is modular, and flexible enough to be expanded for use anywhere.

I don't think it is "presumptuous", or "harsh" to critique a system concept as it is presented...

I'm not sure what "details have been left out"... but as displayed it is merely fertigation of soil based horticulture by fish wastes....

There is no information provided as to how often the fish wastes are removed from the fish tank/pond... but the use of drippers suggests that, unless the dirp irrigated area is quite large... and/or the fish tank/pond and stocking levels quite small, and low...that the water turnover of the fish tank would be slow and low, probably even minimal... and very possibly not sufficient even for low tolerance of fish species such as Tilapia...

 

Without getting into a discussion of exactly what constitutes "aquaponics"... this concept would seem to be more trading on the concept of "aquaponics" as a marketing opportunity... rather than any incorporation or advancment of aquaponics as a concept... or by incorporation of the major benefit of aquaponic growing... the recirculating nature, and subsequently significant reduction in water use...

 

No matter how efficient you might claim "drip irrigation" to be compared to "spray irrigation"... the water usage of either is substantially greater than that which can be acheived by recirculating aquaponics systems...

And the incorporation of a "run to waste" irrigation method.. as displayed/suggested... is an incredibly poor use of large amounts of water in comparison to accepted aquaponics methodologies...

 

Sorry... but I don't see anything vaguely related to aquaponics in what you've presented... or anything vaguely "new" or "novel".... other than another twist of marketing opportunity to exploit the burgeoning concept of "aquaponics"

In our view the major benefit of aquaponics is in enabling small-scale, low-input, year-round combined organic meat and vegetable production.  Water savings are a secondary benefit.

But since you (Rupert) seem to be a distributor of grow beds and media, it appears we will just have to agree to disagree on this point, as well as the point of who here is actually exploiting "marketing opportunity" in framing the concept of aquaponics to his own benefit.  Cheers.

Indeed, the "major benefit of aquaponics is in enabling small-scale, low-input, year-round combined organic meat and vegetable production".. but water savings, and the totally organic nature of aquaponics are the principle reasons and advantages of aquaponics...

 

Along with no bending, digging, weeding.... and no chemical and pesticidal contaminants, particularly those that might be contained within soils,or as usually applied in soil based production...

 

Your system either can not gaurantee... or removes almost all of those advantages...

 

I can assure you that I do much more than merely distribute grow beds and media... and that indeed my experience ranges from commercial hydroponics, formal aquaculture qualifications, qualifications in organic chemistry etc..

 

I make no secret of my aquaponics business.. which extends well beyond selling a few components... and I freely offer my time and advice not only on the various aquaponic forums... but publically through workshops and open days...

 

At all times I promote aquaponics, for all of the advantages that it has over models of soil, or hydroponic practices...

 

Through my many years of commercial hydroponics, and home based permaculture and organic principled gardening.. I have utilised virtually all known forms of media and  methods of irrigation for plant production... and drip irrigation is not the most effective, or even the cheapest way of doing so...

 

By all means, pursue the direction that you wish to... but please don't advocate that your direction is new, or unique... or maintains the best aspects of aquaponics... because it doesn't...

 

And frankly... I don't think you have either a knowledge of, or an understanding of fish husbandry... principles of water quality and filtration.... or aquaponics... because nothing in your design suggests that you do so...

It is true that ours is not the most efficient system in terms of water usage.  Every design requires compromises.  And every grower should decide for herself which components are essential given her budget, environment and goals.  Nevertheless, we believe that our system provides a flexible, economical solution for the vast majority of areas.

Our system has been specifically designed to facilitate individual-scale food production, not just commercial farming, focusing on the following benefits -

  • enabling year-round growing in temperate climes,
  • growing all types of plants, including row crops, using established cultivation methods,
  • providing substantial water savings over typical commercial agriculture,
  • offering at a price that makes sense for the individual grower,
  • easily complying with most watering restrictions, including time-of-day and every-other-day and, most importantly,
  • utilizing aquaponic principles to minimize nutrient input requirements.



Rupert, everyone appreciates your hard work.  But frankly we are not soliciting your consulting advice.  We are merely offering a peek at our system which will be made available for offer soon.  As, technically, a competitor, it seems quite unprofessional to hijack this thread in order to attack us with unfounded opinion.  As mentioned, details of our filtration system have obviously been left out of our promotional video so as not to get bogged down in the technical details.  Furthermore, you really have no knowledge of our drip irrigation system and its operation.  We welcome an honest comparison of the benefits and drawbacks of different systems.  But, please, for everyone's sake, stop attempting to slander us based on this uninformed speculation.

Oakhurst, I have not seen anything "slanderous" from Rupert, nor has he "hijacked" this thread, IMO.  Frankly you have opened yourself up for public criticism by using this forum to promote your new product, which I'm not thrilled about.  The purpose of this site is to share thoughts, ideas, and experiences about aquaponics so that we can all learn together and advance this field.  It is NOT to promote and sell stuff, and you do not "own" this thread.  If you are uncomfortable with the direction this conversation is taking you are welcome to delete this thread...as the initiator you have that ability.

Oakhurst without knowing what sort of filtration you have we can't actually tell if it's aquaponics. To be clear: aquaponics is a recirculating method, by definition. If you look in the upper left hand corner of the homepage you'll clearly see the What Is aquaponics Page. Here's the definition just in case you miss it: "Aquaponics is the cultivation of fish and plants together in a constructed, re-circulating ecosystem utilizing natural bacterial cycles to convert fish wastes to plant nutrients." And furthermore on the page: "This is an environmentally-friendly, natural food growing method that harnesses the best attributes of aquaculture and hydroponics without the need to discard any water or filtrate or add chemical fertilizers."


If your system does not recirculate then you cannot use the term aquaponics.

Now, I'm very curious to see what you have in a system.

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