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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Maybe the 'Fishy Fertigator System' would be a more apt name.

Not to dis the work you've put into your product, but I'm having trouble understanding how this is 'aquaponics'. 

I have a garden. I pee in that garden. I eat the vegetables (vegetables are comprised of 90 to 98% water) from that garden, so I pee again. I wouldn't really say (particularly at the farmers market) that I grow vegetables in a closed loop Bio-ponics system...Or, would I... :)

Without the bio  filter growbeds the system will not be producing the nitrates for optimum plant growth. Would just be pumping ammonia rich water on the plants. I'm sure would have some benefit, just not sure how much. I was planning to irrigate with some of my tank water. But it has been cycled through the biofilters several times first. GL

Oakhurst.... Please don't try to promote this as aquaponics... it just isn't... and you are doing nobody any favours by using that term.  You are growing plants in soil - the complete antithesis of aquaponics.  All the benefits of aquaponics are almost completely absent from your system.  Using drip irrigation from a fish tank is neither new, evolutionary, or aquaponics.

Anybody here is welcomed and can get advice about aquaponics and get ideas and constructive feedback - but only if you really have an aquaponics system.  As a community almost everyone here is helpful and keen to offer support - but when you open a thread showing something that clearly isnt aquaponics and then say that you are going to be selling this as an aquaponics system - then you really do open yourself up to quite negative feedback.

What you have described is not a bad system of agriculture and could be great as part of an integrated small-holding perhaps, supplemented with good composting, huggelcutlure, raised beds etc etc.  As long as thought is given to how you will filter the fish water etc this could be a nice method of doing things, but without adequate filtration you are going to have fish deaths fairly quickly. Geothermal water is a nice idea... although for most people the cost of tapping geothermal is going to outweigh the cost of a proper aquaponics system by a factor of heaven-knows-what!

Is a car without an engine a car or a cart? Very similar and both are comfortable but.....

Sorry Oakhurst, but I have to agree that even though your model would be more price sensitive than those with grow-beds, your system cannot be accurately be called aquaponics with all the benefits attached to the recirculating method. Its not just a matter of saving water but it the time and microbial content that your system lacks to draw the full benefits, and run to waste is not sustainable, in fact polluting. I grow many (esp root )crops in bag culture but do not allow run to waste. The simple addition of a bio-reactor/ sump filter and collection trays would solve your problem and give you a much better growing result than your current system.

Cheers

PS Can you please post some pics? I'm in communist China and do not have access to You-Tube. Thanks

Clearly we must take some responsibility for the confusion here, by failing to vigorously defend ourselves against false accusations made by others in this thread.

Of course our system includes a biofilter, which is submerged within the tank, for reasons of simplicity, energy efficiency, and temperature control.  Effluent used for irrigation is cleaned of ammonia and nitrites.  It is quite beneficial to crops, in the same way as the water circulated in traditional recirculating aquaponics systems.  As stated already, this is not detailed in our promotional video for simplicity's sake, though it is obviously vital to our system and all aquaponics systems in general.

We agree with those who are criticizing this aspect that, yes, a system without this vital bacterial component should not qualify as "aquaponics" per se.  However, for our system this is not the case.   We use this biological filter to perform the same function as any other aquaponics system.  The only difference is that, instead of being contained on grow media within a grow bed, ours is contained in the tank itself.

Our prototype system has been operating well for the last nine months.  During testing, we did lose a total of four fish, due to a cold snap and failure to have our heating system completed in time.

For it's part, our geothermal heating system is surprisingly economical.  Along with the large thermal mass of our tank and the solar heating provided by a greenhouse, the minimal temperatures required to maintain a cold-hardy species like Blue Tilapia, for instance, enables the use of a relatively shallow well in most areas, which can even be dug by hand.  The only operating equipment required is a circulating pump.

As for water recycling, please keep in mind that most water is ultimately recycled via the hydrological cycle when it returns to the oceans or evaporates.  For our part, we feel that it is economically redundant to invest in equipment in order to replicate this existing natural system.  Instead, we focus on being good stewards of the environment nature has provided, by promoting local food production in the many temperate areas with sufficient water resources.  And in areas where this is not practical, we encourage you to visit our competitors and to purchase grow beds and media from them which can be easily integrated with our system as well.

Hopefully this addresses some of your concerns.  We are sorry that we cannot provide pictures or more details for now.  But we look forward to offering our system soon, and we thank each of you for taking a look and offering your comments.

I would say this is more appropriately labeled as permiculture, rather than aquaponics, but even that is a bit of a stretch. For instance, the chickens in your little illustration produce quite a lot of high grade waste, and I for one would like to know what the heck are you doing with all of that.


It looks to me that you are seeking to be a sort of consultant, rather than actually selling any kind of "system". I can easily get any drip irrigation system I please at the local home improvement store.


It really would help your position if you were not crying out that we are defaming you, when it is clearly not the case.

I think there is much room for innovation in aquaponics. I hope some aquaculture people are paying attention to what is happening here. As I'm sure there are many ideas for improvement in their water use systems. If I had a constant flow of spring water I could think of some great ways to make this work (economically). Aquaponics? Maybe, maybe not. Economical and environmentally sound potential, yes. Think we should keep our minds open and invite new ideas. Also open to discussion of our ideas to help us weed out the possible negative areas.

I will also agree that this isn't aquaponics simply because you are not recirculating the water.  I also am not a fan of adding waste from warm blooded animals into the system.  Waste from chickens should be properly processed through a different system....possibly a biodigester, or spread onto a field and tilled. 

The geothermal well is an interesting concept, but in colder areas (like here in New England), they are very expensive to install.  We usually have to drill about 400' for a typical well, and it costs $12/foot.  (My potable well was 800' and I get 1/4 gallon/minute)  A single geothermal well is not large enough to produce enough BTU's to heat a greenhouse.  If you're doing a small "hobby" greenhouse, it's not worth the cost to install the well.  If you're doing a larger commercial system, you can't heat with one well.  At 5 grand a pop, I can install some nice wood boilers and heat basically for free.

I'm sorry, but until you can prove that this is a real system, I too have to discount that this is not an effective AP solution.

Right, that's a nice innovative system, but not aquaponics. I'd like to hear back from you on your adventures. I'm also curious about your system. Are there some biofilter components, like bioballs, at the bottom of the fish-tank and then at timed cycles you release water from the bottom? Or is there a filtration system in the system which feeds the drip irrigation? Interesting concept, but if it's not recirculating it's not aquaponics.

Oakhurst Aquaponics said:

Of course our system includes a biofilter, which is submerged within the tank, for reasons of simplicity, energy efficiency, and temperature control.  Effluent used for irrigation is cleaned of ammonia and nitrites.  It is quite beneficial to crops, in the same way as the water circulated in traditional recirculating aquaponics systems.  As stated already, this is not detailed in our promotional video for simplicity's sake, though it is obviously vital to our system and all aquaponics systems in general.

We agree with those who are criticizing this aspect that, yes, a system without this vital bacterial component should not qualify as "aquaponics" per se.  However, for our system this is not the case.   We use this biological filter to perform the same function as any other aquaponics system.  The only difference is that, instead of being contained on grow media within a grow bed, ours is contained in the tank itself.

Many farms use the waste as fertilizer from Aquaculture and they are definitely not aquaponic. I agree, branding yourself as "Oakhurst Aquaponics" is misleading.

Oakhurst, I really don't want to be negative, but you asked fellow aquapons to view your vid, and it falls quite short, right from the opener.

Your pictures are likely clipped from google, and the lack of personal photos make me question whether you really have a working system at all. Your shot of a fish with a fly rod is a blue tilapia, quite illegal in oakhurst and all of California. Then you notion a buried tank to 'warm' the fish. Buried tanks stay at 50-60 degrees, which is the lethal low-limit for tilapia, and very inefficient to attempt to heat the earth to proper tilapia temps. Perhaps your geothermal well offsets this, I'd like to hear more about that. Is your geothermal well cost efficient? It seems integral to your "kit". Specifics here would be appreciated.

I'm a big duckweed fan, but it is truly just a supplement for feeding fish unless you are using vast wetlands to grow and harvest. Chickens, as I understand, cannot legally be used in conjunction with water that comes in contact with food plants, because of warm-blooded pathogens. And most glaringly, there is not a snowball's chance that you are pumping fish-water through drip lines without huge clogging problems. I have had 3/4" PVC pipe become completely plugged with bioslime AFTER filtering solids through media growbeds.

To be fair, it doesn't concern me whether you call it aquaponics, or vermiponics, chickenponics, or oakhurstaponics. If your system does exist, and function well, I would love to see some pictures that are not pirated from the Internet, and address the apparent flaws rather than flog poor Rupert for being both honest and interested.

Ah... at last... someone has picked the most OBVIOUS reason why this syetm either doesn't exist... or wont work....

You're absolutely right John.... drippers will clog.. heck they clog just with normal irrigation...

And nothing the author says indicates any filtering or solids removal.. indeed, it wasn't until challenged that he even mentioned a "bio-filter"... which he probably hurriedly "googled"...

But I'm not prepared to assist him by exposing any other faults in his design... even if he asks nicely....

As to the pictures being "clipped" from google... nah... they're a fifth graders "paint" job.... and if that's the best, and most "ingeneous" that can be done after a "year of research".... and that's the best that can be done to portray a new business...

Then, even if I did live on the other side of the world.... I wouldn't seriously consider it "competition".... I would, and I am, concerned as to the effect that it could have on "aquaponics".. as a concept...

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