Portable Farms just announced a "Salmon Aquaponics System" - (portablefarm dot com slash farm2011 slash salmon-aquaponics). I'm pretty surprised by this as I thought salmon were salt-water fish. The entire web page just talks about dealing with temperature differentials. Anyone have any idea what is going on here? Why wouldn't you just call that a Trout System?
Jon, thanks for the welcome. I feel right at home. There a little something in here for both You and Chip, so snuggle up and lets get to it.
Colle Davis means nothing to me, matter of fact I find him rather arrogant. I can see how many here would be sceptical of him and his ideas. However I think calling him a scammer is baseless and even somewhat dangerous. I can't find any proof or even a claim that he has scammed or decieved anyone anywhere. While scepticism is understandable, expected and maybe even warranted, when its sold as fact it becomes something else. I'll be honest it bothers me when people do that but thats just a personal thing and I'll get over it.
On to the important matter, Salmon:
Now this thread started as an AP Salmon claim, but to be more to the specific my interest is not Salmon itself, though I am quite fond of the little creature, but other species besides Tilapia, Perch, Koi etc. I see the need to explore other species in these types of systems, for the sake of diveristy as well as the geographical differences that may exist. My comparison between the wide spread use of Tilapia and the Irish potato famine is a more a referance to the addage of putting all your eggs in one basket than it is to some form of outbreak, though I guess thats possible as well. Point is there are people already raising trout in AP systems in other regions, such as "Capital Aquaponic"s in Auz (I'd post a link but I kind of skimmed through the user agreement here, not sure if thats allowed). Anyway, I know that Kokanee Salmon and Trout enjoy holding hands and long walks on the beach, so explain to me why is Salmon is not possible, cuz Im kinda thinkin that it somehow is, Salt water Salmon excluded.
Oddly enough I have indeed heard of such a thing however, I am looking for different answers than this. what I am saying is that I like the sound of a discussion in where John Smith aka Jane Smith are kind of woven back in to a relationship with the enviroment. Im not saying it will work or even if I would do it myself (I'd probably eat the fish on my way to release it). I think that AP is and will continue to catch on and if everyone could give back a little in lots of little places its worth discussing. A hatchery is a single source which in and of itself creates a problem. I think we take too much from single sources and these single source ideas cause a lot of problems. Take the examples of Salmon Farms in Chile, or Mountain topping in the appalachias, the gigantic copper pit that I can see from my house and you can see from space or the blinding fashion nightmare that burps out of Walmart every day. So no I don't find the enthusiam of AP hobbyist frightening because I'm not talking about a commercial venture and yes I do think AP will solve all of our problems, AP and every other idea like it. That magic that people feel when they begin to understand new ideas like AP, farmers markets, buy local campaigns etc. are only way I see to begin the change we need to solve some pressing problems. Further more, I think there should be at minumum a small organic generator( Composting, Fruit Trees, Veggies, Herbs, AP) in every home, that at least gives a family some disconect from the machine and since AP is no widget, other ideas need to be in play, ie. Salmon Trout, Gray Whale. So if you can prove it doesnt work, then smack it down, just be able to prove it because proving that something won't work is proving something else will and thats the something I want to talk about. Besides I dont really like tilapia, ok there I said it.
Jon I'm sorry to report that she did not make the transition well. Apparantly once re-introduced to her natural habitat she was almost immediately eaten by a Bear, the Bear then promptly died of his injuries along with 4 aspen trees and a ground squirrel, or so I'm told.
Jon Parr said:
Welcome Laine. I had to reread the early pages to see what your fuss was about. I don't think Colle Davis got any more bludgeoning than he asked for, and most of it was in humor. The idea that we can practically and sustainably raise salmon at 54 F while simultaneously raising tomatoes at greenhouse temps (80 F?) is simply unfounded. Heat exchanger or not, heating and cooling would have to be included in the system, and that is where practicality starts to slip. Feed ratio and feed Source is where it continues to slip in the sustainability department. No real proof of concept was offered in the Portable Farms site, and that is where many here in the forum start to get sarcastic. Turning water into wine is a great boast! But unless you are Jesus, or show me the deed, then you are a scammer. Without more data we assume that he is a scammer, or at least is building anticipation before proving the pudding. Many users on this forum use geothermal heating and cooling, including myself. And I agree, hats off to Averan for trying to keep it all on the positive note.
About releasing aquaponic salmon into the wild, we call those hatcheries. It's already being done. If you want to establish a hatchery, simply call your fisheries dept and give them a game plan. There are even grant funds available for your effort. I have a friend doing just that, right now. Hatcheries currently divert a small amount of water from the river or tributary they are trying to repopulate, and run that through the thousands of trays of eggs and fry, and loop it back to the river, whereby the downstream plants, trees and floodplains process the waste, exactly as nature would have intended it without the predation of baby salmon. How is Aquaponics going to improve on that? I enjoy studying and using Aquaponics, but it is not the answer to the world crisis, IMO.
Funny to hear that you released your x-wife back into the wild. Hope she made the transition
Jon, Bruce Swift is for real. Link below talks about his second operation in Alberta partnered with Lethbridge College. No surprise moving there, Dr. Savidov's research center is in Brooks, Alberta, just north of Lethridge, Alberta.
Jon, I would love to see the system you talked about near you, that sounds amazing. It's really mind blowing how diverse these system can be. I've listen to Murray Hallam talk about linked DWC, NFT and media bed systems and it just rocks how malleable AP is. Im actually located in Salt Lake City and some new ideas spurred by the Farmers Market crowd are definitely catching on but the resources are a touch limited, as the AP community expands I'm sure many more will climb aboard and add to the knowledge pool, Utah is a very DIY state. Dont even sweat the Davis thing, it really had nothing to do with you. Besides I just like poking sticks at things that go that way. I had no idea there was anyone working on an AP project as a hatchery especially using grant money, that is unbelievably cool does he have a blog or anything ? BTW WTF with the DFG ? If you support killing brown trout but give grant aid for it propagation of them doesn't that seem odd to anyone ? Cant wait to hear how your trout go. Good luck brother, watch out for bears !
Jon Parr said:
Fair enough, Laine. I don't think we disagree on anything, sorry if it rubbed that way. I apologize for any verbage that implied I felt Colle Davis is a scammer. I don't mean to imply that. I don't know him, have had no dealings with him, and have no reason to slander him in any way. Mr. Davis, if you're reading this, please understand I have no beef with you. I merely pointed out that the claim of simultaneously raising cold water salmon with the same water as hot-house tomatoes seems impractical. The site implied that this method is active and being used, and I find that hard to believe without some pictures, diagrams, and temperature control data. If I were to claim to fellow Aquapons that I had "invented" an Aquaponics system to raise halibut while simultaneously growing peaches, without proof of my claim, I would expect to be bludgeoned by the users of this site. Mmmm. Halibut and peaches.
Anyway, I do fully believe that it is possible to raise both salmon and trout in Aquaponics. The earlier links to Bruce Swift and his operation proves that, and I BELIEVE he is doing and not just claiming. I have a trout AP being built right now. I just got 4 tanks 1100 gallons each yesterday for free! Score! Plan on using at least one of them for trout. I visited a friends trout system last, week only a couple miles from house. He has two IBC's burried to their necks and stocked with rainbows, a solids separator, and 6 IBC rafts. He backflushes the solids filter into his dirt garden and trees. Beautiful setup.
About the hatchery, my friend's new hatchery is an Aquaponics venture. He is apparently getting California grant money to open an Aquaponics brown trout hatchery, where some of the fish will be sold for profit, and some will be stocked according to DFG's wishes. Ironically, DFG actively funds the eradication of brown trout in this state as well. I'm not a big fan of DFG. Anyway, point is that your wish to see AP help restore the environment is being done, and picking up speed.
If you're in Chile, and you're X was released in the Colorado wilds (bears and aspens?), I'm guessing you went to great lengths to make sure she didn't find her way back home.
Chip, I Have some friends that travel to Taiwan, Malaysia and Cambodia and I've heard how in many of those regions the critters are out in full force. I totally agree that AP is not viable everywhere, nor is one species viable in every AP. With a 90% decrease in water usage compared to that of conventional farming (90% being a debatable number) AP would appear to have a further reach than many conventional methods and I would assume the components would differ from region to region as would the method. I can truly appreciate that Tilapia is not an accidental element but rather the culmination of many a brave souls hard work, very little of that being a contribution from me. I come from a state (Utah) that is very rigid in its thinking and very pessimistic to new ideas and its certainly my nature to tap on the glass from time to time. I did go off on a bit of a rant on the Davis thing, mainly because I felt it was unfair and could have been handled in a more decent way than ridicule but thats the limit to the amount of effort I'll put in to that topic. For the record I dont want anyone to see things my way, quite the contrary I'd much rather learn from all of you. In my region Trout and Kokanee are a very significant species and it appears to me that it is certainly possible to incorporate them in some degree in to an AP system, In many regions I would agree it would be impossible but as this species does not naturally occur in these regions it would be arrogant to try and make it happen. Its only when, as the topic header implies that Salmon is not possible that I take issue and its really because I have to and I expect others to do the same should I make a statement like that. When I think AP I think of it as local and supplemental but I think about it everywhere and thats the change I refer to, not as some overarching paradigm shift. The potato famine analogy is really exactly what you are pointing out, not all of these components are for every situation. To rely on one element without much credence given to competing ideas because this one works so well is dangerous, thats why there are many different strains now. Honestly it makes me nervous when I dont hear very much chatter about other varieties of fish and so I poke around a bit, so forgive me for that. I really value the input most everyone here and cant wait for more. Feel free to put me in my place any time you deem it necessary, Im an irritating little bugger but I'm fair. Good luck out there and Thanks !
Chip Pilkington said:
The debate about AP saving the world is old, it currently lives in many threads on several sites. We don't need to beat it up again. I look forward to whatever applications AP may successfully fill.
There are few limitations on the fish you can use in your system, provided you can meet some reasonable requirements. To some people, fish are simply "gas" to run the engine. Others enjoy having fresh fish available. Living in Thailand, fish are vey important to my family, but not because they aren't readily available and extremely inexpensive, as are the vegetables. I do it because I can control the chemicals introduced. It's quite ironic, in that the very reason I moved from just raising fish to AP was to eliminate pesticides. I've come to realize that very issue will not allow large scale AP to be viable in many parts of the world. Not sure how much traveling you've done, but Nat Geo doesn't do justice to the critters that will assault your GB's every night.
Build your system, kill a few plants and fish, develop some best practices and enjoy the hobby. Then you will be in a better position to understand what you can or cannot save with this method. My ambitions are along the mini-farm path. The combination of raised beds, Wicking beds and self-watering containers, supported by a good composting or better yet, a vermicomposting method will exponentially out-produce the limited GB's one can realistically manage in a home system. Even large raft systems are difficult in most regions of the US.
I did get your "potato famine" analogy, though I don't think it fit well. Tilapia are not a good option in many climates, just as trout are not. The challenge of finding a fish that doesn't require heating or cooling is a big one, unless you're happy with Koi/Carp. Aussies raise a great deal of trout, but they tend to split their seasons between two species. Hang out a bit on the Aussie forums and you'll learn a lot on the subject.
Have you built your system yet? Not sure your location or willingness to control temp in a system (very expensive), but there will be options for you. Please send pictures - we love to see what other folks are doing...
Anyway, keep a thick skin. These forums are an incredible resource but people have very different views at times and it really drives the discussion down if things get personal. If you post an opinion great, but know that someone out there won't always see it your way.
Correct me if I'm wrong but in both instances neither systems (Bruce Swifts or the hutterite colony in montana) Are Aquaponic systems. they only mention being recirculating aquaculture systems.
On a side note, me and a guest visiting the farm I work at got on the topic of AP. He mentioned that someone affiliated with a University in Canada, Vancouver area I believe, was growing sturgeon for their caviar and was using plants to filter the water and has already had a successful harvest of caviar. Still havent been able to confirm this.
Bruce Swifts system is aquaponic. He grows wasabi and watercress. Look at this earlier link
The pictures shown will rotate through, you can see a grow bed in one of them, also another picture he is holding plant material. The article also talks about the aquaponic part. His main thrust business wise though is the production of salmon and crawfish...not the plants. Plants are mostly filter to him I think. So it could be opposite to others which are more about the plants than the fish for production, but hey every one has different ways of looking at things. He does know his Salmon.Not said in that article, but from his interview on TV...he keeps careful control of the temperature of the fish and the light to regulate their growth. Wish I had recorded it. Have to see if he still gives tours when things warm up around here.
I'm guessing the color of the meat stays fairly consistent between the farmed Coho and their seagoing version, Silver Salmon. That said, I've seen trout take on an a redish orange color when eating large amounts of crayfish/shrimp. I know the Kokanee (Landlocked Red Salmon) I've caught always have a nice red color as well.
I'm curious about size - the kokanee stay fairly small, mostly under 5 lbs, where the Reds can go over ten in the ocean. If the same ratio holds true for the Coho's and their seagoing variety runs 12-15lbs, they'd be pushing 6-8 lbs in the system. Might take a pretty good sized tank or maybe better a pond if one were to attempt raising them for home use.
Well, according to "the net" ...The colouring seems to be due to carotenoid astaxanthin, a lipid soluble pigment (phytochemicals). Comes from a diet high in shrimp, krill or other small mollusks. Or in the case of most farmed salmon, artificial coloring agents in their food.
Wonder how the folks mentioned above do it?
Jon Parr said:
Laine, I must have blurred that sentence of Chilean salmon farms and copper pit that you can see from your house, into one thought. So, Salt Lake City. That makes more sense.
I'll check my friend's progress with the hatchery. I know it is not built yet, red-tape rolls slow.
Thanks PeterD for those links. Interesting that Bruce calls coho the broiler chicken of the sea, on account of it's fast growth. Wonder how fast it does grow? I also wonder what he feeds them to get the meat red. I'll have to look that up.