Aquaponic Gardening

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What are your thoughts on system design?  Media vs raft.  Deep media beds vs shallow.  Siphons vs timers.  Tell us your thoughts and let's get the conversation rolling

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Murray Hallam said:


Rebecca Branham said:


RupertofOZ said:
They change out water in hydroponics as the nutrient solution becomes spent, or begins precipitating out due to temperature...

You could just run your media based AP system on ammonia alone... but I'd suspect it would be cheaper to run fish...

Also the fish feed contains a balance of trace elements, which in due course are provided to the plants... partly by conversion of wastes by the worms in our grow beds...

Feeding your system pure ammonia may very well kill your worm colony... or your plants could, even with the right pH, become deficient in some trace elements...



Darryl Hinson said:
I understand the value of growing fish along with vegrtables ....but what if I'm allergic to fish....I may want to eliminate the fish from the system....from what I can glean so far, the fish produce ammonia ....why couldnt I just add ammonia manually and do away with the fish....pure ammonia is pretty cheap and I DO have a test kit.....
So then I'm into the hydroponic arena....but I've read that hydroponics have their problems with having to do a water change out....so the fish must produce more than just ammonia....??

So.... could you have a fishless system and provide the nutrients directly with fish food? I know you can do a fishless cycle with fish food as the ammonia source; with carefull testing, would just the fish food provide the tastiness of aquaponic produce---as opposed to the watery flavorless produce associated with hydroponics? Would the aeration and water flow be enough to get a good product?

If you want to go down that path (no fish) than just do Hydroponics. It is a proven method of growing. The whole idea of Aquaponics is to grow fish and plants together. If for any reason you wish to remove the fish from the equasion, then just do Hydroponics.
Yes, except for the fact that I've never tasted a hydroponic tomato I liked. Hydroponists(?) juggle all of those chemicals and don't produce food as tasteful as that from an aquaponics system. My question was whether the waste products from the fish were the source of the taste differences. Are the inputs of the two systems (the fish food and the hydroponic chemicals) so different from each other? Is it the processing of the fish food through the fish that accounts for the differences?


Rebecca Branham said:


Murray Hallam said:


Rebecca Branham said:


RupertofOZ said:
They change out water in hydroponics as the nutrient solution becomes spent, or begins precipitating out due to temperature...

You could just run your media based AP system on ammonia alone... but I'd suspect it would be cheaper to run fish...

Also the fish feed contains a balance of trace elements, which in due course are provided to the plants... partly by conversion of wastes by the worms in our grow beds...

Feeding your system pure ammonia may very well kill your worm colony... or your plants could, even with the right pH, become deficient in some trace elements...



Darryl Hinson said:
I understand the value of growing fish along with vegrtables ....but what if I'm allergic to fish....I may want to eliminate the fish from the system....from what I can glean so far, the fish produce ammonia ....why couldnt I just add ammonia manually and do away with the fish....pure ammonia is pretty cheap and I DO have a test kit.....
So then I'm into the hydroponic arena....but I've read that hydroponics have their problems with having to do a water change out....so the fish must produce more than just ammonia....??

So.... could you have a fishless system and provide the nutrients directly with fish food? I know you can do a fishless cycle with fish food as the ammonia source; with carefull testing, would just the fish food provide the tastiness of aquaponic produce---as opposed to the watery flavorless produce associated with hydroponics? Would the aeration and water flow be enough to get a good product?

If you want to go down that path (no fish) than just do Hydroponics. It is a proven method of growing. The whole idea of Aquaponics is to grow fish and plants together. If for any reason you wish to remove the fish from the equasion, then just do Hydroponics.
Yes, except for the fact that I've never tasted a hydroponic tomato I liked. Hydroponists(?) juggle all of those chemicals and don't produce food as tasteful as that from an aquaponics system. My question was whether the waste products from the fish were the source of the taste differences. Are the inputs of the two systems (the fish food and the hydroponic chemicals) so different from each other? Is it the processing of the fish food through the fish that accounts for the differences?

Hi Rebecca,
The difference is that Aquaponics is an ECO system and therefore it operates in a natural way. The combination of the fish and the plants makes Aquaponics the beautiful thing that it is. The fish and the plants complement each other and work together. In any case, there is a lot more happening in a natural ECO system than can possibly happen by just adding ammonia as a chemical.
The normal ratio of plant production to fish production is 7 kg of vegetables to 1 kg of fish, so if you are thinking of a commercial style Aquaponics system the main game is the plants. The fish are just the icing on the cake. In a home system we want to be able to eat clean chemical free fish, so the cost of production is usually not an issue. If you do not wish to eat the fish than go for the Koi, sounds like it might be a profitable one.
If getting small Koi, it might not be such a huge $$ to get started, I don't know the prices but the place I get my catfish from also sells koi.

Another option might be bait fish but that would probably involve even more turn over of the fish so Koi might be a longer term option.
All this koi talk helped me to remember that Sahib had posted a website of a place in Florida that has good deals on shipping koi. I just checked it out and they have a mailing list for people who want to be notified at the end of the week to get their "leftovers" from partial boxes at a great price (they were saying 300 3 - 6" fish for $750 for example). The catch is that you need to take the whole bunch, and that is a lot of fish! But maybe some weeks there are much less.

Here is the link http://www.koisale.com/
I read today while doing some research on how to maintain an adequate 02 level in my fish tank. The info I found said that an air stone and pump will probably not do anything to raise the level of 02 in the water above the level of 02 in the room.
The air bubbles will go up to the surface where most of the air exchange takes place....They really dont do much while rising to the surfaci e.....It doesnt take much of a surface disturbance to help out....
I'm thinking of using a venturi on all of my pipes to draw air in and with all the air being drawn inby the flood and drain.....it seems like it will be enough.....The level of my water will never drop.....most farm ponds have to add areation.......
???
dont know........
Thanks Sylvia :-)

How about "For Free!"

Here is an e-mail alert I received. I was going to buy Koi Feed anyway so this was a blessing that helped me set up my indoor research Aquaponic project. Nice !
So far I have lost 4 out of approx. 90 fish...not bad since the local Koi dealer stated that he had experienced a mortality rate in excess of 25%!

Special Free "Peanut" Size Koi With Purchase Of Blackwater Premium Koi Food
Receive a free box of Peanut size koi with a purchase of the following food:
Blackwater Max Growth medium pellet 40 lb bag $85.00
Blackwater Cool Season Diet medium pellet 40 lb bag $99.00
Blackwater Gold-N Professional Diet medium pellet 8.8 lb bag $50.00
Limit 1 special per Company please. First come, first serve basis. 15 Boxes of Peanuts available.
Koi are 1"-2 1/2" and 75-100 fish/box.
Pay only freight on fish and food. Fish will ship Express and food will ship via Ground service.
Approx. freight rates: New England area: $51.41 fish/ $18.02 food*
Chicago area: $54.53/ $18.23 food*
California area: $58.33/ $26.05 food*
Fish orders will ship on Wednesday, Oct. 20th for delivery on Thursday via FedEx Express.
Food ships starting Monday when orders are received.
Special starts today and can not be applied to previous orders already placed.
Please call in your orders!
*charges for shipping a 40lb bag of food, $7 box fee included in shipping cost for fish
Thanks for a Great Season!
The Crew at Blackwater Creek Koi Farms Inc..





Sylvia Bernstein said:
All this koi talk helped me to remember that Sahib had posted a website of a place in Florida that has good deals on shipping koi. I just checked it out and they have a mailing list for people who want to be notified at the end of the week to get their "leftovers" from partial boxes at a great price (they were saying 300 3 - 6" fish for $750 for example). The catch is that you need to take the whole bunch, and that is a lot of fish! But maybe some weeks there are much less.

Here is the link http://www.koisale.com/
You are right that only minimal gas exchange happens with the contact of air bubbles with the water and that it is actually the air bubbles tending to circulate the bottom water to the surface that causes most of the aeration effect. Don't be fooled though, and air pump with air stone does cause circulation which takes care of aeration so it is effective as long as it is sized properly for the fish tank and fish load.

Water pumps can also provide lots of aeration but with really small water pumps you need to make sure clogging won't hinder their effectiveness. In a few situations I tried to use a small water pump to provide aeration for a fish tank instead of an air stone but the pump would gum up with fish poo so much that it needed daily cleaning to be at all effective for aeration. Air pumps don't have the same problem. You can also use a single air pump to aerate two separate systems without mixing water if the air pump is big enough.

Now I know many people have managed to do aquaponics without supplemental aeration but I normally recommend adding some form of supplemental aeration. It doesn't have to be an air pump but there should be something other than your main system pump to provide aeration. I say this because what if the reason you need the supplemental aeration most is because you main system but dies on you? I see the supplemental aeration as part of my backup system. If my power goes out, I have a couple air pumps on battery backup that can keep by fish alive for a day till I can get a generator or more normally my power comes back on within a few hours. If you are depending on your main system pump to also provide the supplemental aeration through venturi, then you better have a backup pump on hand in case the main one dies and you also have to have a big enough power backup system on hand to run your whole system rather than just a smaller air pump.

Of course your system will probably be small enough to reasonably run for several hours on a battery backup.

During warm weather it doesn't take long for the fish to run out of dissolved oxygen in a heavily stocked tank if the aeration fails.



Darryl Hinson said:
I read today while doing some research on how to maintain an adequate 02 level in my fish tank. The info I found said that an air stone and pump will probably not do anything to raise the level of 02 in the water above the level of 02 in the room.
The air bubbles will go up to the surface where most of the air exchange takes place....They really dont do much while rising to the surfaci e.....It doesnt take much of a surface disturbance to help out....
I'm thinking of using a venturi on all of my pipes to draw air in and with all the air being drawn inby the flood and drain.....it seems like it will be enough.....The level of my water will never drop.....most farm ponds have to add areation.......
???
dont know........
Free is good! I just called them and that deal ran out a while ago, but they are willing to work out a deal that works for me so they seem to be a great resource. Now I just need to find a home for my tilapia...


Sahib Punjabi said:
Thanks Sylvia :-)

How about "For Free!"

What? not hungry?


Sylvia Bernstein said:
Free is good! I just called them and that deal ran out a while ago, but they are willing to work out a deal that works for me so they seem to be a great resource. Now I just need to find a home for my tilapia...


Sahib Punjabi said:
Thanks Sylvia :-)

How about "For Free!"

There are only about 4 out of about 40 that I'd consider plate-sized...so that's my excuse ;-)
I bought some Maxicrop from the source yoyu suggested....they were pleasant to deal with but they sent me a gallon of liquid fish and I dont believe it's the same thing as seaweed extract......???
I called the guy at the store and he wasnt sure.....
Were gonna work it out tomorrow, hopefully....
Rural America ...I'm glad for the internet but when mistakes are made they are double trouble to figure out.....
have you ever heard of Liquid Fish....other than the Bass O Matic on SNL....(Dan Akroid)

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