Aquaponic Gardening

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aloha folks,

 

writing from a very rainy maui....

my sytem started up on 2/15 and i added fish on 2/24. so i am about 70 days old so far with fish...i have abut 25 punds of tilapia in 600 gal. ft with a 300 gal sump and 4 6x6 growbed 12" deep in red cinder.

as i understand it we are basically attempting to create a microbiological condition similar to what soil has. i have around 5000 pounds of cinder and that is allot of surface area for bacteria to colonize.

 

based on your system sizes out there in AP land, how long do you think my size system might take to reach full maturity...? i realize there are many many variables....i was thinking from past research and looking at my results in 70 days that it would be about a year.......

 

looking forward to hear form you,

peace,

 

francis

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Well I suppose one would need to define "full maturity" for an aquaponics system.  Is that when it is old enough to give birth to a barrel ponics system?  Or when it's allowed to take the car out past midnight?

 

But Seriously.  I'm gonna say 6 months to a year before the system reaches adulthood and if it has the right personality, perhaps it will achieve wisdom in two years but I think that might also depend on the system's parents (or designer/operator.)

 

My big system I would say was mature in less than a year but it was still ever changing and growing and learning (or was that me.) However, my newer 300 gallon system while the bio-filter in it has matured nicely, That system hasn't done so well with the fish so I'm not calling it mature until I raise a batch of fish to nice harvest size without major issues.

that being said, i would include vigorous plant growth as an indicator, even thought it is an ambiguous one. for instance how long does it take you to grow a head of lettuce?

TCLynx said:

Well I suppose one would need to define "full maturity" for an aquaponics system.  Is that when it is old enough to give birth to a barrel ponics system?  Or when it's allowed to take the car out past midnight?

 

But Seriously.  I'm gonna say 6 months to a year before the system reaches adulthood and if it has the right personality, perhaps it will achieve wisdom in two years but I think that might also depend on the system's parents (or designer/operator.)

 

My big system I would say was mature in less than a year but it was still ever changing and growing and learning (or was that me.) However, my newer 300 gallon system while the bio-filter in it has matured nicely, That system hasn't done so well with the fish so I'm not calling it mature until I raise a batch of fish to nice harvest size without major issues.

Well heading lettuce doesn't tend to do well in Florida, loose leaf lettuce does much better here.

 

My systems though don't get that kind of tracking of when a seed is planted to when that particular plant is harvested.  Mine is more of a backyard garden.

 

I can say that a banana pup placed as a 18 inch high plant into a grow bed in May last year produced bananas that we cut the bunch off in December.  That seemed like rather fast growth to me since most people say it takes 14 months for a stalk to produce bananas.

 

Perhaps you can define "mature" as having a very stable water chemistry, particularly in terms of the nitrification process and the mineralization of nutrients needed for plant growth.  That can be a difficult one though.  My system is between 1 and 2 years old in its current location (it has been moved once) and I'm not really seeing any serious amounts of nitrite or nitrates in the system, even with a photometer (both 0.00 last reading).  My new plant growth is a little slow for my liking though, partially because I have a serious nutrient hog in the system - a passion fruit vine.  It has over 100 fruit on it. 

 

Thus plant growth can be tricky as an indicator, unless you consider the ability of my unit to carry such a plant in itsself as a sign of maturity.  I have always liked to think about stable water chemistry as a sign of maturity though, and remember the research coming from Alberta (Dr Nick Savidov) showing the system performing better in year 2 than in year 1 (but it could also be that they knew it better in year 2.............................)

Hi Francis,

In my country the majority of lettuce grown/sold is of the ice-burgh and bronze variety. They are grown/sold in three stages small, medium, large. Large is usually over one pound. The raft takes  2 weeks, 3 weeks, and 4 weeks to growout these three stages, but we are tropical here, lots of sunshine and warm weather!

I agree there Kobus! 

 

And I agree that the operator is also going to mature a bit with the system too so to speak.

 

Plant growth/speed may be more of an indicator of reaching a proper balance (plants to fish to filter to season) which could be a bit different than just bio-filter maturity.

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