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I am trying to keep books on my setup so that I can gauge how to expand without robbing a bank.

I hope to kickoff a discussion about relative cost and economies of scale. 

For my current setup, I have "free-sourced" just about everything but the fish and plants. But now I am running into some stuff I did not account for, which will cost me a little. For example, the testing kits.

I have water in 2 55 gallon barrels. So I guess I have about 100 gallons of water. I have 50 coppernose bluegills. The growbed is 1 55 gallon blue barrel split in half.

My startup cost were about $50. $25 for plants and $25 for fish. I also had a little plumbing couplings to buy.

If I had paid retail for all the stuff,

Barrels (?) I am seeing $30 each on a couple of websites = ($90).

Frame wood ($30)

PVC (10' 1", 10' 3/4") plus couplings, glue ($30)

Rocks (this one is hard) If you buy bags at Loews/HD (15 X $3 = ~$45), Or $1 per bucket at a local aggregate seller (~$15). 

Pump, ($45 at Loews/HD)

Around $200. Sound right?

So startup will cost between $0 (catch the fish from pond and get plants from other source) to $250

In a 3'X2' grow bed, I think I can get some strawberries, Okra and a couple of tomatoes. I might get $20 worth of produce.  If I manage to kill 0 fish, I will get 50 good sized bluegills which have a value of (what?) If I buy fish at walmart, it is $4-$5 for a package of 2. So for eazy math, I will say $2 per fish = $100.

So my output value is in a range of $0 (all die) to $150 if everything goes right.

My ongoing cost are food, electricity, water and testing.

Food so far is a bag of commercial feed, I got that for $15. I expect to use a lot more in the future, but right now, not so much. 

Electricity is ?. I have no way of measuring the actual usage. I'm not sure how to convert watts or amps to actual unit of energy I get charged for.

Water. I have a well, so my water use is basically electricity. Plus I am adding a little water every other day. This will be more in the summer. But again, I dont know how much this cost me.

Testing (~$15/kit). I am testing once week for 1 week so far. I'm not sure how long this kit last. I'm guessing 2 months.

So if a bag of food and a test kit cost me ~$20/month.

Am I missing anything? I am trying to make an Excel spreadsheet to cover my cost as I go.

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The other end of 6 mil plastic is that I can get it free. And if it last two years, I will hopefully rebuild my system anyway at that point My concern is that it may have been exposed to sunlight. I will have to see how brittle it is. I can see how building a system, planting plants, getting it cycled up, adding fish, THEN finding a leak that requires a rebuild would put me in a bad mood.

Thanks for the detail. Where do you plan to get the IBC's? Can you ballpark how much will the whole thing cost you? I like sketchup because I have changed my mind a dozen times on every part. 

Thanks again.

Chris said:

Thanks for sharing your plans Lance. I am currently planning to do almost the exact same thing next year after relocating to Vietnam and documenting the whole thing.  I have put a lot of thought into design keeping cost and materials in mind but it is something I cant make decisions on until I am actually there.

To your point regarding 6mil plastic liner. It will work but you will just have to be careful not to puncture it and keep it out of the sun.

The setup you are planning is very similar to what I initially thought as well. I too wanted to place the tank underneath the grow beds but considering the materials used, general maintenance and for ease of access I think its a regrettable design. Ultimately I believe we are looking for something similar in volume and design to an IBC based CHOP2 system. If you do a quick search you will find many systems built using 3 IBC totes (1 full tote tank, a half sized tote sump, and 3 beds). If totes are available or affordable the might be best to use but keeping the basic plumbing diagram the same, moving the components around and changing the materials used should be just fine if needed.

Once I move my thoughts into a google sketuchup I will post them. The idea for my scenario anyway would be to build a system in a 4'x20' footprint which should be also easy to cover, maintain, and will conserve space. Once everything is up and running well it should be relatively simple to expand in a modular fashion. Each module also should be straight forward couple together or isolate each other for controlled experimentation purposes.

My personal goal is not to run as a profit business but a hobby experiment(s) and maybe get to reduce the food bill which will be one of my largest living expenses.

 


Not positive what exactly we will be using for materials and just thinking of options now. There are several food processing plants in the area, as well as a small brewery and a small local sodapop factory. Havent contacted them yet to see if we can get totes yet or not. We are not moving until Janurary so a relativly long time for now, but I am still counting the days.


 Lance Rose said:

Thanks for the detail. Where do you plan to get the IBC's? Can you ballpark how much will the whole thing cost you? I like sketchup because I have changed my mind a dozen times on every part. 

 

Just curious, as this is a little off topic....

What prompted you to decide on Vietnam? That's and interesting choice.



Chris said:


Not positive what exactly we will be using for materials and just thinking of options now. There are several food processing plants in the area, as well as a small brewery and a small local sodapop factory. Havent contacted them yet to see if we can get totes yet or not. We are not moving until Janurary so a relativly long time for now, but I am still counting the days.


 Lance Rose said:

Thanks for the detail. Where do you plan to get the IBC's? Can you ballpark how much will the whole thing cost you? I like sketchup because I have changed my mind a dozen times on every part. 

 

 

The wife is from there :) We are going to test out living there for now and see how it works out. If it doesn't work long term, we will move back to Canada where I am from. (eastern Ontario)
 
Lance Rose said:

Just curious, as this is a little off topic....

What prompted you to decide on Vietnam? That's and interesting choice.

Very cool. Wonder if you could use the huge prawns they have as the "fish" in an aquaponic system?

Cool, Google says you can!

http://friendlyaquaponics.com/docs/HowManyPrawnsCanISqueezeIn.pdf

Thanks for the link. The main problem with them is that they are territorial and stocking density is generally the issue. You almost certainty need troughs like in a raft system to make it feasible.  Not something I want to try at first but its worth looking into how I could implement it at a later time.

I have also seen on youtube, a prawn farm in New Zealand that was raising them in pens to achieve pretty high density for their tanks. It wasnt aquaponics but the concept still applies.

Lance Rose said:

Very cool. Wonder if you could use the huge prawns they have as the "fish" in an aquaponic system?

Cool, Google says you can!

http://friendlyaquaponics.com/docs/HowManyPrawnsCanISqueezeIn.pdf

Bummer. I just love the idea of putting the BBQ next to the tank and pulling my prawns straight from the tank to the grill. 


Chris said:

Thanks for the link. The main problem with them is that they are territorial and stocking density is generally the issue. You almost certainty need troughs like in a raft system to make it feasible.  Not something I want to try at first but its worth looking into how I could implement it at a later time.

I have also seen on youtube, a prawn farm in New Zealand that was raising them in pens to achieve pretty high density for their tanks. It wasnt aquaponics but the concept still applies.

Lance Rose said:

Very cool. Wonder if you could use the huge prawns they have as the "fish" in an aquaponic system?

Cool, Google says you can!

http://friendlyaquaponics.com/docs/HowManyPrawnsCanISqueezeIn.pdf

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