Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Hi all
I am new to AP ,and have not yet started a system.I have a couple of questions first.
My most important concern is heating system in winter months as to cost and how many and or what wattage heaters.

I plan to put a 150 gallon fish tank in my unheated garage with at first only 100 gallons of water and two grow beds.I also plan to use a sump tank of about 55 gallons.I would also use that white insulating board all around fish tank and sump tank.My garage in winter avg.temp has been 50 dergees far.
I live in upstate New York
My wife is very concerned about our electric bill.
Thanks in advance for any input.
Russell Humez

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Grow a type of fish that doesn't need really warm water and you should be ok with 50 F though things will grow slow during winter since most fish don't eat much when the water is cool.  Unless you grow trout but a 100 gallon tank is probably too small for them.

Hi Russell, I live in Colorado and have an aquaponic system in the crawlspace under my house. It stays about 50 degrees in the winter. I have wired a grow light array over the grow beds. I have run the pvc from the fish tank over the grow beds and over the grow lights that is actualy heating the water as it passes through the pvc pipes. I am still working on this, but the idea is the elec I use for the grow lighting will also heat my water. The fish tank was 50 degrees and after running the water 12 hours the water passing through the lighting/heating array has only increased to 53 degrees. I only have one grow bed running, I have five more to set up. Also I noticed each additional peice of pvc pipe running by the grow lights increases the water temp by one degree. I plan to run multipe peices of pvc the length of the grow light kind of like a solar hot water heater panel, like a solar heat collector. I will post the continuing results here so you can see the progress of increase in water temp as more of my system is built out. In your garage you'll need grow lights so it might be something that would work in your situation as well.

I know of some people on this forum who use HID grow lights using the "old style" magnetic ballasts and have placed the ballast inside a heavy duty garbage bag, sealed it, then dropped it in the fish tank to use the extra free heat. Since those ballasts are only 85% efficient the rest is given off as heat. I have many such ballasts (mostly 400Watt and 250Watters) and can attest to them getting, what can only be described as "really friggin hot"! Though this technique would not be practical for my set up, it may be of interest to someone else. 

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