Aquaponic Gardening

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i havent quite got my stuff together yet and was thinking about what kind of fish i want. this is going to be a first time doing something like this so im going small and simple before i get into anything to difficult. right now easy is the word but i wouldnt mind something i can eat also.

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I usually recommend goldfish for beginners, Rich.  They are tolerant of a pretty broad range of conditions, are readily available at pet shops, and their food is readily available as well.  Just be careful of the "feeder" goldfish as they aren't really meant to live very long (hence the "feeding" part) so pet stores have lower quality standards with them and are more likely to sell diseased fish.  Go up a level to the least expensive goldfish you can get that isn't a feeder.

 

After you are cycled and you really have your feet under you - 4 - 6 months - then I'd recommend going with tilapia and/or catfish.  Again, very tolerant fish but they require larger tanks (250 gallons and larger are ideal, although you can get away with something smaller than that) and are not as widely available in small quantities....unless you ship them in and then you are paying quite a bit for the overnight shipping, specialized packaging, etc.

 

I'm interested to hear what others say on this as well...

If it's legal for you to do, how bout local fish out of your nearest pond or creek? It's spawning season for bluegill and bass. Get a fishing pole some worms and go to town. You'll have fun catching them.
I am on the same wave length as Sylvia.  When starting off, the animal husbandry part is tough.  Goldfish, tilapia, and catfish are all hard to kill.  I would go with those, keeping good records (eating patterns, water quality, etc.)

@chi ma if i were to get something out of the creek or pond nearby would i need to quarentine them for an amount of time before putting them in the actual system? if they were to have any diseases would they pass on to my plant and then on to me?

@sylvia what i have so far is just a 45 gallon long fish tank and a metal rack system i plan on using for now. im also curious about a pump to use. ive looked a couple pond pumps but they only pull water up so far. is this more of a sump pump kind of job? i was leaning towards the feeder fish because they were so cheap ($0.28 @walmart) but now that you say there might be diseases ill go ahead and put out the extra dollar and get a few good sized gold fish.

 

thanks alot for the advice so far guys!

I started my system with too many goldfish.  I used cheap Comets, and have not seen any evidence of disease, however.  But the one thing I DID learn was that it would be better to have too few fish, then go buy a few more @ $0.28 a piece than deal with the ammonia problems I'm having now.
not exactly sure what id be using as a grow bed but something small and not alot of plants. maybe a couple tomato plants and one or two something else. just wanting to get my feet under me and learn the ins and outs of the bell siphon and the stuff i grow the plants in. probably be some sort of cheap rock stuff for now.
From my experience it isn't an issue. You could quarantine them but I find it unnecessary if they are your starter fish.

richcoulterjr said:

@chi ma if i were to get something out of the creek or pond nearby would i need to quarentine them for an amount of time before putting them in the actual system? if they were to have any diseases would they pass on to my plant and then on to me?

@sylvia what i have so far is just a 45 gallon long fish tank and a metal rack system i plan on using for now. im also curious about a pump to use. ive looked a couple pond pumps but they only pull water up so far. is this more of a sump pump kind of job? i was leaning towards the feeder fish because they were so cheap ($0.28 @walmart) but now that you say there might be diseases ill go ahead and put out the extra dollar and get a few good sized gold fish.

 

thanks alot for the advice so far guys!

When bringing new fish into a big system that already has fish, then a quarantine period in an isolated system is more important.  The reason for quarantine is to protect your other fish and system from a disease or more often a parasite infection that might be hard to get rid of without killing your plants and bio-filter.  For the start you probably don't have to worry as much about it.

 

With an aquarium of that size you will likely have trouble growing much of anything to edible size but it might make a nice fingerling quarantine system for the future.  Goldfish, Koi, guppies or whatever are fine for starters and if you have easy access to tilapia for free/cheap then maybe even them.

 

Once you have a larger system.  If it is heated or indoors, tilapia are pretty bomb proof.  If you can't keep the water quite warm you might be better off with the catfish or to the list I will add Blue Gill.  Blue Gill are usually easily available most places in the country and they don't need as big a tank as the Channel Catfish do but will eat the same feeds and survive the same temperatures.  Blue Gill won't get as big nor as fast but that is probably better in a smaller system.

At that size I wouldn't do Koi either.  They really need a larger tank.  Stick to goldfish and guppies for now.  As far as pumps, a pond pump is fine, but you need to increase the power as you increase the height that you are expecting the water to go.  Let's say, for example, that you want to move the entire volume of your 45 galllon fish tank up 4 feet once an hour...and you are running your system for 15 minutes every hour (15 on/ 45 off)  This means that you really need to move 4*45 gallons an hour - about 200 gallons - up 4 feet.  If you look at the chart here it shows that a 400 GPH pump would get you to 200 GPH at 4'.  Most pumps have similar performance charts you can check before you buy.  Hope this helps.

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