Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

As a novice to AP and with about 2 years to go to early retirement and a serious desire to live as much off the grid as possible, AP has caught my attention in a serious way as a means to an end to self-sustainable farming. My problem is that there is an overabundance of information on the web, as well as on this site as to the dos and don’ts of starting up AP systems. Its hard sifting through the quagmire of info, not knowing who is actually posting worthwhile info and who is posting info (on the web) as a means to an end in order to sell you garbage that either doesn’t work or works way less efficiently/effectively than something else out there.

2 weeks into reading what’s out there has brought me to the conclusion that unless I plan on spending the next 2 years reading everything I can, and taking what’s repeated continuously to be the gospel in AP, that I am in need of advice. No, my intent is not to repeat the many times repeated questions that are already on the forums that by now many of the older members have gotten sick of answering (and ironically this might just be one of those questions) My intent is asking just 1 simple question, what single book, pdf or any other written document has been the single most important book for you in your AP endeavours? (Ask 100 people and expect 99 different answers? No worries, it should take less time to read through the 99 different books than it would to sift through the bull on the web)

So far in 3 days I have started on page 1 of the “Start Here” forum and got to page 21 of the “Basic and Useful Info” topic with another 100+ odd pages to go just on that topic, not to mention every other topic and group discussion that there is going. This far, I have found lot of useful info, a lot of useless info (due to geographical location) and a lot less spam than I was expecting (which is always nice) and intend on finishing what is on the forums, but due to not having access to the web at work and having 3-5 hrs a day there that could be spent ‘studying’, could you please throw me a lifeline as to what book you found most valuable or what author/s you would give as essential reading.

 

Thanks in advance

Sean

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The only book I've read is Aquaponic Gardening by Sylvia Bernstein and I recommend it.  Possibly we can overthink this stuff.  Once you get a system built and running, it's not difficult to maintain.  It will certainly help if you already know how to garden in soil, particularly if you are an organic gardener, because that's where most of the work is, in the care of plants.

I did exactly what you've described, spent a couple of years reading on the web.  It helped.  You can learn a lot from videos too.  If a home system is what you intend to build, you'll likely find it easy to build and run.

Good luck

Thanks George, maybe I should have added that into my initial query, I take for granted that a good many here would recommend Sylvia's book and have already sent an enquiry as to what's what in the store, your time in answering appreciated

Ps. I'm good at overthinking things

Pss. As a starter yes I'm looking at the 55 gal barrel system reduced to a 5 gal miniaturised system to see where I can improve on what, implementing that into a 55 gal system and running that for the better part of 2 years then finally incorporating what I have learned + any advances made in AP over that 2 year period into a self sustaining farming set up on a 2 Ha piece of land in the Philippines

IBC of Aquaponics     FAO Aquaponics

I found both of these to be very good, and free. IBC of Aquaponics is 187 pages, step by step, many photos, examples, etc.

The Food and Agriculture Organization is part of the UN, and is an excellent factual "scientific" publication. It's not very exciting but it has the specific relevant information one needs. Between these two, and making a few summary notes of temperatures, nitrite levels, etc. you should be an expert before you start.

I also though Small Scale Aquaculture by Steven D Vangorder was helpful, particularly with reference to different fish species and their requirements / benefits, though aquaponics is only a small chapter in this book. It is available on Amazon direct from the author.

PS: Few publications mention the benefits of salted water for fish. Salt can help fight disease and specifically it negates nitrite poisoning and associated brown blood disease. However it is detrimental to many plants at levels above 2-3 PPT. I used salt in an isolated quarantine tank to save my catfish from a horrible outbreak of Ich.

Many Thanks for your time David, I will definitely look into those as well as the use of salt as you mentioned\

Edit. I have the FAO Aquaponics already tho it doesn't want to convert to a word perfect document that I can edit it on my laptop so as of yet I haven't gotten to reading it.

I don't know that you'll be able to find one single "go-to-lifeline" type document...there are three entirely different disciplines rolled into one (fish husbandry, hydroponics and waste water management). There are scores of books and studies covering each of those separately...It would be daunting to write such a document, provided it wasn't geared towards novices.

If you are after a book that's a real good beginners 'go-to' guide, then I too recommend Sylvia's book along with IBC-OA, and some of the other publications mentioned here.

I haven't referred to this PDF in a long while, but it is still one of my favorites written specifically about aquaponics

https://www.mcgill.ca/bioeng/files/bioeng/KeithTatjana2010.pdf

Thanks Vlad, I know that there wont be one single magic bullet to skin the cat re Aquaponics but having multiple books to read, that are worth reading is what I'm hoping to get. After all, I have 2 years to do some in depth reading and would rather do that with books that contain more fact than sellers fiction. When ordinary Joe's put their names behind recommendations, they tend to be worth buying and reading at least once, usually multiple times, or this is at least my findings in life.

I feel that these might be worth a read...and pretty easy to understand...the second one may be of interest to you, as it deals with salts for fish health.

https://www.extension.org/mediawiki/files/9/90/Interactions_of_pH,_...

http://fishphysiology.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/tomasso.pdf

http://integrated-aqua.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Rad...

I write a monthly column for ASC Magazine (a pay for subscription magazine...good stuff in there) that is AP related. The column is a very far cry from what I'd consider "essential reading material", but some of my articles end up on our company's web-site blog page...which you can read for free here http://stores.atriaaquagardens.com/blog/

There may be a nugget or two of useful info in the dozen or so blogs?

Vlad

In the absence of a nitrite problem, do you consider salting beneficial?  Thanks for the links.

Vlad Jovanovic said:

I feel that these might be worth a read...and pretty easy to understand...the second one may be of interest to you, as it deals with salts for fish health.

Sean, I think in this forum you won't find more complete and accurate information than you will get from Vlad. That said, I'm a YouTube freak so I can give you a couple of trustworthy channels to visit. Bright Agrotech ( they are selling ZipGrow Towers but the information in their videos is to the point and real), and of course aquaponicgardening. Good info there as well.



Vlad Jovanovic said:

I feel that these might be worth a read...and pretty easy to understand...the second one may be of interest to you, as it deals with salts for fish health.

Again, my thanks Vlad

All 3 downloaded and sent to the printers for printing and binding tho I have to confess, just a quick glance done before sending them off, as of yet I haven't gotten to the blog but will definitely be getting around to that, the major problem in reading thru most of these pdf's is twofold, my biggest at the moment being that 1/2 the imbedded links are non functional anymore and the other half send me to sites that you could spend hours on (which I sadly have done) the key to this at the end of the day is discipline I suppose. Tons of interesting reading out there.  



George said:

Vlad

In the absence of a nitrite problem, do you consider salting beneficial?  Thanks for the links.

it does add an additional dimension into the building of a system that would allow for the movement of fish from one tank to another without using catch and release over gravitational, something that would have no doubt come up later in research but can now be chewed on and solved.

 



Jeff S said:

Sean, I think in this forum you won't find more complete and accurate information than you will get from Vlad.

Thanks Jeff, When using forums, you get a feel fast for who posts to see their own writing and who posts nuggets, if I'm not mistaken Vlad does consulting on the side line? I'm sure I read that somewhere on the forum? Still a long way off needing his services on any end game I get to. I've looked at Zips right at the start and did indeed find them interesting, as of yet to get around to aquaponic gardening clips tho it is now bookmarked, thanks :)

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