Aquaponic Gardening

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i read in this forum that Aquaponics can be more expensive then hydroponics.

is that true?

thanks Gabriele

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Gabe, they're talking about big commercial operations...in the classic sense. 

In general aquaponics on a home scale is going to be larger than hydroponics and therefore might be a bit more costly just because you need more tank size and pumping capacity to filter water for the fish as well as deliver it to the plants.

However, there are some hydroponics systems being sold around here that cost like $500 and I think I could sell a comparable small aquaponic system for about $200-300.  Problem, around here I don't like small aquaponic systems since if people put them outdoors here they will cook their poor fish in summer and in winter the temperature swings will be too extreme for a really small system.

Well, a hydroponic set up like a bucket you found lying around and a big yogurt container will take a few minutes to set up and cost's you very little (the media will be the second most expensive part, but is a few dollars). The most expensive part of it, by far, is the nutrients--which you'll have to buy in a relatively large quantity. By comparison a fingerling costs about 2 dollars or so, and fish food costs variable amounts (I also haven't really looked into it--maybe a veteran aquapon can chime in). The media can be very simple like crushed brick, or cinder, or whatever and cost minimal amounts of money (proportionally). The pump is a big cost factor, which cannot be avoided. Finding a cheap fish tank the size you want it will be a challenge, but doable. So, once you've had it for a few years it can be cheaper than standard hydroponics. Although, I think nothing is cheaper than making a small passive-hydroponic set up with the best nutrient line available-- pee. Here's a link to TCLynx's thread on BYAP. http://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2534

basically,

cost differences between AP and HP

Aquaponics

1 Fish tank 

2 fish

3 fish food (but if you use edible fish... then you can eat the meat )

Hydroponics

Water....and a lot of water water wasted

Nutrients> very very expensive if you want to be organic as AP 

a cons in AP is that you have to care of fish (temperature swings) so is more job

a pro of HP is "older" than AP  

I'm considering pee-ponics and worm-ponics...

thanks 

gab

If you want to do Organic Hydroponics, you loose most of the "cheap" on the hydro since you then also need a bio-filter to make organic hydro work it needs to be a bio-ponic system.

Now temperature fluctuations might not immediately kill plants but temperature control in Hydroponics is actually rather important since the wrong temperatures in the nutrient solution can cause certain disease problems to really flair up and with the smaller water volume hydroponics is often found using chillers to keep the nutrient tanks cool.  And they also often need to use things to keep it sterile to avoid those disease flair ups.

The truth is, Aquaponics if done with very low reasonable stocking densities is really not that difficult and in the long run, probably not more costly than hydroponics, just the initial start up costs of needing an appropriate size fish tank makes it seem more costly.

Pee ponics or vermiponics or a combination of them is a viable bio-ponic option if you don't like fish, just make sure you plan enough bio-filter to handle it and media filled grow beds will fit that bill just fine.

TCLynx, could you do a passive pee ponics set up? Or should somoene just make some worm tea?
 
TCLynx said:

If you want to do Organic Hydroponics, you loose most of the "cheap" on the hydro since you then also need a bio-filter to make organic hydro work it needs to be a bio-ponic system.

...

Pee ponics or vermiponics or a combination of them is a viable bio-ponic option if you don't like fish, just make sure you plan enough bio-filter to handle it and media filled grow beds will fit that bill just fine.

What do you mean by passive pee ponics Eric?

Passive hydroponics and pee ponics.
 
TCLynx said:

What do you mean by passive pee ponics Eric?

But what constitutes passive?  does that mean no electricity?

Yes, for example, a passive hydroponic system I've built was a 2L bottle cut at the top so the top part was filled with perlite, the bottom with nutrients, and a cloth between the two parts. It uses capilary and or exaporation forces.
 
TCLynx said:

But what constitutes passive?  does that mean no electricity?

Well I'm not sure I would want to do totally passive pee ponics since you want to have the pee circulated through a bio-filter in order to convert the ammonia to plant usable nitrates and I don't think simple wicking action would cut in in a wick type hydroponic set up.

Now a gurgle garden with a little air pump could probably do it and I have done that with some little tiny solar powered air pumps before but that isn't passive.

For those with the time and aptitude, both hydro and AP are excellent DIY opportunities. This gives you the ability to go large (and stable) and still keep the costs way down. Keeping some basic guidelines in mind, you have an incredible amount of freedom in your layout and design and I have yet to see an "off the shelf" AP model that I like as much as either of the two systems I built - meaning you can have everything just the way you want it.

Gabriele just touched lightly on the fact that in AP, you get fish. There is an ROI there, so to speak. Clean, healthy fish are an important element for many of us. For me the fish are as important, if not more so than the veggies. That makes the question sort of "apples to oranges" to me. To further support that thought, if you don't care to raise fish for consumption, then why burden yourself with the huge limitations fish place on your system? Temperature, pH, precise nutrient mgmt and certainly pest control are a few factors that become easier to manage in a fishless system.

Hope that helps  

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