Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Well, here I am trying to get something put together that will work for me ... again. I have MS so my health comes and goes. Aquaponics seems to be the way for me to garden as it doesn't include lots of ground level bending. (I have a neighbor who can help me with the heavier stuff)  I am going to be using kiddie pools and such until I can get some money saved up for a 'real system'. I have a pool that is 8 feet across and about 15 inches deep that has served for the gold fish pond for two summers now. Amazing how well it works if you can get past the graphics that is all cartoonish. I am wondering if I can put a raft in it to get started? It's heavily planted with blue and yellow flag, bullrush, and a second rush I haven't identified yet. There is one water lilly but I still think I can put a small raft in before I get something more complex put together. Any ideas if I can get this started from here or do I need to get a flood and drain system started before I try.

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All Ya'll thought I was kidding huh? The leopard duct tape covers a cut in the side left by the roofers. I am going to give the extruded polystyrene and mesh basket a try to see how that does. A second pool will go into the north side of the yard where the sun is better. This fall I will put a unit in the basement to see how that goes for me. 

A question for those who may have used an indoor unit... how inclined to bugs are they?  

My tanks haven't been at all.

I do have issues on occasion with my kitchen worm composter when I get lazy about throwing stuff in. :) 

This is a bit off topic but I don't know where else to put it. I was asked by a friend if you can combine aquaponics and hydroponics... I think she meant to augment the fertility with some of the organic fertilizer mixes. I don't know what to answer her. LOL 

The whole point of using fish is to eliminate the need to add fertilizers. Well, another point is to eat fish. :)  I don't know why you'd want to add cost unnecessarily. You need to be very careful about adding stuff, because your fish will be consuming anything that you put into the system, and not all hydro products are good for fish.

That said, some people do supplement their ap system with specific nutrients targeted to specific issues, but that's only on an as-needed basis. Worm tea is a common additive that fish are fine with.

I've tried that sort of pool, but a tragic mishap with a fallen brick ripped the stupid liner. I switched back to the less desirable kiddie pools- they might be short, but they do the trick. I, uh, too, have the lack o money problem=D

Btw, how do you filter all that water right now? I thought grow beds were necessary for the bio microbes and such.

Debra, the beneficial bacteria grows on the sides of the pool, roots of the plants (not so good), rocks, or anything in the water, pretty much, where it's relatively dark. Her fountain aerates the pool, but  she may need more aeration to grow veggies well.

Solids filtering is different. Margaret's pool does not filter solids, so she probably has a pretty good layer of muck on the bottom by now. That's not all bad...bacteria lives in that, too.

Debra, I can testify that these kiddie pools do not hold up to much mistreatment. They are cheap and flimsy... but I rather enjoy that. I put a layer of building sand in the bottom of this one as I hated the blue bottom at the time.

I have the pump wrapped in a aquarium filter that looks like blue and white polyester batting. (You can buy a big piece or sleeve of it and cut it to fit) Then stuck in a gallon black plastic pot that a blueberry came in. When the filter gets gunky (a technical term that) I just pull it all out of the pot, take the filter over to the compost pile and rinse it out with the hose. It just takes a few minutes a couple of times a summer to take care of that. 

All of the plants are in pots with gravel. They seem to be doing okay that way and with a good fountain to keep the water flow going it works okay. I am going to be adding a large air stone to the mix once I put some rafts in ...perhaps under the raft itself.

It is a real learn as you go project as I had not considered the many ways I can use the pond beside the intended holding of gold fish. 

Of course the Dear Husband thinks I have lost my ever loving mind... but my basement is half unfinished and I can see a system sitting there every time I look at it.

Another question for the group....

If today goes as planned I will be adding a second pool to the mix. My question is can I take some water from pool 1 to get a jump start on the bacteria and aging process for pool 2?

You can move a couple of your plants or steal some of their gravel -- there's a lot more bacteria in the gravel they're sitting in than in the water. It can shorten the cycling time 2-3 weeks. :)

Thanks Sheri, That makes a bunch of sense to me. I know that this pool system is cheap but if I can make it pay for itself I might be able to afford something sturdier. My big issue right now is not letting my enthusiasm over ride any common sense I have left.  

If you did that you'd be like most of the rest of us. :)  

The cheapest "ponds" that I have found are FREE hot tubs on Craigslist. I build my grow beds out of OSB plywood and double line them with 6 mil plastic. Gravel I sift myself and the most expensive thing is the $100 sump pump in the bottom of the trash can. I would say I have about $500 into the whole system, which includes the green house I picked up on Craigslist. You can see everything in the "Man Cave"section on our website: www.snowypinesridge.com.

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