Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Please assess yourself, if you would like, check out the learning resources, and leave suggestions on what can be improved. Like I mention in the bottom, this community is where I got a lot of really good suggestions.



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Nice job Andre

Thanks Robert!

Robert Rowe said:

Nice job Andre

This is nice.  I wonder if it could be taken further.  It would be cool if you could ask questions about pictures of plants.  Identification, disease, pests, nutrient problems, maybe even questions about how to propagate the plant or what types of benefits it offers. 

That's a great idea Bob, but I'm not sure a proficiency matrix is the best type of format for that kind of information.


Bob Campbell said:

This is nice.  I wonder if it could be taken further.  It would be cool if you could ask questions about pictures of plants.  Identification, disease, pests, nutrient problems, maybe even questions about how to propagate the plant or what types of benefits it offers. 

This was fun, thanks for making it! It also let me see clearly the areas where I have yet to gain experience.

Is the website your personal project? 

The website is actually my company's side project. Some of us created matrices for our hobbies/passions.

Anne Phillip said:

Is the website your personal project? 

Just to clarify, I am by no means an aquaponics master. If anyone has ideas how to improve the matrix, please do let me know!

Here's my proficiency assessment:

That is really interesting Andrei,

     I wonder what you see as the uses for such a thing?

I would perhaps recommend modifying some of the answers.  (is is possible to set up more than 3 choices?)

for instance, I would probably have lumped cycling up and stable expansion into the group aquapon and made the Master level be "commercial Farm" but if you could have 4 choices then they could have been left separate.

Pursuing research projects shouldn't necessarily require they be "University research projects"

Fish diversity shouldn't necessarily require different species be living in the same tank but choosing fish species most appropriate for your situation and the tank or part of system they will live in rather than having to adjust system conditions to the fish.

As for feeding the fish, integrating worms, bsf, duckweed etc is really all only a supplement and if you are raising a really large amount of fish and trying to make your own fish feed, you may find that is a full time job all of it's own (but one that doesn't necessarily pay enough to support it being a full time job.)  So while feeding your fish with these natural things seems like a really great goal, it is not necessarily a realistic one.

Fish tank temperature, there is another direction to go here.  You might try to design with heating/cooling to keep the fish tank in the right temperature range optimum for growing some particular type of fish, however, you might also choose an appropriate type of fish that will grow well in your natural system temperature range and design a system that will be stable and allow you to grow plants more seasonally.  For instance, the optimum temperature range to grow tilapia is over 80 F however, that is not an optimal water temperature for growing most plants.  If you choose a fish that does well in temperatures between say 65-85 F then you might be able to grow cool weather crops during the cool season and hot weather crops during the warm season and still be able to grow out your fish without necessarily having to install heating/cooling just by planting appropriate crops and using appropriate fish and designing your system to be relatively temperature stable.

pH stability also needs to take into account source water and maintaining a stable pH is more important than the exact pH you maintain though a stable pH between 6-7 would be generally best.  If you must always be adding something or doing something to bring your pH down, you may be causing yourself more problems than you are solving.  That said, monitoring and understanding pH is important no matter what pH you maintain or how you maintain it.  What you should do and how you should do it will depend greatly on your source water.

having some unexplained fish deaths is something that all levels of aquaponics must have experienced.  You don't become an aquapon or master without having had some transported fish die of transport stress at some point in time.  And system incidents often called HSM (heart stopping moment, high school musical, holy sh!t mode) will usually strike at some point in time before some one can claim to be a master or expert.  These incidents can be from natural causes (storm, flood, power outtage, disease outbreak, animal attack) engineering flaws/physical failures (pump dies, plumbing breaks, tank breaks) Beginner mistakes (stocking too many fish, feeding too much, not cycling the system up first) or most often, OOPS (unplugging something to look at the fish and not plugging it back in or turning it back on, topping up and forgetting the hose is running, pumping water out for a water change and forgetting, screwing up while programing an auto feeder, etc.)  These things happen, we are human and we often have to depend on other humans to help in the operation of our systems.  No matter how great backup systems are, we can usually figure out some way to screw them up, we just have to keep trying to circumvent our own failings to keep from repeating them.

And there is the joke that you are not a fish farmer until you have killed some XXXXXXX huge number of fish.

the primary things to do to prevent fish diseases are 1-quarantine new fish to make sure you are not importing parasites like Ick.  And then keep your water quality really good and within appropriate temperature ranges.  Spikes of poor water quality usually caused by over feeding or clogs in the system are a number 1 cause of outbreaks of fish illness.

In some ways companion planting may still be effective in aquaponics but in other ways or situations it may make little difference because the water mixes around so much.  (remembering that some plants are anti companions in soil planting, as in don't plant onions with your peas.)  How useful companion planting may be will depend on the situation (like if you are growing indoors under florescent lighting, you probably don't get to plant tall plants next to their short stout companions.

I would probably say the master gardener isn't necessarily one that plants the most diversity but the one who knows which plants to grow under different conditions/seasons and can recognize plant problems (disease, deficiency, pests, etc) and know what to do about them.  It amazes me when people complain that the lettuce and broccoli won't grow in the hottest part of summer.  Often times by keeping the plants healthy in the first place you can avoid some pest/disease problems.

TCLynx said:

That is really interesting Andrei,

     I wonder what you see as the uses for such a thing?

Thanks TCLynx for the thorough reply! We're just trying out different things with proficiency matrices, and exploring use cases for them.

I'll go through the aquaponics matrix and implement your suggestions.

Pretty cool Andrei and I think it could grow into something special.

If we were to have a "Guru Of The Year" contest there would be, in my humble opinion, no contest. I have yet to read any post by TC that I do not learn something new from it and this is no exception. I keep an "AP Notes" doc running in TextEdit on my Mac and I would venture a guess that 90% of the cut and pastes are TC's posts and it is dozens of pages long.One of these days I hope to make a table of contents and index and repost here as a PDF for all to read. (with everyone's blessing of course)

I hope this isn't considered "stalking"

Probably only stalking if you sneak in and take pictures of my keyboard or something.


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