Aquaponic Gardening

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Some people were interested in my commercial fish farming pursuit.

 

I post this is to show you the minimum requirement for commercial fish farming if you ever decide, as I did, to go to Aquaculture or fish farming.  This is about the minimum set-up to try and make money at this endeavor.  First I had to complete a change over to an Aquaculture greenhouse by removing 12 Aquaponics IBCs.  That effort was a long and enduring pain!  Think about digging out all that rock media in 12-half IBC grow boxes!  All the catfish went into the pond.  The Koi are in 2-1300 gallon tanks in a garage.  The standing roll in the back is bubble wrap, I use it for tank insulation.  You can get it from U-line.

 

If this proves bountiful, I can place 9 more 1300 gallon tanks on my property, plus have the pond.

 

The 12-IBCs were replaced with 5-1,300 gallon grow tanks.  The 3 on the left are for fancy fin Koi – Tank #1 260 fingerlings, Tank # 2 130 - 8 to 10 inch Koi, this will be our ‘’pond size’’ sellers and tank # 3 about 50 12 – 14 inch big guys/gals.  The 2-IBCs on the left are for Koi fry to grow out to fingerlings.  The water in the Koi tanks exchange 2,500 gallons of aerated water each hour (2 exchanges).  The IBC exchange 1,000 gallons of aerated water each hour (3 exchanges).

 

The 2-1,300 gallon grow tanks on the right are for 600 - 8 inch rainbow trout in each tank.  They will come to market size, 1-1/2 pounds, in 3 or 4 months.  The 2-IBCs on the right side are for 4 to 6 inch rainbow trout.  The water in the Trout tanks exchange 3,750 gallons of aerated water each hour (2.9 exchanges). The IBC exchange 1,000 gallons of aerated water each hour (3 exchanges).

 

Monday, I am having 8,000 gallons of water delivered for these tanks and the 2,500 gallon storage tank. 

This will insure that it will rain, filling my rain catchment system, as soon as the water truck leaves the property and I will have to dump all of that rainwater in the pond.

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What are you using for filtration?

I use the Ultima II 2000 - 2" filter in conjunction with the High Speed Wave II 1 HP external pump in the 1300 gallon grow tanks.  In the IBCs I use a 1000 gallon per hour submersible pump filtering through about 20 cubic feet of various sized river rock media. 

I cycle each tank with water from my catfish pond.

Phil, Do you use water from your pond for the exchanges or do you have a sump?

What about growbeds, Do you have any or discharge your tank water back to the pond?

That is a really nice setup. How big is your greenhouse?

No, I do not use my pond water.  The pond is not high enough and to pump fill and gravity return would be about 100 yards each way.  If I could ever get my pond volume to about 100% I would really consider pumping and returning to the pond.  The pond is well aerated and that is about all that I need - aeration and a great, constant water supply.  The key is the water, lots of water.  I will not use my well, I do not want to draw it down, so it is rain water or buy the water.

No do not use a sump.  No grow beds with the 1300 gallon grow tanks.  Grow beds for the 4-IBCs only.  I had 16 - IBCs and grow beds, but I had no use for all the veggies and herbs.  For me the project had to be about the fish, that is where the money is.  

I do not discharge to the pond, I wish that I could.  I will back flush the filters and dump that great waste on to my fruit trees.  Replace about 10% of the water each week or month depending on my rain water reserves. 

Green house is 24 x 40, I wish that it were bigger.  If you are going commercial, get the biggest greenhouse that you can fit on your property.

Thanks for your comments, phil

Hi Phil, interesting post and photos.  I have two questions though.  One, you said you purchased water.  Was this water that was taken from a pond or some source where it was ready for the fish?  And two, where will you your market the fish?

Thanks Frank for the inquiries.  The water comes from the Silverdale Water District by way of Water Buffalo water delivery.  The water is burdened with 1 part chlorine per million.  Before the fish go it I will aerate it for a week, Then test the water for Ph, put in water conditioner and 10 or 15 ''Canary"  gold fish in each tank.    If the gold fish live and the Ph is 6.5 to 7.5 the Trout and Koi go in.  The gold fish then become live treats for the Koi and Trout or sushi for my cats.

Market - direct market.  Going to have well advertised farmer's market here at the farm on Saturdays.  Also will sell to 1 market and 1 restaurant.

I've received a couple emails about how do I suction the water out of the tank to get as much waste as possible.  Well, first of all the water enters the tank through a 2" to 1-1/2" to 2" venturi pipe.  The well aerated water exits the bottom of the venturi pipe near the bottom of the 1300 gallon grow tank.  The water exit is designed to put a Coriolis counter clockwise spin to the water[North of the Equator and all that when we learned about ol Gaspard Coriolis in high school physics and we all immediately started watching when we flushed toilets].   The constant counter clockwise flow causes a scouring turbulence at the bottom of the tank.

I then have this ''waste water pick-up pipe'' from the center of the tank to the side of the tank and the through wall fitting.  The pipe - we call it something different - is 2'' in diameter, has a screened fitting at the end in the center of the tank bottom and 5/16ths holes drilled top, bottom and the sides to suction up the water through.

The Trout tanks have the water removed and replaced at 3,750 gallons per hour or 62+ gallons per minute.

The Koi tanks have the water removed and replaced at 2,500 gallons per hour or 42+ gallons per minute.

The rate difference is because the Koi loading in the tank is 1/3rd of the Trout and the Koi do not need the higher exchange rate.

Hey Phil, Guess I don't quite follow the plan. Unless your tanks are very lightly stocked. If your not going to cycle water to the grow beds you might need water trucks heading to your place constantly. Thinking that is the whole concept behind aquaponics, and the nitrogen cycle. All in all if I'm going to raise fish I would have some kind of plants in the system.

Well Steve you are wrong. But that is your right.

It is all about massive filtration and aeration  I have a  video of a guy rising 3000 Tilapia in 1000 gallon tanks.  30 tanks worth.  This is how on land commercial fish farming is done.  Go to your local fish hatchery, I defy you to find a single silly grow bed. 

When we produce our Aqua Farming Expo at the Del Mar Fair Grounds in San Diego next year, you make sure to show up and attend all of the commercial fish farming symposiums that you can attend.

Phil, That sounds like the stocking levels that i want to get to, with Bluegill, Perch, and Fathead minnows.

Eventually working toward raising Oscars and other "Pet" fish for the aquarium industry. I would like to get in on some of these commercial fish farming symposiums. Can you hook me up with a website.

OK Phil, Starting to get your plan. Most of the systems I've seen have a steady supply of fresh inflow. I do see the filter you are using, and yes appears it would work. I had heard these were very expensive but appears the smaller ones are not bad. Best Wishes!!



Phil Slaton said:

Well Steve you are wrong. But that is your right.

It is all about massive filtration and aeration  I have a  video of a guy rising 3000 Tilapia in 1000 gallon tanks.  30 tanks worth.  This is how on land commercial fish farming is done.  Go to your local fish hatchery, I defy you to find a single silly grow bed. 

When we produce our Aqua Farming Expo at the Del Mar Fair Grounds in San Diego next year, you make sure to show up and attend all of the commercial fish farming symposiums that you can attend.

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