Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Maybe it's because I love being in my grow room, watching the fish and plants grow, and being surrounded by the sound of water.  But an aquaponic system tends to be a major time hole. Some might call it an addiction.

I generally get up before 6AM to feed the fish,  do water testing, check the filters and tanks to be certain everything is OK. The past few days have been spent moving fish, cleaning and shoveling media, adjusting flow rates, cleaning tanks, designing and fine tuning this and that and watching my dollars go to the plumbing store.

I once thought I would plumb a couple tanks together, plant some seeds and a few fish and sit back while the system produced food many times faster than what I'm used to.   Well that was a wide eyed dream.

How many times have you been late because you had to take care of your system

How many times have you stayed at home rather than go away for a few days because you were concerned about your system?

How much did you think your system would cost? How much over budget have you gone?

Have you lowered your grocery bill?

Did you save more than the increased electric bill?

Do you feel like you are addicted to aquaponics?

Would you wish this addiction on a friend, or an enemy?

Aquaponics is so addictive I feel it can ruin your job, school, or marriage if you fall victim to the lure of this sirens call.  I'm curious to hear your stories.

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Since I only heard about AP a month ago, there is not much I can personally say about this subject other than I ended up spending twice as much as I thought trying to get this learning system working.

However, there is a little joke in the horse world,

What does it take to become a 1 million millionaire in horses, start with 2 million. 

Your right Bob, I have spent a lot of time with this hobby and havent seen much fruit from it. Dirt gardening is a hell of a lot easier to get produce from, I guess that is because it uses the sun instead of a bunch of lights. So maybe I havent given aquaponics a chance because pollinating  with lights is hard. Its ok though, what im doing now is just a big experiment for the future.

LOL! It IS addictive!  I can only wish the addition on friends, because my enemies aren't smart enough to do all this, and my friends are. Hahaha! In answer to your other questions:

I work from home so I can flex my time. Because issues have to be resolved quickly, it can easily become a priority over other things.

We spent more than expected, but not significantly. The cost of a system can vary tremendously depending on the materials used and environment created.

Our soil garden has lowered our grocery bill significantly, but our AP system hasn't yet, not enough to recoup the cost of the system. Since we've rebuilt it, though, I have higher hopes.

That said, you bring up some good things to ponder. In order for aquaponics to become a mainstream gardening technique, there has to be a way to make it more fool-proof, more reliable, and less knowledge-intense. Dr. Brooks may be on that path with the swimming pool system, though I do like our media beds.

Hi All. Lets see:

How many times have you been late because you had to take care of your system

None yet.

How many times have you stayed at home rather than go away for a few days because you were concerned about your system?

Same.

How much did you think your system would cost? How much over budget have you gone?

Without shade screen, $700. Lots of unnecessary money spend learning how to or more importantly not to work the system.  All part of the game.

Have you lowered your grocery bill?

Not yet. Had to learn how it worked first. Now starting to really try to grow stuff.

Did you save more than the increased electric bill?

Not yet. However only uses 150W or about $0.36/day.

Do you feel like you are addicted to aquaponics?

Can't give a clear answer on this one.

Would you wish this addiction on a friend, or an enemy?

I want the world to be able to do this if they wish ;-)

P.S. Bob, in the industry there is an old saying, "your not a real fish farmer till you've killed a million fish." Kind of gets your attention that all things take time. It takes time, some money and patience to learn what you are doing. Things really get no easier, they just seem to and that is what matters.

I appears that you have it down pretty well.  I wanted to look at your pictures to see your system, but there are only two.  How about a video tour?

Dr. George B. Brooks, Jr. said:

P.S. Bob, in the industry there is an old saying, "your not a real fish farmer till you've killed a million fish." Kind of gets your attention that all things take time. It takes time, some money and patience to learn what you are doing. Things really get no easier, they just seem to and that is what matters.

Hmmn, pictures, pictures. 

Daughter with lettuce: http://bitly.com/Kmj9mV

Summer demonstration crop May 5, 2012 in prototype: http://bitly.com/KxdMyX

Summer demonstration crop June 5, 2012 in prototype (Yeh, all that in a month. Still amazes me too): http://bitly.com/KJ8bKE

Daughter with basil: http://bit.ly/K99Hrg

Gila River Indian Community system under construction: http://bitly.com/H7Nbs6

Valley View Orchard Community Learning Center system: http://bitly.com/N3LDXq

Thank you for the pictures.  I would like to see what it is that makes your aquaponic experience different from mine and others..  I'm grateful that you have made yourself available to the aquaponic community, but I wonder if would be willing to do a more in depth tour.  Could you describe what you are doing to make your garden grow so well.    I'm  hoping a Ph.D in Wildlife and Fisheries is not required.


These forums are helpful, but the information comes in bits and pieces, and mostly after something has died.   I'm guessing these systems you have built are maintained by students.  Do they produce the same type of results on their own? 

The basic fish tank / grow bed loop seems simple enough, but could it the way you have built your systems that set them apart?   I'm just trying to understand why I and so many others spend a lot of time tending our systems, and only manage to keep them alive, while you spend a minimal amount of time and produce an abundant crop of vegetables. 

I'm disappointed because my results are only slightly better than a dirt garden.  Certainly not in proportion to the effort I'm making. I feel like I need a mentor, and would welcome your criticism and advice.



Dr. George B. Brooks, Jr. said:

Hmmn, pictures, pictures. 

Short answer for the moment. I give a class on this about once a month. When might you be in town? Regarding the Ph.D. No.  What does make a difference however is experience and for that there is regrettably no substitute.  Just keep working at it and asking great questions as you have.

I come back to Arizona about every 10 years so I'm not able to take your class,  but maybe someone will put a video together and take good notes.  Or maybe you could take us around your system with a video.  The pictures don't really show much.

Oh you make me laugh Bob! I so understand your thoughts! We all have our our moments, don't we?

 

Just past the 40 lbs of harvest mark for this year. Not what I had hoped but all good things in time.

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