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.
Bob have you seen http://gardenpool.org/ ? Also have you considered adding solar power to your system so you're not using so much electricity? Are you growing inside out of necessity? Having to add lights to the system instead of using the power of the sun is definitely going to add power drain. I was surprised to see your post because most people I've talked to have said it's a bit addicting, but easier than you'd think, and one even called aquaponics "lazy man's farming" because he just sprinkles the seeds onto the grow medium and tosses in some fish food now and then and let's it grow. I certainly hope it doesn't become more of a drain than producer for me because I really do want to lower my grocery bill not just add a hobby. Time will tell.
I have not given up on aquaponiics. Read my blog and you will see that I'm still investing my time and money into creating ever better systems. I'm just saying it's not always as easy to make an AP system profitable. A lot of thought needs to be put into it and then a lot of learning and adjustments.
My two systems total about 50 sq ft. of grow bed. I'd have to say that is too small to produce a significant crop that will actually have some influence on your grocery bill, and one would have to be diligent to keep the crops rotated in order to not waste chance to grow more.
I'm experimenting with two separate systems which tends to drive my electric bill up. Solar is cool but that's not the issue. Not wasting energy in the first place is what is important.
I'll admit I do not really have to spend as much time at this as I do, But I'm drawn to making everything better. experimenting takes a lot of time and sometimes I end up spending money that goes down the drain when the results are not what I expect. That's why I'm sharing everything I do.
Give it a try and let me know after a year if saved any money. I'm always looking at what others are doing so that I can learn from them too.
I'm not saying it can't be done, but it's not quite as easy as many would have you think.