Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

I would like to create a network of Aquaponics and greenhouse enthusiasts to share knowledge and skills related to growing in our area. I think it would greatly decrease the learning curve and save many people the expense of making the same mistakes. Everything is getting more and more expensive. I would like to find out how we can decrease costs and improve growing year round as cost effectively as possible.

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I am interested.

 

Awesome, what areas would you like addressed?
Types of fish, sources for fish and project materials, what works, what does not work - and where we are going . . . . .

Where we are going is a big one. the direction I wish to go is in an organic and cost effective process that runs and is productive year round. This means greenhouses, r-value, energy, lighting, and feed are primary issues. 

 

Project materials: my goal is to find reliable sources for quality recycled materials: glass, lumber, metal, IBC totes, barrels, etc.

 

I have been researching fish as well. Yellow perch seem to be popular and a re available in the NW. Catfish, bluegill, Crappie, Sunfish, are others. Some of these dont do too well in high densities though.  I recently bought some Yabbie crayfish from Walmart of all places.  They semm to be doing well so far and growing fast. I will keep you informed on what I have success with and what isnt so great...

Hi All!

It would be great to get more people interested in a network in our area. I think there is enough need for something specific to our climate to address the issues of: shorter days, cool weather, greenhouse design, fish species, nutrient requirements, etc. to warrant a group that can meet, show their ideas, and discuss possibilities.

I agree and am totally stoked that there are others in this area to share such ideas with! I am newish to the actual practice- I did several years of horticulture where i was introduced to Aquaponics by my professor, and loved the idea ever since. Now I have a place I can start implementing my ideas, the real work has begun. I am interested in how those crayfish work for you. Thanks for the remarks on heating the fish via compost. So do catfish have problems in large numbers?

I have always had a garden, and have been raising koi for about ten years, as well as tinkered with the ecosystem in a mud pond I put in about eight years ago.  It seemed to be a natural transition to bringing it all together.  It is the economics of doing it all I am trying to overcome.  The energy cost is the issue I have as well as the reliability.  Thats why I have spent a great amount of time researching steam, solar, and other alternative energy sources to run not only my greenhouse but my entire property, workshop, houses, etc. 

Cats can get pretty big so you should have a good size tank, they like to rest on the bottom for the most part so having plenty of floor space is important.  I have heard of people raising them in 55gal barrels, but I wouldnt do it.  I also know that TC Lynx has been raising them for some time and could give you far greater advice on their value, assets, and deficits to aquaponics.  Catfish are pretty basic feeders. They will eat anything that will fit in their mouth...lol.  So it is size that is a factor.  If you have fish of different sizes, the smaller ones will have a precarious life.  Plenty of food will keep them occupied, but too much causes water problems, and too little will keep the little fish on the run. 

My crayfish are australian yabbies.  I have them in a fish tank (aquarium) so I can study them, and hopefully see their procreative habits.  So far, they have been getting along pretty good as long as they have plenty of hiding spaces. The largest is the most aggressive...go figure.   A couple of them have lost a claw, so they do have their fights. I have been feeding them flake fish food, they seem to prefer this the most. I tried the small pelleted shrimp food for bottom feeders, but it fouled the water really fast and they werent interested in it if it sat there for any length of time. 

Awesome! Thanks for the response and its great to hear someone else in the area who has similar goals as myself. I have talked with TCLynx a wee bit. They have good info but are in florida, so some things will be totally different. I understand all too well about the issues of having smaller things a long with bigger ones. The plan is to actually have our crayfish pond and catfish seperate, most likely use a rice patty in the shallows that is harder for the catfish to get to- maybe use a screen, I saw someone(sorry i forget who) who used the PVC pipes stacked for crayfish hides and it looked good.  I do not want to use 55gals for keeping fish- too much heat lose due to lack of insulation for being in oregon, I would fight the temp all the time. Also its just so small. I am gonna start drawing up my plans for using the heating system that I want to use mainly for the greenhouse/pond area I am starting to work on- i figure i need to get the ponds dug this winter so next summer I can work on the green house part. Maybe start a quarantine tank. We  actually are viewing issues of ecosystems and not having a quarenteen tank in/with  our saltwater tank, we just encountered a pest in our coral tank/ fish anemone tank that is decimating things.  We use a refugium to grow seaweed off... anyways we know about precarious lifes... I have some ideas about rain water catchment systems also to be used to generate electricity mixed with wood and/or gas, however I need to get wielding before I can implement them. I wish solar sounded like a better idea but I just dont see it working here in oregon very well.  I will make sure to keep my catfish pond with a large base- I do know about bottom feeders- I had originally wanted to link the duck system with the crayfish and then into the catfish and then using that for growing plants but there is soooo much to say i shouldnt cause of salmonella and or other disease issues, so until I can have space for a system I dont have to eat out of then I guess I must keep em seperate, oh well, better safe than sorry right? I still think that flies could transfer problems just as easy so can i really get away from the issues? I doubt it but i am sure i should take the steps to keep the problems minimal percentage of likelihood.. Once again thanks for your reply. Right now I have about a 20 by 45 that I am looking into turning into the greenhouse/aquaponics, should be a fun adventure- look forward to sharing my experiences and gaining great ideas from yall.
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There is a lot of grey area between the black and white.  Ducks crap in a lake, we catch fish from the lake, that lake happens to be a reservoir and watershed....and so on.  But you could incorporate a UV filter, somewhere between the ducks and the vegetables if you are worried about microbes, or like they do in other parts of the world, cook all your food to eliminate microbes.  You could also run seperate systems for salad vegies and cooked ones.  There are probably several ways you can circumvent the microbe issue if you wanted to bad enough.  I have always said, Why not? when anyone has told me something cant or shouldnt be done.  My favorite chinese proverb is,"Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." 

 

As far as solar goes, I found a company that sells kits for solar panels. 250 watt kit is $200.00. To buy that panel is anywhere between $800 and $1000.00.  This makes using solar as supplemental charging reasonably affordable.  You probably have seen my steam engine, this is how I plan to generate additional electricity and run various pieces of equipment as well as produce our own fuel for the boiler, and pelletize food grown during the summer for the fish for storage.

 

I am planning on putting a screen bottom on my fish tanks elevated about a foot off the bottom, here is where some of my crayfish will live to process wasted fish food and other detritus that would otherwise have to be removed.

Would any of you guys or gals, like to get together and see what we can develop?  I am thinking about CSAs, year round farmers markets, aquaponics suppliers, a misc. compendium of information that would be useful to those in our area.

I am still interested but occupied with other pressing business. I have a few years invested into learning (spending money) developing a system with rainwater collection, a 1,500 gallon pond, and a greenhouse with a 300 gallon tank with a CHOPS system. I grow vegetables in the dirt, and use the water from my system to water the garden. During the summer we water 3-400 gallons a week. We save seeds. 

What I have found is that the cost for the system makes it an expensive proposition, not economically practical for income or savings on food -YET. I do believe that it can be done, as it is being done in many ways throughout the world. Most of the economically viable systems are in warmer climates than Portland Oregon, and people are willing to work for less, live on less, and live more primitive.

However, I do believe that we will find better ways to accomplish the process of water, fish, food plant, permaculture and earth friendly living as we go forward. If for no other reason only because we must or we will collapse as a species into a lower level system. Things that can't continue -Won't.

I agree. So this is why we need to get together and critically look at each component of our systems compare notes and share what we have learned what works and what does not. Particularly in the heating arena. In the cooler climates heating is one of the primary economic issues.

Jeffrey Goodman said:

I am still interested but occupied with other pressing business. I have a few years invested into learning (spending money) developing a system with rainwater collection, a 1,500 gallon pond, and a greenhouse with a 300 gallon tank with a CHOPS system. I grow vegetables in the dirt, and use the water from my system to water the garden. During the summer we water 3-400 gallons a week. We save seeds. 

What I have found is that the cost for the system makes it an expensive proposition, not economically practical for income or savings on food -YET. I do believe that it can be done, as it is being done in many ways throughout the world. Most of the economically viable systems are in warmer climates than Portland Oregon, and people are willing to work for less, live on less, and live more primitive.

However, I do believe that we will find better ways to accomplish the process of water, fish, food plant, permaculture and earth friendly living as we go forward. If for no other reason only because we must or we will collapse as a species into a lower level system. Things that can't continue -Won't.

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