Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

I visited a neighbor's aquaponics setup the other day and he told me that he's raising koi instead of edible fish because Oregon requires expensive licenses for invasive fish like Tilapia.  He said there are even expensive transport licenses for non-invasive, local fish like trout.  So I'm wondering what you other Northwest (preferably Oregon) aquaponics farmers raise?  I'm looking for something cheap, productive, and local so I don't have to worry about heating the water.  I understand that tilapia are the favorite because they're so forgiving of mistakes.  I think I'd rather fail several times before I succeed than be stuck raising tilapia by default.  I also think I'd prefer an omnivorous or herbivorous species, if possible.  What do you guys raise?

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Hi Christina,

I am going to be raising Channel Catfish and probably Yellow perch to start out with. I have a mud pond on my property and have already stocked some in there.  Both are natives here in Washington and readily available. The primary issue is still heat. If the fish arent warm they dont eat and if they dont eat they dont create the waste necessary to feed your plants. They are more forgiving in this area should you have a power outage or some other reason for the water cooling. Trout like cooler, clean water, and need to be watched closely for health issues in high densities.

Thanks for the info.  I might decide against the channel catfish because I think I want to raise crayfish and it looks like the catfish would eat them.  Do you know if I can raise any water plants (like duckweed) that perch would eat?
Duck weed grows well if there is enough light and nutrients. There are numerous studies on the internet concerning duckweed cultivation and its use as a feed for many types of livestock and aquaculture. Under optimum conditions duckweed will double its mass every twenty four hours and has roughly the equivalant crude protein of soybean. The best plan is to raise as much as you can during the summer in outdoor pools and dry and store for winter use.
That's a good idea.  I never thought of drying and storing it.  Thanks!

I am in the process of doing this right now. We got a cold wet start to the Spring/summer, and I now wish I had gotten an earlier start on the aquatic plants here. I do know that this can be successfully done though with what I have accomplished so far.. I am now successfully feeding our livestock what I am growing (duckweed is one of them) in a separate pond just for aquatic plants cultivation. I'll have a head start for this next Spring since I now have the "kinks" worked out of the cultivation issues .  SO far I can use all I can grow right now.  http://www.fao.org/Ag/AGAInfo/resources/documents/DW/Dw2.htm ( a Duckweed PDF ) was a good source of information as is a website called Bioponica.  It helped me work out a few details.  I'll be growing the aquatic plants as long as possible this season, and over-winter what I can.   The Bioponica site may be helpful for growing feed for yellow perch too - read the stuff on and watch the  clips on the "Incubator".

 

  My best you you in this, and welcome to the world of aquaponics!

 

- Converse

Thanks!  So will yellow perch eat duckweed as well?  From reading about them, it looks like they're mostly interested in eating bugs and littler fish.  I could still use duckweed to feed my chickens, I suppose, but I'd like to raise fish that can eat it and other plants as well.

You are right about the bugs and smaller fish with yellow perch.  That is where the "incubator" from Bioponica comes in....I have a version of that going too.  Just thought that the places for you to find info. might be of help to you.  Best to you! 

 

- Converse

That bioponica site is great.  This is much closer to what I was planning on doing than just traditional aquaponics.  I wish they were incorporating chickens into their system at bioponica so I could see how the chickens fit into the picture better.
I'll be happy to send you a private e-mail with more details about what's going on at our farm in this regard, if that is acceptable to you. Sounds like we are thinking along the same lines. - Converse
I'd love that!  Go ahead.

Hello, I am new to this site, also in Oregon and dealing with what will be optimal to grow. My wife and I are planning on Catfish pond and Crayfish pond, with seperation or at least major hide spots for the crayfish. Its great to know about drying the duck weed- our ducks eat all of ours so far though. They love it. I wanted to have the ducks on the same system as the fish however I know that warm blooded creatures can pose serious health issues with this- hence the no manure in a aquaponic system. I couldnt understand a word on that Bioponica site... I plan on just using my duck/chicken/rabbit manure for adding nitrogen to our compost pile and getting it nice and hot- which it is, i need to go flip it, get it mixed up so I can actually use it in a couple weeks to a month, however probably just gonna let it age over winter and use it for planting  in our soil garden area. I actually was wondering about the use of the compost pile though to help heat the ponds? I could imagine having tubes run under a pile, has anyone else considered or attempted this?

Hi Ian,

If you run a constant composting system, you can take advantage of the heat that it creates. A simple method would be to form a loop that runs throught the compost pile then throught the fish tank. I would make this a seperate system, meaning, I wouldnt run the fish tank water throught the compost pile. Have a seperate reservoir tank, pump, and you can use the black water pipe that comes in 100' rolls.  Loop this through the the compost and and lay a coil on the bottom of the fish tank. Make sure the reservoir tank has a breather cap so the system isnt air tight. That will prevent any pressure build up. 

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