Aquaponic Gardening

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Carey's AP Store in Beijing China

Here are some Chinese style Hobby AP for entertainment vs. food production. Next I will do some Western themed models.

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Comment by Ellen Roelofs on January 9, 2012 at 9:45pm

Carey, of course I will honor your request!  I think the herb garden is a fantastic idea.  My girlfriend and I want to have an indoor system in the house we are buying (hopefully! dotting i's and crossing t's...) that has a rosemary bush in the middle and the rest of our herbs planted around it. The enormous rosemary is to fulfill my apparent desire for a fish-fed shrubbery. We'd use it as a christmas tree, I imagine.  Right now I am trying to grow red mangroves in an open top tank.  I've had them for over a year, and at the rate they are growing, I'll have a lovely display to show off in 2040!!  I know slow growth is to be expected, but really!  After the move I will get them a better light...

Comment by Carey Ma on January 2, 2012 at 8:16pm

I originally designed the tank systems to be placed in classrooms as educational aids. This type of system more conveniently demonstrates the direct and interactive relationships between plants and fish vs. the more separated, laboratory-like AP systems using hydroponic equipment. I hoped that with a more Asian feel would make them more ethnically compatible. A secondary market is proposed for feng-shui enthusiasts and eco conscious folk. The next step for my "eco tank" collection is to design western themes including one based on growing herb instead of tropical plants.

Comment by Carey Ma on January 2, 2012 at 7:31pm

@ Ellen;

Thank you! Of course as an aquapon and innovator, I think my stuff is da bomb! hehe

I can't stop you from showing these pics but these are kind of secrete because I want to eventually come home and market them or find a partner (aquarium manufacture) Stateside to develop this funner side of AP. Unfortunately, at present, I still run my life on a shoestring budget and have not protected this with a patent so kindly ask you to respect my future livelihood and discretely show your friends and not post them online.

At present, my partner painstakingly cuts and grinds each piece of glass and hand picks and shapes each piece of stone to compose unique systems. No two are exactly alike. We are presently trying our hand at using acrylic and to find a way to partial assemble so we can ship them in kits to save on freight cost.

Though the "statuesque" water features would be more easily shipped and at a much lower cost point, I still need a Stateside partner to help finance, receive product and handle sales and logistics by the container load.

I posted these pics to demonstrate another application of AP and hopefully to attract investment.

@ Chris;

Thank you again for your comment and support. Unfortunately, these two lines of product are hidden in a flower and ornamental fish market, visited mostly by housewives and hobbyists so haven't seen children's reactions. I am quite confident children would be drawn to the wonderment  of these unusual stones but they will also have ready access to the fish within the bowls, esp. slow moving goldfish, so may not be a good marketing point.

As for maintenance and upkeep; Neither system requires much energy as they should be pretty much balanced. The only real upkeep I have with the tank system is to replace the vegetation in the tank systems when they get too big which is once every two to three years with seasonal pruning. The bowl systems are even easier since lichen and moss do not grow in height and can easily be trained to cover more of the rock as nutrients are available.

I was hesitant about starting the bowl system so am glad you-all liked them. It is easy to do but labor intensive. All one needs is to find a large chunk of sandstone and start hacking away with a grinder then plop it into a large bowl or tub. I was lucky to cooperate with other stores here that sells flower pots and fishbowls for my base.


Comment by Chris Schup on January 2, 2012 at 4:11pm

Carey, the “statuesque” systems are eye catchers, for sure. Have you thought about using your photos to market the products? I was wondering—do children get wide eyed when they see the displays? Are these toddler and cat magnets? As for the States, I could see green thumbers and aquarium-minded folks diggin the systems because they’re beautiful and beyond the ordinary. Also wondering if other folks may be hesitant to mess with the upkeep. ... Ellen, franken-tanks. Funny.

Comment by Ellen Roelofs on January 2, 2012 at 1:43am

My compliments to you, Carey- such fun designs!  And congratulations on your new shop!

I think there is a small market for these in the States, yes.  I discovered AP through an ornamental fish forum where members were taking about how to manage nitrates.  I will have to show these pictures around; they are much more elegant than our crude franken-tanks!  Naturally they will come at a different price point than the DIY-type aquarist is looking for; Indoor water features seem to be quite fashionable and have broader appeal than fish tanks, so I think the more statuesque pieces might do better here than the aquarium-based designs.

 That said, I'm already dreaming of putting loaches in the biggest tank! :D

Comment by Carey Ma on December 31, 2011 at 1:45am

Well, we sell a few systems a month at this single location which pays for rent and makes a meager living for my partner but it is far from what I would call good. Then again, I/we only have this one location and strictly rely on walk by traffic and word of mouth so I guess for a shoes-string store we are actually doing OK. A bit of capitol would surely help.

I think it would go over big in the States...what do you all think?

Comment by Chris Schup on December 31, 2011 at 12:46am

Nice, Carey. I’m curious—what sort of reactions do your patrons have to the AP displays?

Comment by Carey Ma on December 31, 2011 at 12:38am

The first few pics is my newest co-op store. The next few pics are of my AP co-op store that has been open for almost two years. I just got my annual royalty payment which amount to all of one thousand three hundred and change, in Chinese yen (about $200USD). Whooooopie! I'm rich!...Not!

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