Aquaponic Gardening

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Controlled environment test: 175watt water-cooled HIDs on light mover over 22"x22" grow trays(aerated deep water raft system).

Hydro-organic production from a filtered nutrient solution derived from our own composted rabbit manure, vegetable roots, kelp, rock powders, egg shells, a few choice proprietary ingredients, and specific bacterial & fungal innoculants.

Harvested lettuce = ~6.5 lbs(each head avg'd over 1/2lb)
Harvested cilantro = ~14 oz.

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Comment by Jesse Hull on December 22, 2011 at 3:59pm

Ha... finding "someone to pay for it" seems to be a common concern these days!

Do you have pics of the air-cooled hood set up you speak of (did I miss seeing those on your profile)?

Comment by Carey Ma on December 22, 2011 at 3:41am

Yeah, I have six custom made air cooled HID lights and 30 open bat-wing type so I'm quite familiar with dealing with low-tech controlled environments but I think it would be very nice to have even more control. Now to find someone to pay for it....Thanks & Cheers

Comment by Jesse Hull on December 20, 2011 at 12:50pm

Don't know about discounts on these, Carey  -can be fairly spendy for sure.  

Also, you gotta love the task of set up, as you'll be running plumbing.  You'll  need to engage some sort of heat transfer system as well. The lights capture IR at up to 93% efficiency  -but you have to put that heat somewhere else.  

All that said, if you don't care about the price and want precision control of your garden on nearly all levels, water-cooled is my 1st choice. 

Comment by Carey Ma on December 19, 2011 at 8:48pm

Thanks for your reply Jesse. Yes I agree, safety first. Do you happen to know where they are made? I currently use seven 600w MH and or HPS lights. I bet my tomatoes would love a system like this but it sounds pretty spendy, esp. with the addition of a light mover and all. How much does a complete system cost and do you happen to know how I might get one at discount or free?

Comment by Jesse Hull on December 19, 2011 at 3:06pm

These particular water-cooled units are called Fresca Sols, developed by Best Coast Growers.  

In 2009, I worked with Sunlight Supply to create a licensed version and also a larger reflector for the Fresca Sol, which is what is currently marketed for Sunlight Supply/NGW (FYI: I'm using the standard "gull-wing" style reflector due to space restrictions in this image). 

Water-cooled lighting has awesome possibilities, but I'll be the first to admit that it is not for everyone.  It's definitely not for the person who likes to check on their garden "every now and then".  I also will only recommend them to someone who will take the time to set up the appropriate GFCI safeties, which is something I advise for any type of high-powered lighting system, but especially for one incorporating water into the mix.  For the sake of the integrity of the water-cooled fixtures themselves, I also highly recommend some sort of  flow switch which will shut down the lights (ballasts) if there is a pump failure or lack of flow due to a clogged water line, etc.  

Keep in mind that the lights in this image were raised for taking the photo.  Normally (especially for bulb wattages this low) these lights sit only a few inches over the plant canopy, which is why I employ light movers to distribute the point-source light evenly.

Comment by Carey Ma on December 18, 2011 at 7:12pm

Hi Jesse, where did you get your water sleeve (light set-up) and how much did it cost?

Comment by Rob Nash on October 17, 2011 at 8:12pm
thanks Jessie, we need more test results like this.

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