Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Kobus Jooste's Blog (31)

Community pages need new management

For the last couple of weeks, mounting pressure from family commitments, work and research projects have been taking its toll on my “aquaponics time”.  Recently, these little distractions culminated in the news that a job that I have applied for months ago had finally come through, and that I will be heading off to Cape Town, 800 km from where I live now.  I do not have much time to get all my things in order, and part of what I would like to sort out are the pages that I have started over…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on November 8, 2011 at 1:36pm — 16 Comments

My pick for a commercial fruiting plant in aquaponics: The passion fruit

Most people interested in commercial aquaponics invariably start looking at potential yields of different crops and then, after a thorough literature search, will discover that there is very little available in terms of potential yields of larger crops.  Stuff like basil, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers etc. seem to be written about the most.

 

With the advent of what I consider to be the most likely design for my own use in a commercial environment, namely gravel beds and…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on October 13, 2011 at 10:47am — 18 Comments

Can "Dirty" water NFT work?

Time for all the plant experts to wade in please!  I have been tinkering with a number of different media-less / media filled growing configurations of late.  The ones that interested me the most in the end was partly filtered versus “dirty” NFT.  The reason why this has become interesting for me relates back to the type of technology that is required to run these.  Should there be some way of making “dirty” NFT work, then there should be an advantage in trying to understand what I am…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on October 1, 2011 at 6:29am — 6 Comments

Time to innovate is here

There have been a number of articles milling in my head again.  Being a person of above average curiosity in many directions is not always a good thing when there is an internet connection around, as you tend to spend far too much time scratching around in science and technology articles than updating your taxes or whatever else is pending.

 

The joy is when you read three or four totally unrelated papers and get that little flash of insight that allows you to draw new…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on September 18, 2011 at 2:54pm — 6 Comments

The "cube" design mixed system: Part 3 Adding the periphery

Part 3: Adding the peripheral structures

 

Being a bit more distracted than I wanted to be, the final stages of adding towers and NFT has not been completed yet.  Thanks to Google Sketch-up, I can show you where I’m headed though and in this way, I can explain what I am trying to achieve at this point in time.

 

The core is the nutrient factory, although the media beds are also planted.  The fish tank, sumps and filters all work together to give me the system…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on September 5, 2011 at 5:30am — No Comments

Are we designing for biochemical processes?

A number of discussions have prompted this thought pattern.  I credit the bulk of this current burst of cranial activity to a comment made by Terri Mikkola (Thanks Terri) regarding the population mix of bacteria responsible for nitrification and those responsible for the mineralisation of solids.  In UVI and Friendly style systems the multi-stage filtration system ensures that there is a separation from the zones where masses of solids accumulate.  In my current mixed system re-vamp, I have…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on September 4, 2011 at 2:01am — 5 Comments

Building the core of my mixed system

When I first set this unit up, it comprised bites and pieces from a first trial unit that worked very well, but had to be moved.  It covered a larger area than what I had space for at home, thus the initial birth of my “cube quest”.  The system had a 1000 litre IBC and four gravel media beds in the new configuration.  The one media bed got used for all kinds of things – a DWC bed, a guppy fry tank and then back to raft before it got turned into the sand bed.  The other three have always been…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on August 27, 2011 at 3:56pm — 14 Comments

Sharpening my pencil in mixed system design

Part 1: Understanding what I am trying to achieve.

 

In a number of blogs and posts on the mixed design forum I have often made statements regarding why I am pursuing a mixed system as my choice for a compact home unit.  In order to take a break from running out to the unit and trying to make small alterations in the limited time I have available at present, I thought it sound to first review everything I am working through and towards in order to make sure that I achieve the…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on August 26, 2011 at 9:55am — No Comments

Getting cross at role models

What a strange sensation I had today.  Scrolling through some of my social media links, I came across a post on aquaponics – “10 rules of” no less.  It was by Dr Rakocy from UVI.  I will state upfront that the papers from this individual initially got me interested in aquaponics and I have used his detailed work a great deal since.  I am therefore comfortable with attributing my entry into aquaponics to a large extent to UVI and Dr Rakocy.  Many people on this forum can say this.  Whether it…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on August 10, 2011 at 6:29am — 8 Comments

Multi-purpose components for mixed design systems

Here is a repeat of a discussion I started in the mixed design group to interest some people that may not have joined this open group.

 

The last couple of weeks have been really interesting in terms of reading up on some of the ideas and ideals of aquaponic systems, their designers, and in some cases, their rabid followers (shall I dare say worshippers?).  The Australian forums again supplied a bevy of examples of spats and howls around the mention of anything that does not…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on August 8, 2011 at 6:37am — 3 Comments

Are we too focussed on monitoring?

I have been spending a bit of time pondering monitoring in aquaponics again.  I think it has a lot to do with my aquatic ecology background – seasonal shifts in nutrient supply, nutrient sources and sinks, seasonal growth and die-backs.  Before embarking on the aquaponic journey I was well on my way to do a PhD on ecosystem energetics but the funding never panned out and I abandoned that idea. 

 

In aquaponics, things work a bit differently but it is not always all that easy to…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on July 27, 2011 at 2:56am — 10 Comments

A quick jig for making towers

There are a great many variations on the theme of hanging towers utilizing 4 inch (110 mm) pipe out there.  Following on a discussion that has been ongoing on the forum, I will add the following:

 

I am not sure who first made these.  I have seen versions with planting depressions at stepped intervals, made with projecting pvc couplings in stead of depressions, made with three planting depressions per row ………………………. If this is someone here’s design, I say thank you for sharing…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on July 20, 2011 at 11:55am — 5 Comments

What a difference the right people can make

There has been many discussions, both here on the forum and in my circle of friends and family about the difference that the right people can make.  The members of this forum are all quite keen on aquaponics and there are many that believe that it is going to become a massive industry.  Pity then that none of these optimists seem to populate the corridors of government, research, university and funding agencies. Or very few then.  I have had my share of frustrations and, so it seems, has…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on July 20, 2011 at 1:12am — 2 Comments

The aquaponic system that can be running in a day

There have been many reports of system cycling issues – most of which revolves around peoples’ problems with understanding the whole Nitrogen cycle.  At a risk of causing frustration with people that thought that there were no exceptions to the rule, I would like to report back on a research system that I have started in 2010 and which basically runs on the concept of trying to avoid the cycle all together.

 

Originally developed to find a way to diversify aquaculture in South…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on July 18, 2011 at 3:23am — 4 Comments

Strawberriy runners and the fishless system

Sometimes we learn more from our systems when they are not exactly operating at their best than when they are running at their peak.  It is currently winter over here in South Africa, and for the first time in years, El Nino’s grip has been broken and we are seeing rain and cold fronts aplenty.  So much so that I decided to move my aquaculture-sourced tilapia into the larger greenhouse.  The mixed system is essentially running fishless, with a dab of ammonia every now and then.  It usually…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on June 18, 2011 at 6:39am — 5 Comments

Mixed Aquaponic system philosophy

I'm going to add this as a blog and discussion in the group, but thought that I might get some more ideas if it is "out there" in the whole group.

 

It struck me the other day that we have pieced together a lot around mixed aquaponic design without dedicating any discussion to the thinking behind mixed aquaponic systems at all.  A picture of my system, ever evolving, adorns the group page but what is it all about really?

 

Well, to start off with, here what it is…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on May 14, 2011 at 11:04am — 4 Comments

Two steps forward, one look back

Chatting to some friends recently about aquaponics, I re-visited some thoughts that were shared on the forum some months ago.  They are also from an academic background, and we were lamenting how difficult it was to get any type of support out of these places without the institutions immediately wanting to corner IP, and not push the technology forward.  I told them how wonderful it was that AP is developing through forums like this one.  Over here, you can watch new member’s systems develop…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on May 1, 2011 at 2:44am — 4 Comments

Common sense got a new name?

Environmental science has been on the fringes for a very long time, with big business and conspicuous consumption filling the world’s views and attitudes for a very long time. The knowledge and theories of environmental sciences have not changed much, but I see with some interest now that it is getting re-labelled to some extent. I do not necessarily see this a bad thing, but it has me thinking about things that got me exited about aquaponics in the beginning.

 

The catalyst…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on April 27, 2011 at 5:01am — 7 Comments

Complete circle - the upside down tomato

Funny how, when you least expect it, your aquaponic system can show you that you are sometimes not completely responsible for all that grows in it.  End of last year I took out some tired looking cherry tomatoes from a bed and replanted.  I must have dropped some fruit into the bed because just as the current batch of plants started looking good, a whole lot of tomato seedlings popped up in a single position.  I took out all but one, just to see if it can find its way in the tangle of plants…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on April 14, 2011 at 9:30am — 2 Comments

a Simple gift

It has been a while since I have had the opportunity to find some time to put the myriad of thoughts that have been milling in my head to some form of logical order.  There was a flurry of activity doing some much needed renovations and additions to the house, and in recent days my brother has been visiting from London.  Chatting to him, some of my other international friends and colleagues have been great for clearing the clutter that has been my attempt to direct my mind around aquaponic…

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Added by Kobus Jooste on April 8, 2011 at 5:35pm — 14 Comments

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