Aquaponic Gardening

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Aquaponics swimming pool conversion - Looking for creative ideas

So here's one for the group... The owner of this property would like to convert these three pools into aquaponics systems. For some perspective, the largest pool is 72' long, 47' wide at the shallow end and 22' wide at the deep end. The deep end is 9.5' deep and the shallow end is 3.5 feet. What would you do?

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Comment by JD Sawyer on July 6, 2010 at 9:15pm
Thanks everyone for your suggestions, it is always fun to dream, and hope for the possibility of building something really amazing.
Comment by TCLynx on July 6, 2010 at 11:35am
Ah yea, as they say, a swimming pool is a hole in the ground into which to pour money. And that would be a really big clear span greenhouse.
Comment by JD Sawyer on July 6, 2010 at 11:23am
Sorry for the slow response on this blog. I basically suggested what Richard did in that we could potentially use the shallow end of the pool for the rafts and then utilize the deeper end (with some infill) for the fish tanks and additional filtration tanks. Unfortunately the scope of the project was a lot more than the owner was comfortable pursuing. The property would have required greenhouse structures and is located in a high wind area in Colorado which created additional challenges. I did also mention the use of freshwater prawns based upon some of the japanese aquaponic garden videos I have recently watched on youtube. I think that would have been cool as well but this project quickly grew to over a half million dollars simply because of the complexity of the property entitlements, required due diligence, etc... Oh well...
Comment by Chris Smith on May 29, 2010 at 1:32pm
How much of the surrounding land is part of this property? Are the trees the property lines?
The large pool is too big for use in a system unless the system was many acres big. I would fill the big pool and grow fresh water prawns in it. I would focus on using the smaller pools for fish tanks.A very large system can be built using the smallest pool. I recommend going with the raft method for commercial size aquaponic systems. You have to first decide how much growing space you want to create. You need a minimum of .3 pound of fish for every square foot of raft space. The rafts come in 4x8 sheets so the troughs are designed around those dimensions. The fish need a minimum of 4 gallons of water per pound to be really happy. You can scale a system to any size using those proportions.
Another option for the big pool is to use the deep end as sump tank/fish tank. Build level toughs across the width of the shallow end. Start the trough layout just above the high water stain. Build troughs on all the concrete surrounding the pools and have them drain into the deep end. The water would have to be pumped to a high point for distribution to the troughs(this would be the case when using any of the pools).
The large pool could also be filled with dirt in to create more level growing space for a system run off the two smaller pools.
There are many possibilities!
Comment by TCLynx on May 29, 2010 at 11:02am
Do you have any additional information about this possible project? I'm interested to hear what they do. Actually this might be a prime opportunity for a commercial scale system using Nate's towers.
Comment by Richard Wyman on May 26, 2010 at 9:34pm
The large pool doesn't need to be full, not enough room for growbeds for that much water anyway. If its full about to the stain line in the picture that would leave room for about 2 4' x 40' beds and 2, maybe 3, 4 x 32's, with some steps in the top left corner, and keeping that left side as the access isle. A small platform at the waters edge would make feeding and water testing easy.
Comment by TCLynx on May 26, 2010 at 7:56pm
Start with the smallest pool and a system based on that as the fish tank and see if they are still interested in continuing after that.

Where is this located? Are they gonna need gigantic greenhouses to cover all this? And all the greenhouse that would be needed to cover the plant area too? Do they have the budget to do it and do they have a market for the fish and produce lined up?

The smallest pool would probably provide a nice size fish tank for a family (assuming it is more than just a 6" deep kiddie pool.) That huge pool is a bit mind boggling. Raising fish in that, it would be a real challenge to harvest them.
Comment by Richard Wyman on May 26, 2010 at 7:26pm
I guess the question would be, how much money is he talking about spending?

Seems like the cheapest would be rafts set up in the shallow part, draining back to the deep end which would have about 4 or 5 feet of water, or whatever the bottom contour would allow there. A pump in the bottom of the pool should pull most of the solids out as it looks like it all slopes to the drain. For safety the fence would need to be around the whole pool.
If he has a bit more money it could be turned into a pond/waterfall/creek with the beds on the sides of the water feature and maybe more on the slab above.With many tons of rock it could look natural and still produce alot of good stuff.

Good luck with your designs JD :)

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