Aquaponic Gardening

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I thought my aquaponics decision would be limited to which system to use, the ebb and flow, DWC, or a combination of both. If it were to be on a small scale, the decision would be fairly easy when I got to that point. But what happens when you have a costly asset already in place that could be used to grow koi? In this case it is a swimming pool on property I own that my wife and I want to move back to. It is approximately 27 feet x 14 feet, with the deepest part at 7 ft. and the shallowest about 3-1/2 feet. The bottom is rounded at the ends and the sides. From what I've read so far, it would make a pretty good koi pond.

I am studying 3 books on koi: The Ultimate Koi; The World of Koi; and A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining a Koi Pond. If one is to keep koi, and harbors hopes of selling or showing koi, then the authors state that a minimum of 5 ft. depth is essential to the kois' health since this would allow the fish to exercise their muscles properly and maintain a proper form. That being true, in my case I would have to install the appropriate filtering system for that size pond along with all necessary protective devices. The other option would be to have the right density of fish and proportionate growout beds. Based on aquaponics research, the gallonage of the beds would be enormous, to say the least. Either way, you are looking at a major enterprise and a major undertaking. For now, it will be a small system since I still have a lot of responsibility with present endeavors.

Leila (wife) and I also discussed the possibility of a separate koi keeping and aquaponic system. So at least for now, I have to give further thought to whether or not I want a swimming pool to enjoy personally and with friends and family, demolishing the pool, or looking at creating a job for myself, whether as a business or hobby. I personally have my ideal as a system that is easy to maintain with minimum stress and expense and most importantly enjoying visual feasts (fish, plants, and aquascaping) as well as culinary ones.

I have been looking for cheap or free tanks on Craigslist and other websites, but seem to be a step late. I have decided on something around 150 gallons to start with, most probably a DWC system and 32 sq. ft. growout bed with capacity for doubling.

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Comment by Gus Cabrera on September 27, 2010 at 3:54pm
It's not what I will do with my pool, but I thought others might be interested. It's another solution. I didn't notice the chicken crap going directly to the fish. Maybe somebody needs to inform these folks of the potential risks if not already aware.
Comment by TCLynx on September 27, 2010 at 3:51pm
That link is very cool. (other than the chickens pooping in the fish pond part, I don't think I'd go for that if I were eating any salads or uncooked carrots from the system, I'm a firm believer of composting all warm blooded animal manure before using it for my food.) But other than that little detail, I love their use of the pool with the low greenhouse cover over it.

In a wet climate, one might need to keep the pool filled with more water though or it might risk floating up during high water table situations during heavy rain events. I do like the idea as long as one does some research into appropriate modifications for their climate.
Comment by Gus Cabrera on September 27, 2010 at 3:34pm
Here is a website I found on somebody using a swimming pool for near self-sufficiency for 4 persons. http://gardenpool.org/
Comment by TCLynx on September 24, 2010 at 6:45pm
I just came across another swimming pool thread.
Dandm's swimming pool system
Comment by TCLynx on September 24, 2010 at 9:20am
There are more system threads there that might be of use to you but they are a challenge to search for.
Comment by TCLynx on September 24, 2010 at 9:19am
and here is a thread that though not a swimming pool thread, it might outline some of the challenges with a really large body of water and minimal grow bed along with minimal fish. It can be done, just may take much longer to find the balance.
Mike's system
Comment by TCLynx on September 24, 2010 at 9:12am
here is another swimming pool thread. I have not read these threads in a very long time so I don't remember them really.
A swimming pool system
Comment by TCLynx on September 24, 2010 at 9:07am
Here is a system thread of some one with a swimming pool system
Dufflight's Larger Test Run
Comment by Gus Cabrera on September 24, 2010 at 8:54am
Thanks, Nate. I figured you need a certain density in order to feed the plants properly. The alternative would be to have independent growout beds and tank recirculation then you can feed the plants whatever nutrients they need without affecting the tank. To me that seems more like watering plants with a light nutrient solution.
TC. Can you suggest some of those sites you refer to at the end of your comment? I would appreciate it.
Comment by Nate Storey on September 23, 2010 at 5:27pm
sounds awesome. I wish I had a pool. . . pictures?
You don't need serious growbeds unless you have any kind of stocking density, which you might not need with a koi pond.

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