Aquaponic Gardening

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We started our system in May 2012, so our system is now over a year old now. We learned a lot from this community and are glad we found you all. Our goal in the beginning was to teach our son's something of value (we home school). After the learning curve we decided we wanted to grow fish to eat and have fresh vegetables that are as close to organic as possible. We wanted the highest yield of each with the least amount of cost and work. 

Our fish grew fast (We tend to over feed) and we started eating them in 10 months. We over stocked and over feed which lead to a couple of problems. The first was too much poo. I was determined that we were going to have lots of fish and lots of meat on each. To over come the waste issue I added a swirl filter and removed solids every few days by draining a gallon or so off of the filter tank. All of these extra solids went to good use on our square foot beds and banana trees. Removing the extra waste also lightened the load on the system. By having fewer items to convert from ammonia-nitrites-nitrates, less acid was also produced during the nitrification process (extra acid was lowering the PH of the system too much too fast). Over crowding the tank also caused a reproduction problem with our fish. Now that we are eating the fish and there are fewer in the tank (maybe they were eating all the babies?) we now have some fingerlings that we have separated into another tank. 

The plants grow like I have never seen and the yield is awesome. We have tried many different plants and they all seem to grow at an incredible rate and are very hardy. The tomatoes are delicious. The jalapenos are huge and we had about 1 1/2 lb of peppers per plant in a single picking! Romaine grew faster than we could eat it. Strawberries and pineapples will take over the beds if you let them. If you want to put a small banana tree on the fast track try a 6" tree and transplant it in 8 to 12 weeks (you won't be disappointed). We have 8 avocado trees from seed. One avocado tree is 30" tall after 3 months. Herbs grow absolutely crazy. Wants some seedlings? Toss in the seeds, done. Try taking a cutting off another plant and put it in your grow bed. It roots itself like magic.

No watering, no weeding, just feed the fish.....

We have purchased some more IBC totes and are getting ready to expand the system. Perhaps some catfish....

 

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Comment by George on July 1, 2013 at 5:06pm

Sounds great and your soil plants probably did well too with the solids from the tank.

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