Aquaponic Gardening

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Home Aquaponics Kit: Self-Cleaning Fish Tank That Grows Food

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Comment by RupertofOZ on November 19, 2012 at 6:23am

$100,000 to develop the rotomould for that.... sorry... but you've got to be kidding me....

Comment by Irvin Carrero on November 19, 2012 at 4:36am

Thanks for the compliment Bob, I believe in the empowerment of people to create social change so if that earns me that characteristic well than ok I guess I might be a little of that. Networks such as this one have the potential for social-leadership and by crowd-sourcing thoughts and ideas and by creating a fertile platform for democratic journalism it should go a long way because the entire community becomes empowered. Maybe it’s those beliefs that make me seem optimistic or even charismatic as you put it.
I see myself more as a cautiously optimistic guy; Why? well because democracy has been abused for such a long time and now networks have slowed the abuse and opened the doors for improving democracy but it can go both ways.

About my kids project: My ignorance regarding having to design for extremes on a micro size aquaponic system is what lead me on and gave me the faith to tell my kids that it could be done. I really don’t want to let them down. What makes matters worse is that all my kids’ friends at school and the teacher are counting on this science fair project. The prototype “caught everyone’s attention” said their science teacher. I’m in deep. Oh my goodness I wish I could turn back time!

Comment by Bob Campbell on November 18, 2012 at 10:05pm

I get that you want to develop a stylish product that will offer a low cost aquaponics introduction with a good chance of success in order to further the interest.  And your reply and your video are both so positive and determined that I have to say I admire your commitment and I wish you the best.   I'm not a guru, but I'd be glad to help because you are so charismatic. 

Comment by Irvin Carrero on November 18, 2012 at 4:45pm

You know what, I would go as far as to mention this to Sylvia Bernstein (owner of this network) since she was, if I'm not mistaken, the VP of AeroGarden just before she got into Aquaponics. Hey you never know what could come out of it all. :)

Comment by Irvin Carrero on November 18, 2012 at 4:24pm

I’m impressed! First I want to thank you Nate and Bob for the feedback, your knowledge and encouragement, so thanks a million! I’m really impressed about how you so willingly wanted to help and the time you spent with your answers. That is real passion and just really nice guys. Ok, so finding a hardy plant suitable for consumption that can thrive on low-intensity-indoor -light or window light could be the best starting point of the system. I choose oregano because I observed some sniped stems thriving in tap water and in low light conditions. In just a few days roots started coming out of the recently cut stems and the plant continued to grow in plain water (no nutrients added) and in low light.

I understand your point Bob, about it being such a no brainer idea that anyone could just make one up out of house hold stuff. But it does remind me about the aerogrow.com company and its initial stages, and I still believe it may have potential if they tweak it. If they could tap into Nate’s or your mind they would be set. Maybe you guys could create a recipe of some sort, you know, designing for extremes rules of thumb, that way everyone trying to create a micro size aquaponics system no what they are up against. You could call it “Micro size Aquaponics rules of thumb” I don’t know. I can’t thank you enough for your input on this matter. I'm glad to have met you guys. 

Comment by Bob Campbell on November 18, 2012 at 10:24am

I agree with Nate. But even if this were something that would work it's so simple to reproduce from common kitchenware that it would not command a profitable price. 

Here is an alternative that is not aquaponics, but is basically the same thing being presented and it's free.

Comment by Nate Storey on November 18, 2012 at 10:11am

Hi Irvin,

Yes, it's possible, but it requires designing for extremes.  You're right.  Small volumes are very hard to manage because the different variables on a per gallon basis can change very rapidly.  I'm not sure these guys have really used their system or they would find this out.  The biggie for your kids will be oversizing the biofilter to increase nitrification capacity, choosing really tolerant fish- think goldfish or tilapia, and fairly low nutrient demand plants that are hard to kill- and probably only a couple (think traditionally hardy plants like pothos, or marigolds, or barley or kale).  When you have such small volumes, to get really good growth you have to shoot for maturity, and at maturity larger plants draw a lot of water!  The most important thing will be to train your kids to observe the system carefully and respond to different signs- i.e. are the fish behaving normally?  does the water have the right color and smell? does the plant look healthy?  If no, what is the problem?  What do the water tests indicate? etc.  Anyway, it think it's a great science project.  Probably if your kids nail these questions and learn to do things in smaller amounts with more frequency, they'll develop a great little system.  It may not be as aesthetically pleasing as this kickstarter kit, but it will be more functional because your kids will understand it.  I think it will be a really fun little project to do with them.

Comment by Irvin Carrero on November 18, 2012 at 4:47am

Thanks Nate for answering, but now I have more questions. So you’re implying, and please correct me if I’m wrong, that there have been prior attempts to do something like this, am I right with this assumption? Now I start to wonder if it is possible to achieve a stable system of any sort with such a small volume of water like 3 gallons. My kids have 2 science fairs coming up: one by months-end and the second science fair starting in January and they choose to make a small prototype aquaponics system as their project. Since we live in the tropics we thought that we had less challenges to overcome and went on with the project in spite. It is an experiment anyway. Ok, I lead them to believe it could be done now I'm sorry I did. Our system is about 3 gallons also (see photo) So you may have given some suggestions with your comment about using Basil (I used a wild Oregano). Would you care to share your insight on what you might use for such a small system such as the type of fish, quantity, plants species etc. I just want their science project to be achievable. Is it possible to get the right combination of equipment plants and fish to act as a scaled down demonstration for Aquaponics? I guess I have my kids project title: Is it Possible To Create A Stable Micro-Size Aquaponics System for demonstrations. 

Comment by Nate Storey on November 17, 2012 at 11:11pm
Well, they haven't actually tested their unit yet (I can tell). I can tell that their plants are straight from a garden supply store and they only have one beta in there. That tells me that there aren't enough nutrients in the water to support the plant growth you see in the videos and pictures. They say that 1"/gal is industry standard, but that's crazy. Inches have nothing to do with stocking densities. Also, a clear tank like that will quickly get covered in algae, even in ambient light, so they haven't even run it long enough to get algae. . . And the algae will be a problem, especially if you place it in a spot with enough light to grow basil, and if you have enough nutrients in solution to grow basil. Anyway, I think they're selling a kit that they haven't even bothered to test. It won't work, and it will be yet another aquaponic system sold that will not work and make AP look bad.
Comment by Irvin Carrero on November 17, 2012 at 7:45pm
Hi Nate, I don't understand... What exactly won't work in its current form their project? Their system? Both? I mean I created something similar to what they did and I'm getting the results I intended so I really want to know what you mean.

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