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Old 05-22-2012, 03:38 AM   #1
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Default Hydroponics/Aquaponics thread.

Please note: This thread is NOT to discuss growing illegal plants or the like. This is a thread to discuss growing fruits, vegetables and in the case of aquaponics fish. If you have a system that does grow illegal substances please keep it to yourself.


Background on my system:
My late FIL had built a DIY hydroponic garden. He had no temp control but did harvest some veggies from it. We inherited the system as my wife loves gardening and wanted to to try to get this to work. She has spent countless hours pouring over the internet/reading books educating herself.
I have secretly been wanting to get into aquaponics and have been slowly pushing her in that direction. The reason I wanted to get into aqua over hydro is it is more natural and uses no chemicals as well as produces fish meat and is MUCH cheaper.

The garden is made from white PVC fence posts and has the ability to hold a total of 30 plants. We have catnip, basil, 3 different types of tomatoes, okra, pattypan squash, bell peppers, peas, green beans, strawberries and various leaf lettuces that are pretty much ready to go into the garden or being germinated now. We have a heavy duty pond pump, air pump and a huge air stone. The "tank" is a mostly buried 30 gallon food grade drum.

We have sourced the Tilapia fish locally (a huge savings picking them up vs. shipping them) and are now looking at heaters. I suspect we will have the fish in place before weeks end.

Yes, I will snap some pics and post them up tomorrow.

So does anyone else do/have done this with success?

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Old 05-22-2012, 03:54 AM   #2
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A fresh fish garden?!?!?!?! That sounds incredible!

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Old 05-22-2012, 04:20 AM   #3
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A fresh fish garden?!?!?!?! That sounds incredible!
Aquaponics in a nutshell works like this: Feed fish in tank, Fish make poo and ammonia, bacteria convert amonia into nitrogen. Pump nitrogen rich water over plant roots, plants remove nitrogen and clean the water, water is returned to the tank.

You can use any fish but Talapia are the way of the walk. I will have 15-20 fish in my tank and may be able to add more than that. They will grow to the size of a large crappie or small bass plus they taste good.

Long term I will eventually build a 4 season green house that has a pool (large tank) for massive talapia production. I will also grow duckweed to provide shade and cover for the fish. Talapia go from fry to breading size in 6-8 weeks so the population will adjust itself according to available size/room. The duck weed has more protein than soy and can be eaten by the fish and other animals. But why stop at just fish? I will build a chicken coop against the north wall of my greenhouse and add a "run" over the tank. The chicken droppings will be eaten by the duckweed and provide a more complex nutrient rich water. I also found out that pheasants eat nearly the same thing as chickens so there will be a 2nd run over the tank. Pest control will be lady bugs and preying mantis. (manti?)

This will mean that I will have the ability to grow an exponential amount of: fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish and poultry. I estimate I will be able to generate 98% of all my needed food on my property. NOTE: not all plants grow well in a hydro/aqua setting. But that is pretty easily solved by using a good old fashioned dirt garden.

To clean the pond of fish waste I will collect the droppings that are left over and use them in an earthworm/nightcrawler compost bin. The chickens can also eat vegy scraps and anything left after that goes to the worms. I bet you are smart enough to guess that the fish love worms and the compost will be better than any miracle grow for the fore mentioned dirt garden.

It floors me that this is not being done everywhere.

If I have my way I will also be raising angora rabbits (my lawn care specialists) and bees but those are much longer term goals.

If everything works out I will be having a 100% grown by me and the wife meal this fall.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:06 PM   #4
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How much energy cost does it take to supply circulation and heating/cooling for this system?

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Old 05-22-2012, 12:23 PM   #5
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How much energy cost does it take to supply circulation and heating/cooling for this system?
Heating will be the same as it would be for a 55 gallon tropical fish tank and is highly dependent on the ambient air temps. The same for the air pump and pond pump. I do not imagine it will cause a significant increase to my energy bill.

Many people have set up small solar systems and a battery bank to reduce this cost even further.
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:19 PM   #6
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I have seen some pretty good sales on good sized solar panels last 2 years. I think it would be a good way to reduce the cost and increase the DIY factor. I've been thinking about buying a panel to play with but don't have any good projects to use it for. Homebrewing has kind of taken over my spare time.

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Old 05-22-2012, 01:32 PM   #7
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Pretty sure there was a thread about this in teh DIY or hops growing section a couple year ago. Dude had a pretty elaborate set-up and, IIRC, was complaining mostly about the fish.

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Old 05-22-2012, 02:54 PM   #8
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Pretty sure there was a thread about this in teh DIY or hops growing section a couple year ago. Dude had a pretty elaborate set-up and, IIRC, was complaining mostly about the fish.
Oh yeah, I remember that! He had problems with the filtering system and the fish dying IIRC.

Here it is!
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:16 PM   #9
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Oh yeah, I remember that! He had problems with the filtering system and the fish dying IIRC.

Here it is!
Yep. That is it. OP, hope that helps. Some.
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:51 PM   #10
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Thanks! I read all of WM's thread and can see a few of the issues that he figured out on his own. I feel if he would have been using tilapia fish he would have had better results. Gold fish are FILTHY creatures and a few will power out enough waste to power a garden 2-3 times his size. The other 2 issues were water temps that were to high for gold fish and left over fish food, probably using store bought that was chemical/processed.

I have been in contact with an aquaponic farm. He claims the tilapia prefer 80-85F water but can only drop into the mid 50's before they start dying. Feed the fish floating all natural homemade food and anything left after 15 minutes gets removed. My system is a little different than his but the same concept.

Pics:

Overall


Mostly buried 35 gallon food grade barrel


different shot


Trellis front


Trellis side:
(The camera angle makes the garden appear to be really unlevel. I assure you it running slightly down hill but is mostly level.)

Fence post garden


reservoir (not only is there a constant flow there are 2 mini jets that cross (insert joke about crossing the streams here.)


Well that is it in a nut shell the power cord and air pump are inside the garage and out of site. I cut a hole and forced a 2 gallon bucket into it that has the bottom removed. This allows me to feed the fish and install the pump.

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