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rethinking aquaponics plants  RSS feed

 
Gilbert Fritz
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Location: Denver, CO
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I really like the idea of aquaponics, for several reasons; high yields, the extra protein, the ecosystem aspect of it (as opposed to hydroponics). However, I really do not like their vulnerability to power outage or system malfunction.

I was thinking that if only aquatic plants were used, the risks could be reduced considerably. Because the aquatic plants are adapted to being constantly in the water, they would not need a drain cycle. With that complication removed, the plants could be in the same tank as the fish. I was thinking of two models: 1. emergent and floating plants on a floating "Island" covering most of the surface of the tank. The island would rise up somewhat in the middle, and a pipe would spray water up and onto the island. The second model would have a screen of some sort partitioning off a section of the tank to keep fish out/ gravel in, and it would be full of plants/ gravel. A pipe would again push water up and onto the gravel surface.

Would I be correct in thinking that these systems would be less vulnerable to small glitches, which might cause the pump to stop working? I would be including lots of oxygenating plants.

They should also need a lot less power, since there would be very little rise in the pipe.

These setups would be more like a self-balancing natural pond. Before the days of aquarium pumps and filters, people kept beautiful aquariums using a natural balance of organisms.

AND, THE BIG QUESTION: would such a system loose the high productivity of a standard aquaponics system? Would it be able to keep so many fewer fish, and produce so many fewer vegetables as to be not worth it? (I would be using edible water plants.)

Could a standard aquaponics grow bed be attached to such a system, but in such a way that if the electricity failed, it would only mean hand watering the vegetables for a while, since it would no longer have its function as main filter? Or would there not be enough nitrites left for it?
 
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Hi Gilbert, I don't have any answers to these questions, I was wondering if you had heard of these folks?

http://www.coloradoaquaponics.com/about-us-1

They have a pretty nice setup and might be of some help to your projects in Denver.

They are at 4751 York St Denver, CO
 
Jeremiah Robinson
Posts: 92
Location: Madison, WI
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Hi Gilbert,

I might be misunderstanding your question, but the reason for problems with a power outage have more to do with fish dying than plants. Fish use a lot more oxygen. If you have a media bed in a flood and drain system a power outage would never affect your plants (till they dried out).

Do you live somewhere where power is out for days at a time, regularly?

What most people do is backup their aerator on a battery. Aerators use little energy, so can last a long time on a reasonably small battery.
 
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