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Has anyone set up an aquaponics system which does not use electricity?

 
Samuel Morton
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Location: West London, UK
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Morning all,

I was just wondering if anyone has made an aquaponic set-up which does not need electricity, be it doing it naturally and using edible aquatic plants or utilising the physical forces of siphoning and those associated with hyraulic rams?

Thank you for your help,

Samuel
 
Ravnor Chanur
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Water only flows one direction on it's own - downhill. If you want to have circulation in your system, you'll have to provide some external energy input to get the water back to the top so that it can flow down again, whether than energy input is in the form of an electric pump, a windmill, or standing beside the tank lifting buckets.
 
Pokletu Staktu
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Location: Aroostook County, Maine
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If you have, or can make a large enough fall(which would probably NOT be contained in a closed-loop system), there's this method:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzaInlFVq0s

I've never tried it myself, yet, but something to incorporate somewhere, maybe.

Of course, energy's gonna be lost, so whatever momentum the ram pump recovered has to be started somewhere above it.

How bout a windmill to a water turbine?
 
Lizabeth Davis
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I am planning to build three new systems raising tilapia. I am planning on using solar powered pumps. But I am also thinking of building windmill water pumps that will work simultaneously and as back-up. The big problem is when there is no wind. But I could have water tanks above and below the fish tanks and have a windmill pump lift water to the upper tank from the very bottom tank that could then be released through the grow bed, then the fish tank and on to the lower tank when there is a lack of wind. It is rarely still at our location for very long. At this point, this would be an experiment. But if it works, then it could be an alternative.
 
Daniel Vargas
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Rope pump. Very easy to make, will run water up hill. Can have a system without electricity. Gonna make one myself soon. On a large system I would assume this is a lot of work though. Unless you set up a rope pump to work with a windmill.
 
Amos Burkey
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It may also be wise to consider the options of supplying adequate oxygen for the fish, plants, and bacteria. If the oxygenation is supplied by water movement, careful consideration must be used to be sure oxygen levels remain sufficient when not pumping. An AP system sans electricity could be a pond with a floating raft growing arrangement. Wind powered circulation or aeration devices would be a beneficial addition. A non-electric system may not produce as much per square foot as a traditional AP system and it may be more stable in off the grid situations.

This is an interesting project. When does construction begin?
 
Daniel Vargas
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Oxygen is my biggest concern. Still thinking of ways to cope with that. I also do not get much wind where I live. Any ideas would be awesome.
 
Amos Burkey
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Daniel Vargas wrote:Oxygen is my biggest concern. Still thinking of ways to cope with that. I also do not get much wind where I live. Any ideas would be awesome.


Solar panel(s) + batteries + air pump + power inverter (if needed)
 
Daniel Vargas
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Want to do this without the use of any electricity if possible. May be difficult but trying to figure this out.
 
Amos Burkey
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Daniel Vargas wrote:Want to do this without the use of any electricity if possible. May be difficult but trying to figure this out.

An air compressor, powered by an engine running on methane harvested from a digestor, that fills an air tank periodically. The air from the tank is released slowly into the AP system.

You are going to have to come up with a constant source of energy to do the work or find a source of energy that can be stored to perform the work as needed.
 
Daniel Vargas
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Water movement may suffice though right? If a large amount of water is moved daily with a rope pump and dropped back into the tank from quite high like a waterfall would add lots of oxygen right?
 
Amos Burkey
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Daniel Vargas wrote:Water movement may suffice though right? If a large amount of water is moved daily with a rope pump and dropped back into the tank from quite high like a waterfall would add lots of oxygen right?


Water movement can supply the required oxygen. Most AP systems use a constant flow of water to keep a constant flow of oxygen and nutrients pumping throughout the system. IMO, the rope pump will need to be used more than one person will want to power it. Maybe get your friends to pump it. I think that a pond with a low stocking density of fish and a floating raft for the plants is the way to go without electricity.
 
Daniel Vargas
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So the plants themselves will filter and provide oxygen? I'm pretty new to this.
 
chip sanft
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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I kept fish in aquaria for a while and did lots of reading about it. According to that research, water picks up oxygen when it moves. Bubblers and things are beneficial because they keep the water moving, not because they introduce oxygen directly.

Plants are the other source of oxygen, as already noted, and of course they consume nitrogen wastes out of the water. The need a lot of light to make lots of oxygen and added CO2 helps -- the pressurized tanks you see on fancy planted aquaria are typically CO2. You can find some pretty pictures of planted tanks with bubbles of oxygen coming from the plants when those things are there.

The problem is that fish eat and otherwise destroy plants and especially tilapia or whatever raised at aquaponic densities are going to make plant life hard.

I think you'll need some kind of power. Stock tanks are sometimes filled by means of windmills -- why not one of those? The setups are expensive new but maybe you could find one used.
 
Amos Burkey
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The Aztec practiced a variation of non electric AP called chinampa. Chinampa

A few places to gather more information about AP:
AP guide book
DIY AP 101

Enjoy!

Edit: Here is a link to good info about dissolved oxygen: dissolved O2
 
Marty Mitchell
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Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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+1 for the Chinampa

The large valley where the Aztecs lived supported about 2 million people.

If you can get the oxygen level to remain high enough in the water a simple raft system could be built to just float around in an outdoor pond. Like what Lawton made in his recent video... but filled with lettuce growing out of cups like in aquaponics rafts.

This would shade the water and increase the "edge effect"... increasing the amount of life in the pond.
 
Dan Mangan
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I would look at how ponds naturally live. Its a whole eco system yes. Rain helps, maybe mimic that to an effect. Depending in your project size ducks could help. They are always swimming, kicking up water. Maybe having different fish would help. Maybe put a pipe going to the bottom of the tank where you can force air into. Getting off electricity may take more than one solution.
 
Triato Vallejos
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If you have flat land, you can orient the pond with the wind for it to aerate it more. Cold water can have more diluted oxigen than warm water, so shade it but dont block the wind. Also, organic matter decomposition uses oxigen so, if the pond is already sealed) avoid to many leaves falling on it. Use acuatic plants that have green tisues inside the water.

Also, you could concentrate wind in the pond area with three placement. Waves!

I have been thinking about a few chanells that exit and come back to the pond with part of them exposed to the sun. the theory is that water will get hot and then cool entering the shadow. I think it could create a slow current. Not enough by itself but maybe helpfull.
 
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