Hi folks, I'm Andrew Dezsery from down under Australia and I just wanted to introduce myself and see if there are any other folk that are interested in integrated fish production (aka aquaponics) I have been involved in this industry sector for 3 decades and it would be interesting to see the perspective from permies.
I for one can say that aquaponics will play a large part in my future land-based food systems, even if we're just talking about an interconnected trout pond ecosystem integrated into my food systems. I suppose I would term that aquaculture rather than aquaponics. Also, I think you will feel that the latter will get less traction, except in certain specific circumstances, than the former.
In terms of grassroots appeal, I find that anything that has large non-reclaimed material or energy costs is going to suffer. Likewise, anything that can be done on a budget that, once in place, requires little to no maintenance and costs little to nothing to operate will be very popular.
I think one thing to keep in mind is that for small-scale operators, there will be much more fertilizer produced than there will be fish. In other words, the fish are happy little bug and scrap eaters that produce fertilizer and occasionally become a tasty treat. The amount of effluent produced by an amount of fish that would provide steady sustenance would require far more than a simple integrated hydroponic system. I'm thinking separate sedimentation barrels with filter feeders, and maybe a methane digester, which would be a waste, but what else do you do with too much poo? For the sake of clarity, let me specify that I am thinking about small-scale production with limited space, as in an urban or suburban residence. Anything with pasture could obviously make great use of excess fish water.
I like the example of Sepp Holzer's work on the Krameterhof as integrated aquaculture, where the ponds retain water, slowly replenish the aquifer, and support a natural pond system that produces fish, fertilizer, and other associated aquatic animal forage.
What kind of work have you done? What are you currently working on, and how do you feel aquaponics fits within permaculture?
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Thanks Chris. I have been at the forefront of the aquaponics movement since 1996 in Australia and we used to distribute a hard copy subscription magazine from one of your countrymen down under. We had 6 subscribers back then and today with the internet well, as they say, the rest is history. Coming from the aquaculture industry and in particular, the barramundi closed circuit systems, I saw a lot of waste in both water and nutrient scavenging as well as great opportunity to exponentially grow the business of freshwater production by 10 fold or more with integrating with plants and even separately warm blooded animals such as chickens and rabbits. Unfortunately, rabbits are a dirty word down under as is beaver in your parts as they do so much damage to the environment. Regardless of this we have been involved with countless schools, thousands of adults in training workshops and conferences we have run as well as lecturing graduates and students at university in both Australia and USA. My organization has built countless systems for both home systems as well as commercial production facilities. You can see some of these at 1aquaponics on youtube. My business also provides since 1996 specialised equipment to the aquaculture industry from tuna farming to brine shrimp and we have sold to USA, Europe, China, Pacific region as well as across Australia.
We also have the worlds first fully integrated aquaponic training software since 2007 for home production and semi commercial and have sold this and other DVDs/ training products across the globe since their inception in the 90s. An example of this is at www.1aquaponics.info/desima and we have had to be quite harsh as you will see because of the amount of fraudulent activity on the internet using either our business name, branding and sadly even my own personal photograph from our videos or website for their gain$.
Aquaponics fits with permaculture in numerous ways but mainly because its natural design can fit into a box in the smallest of spaces. We have built small systems using betas and small herbs for desk top however we are not into fads but feeding communities and teaching others to be successful. After all if you teach a man to grow fish and vegetables he can feed a whole community.
Anyway, enough about me and thank you for the welcome.
Aquaponics is something I plan to get going once the rest of my infrastructure is completed. I have two friends in Australia that run fairly large systems and one here that is almost industrial in size.
I see it as a great way to grow protein and vegetables. I plan to grow out Crappie and Blue Gill for the fish part but my friend here has me thinking about shrimp too.
Great to have you on permies Andrew, I look forward to learning from your experience.
Would be great if an Aquaponics forum could be started. I am building out an insulted room 25ft x 9ft) and have acquired four 330 gallon IBC totes. I want to start with one for learning and then expand. My goal is to become self-sufficient for when I retire in 8 years.
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the permaculture bootcamp in winter (plus half-assed holidays)