• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Jay
  • Anne Miller
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton
gardeners:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Daron Williams

Conversation about Aquaponics  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 10548
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
448
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What about one of those bug zapper lights?

 
Posts: 174
Location: Berea, Kentucky
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You don't need a zapper. Put some small solar lights low over your water container. The bugs fly into the light and fall into the water. I build a small system this year for practice. I'm most def going to put some float trays in next year after seeing this thread. I hope that will keep my tank temp down. I had a problem with my gray 100 gal tank getting too hot, and killing my fish. I used minnows and tadpoles from my pond so no big loss in the minnows.
 
Posts: 25
Location: Mid Missouri
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Update
downsized_1012111645.jpg
[Thumbnail for downsized_1012111645.jpg]
 
Posts: 90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How long is the plastic covering the hoop house suppose to last?
 
                
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To complete an aquaponics system, aquaponics grow beds are necessary. These are basically containers that will hold your growing medium, plants and water.
The structure of the grow bed itself can be made out of a toxic-free heavy duty pond liner, a rigid plastic like a pre-made pond form or another material such as polyethylene. The bottom of the grow bed must be completely supported; there should be no flexibility to allow any movement in the grow bed. Many aquaponics companies offer "special" containers but you can use other containers if you choose as long as the material is potable. The sides of the bed should have at least a 6 or 7 inch height.
 
Posts: 269
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
12" tall grow beds are more typical if you are using standard media-filled style grow beds (i.e. not rafts).
 
                                  
Posts: 25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Anyone try raising crickets or other insects for supplemental feed? From what I've read they appear to be fairly low maintenance/cost and pretty high in nutrition, would be interested to hear if anyone has tried this approach. Thanks!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10548
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
448
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm planning to raise Black Soldier Fly larvae.

http://blacksoldierflyblog.com/

I will also be harvesting free-range land crustaceans (sowbugs/woodlice).

 
                                  
Posts: 25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sounds neat H Ludi Tyler! Let me know how that works out for you. OOC any particular reason you chose BSF's over other insects? Thanks!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10548
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
448
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
BSF are native and easy to establish here. 
 
                        
Posts: 508
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
was reading on a forum yesterday that some fish aren't very enthusiastic about  bsf larvae and suggested it's better used for chickens...didn't say what sort of fish, anyone know?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10548
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
448
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm also raising Red Wigglers, but they aren't insects.... 
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10548
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
448
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's a photo of my system-in-progress.  I still have to finish putting wire on the house, and I need to put a lot more transplants into floating islands.



My BSF maggotarium and worm bin are to the right in the picture.
 
gardener
Posts: 7725
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
536
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
  When I was a kid our neighbour Reinhardt Ackhardt, a very frugal German butcher hung cow heads and other waste over his fish pond. The maggots dropped into the water along with bite sized morsels of carrion.  It was a long way from any house. The smel on hot summer days was intense.

    He sold clean sunbleached sculls after they spent a winter by the pond.
 
pollinator
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul and Jocelyn talk about aquaculture and aquaponics in this podcast
 
                        
Posts: 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This post is inspired by Paul's comments in podcast 120. I pretty much agree that aquaponics is not pure permaculture but I also don't want to write it off as a bad idea. Like any idea, it can evolve into the ultimate Capitalist exploitation (in this case, mostly of fish) or it can be a reasonable approach to address a particular situation. Here's mine.
I live in rural Nicaragua. While I have access to a lot of land there are many poor Nicaraguans here that are pretty much subsistence farmers. Their diets tend to be mostly beans and corn with possibly some eggs tossed in. Green veggies are close to nonexistent.
What I want to do is develop what I will call the campasino aguaponics package. That is, some minimalist system using typical materials found here such that with little invest, a diet change could be effected. My scribbles about this are at Aguaponics for the people. I confess that being a geek I am getting carried away with some automation (which will be optional) but the goal is simple: greens for the people.
Paul's concern about cruelty to fish is real. Each new aquaponics article I read suggests higher densities. This is just like chicken farms. But, systems can be designed where fish density is lower.
One other issue is food. I am looking at black soldier fly larva as one possible food source. Again, that would not be the answer for those developing commercial aquaponics systems but it could fit in well with what I want to do. With a little bit of creative design, feeding could be automated (with no moving parts other than the larva).
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10548
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
448
cat chicken fiber arts fish forest garden greening the desert trees wood heat
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

fyl Hatfield wrote: With a little bit of creative design, feeding could be automated (with no moving parts other than the larva).



I think this is very promising given the migratory behavior of the larvae. One could place the maggotarium next to the fish tank with a migration ramp to dispense the larvae into the tank. I might try this with my present maggotarium...The only problem with BSF larvae is they seem to be seasonal. But could be used in conjunction with other critters such as Red Wigglers and crickets.

 
                        
Posts: 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tyler Ludens wrote:The only problem with BSF larvae is they seem to be seasonal. But could be used in conjunction with other critters such as Red Wigglers and crickets.



Another advantage I have of living in the tropics.
 
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Manitou Designs wrote: Ok, here goes my 2 cents...

"When your using the grow beds you're removing a lot of soil biology that normally would interact with the plants.  Does that have an effect on the benefits the plants offer im not sure."

I am a newbie and not practicing aquaculture at the moment, but I have stocked my library with all kinds of books related to the transmutation of elements by microbes and plants, to the importance of creating vortices in water which can generate electrical charges which then assist in the creation of colloids (nutrients which are more easily absorbed by plants).

With this in mind, heavy metals and toxins can be neutralized by certain water plants making the issue of using plastic or PVC piping the lesser of evils in aquaculture. What is really dangerous is the anaerobic conditions where the bad bacteria live. Aerating by bubbling or letting the water fall from a higher level mimics the effects of naturally occuring rapids in a stream...thus creating a filmy colloid around microscopic particles which are easily absorbed by the toxin-loving plants.

I found that taking the time to study Nature reveals many answers to our questions.

If you are raising freshwater fish, like tilapia, go ahead and find a local creek or stream to introduce biological micro-organisms... even the mud has beneficial microbes. And introduce these with the filtration tank and purifying plants. I have included a link which will explain more thoroughly:

http://www.thegreencenter.net/

 
Posts: 17
Location: Zone 5b Ontario
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sorry for resurrecting an old thread but I was wondering if anyone could answer a question I have.

Would an HDPE pond liner be safe (not leaching toxins) for a grow bed. I was first looking at making grow tubes out of pcv pipe but after some research that really doesn't seem safe.

I'm just planning a very small system to go over my fishtank.

Thanks!
 
pollinator
Posts: 2401
Location: Toronto, Ontario
214
bee forest garden fungi hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Zack, you make some good points. One has to decide one's own comfort level with potentially lethal or genetically detrimental toxins. Personally, I'd rather grow my own bamboo than be given free pvc. But I think that if you're going to go to all the trouble of ensuring some amount of personal food safety, you should make sure it actually is safe.

I think I'll point out that, as long as sun and space are a given, the main limiting factor in aquaponics is oxygen. If you are okay with mechanically adding dissolved oxygen to your system, the number of things you can stock in it goes up. If you filter out solids that rob the aquatic environment of oxygen when they decompose, same goes. I still like the idea of filter feeders, crustaceans, and bottom-feeders, but I think that until you're dealing with setting up an actual pond ecosystem, its better to keep the parts that potentially conflict with eachother in separate stages of the system. This can be extended to include animal species outside the confines of the physical aquaponic system as well.

There is a thread here dealing with greenwater aquaculture that deals with a lot of this stuff in detail. It apparently came about post-Katrina, in attempting to find a no-input solution to the abandoned swimming pools-turned mosquito breeding swamps. The solution was found as well; some pools had thriving populations of tilapia and a bottom feeder that I forget for the moment. The tilapia had been eating the algae, and I suppose perhaps the mosquito larvae, and the bottom feeders were keeping the solids down. The focus is very specific, in that the goal is extreme minimum energy input to maintain the system, so mechanically added dissolved oxygen was a no-no, but it is a very useful study to demonstrate the potential and frailty of aquaponics and aquaculture in general.

One observation I've read made in yet another aquaculture thread is the observation from a mosquito-plagued area, that when the aquaculture (complete with aptly-named insectivorous Mosquito fish) was put in, the mosquitos flocked to it to breed, and the fish ate very well.

-CK
 
Posts: 641
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
37
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a design I thought I'd share. It's probably been done somewhere before but it's still worth repeating...

I have a friend who is mad on turtles. He has so many that he spends an awful lot of time cleaning their habitat. He lives in an urban environment so I drew up some plans for him so that the dirty water was circulated through grow beds. He's a biochemist so he's into growing medicinal herbs, and has been bucketing the poopy water from his turtle enclosure to his herb garden.

The design I provided him incorporates aspects of a traditional herb spiral, but made out of guttering material filled with gravel, and supported with bricks. The spiral becomes a spirally pyramid where the poopy water is fed into the top and exits the bottom.

He can now fit a lot more plants into his growing space, the turtle habitat is pristine, and he's free to do other things than cleaning and bucketing water.
 
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

fyl Hatfield wrote:This post is inspired by Paul's comments in podcast 120. I pretty much agree that aquaponics is not pure permaculture but I also don't want to write it off as a bad idea. Like any idea, it can evolve into the ultimate Capitalist exploitation (in this case, mostly of fish) or it can be a reasonable approach to address a particular situation. Here's mine.
I live in rural Nicaragua. While I have access to a lot of land there are many poor Nicaraguans here that are pretty much subsistence farmers. Their diets tend to be mostly beans and corn with possibly some eggs tossed in. Green veggies are close to nonexistent.
What I want to do is develop what I will call the campasino aguaponics package. That is, some minimalist system using typical materials found here such that with little invest, a diet change could be effected. My scribbles about this are at Aguaponics for the people. I confess that being a geek I am getting carried away with some automation (which will be optional) but the goal is simple: greens for the people.
Paul's concern about cruelty to fish is real. Each new aquaponics article I read suggests higher densities. This is just like chicken farms. But, systems can be designed where fish density is lower.
One other issue is food. I am looking at black soldier fly larva as one possible food source. Again, that would not be the answer for those developing commercial aquaponics systems but it could fit in well with what I want to do. With a little bit of creative design, feeding could be automated (with no moving parts other than the larva).



I got into AP from visiting "Friendly Aquaponics" web page. I bought one of their downloads with designs for small systems, and plan to buy the plans for one of their larger systems eventually.

Regarding density... The folks a Friendly's learned something from their first system, and changed their design for their next system. They found out that the fish part of their operation was not profitable, but the veggies were. So they designed a low density system, where the main purpose of the fish is to feed the plants. This also allowed them to have a much simpler design without the need for filtering solids, etc.
 
steward
Posts: 4512
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
394
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Howdy Larry, welcome to permies!
 
Posts: 133
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Firstly guys awesome thread *thumbs up* keep it going ...
I hadn't been following this thread , and just read through it .. needless to say a lot of great idea's, I'd like to reiterate 3 key points i think everyone should observe,
1) START SMALL and build up to a larger system ... For every plant or fish you include will bring it's own set of problems .....
2) USE LOW STOCKING RATES ..... any problem like low oxygen , high ammonia , chemical imbalances and the like will exacerbate at a much faster rate, often not allowing time to remedy
3) KEEP IT SIMPLE ..(KISS).... The more convoluted a system is the more chance something will go wrong...
And to further extend point 3 a little , work out your local environmental conditions , and farm to that.... Do not try and grow trout in 40 deg C heat , or tilapia in -40 deg C cold...
and do not over invest , i have seen people build $4k systems and harvest less than $200 annually each year for 5 years and their systems now need refurbishing at $2k+
Always quantify your systems costs versus returns same as any other business.... Quantify everything
I have seen people using $800 systems growing $500 of vegies a season and $200 from fish...excluding what they harvested for their family during the year.... (CHOP Mk2)
and there system would have another 8-10 years more life in it ....
I've seen $80k crop/stock loss from a stuck thermistat in a greenhouse that cooked everything as it failed to open vents in a self regulating system...Had no redundancy system
Hatfield : "I pretty much agree that aquaponics is not pure permaculture" this is something that could be argued untill the cows come home .... My personal view is it IS... without going on a ranting tangent
 
Live ordinary life in an extraordinary way. Details embedded in this tiny ad:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!