My aquaponics project

jetajockey

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Hey guys, just wanted to share my aquaponics project with you all. It's just started and still needs a lot of cleaning and tweaking but it's up and running. It's a small scale of a much larger project that I am planning to start in the upcoming months. There's also some terrestrial garden plant stuff in there also. Hope you enjoy. If you have any questions or comments feel free to let me know

 

chevyguy8893

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I like the setup you have for these plants, it looks like everything is growing in really well. Nice use of the safe-t-sorb, it seems like a good substrate choice for this too.
 

Orion5

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This looks really cool. I'm curious though about where your plants in the clay are getting their nutrients if there are no fish in the tank yet? Are you fertilizing artificially?

Nice work!
 
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jetajockey

jetajockey

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I put a few fish in today, just some shiners and a JD. I'm not sure what if I'm going to stock anything in it long term since it's all going to be moved in a few months anyway. I've been dosing a macro/micro fert mix so it kinda makes this a toss up between hydro and aquaponics.
 

Orion5

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At the university greenhouse a group used goldfish as an experiment. I'm not sure why, but they couldn't get the density of fish high enough to create enough of a waste stream to grow the plants. Maybe in your permanent setup you could get a bigger bottom tub/tank and stock with tilapia.

I'm curious to see how the clay will work out. Do you have space to put the setup outside in a temoporary plastic greenhouse (like those "tempo" car tents?) I'm imagining a world of unlimited space and $$$. lol!
 
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jetajockey

jetajockey

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Orion5 said:
At the university greenhouse a group used goldfish as an experiment. I'm not sure why, but they couldn't get the density of fish high enough to create enough of a waste stream to grow the plants. Maybe in your permanent setup you could get a bigger bottom tub/tank and stock with tilapia.

I'm curious to see how the clay will work out. Do you have space to put the setup outside in a temoporary plastic greenhouse (like those "tempo" car tents?) I'm imagining a world of unlimited space and $$$. lol!
It's a fine balance between plant density and fish density, with larger volumes of each it seems to be a bit easier to handle.

I'm actually planning a pretty large outdoor setup with about 200sq ft of grow beds and holding tanks, approximately 750-1000 gallons at this point. Here's a preliminary sketch, this is an old design that i've long since updated but you get the idea. I may or may not pipe them into the inside tank racks, but we'll see. At first I will not, though, it just depends on how well I can insulate the greenhouse.

 

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Good morning,

Looks great Jeta! Thanks for sharing with us .

Ken
 

Orion5

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This looks awesome!!

If I may offer my two cents, in Florida you won't need to worry so much about insulation as ventilation in your greenhouse. Even during the colder months the most you'll need is a good heater or two. What I'd worry more about in Florida is the heat of the summer, magnified by the greenhouse. Cooling in the form of ventilation is essential.

Then again you might already know all this.
 
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jetajockey

jetajockey

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That's a great point. Right now it's pretty cold out, we have about 2-3 weeks of freezing/near freezing temps here usually (in the lows). This part of florida is zone 8b so it's not like the Florida most people think about, its a similar climate zone as much of california.

I don't foresee heating as a huge issue, but it just depends on what I end up doing. You are right on the mark about ventilation though, it's been my biggest worry actually because even with lots of ventilation it's going to be hard to keep temps down in the summertime.

My only answer to this so far is to incorporate shade cloth as needed and a misting system. The misting system is a must-have anyway since these grow beds are going to be primarily for aquatic plants that will need to stay moist, so it's a little different in that regard to a regular AP system that is built for food production.

Figuring out the balance between all these things is going to be the challenge I bet, but if I can do it well I'll be able to harness a free source of energy which is huge to me.
 

Orion5

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Wow, I didn't know that the cold temps lasted that long! If you keep the fish tanks/drums in the greenhouse as well (I think you said you are, but I can't remember) they can act as a heat sink during the cold season. Normally these take the form of closed dark-coloured barrels placed in sunny areas of the greenhouse, but I'm sure the fish tanks will still serve as a lesser heat absorber. If the tanks are placed under the grow bins, even better-- they'll stay warm. Also depending on the size of the greenhouse a kerosene heater might be a cheap way to go, but I'm concerned about leaving those things burning at night. Isn't electricity relatively cheap in FL?

There are radiant infrared heaters that, when directed right at the plants, heat them up in winter. But it's relatively experimental at the moment and very expensive. What might be a better idea for the cold season is to design the plant portion of your system so that it can be covered with a "mini" greenhouse within the greenhouse- a humidity dome, of sorts - that you can heat cheaply without having to heat the entire greenhouse. In fact if the plants are covered in domes it's possible that the heated fish water that will be circulating among them might be enough to keep the temps up for the plants. Lots of possibilities.

Shade cloth is awesome. We couldn't afford it for our project so we used bedsheets.. lol! In the main greenhouse we just painted the outside of the ceiling glass with a special white paint that would wash off with the fall rains, but it was expensive to paint this every year. Knowing what I know now, I would have found the money for a proper shade cloth and saved myself the trouble. Of course, opaque plastic also works... a tarp of some sort.

Ventilation is thankfully a little easier. Cut holes in the roof. Resealable in some way, of course; and screened to keep out pests. WIth a screened door/window open near the bottom and the ceiling hole open a pretty serious air current will become established, cooling off the plants. It works like a charm, but then again in FL heat who knows? lol

Anyhow, it's a very exciting project! Especially since you're using it to grow aquatic plants. Great idea. Never hurts to have a few baby greens too. Amazing salads.
 

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