Aquaponics

urbangardenfarmerJanuary 26, 2010

Has anyone ever tried aquaponics? Do you think you could grow pepper plants?

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ohman11(7)

I know a guy that has this setup. He has 8-10 foot tomato plants. Everything is thriving.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 7:04PM
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urbangardenfarmer

Do you know if he uses extra nutrients?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 7:21PM
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grizzman

Urbanfarmer
search this forum for aquaponics and you'll see a nice disagreement on the subject only a month or so ago.
Long story short, you will need to supplement the water/fish castings with something.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 9:18PM
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hex2006

I grew some chilli plants aquaponically without any supplements. They flowered and produced fruit but would have done a lot better if they hadn`t been inside the house stuck in the corner of a room :)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 12:19AM
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humic_acid

@urbangardenfarmer---I read somewhere that it is possible that you can grow pepper plants using aquaponics, the logic is that the vegetables and the fish will work together in a sustainable loop. The fish waste shall provide the fertilizer or nutrients, which is made accessible to the plants through bacteria that convert the ammonia to nitrates, which feed the plants. This way, you won't have to use chemical or synthetic fertilizers unlike in hydroponics.

@hex2006-- those chili plants look really amazing :)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 4:15AM
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georgeiii

The main reason for failure with Aquaponics is that fish aren't cows. They really don't produce enough waste unless you get into the thousands but still you won't get enough to make an impact other than a little garden. Better to just raise the fish.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 7:36AM
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organic_oddity(7)

It depends. I know from experience that a monthly cleaning of a 10 gallon fish tank leads to about as much waste as what I put into my small six site hydro setup. I've also grown three plants inside that fish tank (with a small stock of fish) without the need for additional fertilizers. So it's really a matter of your fish/plant ratio. Backyard Aquaponics always has good info, and here's one of the forums with links/pictures to smaller setups.

Personally the only thing I think is if you're going to do this, get some big fish that will be dinner some day, and that will grow and produce more fertilizer as your plants grow and their needs increase.

Here is a link that might be useful: Backyard Aquaponics small systems

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 10:56AM
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organicislandfarmer(9)

Actually the fish plant relationship is the best possible one from all aspects including cost to benefit. I am starting one this summer and any thing can be grown this way! I will start with tilapia, goldfish and shrimps in separate ponds. I am hoping to be able to sell the fish I don't eat!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 8:52PM
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davemichigan(zone 6a (SE Michigan))

But is the fish plant relationship complete? The way I see it is it is worth doing if you happen to like fish (whether you enjoy seeing them or eating them); otherwise it doesn't seem to give you much.

You probably don't need fertilizer, but don't you need to feed the fish? So in that sense, you are not getting free fertilizer either. To me, the fish just acts like a living converter that converts their food into organic fertilizer.

Is my thinking wrong?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 10:49AM
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lucas_formulas

Looks pretty much as if both, scientist and hobbyists have managed to building and configuring their setups in ways the relationship fish poop production versus plant growth is just fine. There are a multitude of examples that not only seem to- but actually prove this.

The question of the "free fertiliser" actually depends on at what point of the equation you jump in. If there is a fish farm for example who produces fish profitably already, you could truly say that if they switch to aquaponics, - they would have free fertiliser. If on the other hand, you need to build or setup fish tanks, adequate grow beds and feed the fish, to only produce "fertiliser", in that case you couldn't exactly say it would be "free". And yet, if you manage to start all over again, feeding and growing fish profitably, - you would again have exactly what you can call FREE fertiliser. LOL

Your thinking is neither wrong nor right, it's more like subjective... simply because from your perspective the equation is looking differently as from the point of view of others.

Of course, acuaponics is DIRECTLY linked to liking or wanting to grow and perhaps producing fish. That's merely the deal.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 11:06PM
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davemichigan(zone 6a (SE Michigan))

Lucas, that's exactly my line of thinking.

And the hobby part comes in too, like someone might buy fish and build the whole system because the whole ecology type of thing interests him/her. But I have many friends who have pond and fish and filters, etc. They can easily made an aquaponic system, yet they have no interest in it.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 10:45AM
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lucas_formulas

Right, the ecological aspect (some would say organic) must be tempting indeed and if you put this in the foreground you have got quite a pro argument. It might even push some of the profitability aspects (in case there are any) in the background.

And then again there will always be people who will make up plenty of arguments (for them) to just leave this kind of venture alone. In the same way as there are always some people showing up in forums, that have a multitude of arguments handy why even hydroponics wouldn't work for them. Not actually being interested in something or not wanting to get involved with some part of it, is actually a good reason to not investing in something, but it isn't exactly a good argument for a debate, though ;-)

One has to understand here what a merely subjective argument is in such context, and what could qualify as an objective-one and eventually become a concern and matter of discussion.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 10:50PM
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hydroponic1

It would seem to me that if you grew algae with the fish then take the waste and use the waste as fertilizer in the hydroponic system you could get free fertilizer. btw I am not a expert

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 3:43PM
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lucas_formulas

One doesn't need to be an expert to use logical thinking, does one? Perhaps an expert in logic? LOL

"Free" or not exactly free in this context or any other is more like subjected to epistemology.
Yes, if you start life (and protein production) from a cellular- followed by a Plankton level up to a pound sized food chain level, - you actually don't pay for the by-products that turn out to be fertilisers. But that doesn't say that any of it, nor the by-products are actually free.

How much calories do you burn to achieve and obtain that by-product, you don't just watch this happening, do you?
Is time money in this context for you?

The question of free or not exactly free fertilisers remains a relative matter, and all depends on (as said earlier) on the point of the equation where you jump in to use your logic and make your calculations.

Then again you may ask: is it profitable?
Here again it depends on: only if you are able to MAKE it profitable, it is. And any making is never free as far as I know - even if I am not an expert LOL.

The latest "Gimmick" of science, ironically speaking of course is the actual creation from scratch (both, cell body and DNA) of microorganisms and bacteria, that are indeed supposed to transform "waste" into whatever highly demanded resources, virtually for free. Well, free If you don't count the billions of dollars that were invested during a decade+ of research and testing. And if you don't forget the plant construction and the high tech equipment that are build around those "miraculous cultures" to make the production of "free" resources, products, fuels, and energy possible.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 11:10PM
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rsangel64(9)

This is our garden using Aquaponics. Yes, we grow peppers, tomatoes, and everything you can imagine.... Best garden we have ever had....

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:31PM
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