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GaryD

Aquaponics "Mythconceptions"

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Hi,

For those who are interested.......my latest blog post....Mythconception #8 - Water Turnover......here.

Gary

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Hi Damien,

Here's one place it cropped up......here. It's not so much a suggestion that they must (or even should) be 300mm but rather the lack of logic that attended the reasons offered. The depth of grow tanks (like any other aspect of aquaponics is driven by the circumstances that apply rather than any formula or 'guideline.'

Incidentally, for all of the suggestions that grow beds should be 300mm deep, it's worth noting that, as far back as the 1950's, flood and drain gravel grow beds were used in hydroponics.....and, according J. Sholto Douglas (in his book Hydroponics - the Bengal System) they were 200mm to 225mm deep

Gary

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But hydroponic GB's don't need to work as filters and house bacteria and a lot of them are in glass houses so don't have to deal with a lot of wind. 100mm more sounds okay to cover the difference.

The water turnover of once per hr is something I had a problem with. 55000ltr pumped every hr is a lot of water. I incorporated airlift bio filters to help with this and run a ratio of 9:1 for water to media. But on a standard system it helps cover the basic rule of keeping the beginners system running well. My system cycling took months to get to a safe area. One of the reason I left adjusting the PH down till now was the bacteria worked better and keeping the fish happy was my main goal.

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Hi,

Castaway fired off a somewhat shrill response to my blog post Mythconception #6 - Aquaponics is Easy when I posted it some weeks back. He seemed genuinely offended that I should utter such heresy.

I see that Murray has conceded that "It is not always easy"......so I guess Castaway can relax now that he's heard it from someone whose experience confirms that it really is not alway easy.....despite what the brochures might tell you.

Gary

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Self sufficiency is not easy. I do find AP to be easy when we take the time to learn the basics. But we all tend to get caught up in the excitement. And that is where most of the problems lay. I do think AP is a key in self sufficiency, with more control over growing plants and fish. And its ability to enhance other forms of growing. Some people will always be happy with just doing AP. Others still like dirt, I'm more for both and anything in between.

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Well Gary, now you possess the power to tell people what they mean when they say something...very impressive. You should become a political commentator, or a fortune teller !!!

Also, given that your experience of food self-sufficiency has been limited to aquaponics, how can you make the comparison.
Actually, my experience in food production goes back 63 years. I was born in Stanthorpe, the son of a small hold farmer. We kept chooks, goats, sheep and an extensive garden as well as the fruit orchard. (there were an assortment of ducks hanging around the place, but I think most of them belonged to the next door neighbour)

In my youth I worked on neighbours orchard and small crop production of all the usual things, tomatos, cabbage and the like. Like most country boys, I worked week ends at 3 pounds a day, daylight till dark, Got a shiny new bike and a few other things from the pay as well as giving half of it to Mum to help with the family budget.

My first full time job as an apprentice "Surgical Shoe Maker" was to a master tradesman who also had a 100 acre farm with an extensive orchard and around 100 Border Liecester sheep. I became a bit of an expert in building rams paddocks crutching and sheering as well as deknackering. Ugly job that.....

He also had 3 sheep dogs that did not know how to round up sheep...very funny when bringing sheep down to the shearing shed.:D

So, you see I have been associated with food production for 63 years now. I could go on about my time in PNG working on a Tilapia project for CDC at Milne Bay, and an earlier time when I came off my bike while trying to make a fast getaway with a case of cherries under my arm. :) (does that count as association with micro farming ?):D

I don't know anything abour Quail...you got me there !!! ;) I know a lot about skinning roos and trapping rabbits to sell to the local "Rabbit Works"

I have never worked in a sewerage treatment plant, but I did work as an assistant powder monkey on the sewerage treatment install at Stanthorpe, blowing up rocks......what fun that was. Did not seem like work at all !!

The experience in using explosives was useful later when I cleared by hand 3 acres to small crop right here at North Maclean. Two years of growing trellis tomatoes didn't make me a million !!!

Then there was the extensive veggie garden here at home for the 25 or more years when my kids were growing up, ceasing only when the drought dried up the back dam about 10 years ago.

Then I discovered Aquaponics....Happy days...It is so easy compared to all that other stuff I can tell you !!!! ...Maybe the way you do it is not so easy, I am sure I can help you improve the way you do things.

Fish kills, yes I have had a few. I actually own up to mine ;) !!!!

And veggies, I grow heaps of them, robust heavy crops. Not like the skinny little tomato bushes at your place.

Now, there you go Gary, see what nonsense you can come back with from this post. With your ability to tell people what they really mean, I will not be surprised to discover from you that I was actually born in Toowoomba.. or Cunnamulla....:D

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Forgot to mention, by the age of 14 I had built up my apiary to 22 hives. Robbed around 200 kg a year which I sold around the town. I started out with one hive which my father and I got out of a fallen gum tree.

I only keep one hive at this time, It is three boxes high right now and need robbing.

Does that count as an association with micro farming ? ;)

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Hi Murray,

Fish kills, yes I have had a few.

It would be more accurate to say that you've killed many hundreds of fish.

That's not to suggest that you haven't had lots of fish....but rather that they didn't survive to the point where they made it onto the dinner plate. In fact, your capacity to successfully raise fish is such that, while you had been doing aquaponics for about three years, you hadn't actually eaten anything you'd raised yourself until relatively recently.

Then I discovered Aquaponics....Happy days...It is so easy compared to all that other stuff I can tell you !!!! ...Maybe the way you do it is not so easy, I am sure I can help you improve the way you do things.

So, while I can usually learn something from anyone, when I need personal development, I'll usually approach the master rather than the apprentice.

There is, however, one thing you can tell me?

You advise people to stock their tanks at the rate of one fish per 10 litres of water.

Can you tell me how many (of the people to whom you have provided that advice), have actually reared those fish to eating size.....and can you tell me of when you've actually achieved that outcome yourself?

Gary

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I have found AP to be no more easy or difficult than other types of farming. Whether it's chickens or rabbits, or corn or fruit, they all require you learn and adapt or you eventually lose your crop.

I admire the pioneers like Murray who actually go out and try new things and fail and try again (and then share it with all of us), it makes one less thing I have to try and fail at. That's not a negative, that tells me he has learned through experience and trial and error.

There is an old saying, "You can always tell the pioneers as they have the arrows in their backs." Edison found 1000 ways not to make a light bulb before he found a workable way, otherwise we would still be using candles.

I have 225 fish in my 1000 liter tank (thats 2.25 per 10 liters) and this week we start eating them after 10 months of production and yes, I killed a few fingerling's doing stupid things like trying to raise hybrid striped bass when they are not recommended, but it worked. It's not perfect, and that is to many fish, but they will taste great.

Again thanks to all the pioneers who figured out the wrong way and have been willing to share with the rest of us.

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Hi,

The last couple of days have produced lots of rants from Murray but but nothing in the way of useful aquaponics-related information.

His most recent posts suggest that Murray is more intent on vitriol than aquaponics......and he's wound himself up to the point where he's making threats. I wasn't getting anything sensible out of him before so there's no chance now.

For my part it's back to integrated backyard food production.

Gary

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Hi Neal,

Whether it's chickens or rabbits, or corn or fruit, they all require you learn and adapt or you eventually lose your crop.

I agree.....absolutely.

I have 225 fish in my 1000 liter tank (thats 2.25 per 10 liters) and this week we start eating them after 10 months of production and yes, I killed a few fingerling's doing stupid things like trying to raise hybrid striped bass when they are not recommended, but it worked. It's not perfect, and that is to many fish, but they will taste great.

The issue is not how many fish you have but rather the total weight of fish biomass in your tank. If you have 225 fingerlings weighing 20g each, there's no issue but, if you tried to grow those 225 fish to eating size of (for example) 500g each, it would be crying time long before you got there.

My concern about recommending that someone stock a tank with 1 fish per 10 litres is that, if you were using a 1,000 litre tank, you'd end up with 50kgs once those 100 fish reached an average of 500g each.

That's 50kg per 1,000 litres and that's a very high stocking rate for an aquaponics system running Australian freshwater fish. While I know of a very few people who have done it, such advice for novices is generally a formula for disaster.

Most species often grow unevenly in aquaponics systems so it could be argued that you could begin harvesting them as soon as they get big enough to eat. That might work if you were careful not to allow your total fish biomass to exceed the equivalent of 20 to 30kgs per 1,000 litres.....and you were very tidy with your water quality management.

While some fishkills are the consequence of a single cause like a power interruption or equipment failure, many others are the product of a convergence of events.

It's another one of those situations where simplistic formulae (without heavy qualification) don't work.

Gary

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If we can do away with any misconceptions or myths in foods production, we will all win. But, I think, do to so, the first object lesson is to always separate the content of our beliefs from who we think we are.

If I tell you, "tomorrow, the sun will dawn at 6:30", we might say that is a statement of belief. It really is a judgment or even an hypothesis. If you tell me, "No, Jim, it will come up at 6:32", well, I'm not likely to be threatened or become defensive. The statement is not connected to who I think I am. The fact is, even if I am wrong, I still win.

If, however, I tell you something like, "Jesus Christ is the Son of God", or "Americans are better than Australians", I'm really not even talking about the content of the statement, the fact or truth of the matter. I'm telling you who I think I am. And, if you disagree, I will become threatened, defensive. Because, if I feel the threat of being wrong in these instances -- not who I think I am -- I (the ego) will die (or at least feel the threat of death). If I tie a group of such beliefs together, I then have a belief system and, likely, I will seek others to join in the system -- not to find the truth of the matter but to bolster and defend my sense of who I think I am.

Essentially, there are no winners in such a belief system. Even if the believer is factually correct, he/she is deluded with self and the disbeliever is shunned. Both become distracted from finding the truth in which both could win. (As an aside, the word "belief" or "leif" comes from the term "wish". Essentially, to be-lief is to be-wish.)

So, if we are to be productive as we obviously want to be, to find the truth of whatever, we need to put beliefs aside, put ourselves aside, and look for what is. Then what ever we find, we all win.

The greatest mythconception among humankind is the conception of self. It is the source of practically all human suffering. More importantly here, it also gets in the way of any real progress.

m

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Hi mornings,

Thank you for your most insightful post. Interestingly, while it contained not a single word about food production, it attaches to the biggest issue around aquaponics.

It's interesting (and sad) that the fundamentalism that is at the heart of so many of the world's problems has crept into aquaponics to the extent that it has.

If we spent more time questioning entrenched beliefs and investigating new ideas, we would be better off......in life in general.....and in aquaponics in particular.

Gary

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I think the main problem is not the 300mm gb depth or any of the other standards that are in place. Or if they can be changed. The main problem is these were agreed to be a safe starting ground to minimize system failures for beginners. We can argue that 100km is a good speed for traffic to travel at. But I still want L & P platers to travel at the lower speeds until they are ready. I don't mind debating new ways at improving AP but so far from what I've read the whole Mythconceptions should be dumped. We would of covered more ground by having a thread on one aspect at a time and debating it.

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Hi Dufflight,

I don't mind debating new ways at improving AP but so far from what I've read the whole Mythconceptions should be dumped.

Half of me says that it's sad that some people have to resort to vitriol and diatribe when presented with new ideas. The other half understands that vested interests rarely go quietly......and when the name-calling starts, you know you're making an impact.

The really interesting thing is that the thread has yet to produce one single useful technical argument against any of the mythconceptions.

I've removed Murray's rants to give him the opportunity to recover what's left of his dignity.

We would of covered more ground by having a thread on one aspect at a time and debating it.

We already have threads on most of those things. This thread started off as a means of linking to my blog posts.

Far from dumping the thread, I'm even more determined to expose the myths that pervade aquaponics.

Gary

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One example is grow bed depth. We debated it here on this forum before and at the end of it 300mm was agreed as a safe depth. The debate ends but reapears later as a Mythconception. You were involved in the original debate and now its re-hashed. Has that thread been deleted or changed cos if you go back and re-read it we covered all the pro's and con's. I like them to be deeper, you prefer them to be smaller. But if a beginer askes I always say play it safe.

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But if a beginer askes I always say play it safe.
Duff,

This would seem always to be a good advise. But isn't it relative? I mean, if a beginner were to really play it safe, if we were to suggest that they do so, would we even recommend growing fish? From my point of view, we would not.

This is not to argue with your statement or your admonitions to beginners, but to point out, we all proceed from assumptions (even me). It is almost impossible to think without making assumptions and yet, assumptions get us in more trouble, disputes, wars, etc, than any other mental device (correlations are a close second).

Very often, we even embed our assumptions in definitions so that there can be no arguing. If one says. "aquaponics is only fish and plants", well, that's the end of it isn't it? Then, someone says, "no, we can include any sort of aquatic life"; some idiot then says, "what about worms"? They are not by definition aquatic, but they live in water and have many advantages over fish (one of them being lower risk)". Assumptions.

Like it or not, We all must proceed from assumptions. A more precise word would be premises. Strangely, few will even admit that they have made assumptions or started with premises, much less examine them.

You see, it all depends upon what we want to do -- typically, our most basic assumption. And what we want is totally subjective, not arguable, not rational either. And, we like to think that what we want to do is logical, reasonable and, therefore, universal. The fact is, we don't determine what we want logically. But, after the fact, we use logic to rationalize or justify what we wanted to do at the get-go.

I'm not sure I would be as bold as Gary to call the various premises that are used in aquaponics, misconceptions or myths. But, we should be careful to, as Ayn Rand used to say, check our premises. I would add too that we should examine our premises to make sure we have not included our egos in them -- our pride, our prejudices, our preconceptions . . . In fact, as our premises invariably determine the outcome of any project, we would do well to always examine closely our premises before we advance any proposition or idea.

m

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Hi Dufflight,

One example is grow bed depth. We debated it here on this forum before and at the end of it 300mm was agreed as a safe depth. The debate ends but reapears later as a Mythconception. You were involved in the original debate and now its re-hashed. Has that thread been deleted or changed cos if you go back and re-read it we covered all the pro's and con's. I like them to be deeper, you prefer them to be smaller. But if a beginer askes I always say play it safe.

I've never argued against the proposition that 300mm wasn't safe....but rather that it wasn't essential or even necessary in many cases.

These things will continue to be debated and this is in the interests of newcomers because they will come to understand that there is some effort required to learn aquaponics if it is going to be done properly.

None of those threads have been changed or deleted because I don't change or delete technical information......just irrelevant rants, bad language or personal remarks.....as you are aware.

Gary

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None of those threads have been changed or deleted because I don't change or delete technical information......just irrelevant rants, bad language or personal remarks.....as you are aware.

And anything you don't agree with or shows up your often irrational logic.

300mm deep grow beds are proven over many years to be the optimum depth for general use in home media based systems, and as many well experienced AP practitioners have stared many times, other depths will work too, but the optimum depth is undoubtedly 300mm.

There is actually nothing to debate on this issue. Use whatever depth you feel good about, but best long term results will be obtained in a domestic situation by using 300mm deep (or deeper) grow beds.

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Duff,

This would seem always to be a good advise. But isn't it relative? I mean, if a beginner were to really play it safe, if we were to suggest that they do so, would we even recommend growing fish? From my point of view, we would not.

But this being an Aquaponics forum. With one of the main things being fish and plants we tend to want to have fish. I don't mind other ways of growing plants and even pure aquaculture as long as I can utilize the waste. But I understand where your coming from. If I was on a Holden forum, I'd be telling them all to drive Fords like normal people.:D

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Hi,

But this being an Aquaponics forum.

APHQ is, and has always been, about integrated backyard food production (microponics).

Microponics embraces aquaponics but also acknowledges that aquaponics is not the only way that fish and plants can be sucessfully integrated. It also seeks to integrate micro-livestock with the fish and plants.....and worms are micro-livestock.

Gary

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APHQ is, and has always been, about integrated backyard food production (microponics).
Actually that is not really correct, it was very definitely set up as an Aquaponics Forum, info about Quail and chooks was added but the thrust was always Aquaponics until I handed over the running of this forum to you when you then added numerous other titles and adopted the term "Microponics"

If what you claim were to be true , wouldn't it be helpful to everyone to undergo a name change ..perhaps to "Microponics" MPHQ

You have a blog named "Microponics" perhaps you could shift the forum to there and run under that name.

Just a suggestion.

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Hi Murray,

Your recollection is incorrect.

If you look through the Introduction section you'll see that APHQ was always about "aquaponics and related food production matters." One of the largest threads was about Japanese quail and that dates back to the time that the forum was started.

While I appreciate your advice on how to best manage APHQ, I respectfully suggest that your efforts would be better directed toward improving PAP.

There will be no name change.

.....until I handed over the running of this forum to you

I'll remind you (and publish the emails that prove it if you wish) that you didn't hand over anything.

APHQ only survived our separation because I insisted on it......you wanted to shut it down. It was only when I made it clear that our members would not think kindly of you for trashing their input, that you agreed to relinquish your share. I also met all costs for the forum back to the day it started.

Gary

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Hi Dufflight,

Then you need to change the name. Aquaponics HQ Forum, gives the impression its an Aquaponics forum.

Aquaponics HQ is, like Microponics, about aquaponics......and much more.

Thanks for your suggestion......but the name stays.

Gary

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