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AeroGarden

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I'm wondering if anyone else here on the forum has any experience with the AeroGarden?

http://www.aerogrow.com/

I purchased one a year ago before I got into aquaponics and I must say it worked very well. I think it is an excellent product for people who live in areas with long, cold, dark winters. One of these will give you the greens for a decent salad every other day.

I've found their plant strains well suited for hydroponic growing systems. I took some clippings I put it into my aquaponic system and it worked amazingly well. It out performed the other plants I had from seed in my aquaponic system. My latest aquaponic system is almost entirely populated with AeroGarden seed pods and I think I'm going to set-up my NFT system so I can just put those seed pods right in there.

The next experiment I want to try is to put aquarium water in and out of one instead of the inorganic nutrient solution.

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I had one that did well with dill and G basil, but after the proprietary bulb burnt out in less than 2 months I refuse to buy another at their exorbitant prices, so chalked it up to lesson learned. Maybe some day I'll get around to re-wiring it with standard light sockets.

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Sounds like you had a faulty bulb. I've used mine for 4 months without a problem and will probably do another 4 month run before replacing the bulbs. From what I recall most florescent lights lose their effectiveness after about 6 months of continuous operation. They still work, but your plant growth really suffers. It's a dirty trick if they are really overcharging you for replacement blubs. If that's the case rewiring sockets or finding cheap knock offs might be the answer.

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Hi,

I guess my question would be how would you ever get a return on your investment? The Aerogarden is certainly expensive growing space.

Interestingly, Sylvia Bernstein was the R &D manager for the Aerogarden. Since that time, she's gone on to develop the Aquabundance aquaponics system.....and that is really expensive growing space.

Gary

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is this an old thread? I cannot speak for the Aerogarden system itself... but the basics of aeroponics are very simple, and a very fast method of growing... incorporating the auquaponics (nutrients) with an aeroponics (delivery) could possibly be the best of both worlds. filtration would be most important detail to cover... sprayers can plug.

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Hi Weldnfab,

... sprayers can plug.

And this is the biggest barrier to the use of aeroponics in conjunction with aquaponics. Bio-film will block any pipe work less than 19mm (3/4") so misting sprayers don't stand a chance.

Gary

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Hi Weldnfab,

And this is the biggest barrier to the use of aeroponics in conjunction with aquaponics. Bio-film will block any pipe work less than 19mm (3/4") so misting sprayers don't stand a chance.

Gary

I have seen aquaponics running on 4mm irrigation tube no issues...

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Hi Paul,

ahh I misunderstood you when you said "Bio-film will block any pipe work less than 19mm (3/4")"....

In my experience, that still holds. Low flows through 13mm tube required frequent maintenance.

By the way, 4mm tubing will sometimes block up (due to the build up of salts or sediment) even in straight hydro situations.......as any experienced hydro operator will attest.

Gary

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Hi Paul,

In my experience, that still holds. Low flows through 13mm tube required frequent maintenance.

By the way, 4mm tubing will sometimes block up (due to the build up of salts or sediment) even in straight hydro situations.......as any experienced hydro operator will attest.

Gary

The inclusion of low flows, helps clarify "Bio-film will block any pipe work less than 19mm (3/4")".

Thanks mate.

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All my systems have 1/2" PEX pressurized feed lines and 1" gravity drain lines. I got a bit of biofilm on both of them, but nothing that really inhibited flow.

One would assume that an aeroponic nozzle would be pressurized, but I would still be concerned over it plugging. Someone can always try and prove me wrong. It is possible it could work if the water is well filtered and the velocity is high enough, but I'm not convinced of the benefits.

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I have to remember a few things here..... first, I am just getting a grasp on aquaponics and the ideas behind it, second, it seems many post are more fish based , involving larger solids to filter .... the idea of marrying AP to aeroponics ( something I am trying to dream up for personal scale and use here.) involves less of the gravity flow thru filtration to plant beds and much more on a prescreened pressurized system to plant roots. ( yes I understand it hinders cost / value relationships) It is a pressurized line that supplies nutrients in Aeroponics... and yes they can plug if not prefiltered to fine enough levels. I have successfully used a homemade system involving a constant flow ( untimed ) 500 gph mag pump (I believe it is 45 watts) to pressurize roughly 16 sq foot garden space and providing filtration is kept up, no plant losses. the idea is to have more spray nozzles than really required so if one plugs the plant gets nutrients from a neighboring sprayer/mister. the prefilter in question ( with organic hydro nutrients in use which are not as large a particle as fish emulsion ) was a fine screen sock over a pumps prefilter foam. The sprayer nozzles were aproximently .030 inches oriface and spray aproximently 36 inch diameter pattern. I believe Ultimately aquaponics could feed a aero system if a settlement filtration ( maybe a gravity flow thru worm bed in gravel ) was utilized in front of the aero pressure pump. this would trap many more of the solids? It is too bad a protein skimmer doesnt work in fresh water as well as salt water... it could be wonderful as a prefilter here. Anyway... gary , psedo, paul.. yes you are right lines will always plug if unfiltered properly, aero requires a much better filtration... but growth rates are in a league by themselves in aero vs any other system I have ever tried. ( P.S. the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, uses aeroponics for its own considerable testing.)

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I believe Ultimately aquaponics could feed a aero system if a settlement filtration ( maybe a gravity flow thru worm bed in gravel ) was utilized in front of the aero pressure pump. this would trap many more of the solids? It is too bad a protein skimmer doesnt work in fresh water as well as salt water... it could be wonderful as a prefilter here.

You may find a gravel bed will load up with dead bacteria to an extent which will constantly block sprayers. I would look towards a prefilter that can be cleaned or exchanged. Install several of them so a simply bypass can be made either by a pressure activated valve or manually changing them at intervals suited to the feed input.

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weldnfab there are many protein extractors that work well for fresh water now. check tornado2, also great thread diy phoam phractionater on koiphen. many others around as well.. regards

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thanks for the input mopa and earthangroup... will research some more... none of my purchased protein skimmers have ever been "efficient" at removing solids from freshwater... they rely more on the density of salt water to be effective at foam fractionization. these salt densities are not fitting for most vegetable growth. Aeroponics applied to Aquaponics would indeed be very fast growth with natural nutrients ( most hydro nutes are getting astronomically expensive). second best for speed and moisture sensitive root systems would possibly be A deep water culture with highly aerated nutrient source.... just prune roots as needed. ps... I can only speak from a smaller scale perspective.... a large scale operation may have different needs that I am definately not familiar with...lol... maybe someday.:)

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Hi,

What, given the prospective clogging issues, would be the benefit of using an aeroponics system in conjunction with aquaponics?

It's generally deemed to be problematic even when using it in conjunction with hydroponics nutrients.....and, in my view, the bio-film/solids thing would just aggravate the problem.

Gary

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I have one that works pretty well... the only problem is it wasn't designed with hard water in mind... After a few weeks the pump starts to get noisy, and after that it's pretty much downhill for the crop (basically the little pump gets clogged up with hard water). They're not bad, just not great... everything costs a stupid amount for adding/fixing/etc..., thankfully i got mine free, with free bulbs.

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Hi Weldnfab,

(most hydro nutes are getting astronomically expensive).

Most serious growers mix their own using dry ingredients......or they get them through hydro clubs which bulk buy the ingredients and mix on behalf of a group of members.

That reduces the cost dramatically.

Gary

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