shaffar

Hello from Jasper, Alabama

18 posts in this topic

Greetings,

 

I'm Steve Shaffar. I've studied growing tilapia using recirculating aquaculture and hydroponics for several years as separate disciplines but never liked the negative aspects of either, the i.e. environmental impact of solid and liquid waste removal, water consumption, GMO to produce male-only tilapia, chemical fertilizers for hydroponic growing systems, etc.

 

I kept thinking that there had to be a better way. Then I ran across an article about Tom and Paula Speraneo at S & S Aqua Farm using a system Tom dubbed "Bioponics." Later I found James Rakocy and the UVI DWC commercial aquaponics system and, in the last couple of years, many other farms, systems and vendors that didn't exist a few years before. I'd finally found what I was looking for, i.e. a system that mimics Nature thus reduces inputs, increases outputs and virtually eliminates waste and the need for chemical nad genetic interference.

 

Now, I'm beginning my first, real, DIY backyard system involving a small greenhouse, 2 4' x 8' grow beds filled with pea gravel media and a small DWC unit all connected to a 350 gal. fish tank which I plan to stock with tilapia. Once this personal system is built and successful, I plan to expand to cover 2 acres and add 1,000 gal. fish tanks and vertical grow towers for strawberries to the Flood & Drain and Deep Water systems.

 

The two acre area will be home to my first commercial systems. The plants and fish will be sold to local restaurants, supermarkets, neighborhood grocery stores and the local Farmer's Markets. Wish me good luck as I do all of you.

 

-- Steve

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Hi Steve,

 

Welcome to Aquaponics Nation.

 

I've studied growing tilapia using recirculating aquaculture and hydroponics for several years as separate disciplines but never liked the negative aspects of either, the i.e. environmental impact of solid and liquid waste removal, water consumption, GMO to produce male-only tilapia, chemical fertilizers for hydroponic growing systems, etc.

 

Don't be too quick to abandon your capacity to see aquaponics as two distinct parts.

 

Everything that you dislike about each of the disciplines is resolved by the simple act of connecting a recirculating aquaculture system and an hydroponics growing system.  The capacity to isolate fish production from plant production in the event that it is required is commonsense risk management.   To do that, they have to be complete systems in their own right.

 

Solids removal and external mineralisation of particulate matter is essential to any commercial set up.......and don't allow yourself to be persuaded otherwise.

 

The fact is that the only truly successful long term commercial aquaponics companies have always operated this way.

 

Gary

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Thanks, Gary. Your response has certainly given me food-for-thought. I've been looking at aquaponics as a closed ecosystem. I really hadn't considered running separate, connected, RAS and Hydroponics systems, but now that you mention it, it makes sense from a sustainability standpoint -- more disaster-proof than a single interdependent system.

 

I've been viewing commercial aquaponics using the UVI model modified to include media beds and vertical towers. You've given me more to think about before commiting to a system design.

 

Thanks again,

-- Steve

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Hi Steve,

 

No-one of any commercial substance is using media grow beds......and that's no accident.  They are expensive to construct and cumbersome to operate.  While they are manageable at the backyard level, they are not practical on a commercial scale. 

 

If I was planning to operate a commercial facility, I'd use rafts, vertical towers and wicking beds (irrigated with water from the fish production) for any crop that would otherwise require a media grow bed.

 

Gary

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I'm not sure these replies are in the correct order but, at any rate, thanks again, Gary. Much appreciated.

 

-- Steve

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Welcome Steve. Gary is right. You won't see any large commercial systems using media beds vs. DWC (at least not exclusively).

Edited by Cecil (see edit history)
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Hi Cecil.

 

Thanks for the welcome; I'm glad to be here and have already benefited from the association. After further research outside the scope I've been limiting myself to previously, I agree with you all re: dropping media beds and will be changing my plans.

 

I started off looking at the S & S Aqua Farms model developed by Tom Spereano in the State of Missouri not far north of my location. Now, I've started revisiting websites that I passed over before that use DWC, e.g. the UVI model and a Canadian operation, and some newer ones using Vertical Towers. I haven't found a lot on wicking yet -- except for starting seedlings for propagation and Gary's website but, it has only been 1 day so far. I'll get there.

 

Thanks again,

-- Steve

Edited by shaffar (see edit history)

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Welcome Steve! You've definitely come to the right place. I am a bit obsessive when I get into things - all in, and I have done tons of research, and visited many different sites. I have found no other forum that compares to this in terms of knowledge and correct advice. Not to say that there aren't other good sources, by any means, but folks here are knowledgeable, generous with sharing their experience, and no one preaches any of that no dedicated filtration needed nonsense.

 

I can say that from my experience, DWC and wicking beds are the way to go. I have experimented with a few different methods, and have started to narrow done to these because of their ease and effectiveness - mind you, I'm a backyard warrior, with no commercial aspirations, but that's my 2 cents.

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Hi,

 

......and no one preaches any of that no dedicated filtration needed nonsense.

 

I wish they would sometimes.....it would help to reduce the time I waste watching TV.  Having said that, debating with basic flood and drain fundamentalists is hardly sport.  It really is like shooting fish in a barrel.

 

Gary

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Greetings edmolina. Thank's for your welcome.

 

From what I've seen so far, I share your enthusiasm for this group. Everyone has been very friendly and have shared information from their experiences that has already been of benefit to me. Making the jump from backyard to commercial aquaponics isn't as easy as it sounds and there are many folks out there who want to sell you on the techniques use in the manuals or systems or consulting that they'd like you to buy from them. I haven't see that here so far and I really appreciate it.

 

I hope to be able to contribute before long and give back to the community.

--

Steve

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I also have to give a mention to Paul at EG (re-read my post and didn't want to leave this out). He is a regular contributor here, and his site (different format since it's not a forum) is chock full of very detailed and excellent information. I've also found Paul to be extremely generous with his extensive knowledge and experience.

shaffar and kellenw like this

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I'm a little late to the party (I was up in Minnesota on vacation), but welcome aboard.  Great to have you with us. :)

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ALWAYS go to Minnesota in the summer on vacation :)

 

I'm going to go visit in laws for the 4th of July....

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Hey Kellen,

 

Thanks for the welcome...glad to be here. :smile: I hope you enjoyed fishing in Minnesota this year.

 

I don't know that this is the correct forum for me to ask this, but, I've been viewing your website and wanted to ask about the availability of the white tilapia. I'm looking for sources for both fingerlings and organic tilapia food.

 

Thanks -- Steve

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Better late than never. Me. Not you. Welcome. I'm going to agree with the masses; media beds are great for backyard systems, but don't even think about it for commercial.

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Thanks Sam. I left another reply in the commercial forum to your post there.

 

-- Steve

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