GaryD

iAVs.info - the Integrated Aqua-Vegeculture System

381 posts in this topic

Hi,

 

During the past several months, I have collaborated with Dr Mark R. McMurtry to create an iAVs web site.

 

The purpose of www.iavs.info is to:

  • describe iAVs  â€“ and discuss its benefits.
  • house relevant research publications and journal articles.
  • encourage the practical application of iAVs  â€“ for households , impoverished villagers and aspiring commercial operators.
  • showcase iAVs  systems.
  • dispel topical misconceptions surrounding the various aquaponics system options.
  • provide support for those choosing to apply  iAVs .

The purpose of this thread is to announce new articles and other site developments.

 

Gary Donaldson

Edited by Gary Donaldson (see edit history)
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Hi Gary,

 

Great idea. Congrats to you and Mark for your efforts.

 

Looking forward to having a read threw tonight.

 

Cheers

Joe

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Thanks Joe.  

 

This project has been/is a labour of love.  

 

There's nothing in it financially (for either of us), but the iAVs story is too important (in the overall context of aquaponics) not to see the light of day.

 

Hopefully, the new web site will assist iAVs to realise its destiny.

Gary

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In the "What is iAVs" section the following is quoted..

 

iAVs is scale-neutral in application, systems may range in size from table-top demonstrations (or as filters for domestic aquariums),  to backyard or village scale gardens, and from moderate- through massively-scaled commercial enterprises.

 

What evidence exists to support either part of this claim?

Edited by RupertofOZ (see edit history)
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Hi Rup,

 

I think I can speak for many when I say, I acknowledge your high level of understanding of the topics we talk about here daily, as exampled by some of your more recent posts.

 

Whilst I comprehend the technical & formal merit in which you raise your question of the wording / statement / claim, I am sure you will also acknowledge that the pretense of which you constructed your post would / could also apply, in instances, to portions of just about every website / forum / facebook / printed book / visual media etc of this interest.

 

I think my overall point might be, its important to remember to focus on positive value adding input.

Getting to finicky, picky, formal and direct over wording often looses the spirit of the intention.

Do you have any evidence such wording / statement / claim is false, misleading or otherwise disproven ?

I hope I have I demonstrated my point...

 

Sheep sheared for your station.

Personally, i'de prefer goats, their not as fussy :D

 

Cheers

Joe

Edited by Toga (see edit history)

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To be honest.. I'm not even really sure what the actual definition of "scale-neutral in application" means.. or is intended to mean..

 

But to the latter point... while it's documented and acknowledged that Boone Mora and TIm Garrett created and managed a USDA-funded  iAVs Commercial Demonstration Project... which one could perhaps argue might be defined as a "moderate" scale... (I wouldn't)

 

There is nothing to suggest that it can be successfully scaled, or has been ever scaled to a "massively-scaled commercial enterprise"

 

 

I'm more than happy to accept that there's merit in looking at iAVs methodologies and applications.... but I think it's far too early to wrap them in too much "hyperbole"

 

We've all seen that done way to many times in aquaponics... especially in regards to commercial application ;)

Edited by RupertofOZ (see edit history)
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Hi Rupert,

 

Mark has built iAVs systems ranging from 1 square foot to 3000 square feet.  Boone Mora had 10,000 square feet.  That's 4 orders of magnitude and we see no reason why another 3, 4 or six zeros shouldn't work…..assuming available markets, appropriate design and skilled management.
 
THe term "scale-neutral" is not exactly precise…..since larger operations obviously benefit from economies of scale.  Historically, greenhouse operations tended to expand exponentially (under competent management and favorable market conditions) - up to the point of market saturation.
 
Given that there are still very large soil-based operations, similarly-sized sand culture systems ought not be too big a stretch…..given that sand+organic matter is soil.
 
Roses, peas, tomatoes or marihuana, or whatever (w/ or w/o fish) all benefit from being set up as modular production units. one GH bay (e,g, 4 x 12m) connected in 'strings' (e.g. groups/sets of 12 would make 48 x 12m) then gutter-connected (e.g, venlo type GH et al) e.g 10-sets side by side gives 40 x 120 m (5760 m2 or 1.42 ac, 0.576 ha) would not be considered a large operation by most commercial operators.  In US/Mexico, typical single GH tomato (etc) houses are in the 20 to 30 acre range - each, and typically with many multiples of such units set side by side
 
Mark has designed worked several proposals for iAVs operations approaching similar scale.  It this case, he selected a "module" of 40 to 50 cu m grow-out tank volume (high-density tilapia) with about 600 sq m of horticulture (incl access corridor and aisles (bed/row spacing) per module.  12 such modules gives approx 2.5 acres (total facility incl. post-harvest etc aspects).  NO reason why this wouldn't physically work.  The limitation is whether the grower sell all of the production on a timely basis at fair market value?  If not, doesn't matter how small/big or what the yield rate was.
 
Success in any form of production (not just food) requires two factors:
  • make it cheaper than it sells for 
  • sell all that you make.  
It doesn't matter how much tilapia or tomatoes, etc one can grow.  If it doesn't all enter the market at a fair price, you've just lost your shirt (and/or panties) and probably also your mind.
 
We see iAVs primarily as horticulture and less as aquaculture - because that's where the $ is.

 

To be honest.. I'm not even really sure what the actual definition of "scale-neutral in application" means.. or is intended to mean..

 

But to the latter point... while it's documented and acknowledged that Boone Mora and TIm Garrett created and managed a USDA-funded  iAVs Commercial Demonstration Project... which one could perhaps argue might be defined as a "moderate" scale... (I wouldn't)

 

There is nothing to suggest that it can be successfully scaled, or has been ever scaled to a "massively-scaled commercial enterprise"

 

 

I'm more than happy to accept that there's merit in looking at iAVs methodologies and applications.... but I think it's far too early to wrap them in too much "hyperbole"

 

We've all seen that done way to many times in aquaponics... especially in regards to commercial application ;)

 

Since many of the systems about which you speak are the bastard (mutant) offspring of iAVs, it's reasonable that you be concerned about hyperbole.
 
iAVs is the progenitor of these systems and it retains the efficacy of the bloodline……in addition to the fact that it's the only integrated aquaculture system (that we're aware of) that has been developed and proven according to the scientific method…..with published and peer-reviewed outcomes.
 
I'm still trying to determine if it's best if we deal with comments arising out of the iAVs web site here - or there.  I guess, given the almost hysterical sniping reaction to previous iAVs threads, I'll be guided by the nature of the comments/questions.
 
If things get out of hand, I may just use this thread to announce new developments….and lock it after each announcement.
 
Gary
Edited by Gary Donaldson (see edit history)

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Mark has built iAVs systems ranging from 1 square foot to 3000 square feet.  Boone Mora had 10,000 square feet.  That's 4 orders of magnitude and we see now reason why another 3, 4 or six zeros shouldn't work…..assuming available markets, appropriate design and skilled management.

 
THe term "scale-neutral" is not exactly precise…..since larger operations obviously benefit from economies of scale.  Historically, greenhouse operations tended to expand exponentially (under competent management and favorable market conditions) - up to the point of market saturation.

 

So really the claim made (and quoted in my post)... is at the very least somewhat supposition.... an idea with potential... but not proven ... or even clearly defined...

 

At worst.. it could be seen to be of the same kind of hyperbole.. that is almost universal in most "commercial" AP promotions... and methodologies.... ;)

Edited by RupertofOZ (see edit history)
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So really the claim made (and quoted in my post)... is at the very least somewhat supposition.... an idea with potential... but not proven ... or even clearly defined...

 

At worst.. it could be seen to be of the same kind of hyperbole.. that is almost universal in most "commercial" AP promotions... and methodologies.... ;)

 

It's premised on the fact that quite substantial soil-based greenhouse systems already exist……and, as such, it's more in the realm of probability than supposition.  

 

The production capabilities of iAVs are already known and (conservative as they are) simple extrapolation suggests that commerical application is probably viable.  Of course, we don't suggest that anybody entertain large-scale commercial aquaponics without appropriate field trials - regardless of the system type/approach.  We're confident that any comparison of iAVs and any other methodology will simply confirm iAVs' efficacy.

 

Let me remind you that the production capabilities of iAVs have been tested, published and reviewed by several scientists - each of whom was/is an expert in their respective fields.  No other system that we're aware of can make a similar claim.

 

When it comes to hyperbole, you must be thinking of all of the methodologies…...other than iAVs….in which case, I heartily concur.

 

Is there some technical aspect of iAVs that causes you particular concern?

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Let me remind you that the production capabilities of iAVs have been tested, published and reviewed by several scientists - each of whom was/is an expert in their respective fields.  No other system that we're aware of can make a similar claim.

 

So you discount the UVI system?... on what basis?

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Hi Rupert,

 

The UVI project trials were never replicated but rather were repeated (for 25 years) under annually and seasonally variable climatic conditions (e.g.....precipitation volumes were not acknowledged) and without any experimental controls.  UVI was a protracted "demonstration of concept" rather than a scientifically conducted study…..and yet the UVI raft system is the universal commercial model of choice.

 

My contention is that, if the modular layout of the UVI raft system can be used as a model for commercial operations, then there's no reason why iAVs should not function similarly……particularly since (based on the production figures provided for the UVI system) iAVs is far more productive in terms of food (fish or plants) produced per square metre of footprint.

 

Couple that with the fact the UVI system:

  • costs more to implement
  • costs more to operate
  • requires more externally sourced resources
  • requires greater skill to operate
  • is far less efficient in its use of resources like water, area, nutrients and time

I don't discount the UVI system but I think that it's reasonable to suggest that, if the UVI raft system can be viewed as a commercial model, there's no reason (given the above considerations) why iAVs wouldn't function at least as well.  Based on the production figures achieved for iAVs,

 

I believe that iAVs would, in practice, be far more productive.

 

Gary

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I don't discount the UVI system but I think that it's reasonable to suggest that, if the UVI raft system can be viewed as a commercial model, there's no reason (given the above considerations) why iAVs wouldn't function at least as well.

 

The UVI system, while not "replicated" in a scientific sense..... has been successfully "replicated" (in it's pure form) in a real world commercial sense at various levels of scale.... the same can't be said with regards to the iAVs model, other than the one instance of Boone Mora

 

if the modular layout of the UVI raft system can be used as a model for commercial operations, then there's no reason why iAVs should not function similarly……particularly since (based on the production figures provided for the UVI system) iAVs is far more productive in terms of food (fish or plants) produced per square metre of footprint.

 

It may be the case... if the costings are comparable in current times... and/or in comparison with the UVI, or other more recent models... especially if the yield figures are still  better than anything else currently available... but there's no replicated proof.. it's conjecture until someone does so...

 

Couple that with the fact the UVI system:

  • costs more to implement
  • costs more to operate
  • requires more externally sourced resources
  • requires greater skill to operate
  • is far less efficient in its use of resources like water, area, nutrients and time

 

Without arguing the individual points in depth.... is this actually the case now.... or is that a historical comparison... to the time/costs when  the iAVs trials were done... or just a guesstimate..

 

Would the capex cost to scale & implement an iAVs system be less than those for a UVI, or other systems in the current market?

 

Are the operation costs or skill levels actually less than other current models?

 

And how do you determine that the iAVs model requires less externally sourced resources.. than other current models?

 

Or that it is more efficient in its use of resources like water, area, nutrients and time?... for instance I question the area required in relation to say something such as the UAE project... and/or the claim to "water", "nutrients", or "time"

Edited by RupertofOZ (see edit history)
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Love the website. Glad this was done.

 

 

Mr. Donaldson, since you are now the official spokesman for the iAVS due to your continuing discourse with Dr. McMurtry and allowance for the website. I am glad you are willing to have a conversation.

 

 

Going to bow out due to my previous interactions and will just watch.

 

Just wanted to say... Awsome job. :thumbsu:

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In terms of "technical" concerns.... can you explain this "promise"... and how it was derived?

 

iAVs has the capacity to produce fish and fresh vegetables sufficient to provide a family with 200 kg of fish and 1,400 kg of vegetables (fruit) per year in a footprint equal to an automobile parking space. *

 

Especially in conjunction with the footnote... I'm struggling to envisage how to fit a fish  tank capable of that level of fish production... let alone sand beds capable of that level of vege production... into a car parking space... with or without environmental controls...

 

*Assumes a sub-tropical or temperate climate or controlled environment that will permit year-round plant production.
Edited by RupertofOZ (see edit history)
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Hi Rupert,

 

That quote was coined by Dr Douglas Gross (Professor Emeritus, Crop Science at NCSU - Assistant Director, International Programs) and was based on   a space 3m x 9m = 27m2.  Of that area, 18m2 was the bio-filter/grow bed - 4 tomato plants per square metre - 3 crops per year - 216 plants x 6kg per plant = 1296kg.  The fish production was premised on 45 - 50kg x 5m3 = 225 - 250kg.

 

Gary

Edited by Gary Donaldson (see edit history)

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Love the website. Glad this was done.

 

 

Mr. Donaldson, since you are now the official spokesman for the iAVS due to your continuing discourse with Dr. McMurtry and allowance for the website. I am glad you are willing to have a conversation.

 

 

Going to bow out due to my previous interactions and will just watch.

 

Just wanted to say... Awsome job. :thumbsu:

 

Charles, thank you for your kind words.  While I appreciate your Southern courtesy, I'm much more comfortable with Gary.

 

While I'm probably going to be the more visible, I'm at pains to suggest that I'm simply a conduit for information about iAVs.  I hope to construct my own iAVs soon at which point I'll be able to speak from my own experience.

 

Gary

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The fish production was premised on 45 - 50kg3 x 5m3 = 225 - 250kg.

 

Does this (presumably) represent  5 x 1000L tanks stocked each at 45 - 50kg3??

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Does this (presumably) represent  5 x 1000L tanks stocked each at 45 - 50kg3??

 

No….it was one large rectangular plywood tank which spanned one short edge of the bio-filter/grow bed.  The tank, which was buried in the ground so that the grow bed could drain into it, had a sloping base - so that solids settled to within reach of the pump.

 

Given the ready availability of proper aquaculture tanks, these days, I'd probably factor in a buried sump tank and have the fish tank above-ground.  The water would flow from the base of the fish tank into the bio-filter/grow bed and then drain into to the sump tank.

 

The tanks used by Boone Mora and Tim Garrett were basically a lined hole in the ground…..and an interesting civil engineering project in themselves.  Here's a quote from an email that Boone sent me:

 

Our tanks were l0 feet wide and approximately 90 feet long and went straight down for 3 feet and then sloped to the middle where the water was about 5 feet deep.  The tank walls extended about 6 inches above the water.  I do not recommend this shape of tank.  It is difficult to dig and the sides cave in when water in the tank is low or empty.  Perhaps it would be well to slope the sides about 20-25 degrees instead of going straight down.  The tank was lined with styrofoam 2' x 4' x 2" thick and a 20 mil. thick piece of permalon laid in place.  The permalon we bought was 20 layers laminated and it delaminated after about 2 years.

 

 

Each tank had a capacity of about 26,000 gallons.  There were two of them….each about 45 feet long.

 

Gary

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No….it was one large rectangular plywood tank which spanned one short edge of the bio-filter/grow bed.  The tank, which was buried in the ground so that the grow bed could drain into it, had a sloping base - so that solids settled to within reach of the pump.

 

So presumably it was a 3 mtr x 2 mtr tank.. filled to 5000L....

 

How  did they stage their cohorts.. (and how many cohort batches)

 

Or was it a single stocking biomass of 225 - 250kg .... (at least 450 - 500 Tilapia.... considerably more if only grown out to 300 - 350gm)...

 

What aeration/oxygenation means were employed?

Edited by RupertofOZ (see edit history)

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There were various tank/grow bed configurations.  

 

The one that we're talking about was the one upon which the "car park" quote was premised.

 

In his ratio studies, Mark used 16 distinct modules….each comprising a 500 litre fish tank and a grow bed/bio-filter.  

 

Here's another iteration of the "car park" production capability…..this time for a smaller car but with proportionate yields…..from this document produced by Dr Douglas Gross' office….

 

At these yield rates, a “parking space†sized unit with 3 cubic meters of water and 14 square meters of vegetable filter bed could yield 150 kg of fish and 1100 kg of vegetable fruits per year (an average of 3 kg (7 lb) fish and 21 kg (46 lb) vegetables each week). Including annualized losses for evapotranspiration and incorporation into biomass (food) at 85% of total input and a seepage loss of 6%, each liter of water utilized by the IAVS technique can produce 6 g FW of fish and 17 g DW of vegetables. Collectively, tilapia and tomato yields result in 0.7 g DW of protein and 7 Cal. (or 7,000 calories) per liter of water used. 

 

 

My understanding is that that only aeration was that resulting from the "cascade" as the water drained from the grow bed to the fish tank.  This "low tech" approach was designed for use in developing countries.

 

Mark has always said that the iAVs as it was originally designed was ripe for enhancement/improvement.  He never set out to optimise anything but rather to establish a fully quantified baseline.  

 

Aeration is obviously one area where there is scope for enhancement…..particularly if other fish species were to be used in place of tilapia.

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They were around 300mm deep.

 

Boone Mora used 300mm beds and commented that they should have a 4 - 6 inch freeboard - to accommodate furrowing of the sand (a critical feature of iAVs).  The freeboard would be less of a concern in backyard situations where it would be easy to shape the furrows.  Boone's grow beds were about 90' long (and close to 100 feet wide).

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So presumably it was a 3 mtr x 2 mtr tank.. filled to 5000L....

 

How  did they stage their cohorts.. (and how many cohort batches)

 

Or was it a single stocking biomass of 225 - 250kg .... (at least 450 - 500 Tilapia.... considerably more if only grown out to 300 - 350gm)...

 

What aeration/oxygenation means were employed?

 

Rupert…..I realised upon re-reading this that I had not adequately answered your questions.

 

The attached spreadsheet provides the reporting conventions and the numbers for fish production.

post-2-0-97599300-1429053724_thumb.jpg

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Just a few questions that have not been answered and portrays my concerns with the iAVS... I have read over the below questions more than several times and don't know how I could ask them any simpler.

 

I am as curious to how the questions will be answered as I am with the content of the answers... Just asking and watching.

 

 

1. Who are the current iAVS commercial practioners that have replicated the iAVS? If there are some, why not mention this on the website?

2. Who bought the Boone / Mora operation after the USDA grant money ended and is the pilot still in operation as a thriving business using the iAVS? If still thriving, why not mention this on the website?

3. What is done when the "fish tank" half of the iAVS must be significantly salted so to cure particular ailments without harming salt sensitive vegetables or fruits and done without sacrificing the iAVS fundamentals?

4. Has there been an occurrence of media borne ailments or other ailments during the iAVS research or the Boone/Mora pilot within the "vegaculture" section"? If there were ailment occurrences, how were these resolved without impacting fish health nor sand biofiltration capabilities? If there were not ailment occurrences, does the evidence suggest the iAVS avoids media borne ailments from occuring?

5. When the occasion arises to use other sources of nutrients or supplements, how would this be done without impacting fish health? If there is no need for any supplementation for any crop, does the evidence suggest the iAVS avoids plant nutritional deficiencies from occuring for any crop?

6. Since commercial operations also entail adhering to business regulations.... Can you list examples of how the iAVS would comply to potential business regulations without breaking the iAVS fundamentals?

 

7. Will you be including a Frequently Asked Questions section on the iAVS website?

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