Cecil

Is it worth it?

19 posts in this topic

My large outside system with an airlift has to be dismantled and stored for the winter every year, which is a royal pain in the arse. Add to that I keep changing things which causes me even more grief.

Anyway I think I'm going back to just fish after this year. Seems to me a traditional garden takes less time and effort.

Anybody ever come to that conclusion?

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Taking the raft tank apart tomorrow and making at least part of it a raised bed garden.

I accidentally cut two holes in the liner when drilling out larger holes to change from 2 to 3 inch bulkheads, the airlift has a faulty air connection, but mainly the external feed to the 3 inch airlift needs to be larger than 3 inches to to keep up with the airlift. I've spent far too much time on this and have been neglecting my main income -- fish taxidermy. Sometimes you just have to know when to walk away.

Still into raising fish and my aquaculture systems however.

Edited by Cecil (see edit history)

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My large outside system with an airlift has to be dismantled and stored for the winter every year, which is a royal pain in the arse. Add to that I keep changing things which causes me even more grief.

Anyway I think I'm going back to just fish after this year. Seems to me a traditional garden takes less time and effort.

Anybody ever come to that conclusion?

 

For many people….and particularly those who experience freezing winters…..closed loop aquaponics makes little sense.  There are just too many compromises required…..to the point where it is hard to make it work at all well.

 

I think if you're disposed to have a garden (and wicking beds would be my choice) then you can realise the benefits of aquaponics (the main one of which is re-use of water) by putting together a simple recirculating aquaculture system and watering your gardens from the RAS.

 

Putting the wicking beds inside a small sun-facing greenhouse will extend your growing season by several weeks.

 

I'm quickly coming to the conclusion that most aquaponics systems are expensive, unsustainable salad machines for middle class folks in developed nations……most of which will never see a return on investment.

 

Gary

Edited by Gary Donaldson (see edit history)
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One thing that might be more beneficial that I'm thinking about trying if my pond doesn't dry out this year.  Is build wicking beds near the proximity of the pond and pump water from the pond to them.  For your situation , that might be better than a separate aquaponic system. 

 

My timer went out on me after the last major storm ripped my 2 x 6 rafters like they were twigs and water soaked it.  I've found that my sand bed which is really similar to a wicking bed in some respects, is continuing to grow bell peppers and eggplant without showing water stress despite being watered once every other day.    Might be worth a look if you wish to keep growing garden plants.

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Thank you for the kind words gentleman. However, just never been a big plant guy. The fish Interest me much more.

Same goes for hunting vs. fishing. Never caught the hunting bug. Don't like killing things especially other mammals with well developed nervous systems. With my fish I even humanely euthanize them.

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aquaponics isnt for everyone.. there's people who ask me if they can do aquaponics without fish because they just want plants and I am like certainly, it's call hydroponics.

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Myself, I like incorporating aquaponics into my hatchery RAS setups just to pull some nitrogen out of the system, to reduce water changes (increase the time interval between them). It allows me to "save water" in this respect. The plant harvest is completely secondary to the fish, and considered a "bonus". I'm a fish centric grower for sure. We simply run some rafts in our 30 foot long in ground sump. Nothing fancy there.

I also run basic hydroponics in the greenhouse, mainly for starting seedlings for transplanting into the "dirt garden", but also for rooting hard and softwood fruit and ornamental cuttings... or whatever I or the staff are in the mood to work with. We process a lot of the extra solids we remove with our seive filter and settling tank, and add the resulting solution to the hydro system. I top up this system using waste water from the hatchery RAS setups as well. We also use solids in our dirt gardens, orchards, berry plots and so forth, but due to state regs we have to "process" them to ensure pathogens and invasives are killed before being put outside. It basically involves heating the solids solution before using them outdoors.

To me, it's worth it, within the role we employ aquaponics. Still, like I said earlier, it's really all about the fish. We just try to reuse the nutrient rich waste byproducts as best we can for other purposes, and that's proven to help us run a better RAS, as well as save some money on waste treatment while providing some "free" fertilizer, and also provides us a great way for starting plants for other purposes.

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Myself, I like incorporating aquaponics into my hatchery RAS setups just to pull some nitrogen out of the system, to reduce water changes (increase the time interval between them). It allows me to "save water" in this respect.

...

 

We just try to reuse the nutrient rich waste byproducts as best we can for other purposes, and that's proven to help us run a better RAS, as well as save some money on waste treatment

 

Wasn't that the basic rational for "aquaponics" in the first place... :D

Edited by RupertofOZ (see edit history)

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Wasn't that the basic rational for "aquaponics" in the first place... :D

 

Actually, the motivation that underpinned (what was to become known as) "aquaponics" was to enable mankind to derive sustenance in a way that didn't degrade the planet.  That motivation produced the integrated aqua-vegeculture system (iAVs).

 

Subsequent iterations of the original system have moved away from that core goal - in terms of motivation, efficacy and sustainability.

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Wasn't that the basic rational for "aquaponics" in the first place... :D

Definitely the intention. :D

We just don't run anywhere near the plant density of, say, a UVI system, or similar (plants are not our focus), and utilize the "waste stream" through other integrations besides just AP and hydro.

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i think i am just summarizing the thread but I agree with the undertone. That aquaponics is a good way to reuse aquaculture waste as opposed to polluting the environment.

 

I think maybe the idea of aquaponics has outgrown its real world application and abilities as some sort of magic bullet agriculture technique that it isnt.  The people who have and teach growing commercial greens with low density fish tanks i wonder if they are not the best application of aquaponics.  If people arent growing fish as a second crop, food source or for personal enjoyment (koi?) . If you just want to grow plants then wouldnt you just do hydroponics?

 

anyway. that's kind of the opposite of cecil's dilemma but the more common scenario ,imho. Way more people seem to be interested in having a garden and dont really enjoy the fish aspect like others of us.

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If you just want to grow plants then wouldnt you just do hydroponics?

Totally agree. That's something I've been saying for years.

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While fish production is a good thing for those who want fish, there are many other integrations that will achieve a similar outcome when coupled to hydroponic growing systems like NFT, raft or flood and drain media beds.  

 

Some people use worms, others have used rabbits and ducks......and quail is another possibility.  

 

The principles that apply to aquaponics remain the same.  Capture the solids, mineralise them and return the nutrient-rich liquor to the growing system.

 

While those with a "clean" fetish may not agree, aged urine is probably the easiest thing (aside from bottled hydro nutrients) to use in such systems.

 

Gary

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My large outside system with an airlift has to be dismantled and stored for the winter every year, which is a royal pain in the arse. Add to that I keep changing things which causes me even more grief.

Anyway I think I'm going back to just fish after this year. Seems to me a traditional garden takes less time and effort.

Anybody ever come to that conclusion?

I would hate that. Suggest you move to Hawaii. :)

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Well if you could disconnect your grow beds each year and just raise the fish till Spring then reconnect would that make things easier? Why are you completely disassembling the systems? 

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I would hate that. Suggest you move to Hawaii. :)

Actually don't mind winter. It's the preparation before winter.

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Well if you could disconnect your grow beds each year and just raise the fish till Spring then reconnect would that make things easier? Why are you completely disassembling the systems?

To keep the components from freezing up and high wind damage. The airlift was below ground but would pool water. And the truth be told I felt the raft tank was an eye sore. I find the IBC's even uglier. Just my opinion of course. Edited by Cecil (see edit history)

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Cecil

 

Read were you have damaged your liner. Call the manufacture, any good liner company with have a reliable patching tape to make the repairs.

 

But remember the first thing they will say, "Surface Preperation" is the key ingredient for the repair to take hold.

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Cecil

 

Read were you have damaged your liner. Call the manufacture, any good liner company with have a reliable patching tape to make the repairs.

 

But remember the first thing they will say, "Surface Preperation" is the key ingredient for the repair to take hold.

Thanks but it's academic now. I got rid of it.

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