Backyard Aquaponics

Future Farm
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Author:  abdul [ Dec 22nd, '15, 02:04 ]
Post subject:  Future Farm

Hey everyone.

I'm very happy to report that I have soft launched my urban agriculture business here in Karachi, Pakistan, after 5 years of dreaming about it.

So far we're just providing high quality vegetable seeds, organically raised seedlings and a couple of basic organic fertilizers/pest repellents. But I am pleased to report that I have sold my first mini-aquaponics set!

Will be having ready kits for mini systems people can take home along with consulting, maintenance and design of larger systems.

If you didn't notice from the subject it's called "Future Farm", the online presence is

Would love to hear opinions, feedback or lessons learned that anyone would like to share.

Take care and God bless :]

Author:  Charlie [ Dec 22nd, '15, 05:40 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm

Good to hear Abdul! hope all is well with you and the family?

All the best :)

Author:  abdul [ Dec 23rd, '15, 04:09 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm

God be praised all is well with the family Charlie, hope things are good at your end too :]

Got a lot of catching up to do on the forum, man you go live in the desert for a couple of years and miss a whole of happenings!

I've been charged with putting up a system for a restaurant, will be putting in the system myself at my cost and then selling the produce to the restaurant on site, also use it as a platform for other products.

Planning to focus on green leafies, especially in the first six month, and not more than 5 different varieties, chives, spinach, various basils, marjoram, mint and coriander. The mint obviously under tight control.

Planning twin systems, 1000 liter FT and 2400 liter GB in each. so thats 4800 liter GB in total, along with some DWC trays. Will stock with something like goldies or plain carp as I don't think this is a large enough system to supply a regular supply of fish in a restaurant setting.

My concern is, will this produce enough to supplement/supply the restaurant with fresh greens? Obviously this is very dependant upon what sort of footfall there is but they have no forecast for this. What I'm forecasting for is giving them 1 kilo basil, 1 kilo coriander, 1 kilo marjoram, 500 grams spinach, 1 kilo chives and 500 grams mint on a daily basis as the peak load of the system. Once it get's going and is cycled, appropriately stocked and supplemented I feel/hope these numbers would be realistic.

Would love to hear a second opinion, I fear overpromising and getting people disillusioned with the idea of AP when I have a chance to launch the wave in my country so really want to make sure am being realistic.

Author:  earthbound [ Dec 23rd, '15, 09:24 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm

Tricky questions mate, I'm not sure that it's so easy to answer really.. Personally I would want bigger fish tanks, you have a lot of growing area and you're wanting to get a lot of production, so you'll have a fair few fish in there. Not a lot of room for errors if you have a problem with only 1000L of water. But if you have more in the way of DWC as you are suggesting this will help, with more water volume over all and I guess decent water flow, however, still not a lot of room for problems and keeping good fish health.

But this is also just the way I like to do AP, I like large water volumes in the fish tank, I think I've only ever had one system myself that had a 1:1 grow bed to fish tank ratio, while you are planning a 2.5:1. Personally I like lots of fish tank 0.5:1 or even .25:1, but that's just me, I like minimal inputs and monitoring because I'm lazy and also don;t like losing fish.

I liked this system Carl set up at our shop when he worked for us.. Scroll to bottom of page... ... nics/fish/

He had a 5000L fish tank and 8x500L growbeds and he was pumping the produce out of it.. Though I would think he might have got about 5kg of produce a day from this system when at peak, it wouldn't have be this much constantly, so I think you may be pushing to get that much from your system, at least regularly anyway..

Author:  abdul [ Dec 23rd, '15, 18:22 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm

I'm lazy too bro, I didn't look here before I looked there :D

:laughing3: :notworthy: :notworthy:

I have similar thoughts regarding fish tank size, more for stability, but I want to hold to a 1000 liter tank and making two separate systems so that it's not too large to start up quickly. The system will have a big sump tank though, which I am planning to use for DWC at one end so the entire system should have 2200 liters water capacity not counting the grow beds. Would you say that's a good call or should I further buffer by going for the 1500 liter fish tanks?

Regarding grow bed ration, I've always read that it should be 2 GB to 1 FT ? I've always only run 1:1 and generally that with a sump tank of the same size. I dislike losing fish too and brother I feel you on the laziness, I generally call it "efficiency" in front of the general public ;] Wouldn't having less grow bed space reduce the amount of nitrates you're pulling out of the water and work against you?

The systems I've always seen you guys run are straight fish tank and grow bed configs, no sump tanks. How come you guys aren't going for sumps? I have Murray's new CHIFTPIST mach 2 running on my latest system and the modular nature of it is quite convenient and useful in my humble opinion.

Thanks loads for getting back to me, and that too lickity split

Author:  earthbound [ Dec 24th, '15, 08:44 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm

The reason we've always done the simple fish tank pumping to bed, draining back to fish tank, is because of the ultimate simplicity of it. We were in the business of encouraging and enabling your average Joe to do aquaponics, to give it a go. As our main line was selling systems it's all about costs and cutting back on quality to save money is not an option, so minimal components is the best way to keep costs down.

Our biggest seller was the courtyard system, a 1000L fish tank and a 500L growbed above it, simple, a fish tank with pump in it and growbed/stand/media above. We made a chift pist version of this with a tall 1000L tank, the 500L growbed and a 500L sump tank but this increased the price of the system by almost 25% with the extra tank and a few extra fittings. Same with every other system we sold, adding a sump tank increases the cost of a system yet still only had the same productivity of a system without the sump... And the upside of having a sump? Well quite frankly, mostly bugger all... People throw around reasons like, fish don't like a change in water levels, fish don't like a pump in their tank, etc... None of these reasons are based on facts, just ideas people came up with and started to talk about and they have spread... Just like the fact that George Foreman has no finger prints.. It's true look it up, it's all over the internet...

There may be other reasons that you want to incorporate a sump tank into your system design and that depends totally on the individuals situation, location and materials they have available.

Another one that gets passed around is "you could pump your fish tank dry if you have the pump in the fish tank". We've sold thousands of systems over the years and this has NEVER happened to one of them, do your plumbing properly and you won't have an issue..

While I'm on a bit of a rant, if you are doing Murrays mk2 system it's pointless and stupid unless you are filtering the water between the fish tank and the sump... :thumbright:

Author:  abdul [ Dec 24th, '15, 22:10 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm

Please feel free to rant at me any time you please :]

What you're saying about the sump makes a lot of sense to me, unless it's put in to increase overall water volume as discussed in the previous posts it's doing bugger all. I do also agree with you that plumb properly and there is no way you can pump a tank dry. Does increase cost too.

I've always had a mind to put the sump to use as a DWC bed, seemed to be a waste to have it just sitting there, and I plan on incorporating it into my systems in that manner.

I am using a DIY swirl filter with a sponge in the outlet between the sump and my fish tank in my current home system, and since I plumbed in connections everywhere it did do me an immense good by allowing me to make the sump an instant fishtank when the big fish tank failed 20 days after startup. This was of course admittedly a one off failure and due to nothing except the bastard who made the tanks for me.

Author:  thjakits [ Sep 24th, '16, 04:20 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm


good luck with your adventures! :D

On the topic of sump tanks - besides the extra cost, there is no NEGATIVE to it! :D

- Adds more water to the system
- But mainly, as long as you have the pump in the sump there is NO way you pump the fish tank empty!!

Pumping from the fish tank - even with perfect plumbing, things can go wrong - return lines can get plugged, etc...

I believe in pumping INTO the fish tank and NEVER from the fish tank. :naughty:

Should give the fish a fighting chance once things start to go wrong!


thjakits :headbang:

Author:  earthbound [ Sep 24th, '16, 05:29 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm

All the fish I've ever seen people kill through this forum have been dead and floating in a tank full of water, never in a dry empty fish tank. :lol:

It's like not swimming because of fearing shark attacks, when it's the car accident on the way to the beach that will kill you.

Author:  thjakits [ Sep 24th, '16, 09:27 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm

Naah! Come on!!

There is quite a load of people that got dead fish because (ultimately) - pump in fish tank!!

non-secured pipe work disconnecting, grow-beds shifting, etc....
[member's systems]

thjakits 3:)

Author:  earthbound [ Sep 24th, '16, 14:25 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm

thjakits wrote:
Naah! Come on!!

There is quite a load of people that got dead fish because (ultimately) - pump in fish tank!!

non-secured pipe work disconnecting, grow-beds shifting, etc....
[member's systems]

thjakits 3:)

Or ultimately because they did AP in the first place.. :lol:

Not that I've seen... Who?

And the reasons your suggesting would be because of poor pipework and lack of decent growbed supports etc. :dontknow: Design and build it well and there aint no problem.

Author:  scotty435 [ Sep 24th, '16, 14:55 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm

Yeah it seems like there should be losses from this but there aren't many people that have fish die like this. That's not to say that fish tanks don't get pumped down on occasion and there are plenty of examples of sumps that get pumped dry. There is almost always some water in the tanks when this happens so it rarely kills the fish. Try this search and you'll find a few HSM's but not much if any dead fish - hsm tank dry.

Fish do get killed on occasion by going through the pump when they are small and they do sometimes knock pumps lose but those don't account for major losses that I can think of because there is always some water that the pump can't pump out. It makes sense that the stress of having their tank pumped dry might kill a few or the refill with unconditioned water might. I still like CHIFT PIST more than running with the pump in the fish tank but it works either way and you can always position the pump up off the bottom.

Author:  Old Prospector [ Sep 25th, '16, 20:04 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm

earthbound wrote:
And the reasons your suggesting would be because of poor pipework and lack of decent growbed supports etc. :dontknow: Design and build it well and there aint no problem.

I'll 2 nd that.

Author:  thjakits [ Sep 25th, '16, 23:58 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm quality aside - a pipe can ALWAYS plug up! (...and eventually will! If it doesn't it is a bonus!)

To me, it is a no-brainer safety-feature to ONLY pump INTO the Fish-tank never out of it!

If things go wrong, EVENTUALLY fish will die anyway.
But in a FULL tank you have some time to discover and fix the problem:

1] Power out or pump dead - you have some time
1b] Simple emergency air pump into the fish-tank - you got some MORE time

2] IF you get to fix the problem - you still have the tank full of water - empty tank (....let's say you got 1/2 a foot of water at the bottom - pump intake off the bottom) - you need to HAVE water ready to fill the tank again - although you always should have some "emergency water" - you still need to be able to fill the tank - do you need a pump for it?

To me - MOST emergencies lose a lot of their severity, at least in the initial phase, just by having your most sensitive asset still swimming (instead of flapping around) - and you have HOURS instead of minutes to fix the issue!

Obviously a GB ABOVE the FT design, goes a long way to insure, that the FT cannot go dry - not all designs have that feature.
But even in this case it is a simple thing to get a 50 gallon drum along the FT and let that one overflow into the drum-ST....NOT going to break the bank.....

At the end, everyone to his own..... :D


Author:  earthbound [ Sep 26th, '16, 12:47 ]
Post subject:  Re: Future Farm

Whatever...... :roll:

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