All times are UTC + 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 34 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Mar 5th, '16, 09:29 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Mar 5th, '16, 08:55
Posts: 16
Gender: Male
Are you human?: yes
Location: Utah, USA
I purchased a house six years ago, that happens to have a very large barn on the premise. The barn is 45' x 45', or roughly a little more than 2,000 sq ft. I have been very seriously entertaining the idea of turning it into a very large aquaponics system.

However, I am a total aquaponics newbie.

I have years of experience with saltwater tanks, and I have grown a very large garden since childhood. But I have not done the two together, nor have I grown plants indoors.

I have done extensive research, but nothing beats speaking to the experts. aka, all of you.

--

The goal:
Build an aquaponics system that can replace as much of my family's grocery's as possible.

The Budget:
I would probably consider spending upwards of $30,000.

The Space:
A 45 by 45 ft barn that currently has one side open. I will be closing off the open side, insulating the entire barn, adding a heater for winter, adding a water line and a power line from the house, as well as other improvements.

The Fish Tank:
I am thinking that I would buy a 4,000 gallon septic tank and have it installed inside the barn. Buried into the ground, with the top being maybe a foot or two above ground level. My hope is that the ground would help to cool the water and allow me to raise trout.

The Plants:
I would probably grow something on the order of 20 plants at a time. A variety of things. Many being leafy, to cut down on lighting and pollination issues, but I would also do some fruiting plants as well, such as (it goes without saying) tomatoes.

The Lighting:
Honestly, lighting is currently my biggest issue. Running enough lighting to grow 20 plants is expensive. Upwards of $200 a month. Another expensive issue is heating in the winter. But that is only a few months a year, and can be dealt with.

I am considering using some solar panels, but that is not a cheap proposition either. Any thoughts on lighting are greatly appreciated.

Water Supply:
I am going to be using water off the barn roof to water the plants. Except of course the water that comes out of the fishtank.

I can pull about 55,000 gallons of water a year off the roof. I will likely have a second 4,000 gallon septic tank installed to store the water that falls on the roof. Running the rain gutters into it. Though I would likely use culinary water in the fish tank itself.


My Other Questions:
I know nothing about raising fish to eat. Nothing at all.
Do you cycle the tank before adding fish?
How many fish per gallon?
How often do you do water changes?
What about substrate, and surface area for bacteria bed to form?
What do you feed the fish?
What kind of lighting, filtration, aeration, etc should I take into consideration?
Should I split the tank in half / build a center wall, so I can raise fingerlings on one side, while eating out of the other side?
How long do fingerlings take to raise to a good eatable size?
Any advice on cooling the tank (for trout)? I can't legally raise Talapia in Utah!!! Which erks me to no end...
Or is there an alternative fish that I should consider?

This will be about a year long project to get up and going. I am looking to identify problems ahead of time, and create a well thought out / smart plan as I begin.


Thanks in advance!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
    Advertisement
 
PostPosted: Mar 6th, '16, 03:45 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Aug 26th, '10, 07:17
Posts: 9083
Gender: Male
Are you human?: YES
Location: Oregon, USA
Hi FinnyWiggen :wave:

FinnyWiggen wrote:
I would probably grow something on the order of 20 plants at a time.


Only 20 plants :shock:. Sounds like you may want more of an aquaculture system than an aquaponics system :dontknow: . I'm going to assume you really want to grow more plants or they are big ones :)

A lot depends on the shape of your barn but my first thought is about the light - If you have a side wall along the south (especially if it's the south side) of this barn I'd consider converting this to a greenhouse so you don't have to pay the electricity for lighting. I'd use twinwall polycarbonate sheets (for example - http://www.eplastics.com/multiwall-polycarbonate-sheet). A thermal blanket either inside or outside along this wall could help retain heat at night (https://articles.extension.org/sites/default/files/4.%20A3907-03.pdf)(This shows a low tech chinese version rolled up on top of the outside of a greenhouse (http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-01-05/reinventing-the-greenhouse). Other options - Some people use bubble wrap or thicker bubble wrap like pool covers in Winter to help with temps as well.

If the shape isn't conducive to getting good light then it might make more sense to add a greenhouse to the south wall of the barn and use the inside of the barn for the fish tanks and some sort of energy storage where it stores heat generated in the greenhouse on sunny days. Here's and example of an attached greenhouse - http://www.pennandcordsgarden.com/2014-greenhouse-project.html. You'd likely still be able to use the roof for solar panels. Lots of possibilities with similar designs and this might be the best option.

Cheers


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mar 6th, '16, 05:53 
Offline

Joined: Mar 4th, '16, 10:18
Posts: 9
Gender: Male
Are you human?: YES
Location: OHIO USA
I am new at this too. But with 4,000 gallons of water you should be able to raise about 600 fish. (I'm just figuring in my head) You should be able to grow a lot more plants then 20. Are you planning on putting the fish tank in the middle and grow beds all a round it.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mar 6th, '16, 07:10 
Offline
Xtreme Contributor
Xtreme Contributor
User avatar

Joined: Jan 23rd, '14, 23:05
Posts: 107
Gender: Male
Are you human?: Yes
Location: Hollywood, California
I would recommend starting small and shoot for a "modular" system that you can take down or run in sections. A lot of people do very well with IBCs for their first run.

A 6-10 IBC setup would be fairly easy to get going. Then you could then add more once you get the feel of things.

If you are committed to using artificial lighting a rack system should work out the best for you. Image

As for heating. Look into compost heating.

Let us know what you are thinking. Best of luck. :thumbright:

_________________
Every time I bite into a pineapple I think, ouch; when am I going to learn how to peel these things.
Latest Creation: Dad's System


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mar 6th, '16, 10:10 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Mar 5th, '16, 08:55
Posts: 16
Gender: Male
Are you human?: yes
Location: Utah, USA
Thanks Scotty!!

scotty435 wrote:

Only 20 plants :shock:. Sounds like you may want more of an aquaculture system than an aquaponics system :dontknow: . I'm going to assume you really want to grow more plants or they are big ones :)


Honestly yes. I would like to grow a heck of a lot more. The roof on my barn is something like 40 feet high. If I added a second level, and used grow boxes, I could do hundreds of plants. However, my limiting factor right now, really is light. Each plant requires roughly 100 watts running for 14-18 hours a day.

I grow upwards of 80 tomato plants in my outside garden each year, along with hundreds of beats, a dozen or so cucumbers, and lots of other stuff.


But doing this all indoors is daunting, given the expense of lighting.

I have researched a few options, such as solar panels, solar tubes, solar collection disks / fiber optic cables, but nothing seems really to be that great.

Quote:
A lot depends on the shape of your barn but my first thought is about the light - If you have a side wall along the south (especially if it's the south side) of this barn I'd consider converting this to a greenhouse so you don't have to pay the electricity for lighting.


I do have a very large south facing barn, along with about 45' X 22' slanting roof that is south facing. I have thought a lot about doing exactly what your suggest. However, my biggest concern is having to replace that much plastic every few years.

What is the lifespan on greenhouse panels?

Secondly how much would that increase my heating bill in the Winter? Since I couldn't insulate it... though as I type this, it does occur to me that if I am only doing twenty plants via lighting, it is not as though I am any further ahead, then if I just did a small section of the south side as a greenhouse. Though I would happily do the entire south side, if I could find a product that had a decent (say 30 years) lifespan, that was within my budget.

If I did a small section on the south side as a greenhouse, how much light could I get in winter? I am assuming I would still need to supplement the lighting to keep things alive.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mar 6th, '16, 10:16 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Mar 5th, '16, 08:55
Posts: 16
Gender: Male
Are you human?: yes
Location: Utah, USA
out on a limb wrote:
I am new at this too. But with 4,000 gallons of water you should be able to raise about 600 fish. (I'm just figuring in my head) You should be able to grow a lot more plants then 20. Are you planning on putting the fish tank in the middle and grow beds all a round it.


Thank you! Do you raise trout?

600 is a lot of fish! That would be outstanding. In that situation, I could potentially sell some of them, and pay for my energy bill!! Though I haven't researched what kind of can of worms selling fish in my local area involves. Might be more regulations than are worth dealing with. But it is worth researching.

My barn is in three sections. I will likely put the tank in the North section, plant a few citrus trees in the center section, and do the garden in the South section.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mar 6th, '16, 10:18 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Mar 5th, '16, 08:55
Posts: 16
Gender: Male
Are you human?: yes
Location: Utah, USA
Quote:
As for heating. Look into compost heating.


Thanks for the tip. I will research that.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mar 6th, '16, 11:38 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Mar 5th, '16, 08:55
Posts: 16
Gender: Male
Are you human?: yes
Location: Utah, USA
FinnyWiggen wrote:
Quote:
As for heating. Look into compost heating.


Thanks for the tip. I will research that.


http://compostpower.org/node/24

I am super intrigued by this. Kill two birds with one stone. Heat the greenhouse, and make the compost that I grow everything in the next year.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mar 6th, '16, 12:22 
Offline
Bordering on Legend
Bordering on Legend
User avatar

Joined: Jun 17th, '07, 12:53
Posts: 498
Location: Riverland Sth Australia
Gender: Male
Are you human?: Yes
Location: Riverland Sth Australia
Hi Finny

You have some fish and garden experience and your able to spend a bit of money on infrastructure so you should be able to establish a good productive system .

I would strongly suggest you have a go at the greenhouse option . running lights to grow plants on a large scale is just going to drive you nuts .

There are a few good commercial operators that use the double skinned greenhouse system (Insulates) the skins are seperated by very low air pressure which would be very low cost to run its strong and very effective.

Build a small greenhouse and build a system and run it for a season and get the learning curve happening many traps for new comers.

Perhaps on the side of your barn you could build a short section that can be expanded as you move forward

Your tanks inside would be a good idea out of extremes .

_________________
My System
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=12070


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mar 6th, '16, 13:00 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Aug 26th, '10, 07:17
Posts: 9083
Gender: Male
Are you human?: YES
Location: Oregon, USA
Oops -
scotty435 wrote:
A lot depends on the shape of your barn but my first thought is about the light - If you have a side wall along the south (especially if it's the south side)


I was trying to say if the open wall is on the south, that would be great because you could kill two birds with one stone (close it up and still have easy access) but the south side is great no matter what.

The manufacturer probably warranties it for ten but I've heard polycarbonate has a life of about 20 years and personally I think it will be above that (I've seen a greenhouse in the midwest with sidewalls built from this that's 20 and still going strong). You'll probably need to put shade cloth up in the greenhouse or it will get too hot, that should extend it's life. I've also seen this hit with a chunk of concrete with no damage that I could find.

The winter solstice day length in your area is around 9 hrs and 15 minutes so you'll need at least 45 minutes to bring it up to 10 hours a day which should give you some growth. Expect to supplement a bit in winter to get long enough day lengths, probably need to take it out to at least 10 and maybe 12 hours depending on what you're trying to grow.

If you plan well the wall of the barn at the back of the greenhouse can be used for passive solar. You can fill barrels painted black with water and place them along that wall to store heat during the day and release it back out at night (I'd build it with enough space that you have room for doing this and growing all you want as well). There are several solar greenhouse builds on BYAP (here's one of the better ones but they're all good https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qfmd8qoJ03k) but Check builditsolar.com for some ideas also. The water from the AP unit will help keep the temps from fluctuating as much as a normal greenhouse would. While the AP helps a bigger greenhouse with more air volume also helps :thumbright:


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mar 7th, '16, 03:54 
Offline
Xtreme Contributor
Xtreme Contributor
User avatar

Joined: Mar 16th, '15, 10:41
Posts: 197
Location: Tennessee USA
Gender: Male
Are you human?: Yes
Location: Orem, Utah, USA
Welcome to the forum from a fellow Utahn! I agree with what's been said this far; start smaller (blue barrels, or IBC totes), learn how aquaponics works first hand, then expand. Though there are success stories of people starting with large systems and being successful, I wouldn't try my luck that way. When I was reading through initially, my thoughts went to the passive solar greenhouse that Scotty mentioned. But, I don't know enough about that to give any real feedback aside from reading about one or two build threads on here.

Also, if you need any help setting things up, and depending on where you're located, I'd be happy to help you out with setting up and building things!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

_________________
Life is short. Don't let anyone suck the jelly out of your donut. Especially your super fun motorcycling donut. That's precious jelly son.

My build http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=25201


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mar 7th, '16, 06:23 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Mar 5th, '16, 08:55
Posts: 16
Gender: Male
Are you human?: yes
Location: Utah, USA
Though I agree that there is great wisdom in starting small and working your way up, I am definitely going large. With the years of experience that I have gardening, as well as many years of experience keeping tanks, I feel confident that I can handle a project of this.

I grew up on a farm, and have raised animals most of my life, as well as kept up with a very large garden. My goal with this project is to be able to continue my gardening hobby all year long.

Thank you so far to everyone! The feedback has been invaluable.


I started this project leaning towards a greenhouse, but later began to look more towards using lighting. Mainly because I have no desire to replace the outside of the barn every 10 years. I am going to continue researching outside coverings. If I can find an option that I don't have to replace for 20 years, I will be very happy.

I am almost certainly going to heat it with the compost mound. That is such a great idea. Though I am going to run a test before I implement it full scale.

I also really like the suggestion of using water barrels for heating.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mar 7th, '16, 10:57 
Quote:
Each plant requires roughly 100 watts running for 14-18 hours a day.


That's a lot of power per plant. Can't you go LED? They use a lot less juice. Either 12 or 14 W each.
I just bought a test lamp 90 mm long T5 Bulb which I will try on a tomato plant when it grows up.

I also got a round one which should be good for a 60cm round area for the large pots I have. The round one is 12 w. T5 light, Neither have bulbs with gas and are RoHS safe, 15,000 working hours. Maybe give them a test? I am sure this group knows exactly what mix of LEDs are the best. They can now be bought in strips on a roll. Wrap them to what ever contour you need. You can cut it anywhere and add a plug.

If they work your electric bill for lights would be cut by 75% or more. Gas bulbs and filament bulbs are a thing for history here. It is very difficult now to buy either. Just don't expect any heat from them to warm the plants. They run cool to the touch. It might be cheaper and more effective to heat the water. With that much water it should stay warm enough for at least a day or so even if you lose power.

If you could possibly add a print of the barn or photo with the location of North and a cross section of the interior it would help understand what you are up against and help in your planning. Draw it on paper and take a picture if you don't have graphics on your computer.

D


Top
  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mar 7th, '16, 22:13 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Mar 5th, '16, 08:55
Posts: 16
Gender: Male
Are you human?: yes
Location: Utah, USA
LED's are what my calculations are actually based on. I have years of gardening experience. T5's are generally too dim to grow fruiting plants like tomatoes.

Historically the best option has been large bulbs such as Metal Halides. However CFL, and more recently LEDs have offered great alternatives.

But even with LEDs, if you are are going to have any success in the flowering / fruiting stages, you will need roughly 100 watts of power per plant.

Prior to LEDs it would have been closer to 300-1200 watts per plant.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mar 8th, '16, 00:32 
Wow at 100 watts per tomato plant I would need 7 of these bulbs per plant. It would literally need to be wrapped in light like a cage. 10 plants, 70 bulbs. I would need sunglasses to enter that room. If this is the way then I will have to strike any flowering veggies off the list for sure. Maybe that is why I have not seen any commercial indoors tomato set up videos yet. All outdoors or in green houses. My setup would allow 2 bulbs per plant but not 7. That would be a major redesign for me. Ok anything that flowers will go in the garbage now and save me the trouble of killing it later. Come on lettuce. Please don't tell me they flower.


Top
  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 34 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC + 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 49 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
Portal by phpBB3 Portal © phpBB Türkiye
[ Time : 0.141s | 19 Queries | GZIP : Off ]