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 Post subject: newbie
PostPosted: Jun 7th, '21, 19:53 
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Hi everyone, I am new on this forum. I have been thinking randomly during the last years to starting my aquaponic system. I finally decided to realize my fantasies. I have some problems though: I live in a city in northern italy, in a small apartment and i don't have a solar roof or a private garden in which to do it.
I don't have any room for my system. I might find an area of 1x2 mt in my cellar, but it lacks daylight. Is it possible to have a functioning system in a cellar-basement? Just to start learning, a couple of years maybe, in order to understand if I want to go big. How have other people in densely inhabitated areas solved the problem?


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 Post subject: Re: newbie
PostPosted: Jun 7th, '21, 23:59 
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Yes, you can do indoor systems with grow lights. The humidity and water leaks can cause problems, and it becomes more expensive for electricity. The benefit is the temperature should not vary as much as an outdoor system, and you can control the daylight hours.

As always I suggest you start small, especially in an indoor space. I recommend a single-barrel system or something similar and small. Depending on the space, at most a "chop and flip" IBC system.

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 Post subject: Re: newbie
PostPosted: Jun 8th, '21, 15:22 
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dstjohn99 wrote:
Yes, you can do indoor systems with grow lights. The humidity and water leaks can cause problems, and it becomes more expensive for electricity. The benefit is the temperature should not vary as much as an outdoor system, and you can control the daylight hours.

As always I suggest you start small, especially in an indoor space. I recommend a single-barrel system or something similar and small. Depending on the space, at most a "chop and flip" IBC system.


Thanks. I was thinking of a 500l tank for fish because a 1000l won't go though the door. Is it too much? And what about the lights? I have no idea at what's needed. I gave a look, but I have difficulties at choosing them. Are led lights enough? I am afraid that the other lights might have high operating costs.


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 Post subject: Re: newbie
PostPosted: Jun 9th, '21, 03:01 
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Welcome to custom built Aquaponics, where you need to evaluate what fits your budget, space, and how to keep it operating safely.

Don't forget GFCI outlet or similar in wet locations, proper grounding, ventilation for the plants, etc.
Start with grow lights that fit your budget and see how they work.

Look at your electric bill to see how much energy costs, then calculate how many watts will be used for how many hours to get an idea of your electric bill increase.

Any size tank can be used, if it fits your needs. Why / what do you want to grow? Fish to eat? Vegetables? Herbs? What kind of fish are available in your area? The system will take time to mature and grow the fish. When fish are small and feedrates are low, lettuce and leafy greens do well. As the fish grow and ea more, then you may be able to support larger veggies like squash or peppers, etc.

It's a lot, so starting small is a great idea. But keep your long term plan in mind, and how you will get there.

Again, maybe a single barrel system with a 20 watt pump, some goldfish or tilapia, a small growbed and a single grow light will get you started.

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IBC sand-ponics system 2021, 3 IBC GBs

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"Aquaponics...solar-powered nanotechnology that produces fresh vegetables and meat, while purifying water..." - Rick Op, Houston Texas.


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 Post subject: Re: newbie
PostPosted: Jun 9th, '21, 03:16 
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dstjohn99 wrote:
Welcome to custom built Aquaponics, where you need to evaluate what fits your budget, space, and how to keep it operating safely.

Don't forget GFCI outlet or similar in wet locations, proper grounding, ventilation for the plants, etc.
Start with grow lights that fit your budget and see how they work.

Look at your electric bill to see how much energy costs, then calculate how many watts will be used for how many hours to get an idea of your electric bill increase.

Any size tank can be used, if it fits your needs. Why / what do you want to grow? Fish to eat? Vegetables? Herbs? What kind of fish are available in your area? The system will take time to mature and grow the fish. When fish are small and feedrates are low, lettuce and leafy greens do well. As the fish grow and ea more, then you may be able to support larger veggies like squash or peppers, etc.

It's a lot, so starting small is a great idea. But keep your long term plan in mind, and how you will get there.

Again, maybe a single barrel system with a 20 watt pump, some goldfish or tilapia, a small growbed and a single grow light will get you started.
How small is a small growbed? As fish I was thinking about prawns at the beginning and then trouts since it is in a cellar with a low temperature. Would it be too challenging as a first try? How do I know how many fishes fit in a tank?

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 Post subject: Re: newbie
PostPosted: Jun 9th, '21, 17:22 
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I noticed I didn't answer the questions. I want to grow fish to eat and vegetables. I am quite good in caring about plants, so that won't be a problem, I have on the other hand any experience with aquariums. I have no idea of what fish are available in my area, I only know tilapias are not from here, and that's all. I'd prefere not to grow tilapias anyways because I want a fish with the good fatties if I can choose. This is why I was thinking about trouts. Maybe they might be difficult as a first try? If so, I'd fall back on carps (?) or something else.


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 Post subject: Re: newbie
PostPosted: Jun 9th, '21, 22:21 
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I've seen people with 20 gallon aquariums with 10 gallon grow beds. Trout need cold water (<70° F), high dissolved oxygen (DO) good water flow and very clean water. I don't recommend them to start. You will also benefit from having salt in the water to help prevent disease (for any fish). I'm not sure where you get your information on tilapia but you may want to research a few scientific reports on tilapia. There is A LOT of false information about tilapia on the internet.

You need to know what fish are available and allowed in your area. I suggest something easy to care for to start such as goldfish, tialapia, carp, koi, possibly catfish but they will not grow well in a small system. 1 to 1.5 ppt chloride salt in the water will help prevent disease as fresh water pathogens do not like salt. Also, the chloride salt will protect the fish from nitrite poisoning which is common when starting a new system and adding fish before the system is cycled and the nitrogen cycle is established.

For the space, perhaps a 200l plastic barrel on it's side (or two) for fish tank, with two (or four) half-barrel growbeds (200l barrel cut lengthwise).

For startup you should start with 1 fish per 20l of water. as they grow your system will mature and the plants will do better. You don't want to exceed 500g fish per 20l of water or things can go wrong very quickly.

You definitely need to research fishless cycling, what you will use for grow media, and where to get fish and food. fish tanks and growbeds must be scrubbed clean before using and should be food grade. Media must be inert so it does not affect pH. Fish feed should be a good quality commercial fish food - most feed at pet stores says "not for food fish." Salt must be free of additives so no table salt. 1ppt is weight of water x .001 = weight of salt to add.

uniseals are your friend, but they are not the best for thin-wall tanks like IBC's but they do work well if you are careful cutting the hole and installing them properly.

_________________
800 gal sys 2016
IBC sand-ponics system 2021, 3 IBC GBs

9 kW Solar Electric 2011 - Upgraded to 12 kW 2019

"Aquaponics...solar-powered nanotechnology that produces fresh vegetables and meat, while purifying water..." - Rick Op, Houston Texas.


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 Post subject: Re: newbie
PostPosted: Jun 9th, '21, 22:58 
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dstjohn99 wrote:
I've seen people with 20 gallon aquariums with 10 gallon grow beds. Trout need cold water (<70° F), high dissolved oxygen (DO) good water flow and very clean water. I don't recommend them to start. You will also benefit from having salt in the water to help prevent disease (for any fish). I'm not sure where you get your information on tilapia but you may want to research a few scientific reports on tilapia. There is A LOT of false information about tilapia on the internet.

You need to know what fish are available and allowed in your area. I suggest something easy to care for to start such as goldfish, tialapia, carp, koi, possibly catfish but they will not grow well in a small system. 1 to 1.5 ppt chloride salt in the water will help prevent disease as fresh water pathogens do not like salt. Also, the chloride salt will protect the fish from nitrite poisoning which is common when starting a new system and adding fish before the system is cycled and the nitrogen cycle is established.

For the space, perhaps a 200l plastic barrel on it's side (or two) for fish tank, with two (or four) half-barrel growbeds (200l barrel cut lengthwise).

For startup you should start with 1 fish per 20l of water. as they grow your system will mature and the plants will do better. You don't want to exceed 500g fish per 20l of water or things can go wrong very quickly.

You definitely need to research fishless cycling, what you will use for grow media, and where to get fish and food. fish tanks and growbeds must be scrubbed clean before using and should be food grade. Media must be inert so it does not affect pH. Fish feed should be a good quality commercial fish food - most feed at pet stores says "not for food fish." Salt must be free of additives so no table salt. 1ppt is weight of water x .001 = weight of salt to add.

uniseals are your friend, but they are not the best for thin-wall tanks like IBC's but they do work well if you are careful cutting the hole and installing them properly.

Thank you very much for the infos. I like the idea of the 200 liter barrel and double it when needed instead of a 500 liter tank. I'll do it that way.
So no trout ok. :( I'll decide either tilapia or carp depending on which one has better nutritional values or what i can find as fingerling. I am going to start the works around august, so I have time to find informations.
I read already in many places this thing you wrote about salt. What puzzles me is doesn't it harm the plants if I grow them in salted water?


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 Post subject: Re: newbie
PostPosted: Jun 9th, '21, 23:19 
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By the way, this is a must read if you are serious http://www.fao.org/in-action/globefish/publications/details-publication/en/c/338354/ - free download

Salt will not affect most plants below 3ppt. It is also very helpful to treat fish diseases or new fish for your system. You will find info on a salt bath for new / sick fish (about 30ppt), or quarantine tanks with salt (5 - 7 ppt) to treat sick fish, or new fish before you add them to your existing system.

When the water evaporates, the salt does not. To bring salt lower you must dump water and replace with fresh (water exchange).

_________________
800 gal sys 2016
IBC sand-ponics system 2021, 3 IBC GBs

9 kW Solar Electric 2011 - Upgraded to 12 kW 2019

"Aquaponics...solar-powered nanotechnology that produces fresh vegetables and meat, while purifying water..." - Rick Op, Houston Texas.


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 Post subject: Re: newbie
PostPosted: Jun 10th, '21, 00:33 
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dstjohn99 wrote:
By the way, this is a must read if you are serious http://www.fao.org/in-action/globefish/publications/details-publication/en/c/338354/ - free download

Salt will not affect most plants below 3ppt. It is also very helpful to treat fish diseases or new fish for your system. You will find info on a salt bath for new / sick fish (about 30ppt), or quarantine tanks with salt (5 - 7 ppt) to treat sick fish, or new fish before you add them to your existing system.

When the water evaporates, the salt does not. To bring salt lower you must dump water and replace with fresh (water exchange).

Great! Thank you very much. I am glad I found this forum.



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 Post subject: Re: newbie
PostPosted: Jun 11th, '21, 20:23 
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Another question. What could I do to give some distraction to the fishes? I read that the tank should be empty for practical reasons, but I'd prefere to provide them with something. I mean, they are living beings, not just meat growing in a lab... Is there something simple that can be done?


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 Post subject: Re: newbie
PostPosted: Jun 12th, '21, 19:56 
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I try to provide a bit of environmental enrichment for my fish by including hiding places and water plants. Don’t go overboard with the water plants though, as they do use nutrients and also use oxygen at night. Pet store have artificial plants that can provide shelter and shade as well.


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 Post subject: Re: newbie
PostPosted: Jun 13th, '21, 16:35 
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dgero wrote:
Hi everyone, I am new on this forum. I have been thinking randomly during the last years to starting my aquaponic system. I finally decided to realize my fantasies. I have some problems though: I live in a city in northern italy, in a small apartment and i don't have a solar roof or a private garden in which to do it.
I don't have any room for my system. I might find an area of 1x2 mt in my cellar, but it lacks daylight. Is it possible to have a functioning system in a cellar-basement? Just to start learning, a couple of years maybe, in order to understand if I want to go big. How have other people in densely inhabitated areas solved the problem?

My self contained setup takes up only 4 square feet x 5' high. Growing vertical.is a good option in tight spaces.
I also believe it to be the most efficient

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