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 Post subject: MVP Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 12th, '21, 19:43 
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Joined: Jul 12th, '21, 19:23
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Location: Australia, NSW
Hello everybody. Glad to have found such a great resource.

I'm wanting to dip my toe into aquaponics, and rather than start out buying various items on the internet and potentially have the hobby fade, I wanted to try using what I have. This post might be all over the place, as I have quite a few questions.

Some context:
Climate: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/ ... 9001.shtml
Location: edge of a world heritage rainforest
Plants: happy to just grow some microgreens in low volume or whatever is easiest for first run.

1) I've heard that using water from an existing (healthy) stream could be an option assuming no harmful run-off. I'm thinking this might be an option for my minimum viable setup. I'm happy to carry a few buckets of water down the mountain each day. The stream you could drink straight out of, and has fish life (likely trout further up the mountain). Can I do this before I commit to fish? Just to get a feel for a functioning system? I won't eat the produce if it's risky, I just want to grow it.

2) If so, how often will water need to be replenished? If there are nutrients in the water, I imagine it dilutes with each cycle (unless there are fish in the reservoir). Obviously this depends on volume, but I'd be happy to grow just a few plants for my first run.

3) I have a large garage with one window that doesn't let a whole lot of light in (though a bit). Could I grow in the garage by the window, or is outdoors recommended?

4) I'm concerned about microplastics in everything nowadays. Every system I see has a lot of plastic. Apart the it degrading, can I carve net cups out of wood? Or use some kind of medium which would negate the use of plastic?

5) For the minimum viable setup, can I get away without a pump, or the plants require a pump for oxygen and mixing the nutrients in the water? Could I just sit my plants on a raft in the reservoir, and periodically change the water?

6) I understand this isn't aquaponics (yet!).

7) Are there any attempts to replicate the natural habitat of a fish here? I feel bad about keeping them in a reservoir, or even a pond. My thinking is I could just raise fish from babies (there's a word for this), and then release them into their natural habitat (assuming the fish are native and in this area).

8) I'm a programmer by trade, wanting to pivot out of staring at a screen all day over the next few years. Could aquaponics be a pivot point economically?

9) Are there any closed systems for feeding the fish? Would a light beneath the water to attract bugs of a night help? There's a large organic movement in my local community that would be great to lean into. My understanding is that aquaponics can't be "organic" due to the feeding of the fish. Is there a way around this?

10) I hear this is a money and time sink at small scale, but few elaborate. Why is this the case?

11) The last few questions have commercial implications, but truly I'm just deeply interested in closed loop food production.


Thanks for your time.


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 Post subject: Re: MVP Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 15th, '21, 18:17 
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BUMP (if allowed)


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 Post subject: Re: MVP Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 15th, '21, 20:46 
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The answers to most of your questions are here on the forum.

Use the search & find the individual things you are after.

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 Post subject: Re: MVP Aquaponics
PostPosted: Jul 20th, '21, 01:41 
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1. I’m not familiar with stream biology and if there are adequate nutrients to support a garden. AP is based on a recirculating system that has a large bio-load and requires a specific amount of fish food be provided for the growing area, as well as fish to consume the food and make the waste. I can’t think of any reason the plants would be “risky” unless the stream is toxic or something.
2. A stream likely does not have the nutrients for recirculating through the grow area. It would need to be replenished constantly.
3. Outdoors unless you want to use lights.
4. Don’t overthink it. Microplastics come from the breakdown of waste plastic. Don’t let your materials degrade and you won’t introduce any new microplastics.
5. You can float rafts in a pond or fish tank. Fish eat roots. Waste settles on the bottom and becomes anaerobic. With aquaponics, you typically have a higher density fish tank than natural. Think of the grow beds like a filter for an aquarium – the system helps remove solid waste, and converts ammonia to nitrates. The plants use the nitrates and return clean water to the fish. This is more difficult without a pump. A 40 watt or smaller pump will do – depends on the scale of the system.
6. OK.
7. OK. Perhaps you should go vegetarian if raising animals for food does not agree with you.
8. Yes, it is a great way to get outdoors, learn about the nitrogen (and life) cycle, etc. It is rewarding to grow your own food and protein, with minimal impact to the environment. It is actually a sustainable method, especially if you raise your own fish food.
9. Yes. The organic thing is not about the fish food, it is about perceptions and soil. Organic certification excludes container farming and requires soil, or so I understand.
10. I disagree, you can start a small system with used or recycled materials for very low cost. Some people are more creative than others. Also, starting with a good understanding and a good working design reduce the trial and error.
11. Cheers!

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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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