Can You Feed Your Family With Aquaponics?
With the warmer weather in Westchester (a suburb county just north of New York City) and the forsythia beginning to bloom, I stopped by the Home Depot tonight on my way home. By 8:30 PM, supplies packed into my car, I drove home and set up an aquaponics 25 gallon system and got it working by 11 PM. I”ll give details of the components, which totalled under $200 with starter plants (Red Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Head and Bib Lettuces (plus Sweet Basil and Strawberry plants to keep in their starter pots which I will have to bring indoors at night until nights get consistently above 50 degrees F.)
I used two 27.5 gallon black “Transport” tubs (to keep the sun off of the water to reduce algae problems in future. Cut a 3/4″ hole in bottom toward one corner and put male and female screw-to-3/4″ PVC connectors through the hole. The sides are 18″ high and the 3 bags of 17 litre red stone fill the planting tub about 7″ (So I will need two more bags to bring it up to 12 inches of crushed rock base to have sufficient surface area for the microflora needed to fix the ammonia and nitrite into nitrate.) The 3/4″ PVC that fits into the pass-thru connector is cut to the length needed to keep the home-made Bell Syphon functioning with the water level about an inch below the surface — this is done to reduce algae formation, which will happen if the nutrient-rich water is exposed to the sun-light. A 2″ PVC pipe is cut about 2 “” taller than the first drain pipe and is capped with a PVC cap and notches are cut near the bottom to automatically break the vacuum. A 3″ PVC Pipe is cut 2 ” higher than the last one and multiple holes are drilled to allow water to reach the drain pipe and to keep the crushed stone out of the Bell Syphon. Added about 30 gallons of water and started up the pump to begin the initial cycling.
Alas, I over estimated the pump and will have to go and get a 100 to 120 gallon per hour pump to get the 15 minute flood and drain cycle going. Also need to get a pH, Ammonia, Nitrate and Nitrite test kit to see where I am starting and slowly adjust the pH to the 6.5 to 6.8 range. Hope it only takes the two weeks to begin to stabilize and then the question is what type of fish to place. Since it is a small system, I may just start with gold fish and if the system gets going, I plan on adding a larger system and possibly add Tilapia or Striped Bass — will have to check with a local fish farm that in a bit north of here as to the best fish for this area.
Will take some photos and post them later in the week
Having attended the Chris and Becca weekend seminar at Rowe Massachusetts, I came home and expanded my SFG and Aquaponics set ups.
Rather than repeat the postings, the link to the Rowe Seminar Forum with my 5 postings is http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/rowe-2012-seminar-forum/72891?page=1…
Here are four photos of my vertical and grow bed aquaponics. The first was three weeks ago and the rest are from today
Here is just one of the photos of my SFG
I would be glad to share more details with anyone. Just ask.
Be sure to see the full progress detailed in the Rowe participants forum.
Your absolutely correct about how water efficient the system is, as the only loses are via evaporation and plant transpiration like you stated. I really goofed by leaving this out of my original post, I’m a little ashamed to say that I overlooked this major advantage of aquaponics probably because where I live we get 50+ inches of rainfall a year and its not really an issue for me.
If I live in a dry climate, I would think it would be nice to also have another 1000 gallons of water available just as a back-up in a crisis. A decent water filter should make the water very drinkable. Heck, the guy in this video just drinks it without a filter, lol. Notice how the cut-away shot hid the fact that he spit it out
No, he doesn’t spit it out. That’s Tim, my husband, and in fact, he prefers our system water to tap water. I drink it as well, at least as a demonstration of the safety of the water during our free farm tours. Literally hundreds of people have seen me do so. And I don’t spit it out either.
It tastes very familiar and sweet, like clear stream water, in a way the chlorinated, flordated water has never seemed familiar to me.
We have about 80,000 gallons of back up water, here on our farm, and the growing troughs act as a 6000 sq ft catchment system, so every time it rains, we fill up to the top in very little time.
This low-cost vertical aquaponic system can grow leafy greens, herbs and raise fish for a small family year round, and it fits in a 5′ by 3′ space. Sean Brady, the aquaponics projects coordinator at the Center for Sustainable Aquaponics and Nourish the Planet in Loveland, Colo., showed us how to build a system from scrap he found around the greenhouse. We published a version of this how-to guide at engineeringforchange.org, and it’s one of the good ones, so we’d like to share it with Instructables, too.
JAG’S comments about providing the fish with adequate space make me wonder if a swimming pool could double as a fish pond?
Hi Olive Oil Guy
You could use the swimming pool as a fish pond. But it would be a bad idea to use that same fish pond as a swimming pool due to the sanitation.
There is someone already doing it successfully in Mesa, Arizona. He runs chicken poop to feed fish, fish and chicken poop to feed plants, and duckweed to feed chicken and fish…
His name is Dennis McClung. He and his wife run http://gardenpool.org/
They were featured on National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers (which Dr. Martenson and others have wisely avoided).
All wealth comes from the soil of the earth‘s special health needs moisture. The human perception of the world is what makes us here.