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Aquaponics Anyone??

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:12 am
by kitacooch
Hi there peeps, just wondering if anyone here does or is thinking about Aquaponics? My Aquaponics system is now maturing so my efforts of late have been going into the dirt garden but the Aquaponics is exciting and am happy to assist anyone who has any questions.
Couple pics of my system. The Grow beds are filled with pebbles.

Oh and Aquaponics in brief uses fish poop to feed plants utilising bacteria to convert Amonia into Nitrite and then into Nitrates. Its a closed circuit system with no waste what so ever, no chemicals are used as they would kill the fish. This is NOT Hydroponics where chemical nutrients are used and regular water changes are required and so polluting the environment.

Re: Aquaponics Anyone??

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:13 am
by kitacooch
This is DWC, so the Lettuces in the background are growing in Vermiculite in cups which are sitting in water. The bath tub in front is Duck weed, for fish food.

Re: Aquaponics Anyone??

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:48 am
by Pam
Hubby has been wanting to try it for a few years, but has never gotten around to it.

My concern with such a system is that with a closed system such as that though is that you'd surely not be getting many of the trace elements in your crops???

I realise this is probably also the case with most of the mass produced produce bought from the shops, however.

Re: Aquaponics Anyone??

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:08 am
by kitacooch
Hi Pam, its not completely closed circuit, we use several natural products to add trace elements, for e.g we add, chelated iron, lime, potassium carbonate, calcium through shell grit, seasol is also used along with other various kelp and seaweed extracts. I also add slow release water garden trace nutrient blocks. The fish food we use is high quality and designed for Aquponics, it designed with the knowledge that the poop is being converted to nutrient rich plant food. I grow in dirt as well to ensure i am getting some sort of balance, but also some plants grow better in the dirt, others grow better in the AP's and some do just as well in either.

Re: Aquaponics Anyone??

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:48 pm
by Quenda
Something I wouldn't have minded trying some years ago, doubt I will now, but I do think it an excellent way to produce ones food.

What sort of fish do you have in your system?

Re: Aquaponics Anyone??

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:51 am
by kitacooch
I have 160 Jade Perch and about 50 yabbies, but you can farm all kinds perch, barra, trout, cod etc however perch are an easy bullet proof option.

Re: Aquaponics Anyone??

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 7:20 am
by Pam
kitacooch wrote: we add, chelated iron, lime, potassium carbonate, calcium through shell grit, seasol is also used along with other various kelp and seaweed extracts. I also add slow release water garden trace nutrient blocks.


Is the vast majority of that incorporated into your growing media, or in the water, Kitacooch?

And are the square cages where you have the fish?

Re: Aquaponics Anyone??

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:39 pm
by kitacooch
Hi Pam, the square cages are called IBC's, and yes the 2 full IBC's are 2 separate fish tanks. There is another smaller tank on top for raising fingerling to a size suitable to add with existing larger fish.
The minerals are generally added to the Grow Beds by sprinkling over the media next to the water inlet. We add sea shells and or egg shells for calcium and buffering up ph, this is done by adding them to a sock and digging them into a grow bed or hanging in the sump if you have one. Seasol is just added to the water and believe it or not there are heaps of worms in those grow beds, they love it and are used to break down left over matter such as roots, leaves etc and any fish solids that make it past the flow filters. The flow filters are the new edition (the white buckets next to the fish tanks) and i drain them weekly and use the water on my dirt gardens and wicking beds.

Re: Aquaponics Anyone??

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:54 am
by Pam
kitacooch wrote: the square cages are called IBC's, and yes the 2 full IBC's are 2 separate fish tanks. There is another smaller tank on top for raising fingerling to a size suitable to add with existing larger fish.


I hope you don't mind the 1001 questions Kitacooch. I was reading on an aquaculture page yesterday that the jade perch don't like the temperatures to go down below about 16 degrees. Does the time during winter that it actually does drop below that bother them, or do you have it heated? And with that number of fish in there, do/will they actually grow to plate size, or will it limit their growth?

Re: Aquaponics Anyone??

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:34 am
by kitacooch
Hi Pam questions are fine, thats why i created the post, to help spread the word on this interesting and increasingly popular method of growing. I am based in QLD so water temps are not a huge issue for me,16 to a whopping 40 degrees is about right, Jades get sleepy when it gets cold and slow down a lot, that is why i have so many. In the summer when they are active i feed them according to nutrient levels so having that stocking density is fine. My main purpose is harvesting vegetables not fish. In aquaculture stocking densities up to 1 fish per 10l of fish tank volume is considered acceptable but in aquaponics we tend to be more conservative with a common stocking density of 1 fish per 20l. I am on the high side of stocking density but i have a massive sump system so each of my 1000l fish tanks are moving about 2500l of water, additionally 100 of the perch are only 80mm long, and the other 60 are about 150 to 200mm long. So by the time the smaller ones are coming of size i will be eating the larger ones.
The larger fish will be of harvest size soon, and will easily reach 750g to 1kg at which point their growth will slow quite a bit.
Tanks can be heated if you want but its an added cost and a larger carbon footprint. Cooler areas do insulate exposed tanks and i will probably insulate mine soon to help with a more consistent temp range.

Re: Aquaponics Anyone??

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:39 pm
by Quenda
I presume the livestock are for eating?

Re: Aquaponics Anyone??

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:05 am
by kitacooch
Hi, yes they are although i am a fisherman and prefer salt water fish for eating but i will be eating the perch also.