Discussion in 'Water Features' started by Ric, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I normally only post in the Pesticide Forum. However I am looking at Aquaponics as a possible new hobby. I need Help with the Following questions.

    1 A source and information on water plants that help either Feed fish, or improve water quality.

    2. A chart Telling Feed to Meat production ratios by Species. BTW Purina couldn't give this answer. A chicken takes 2 pound of feed to grow one pound of Meat etc.

    3. Maximum Number of Market size Fish per Gallon of Water. Of course this varies by species.

    4. Ratio of Gallons of Fish to gallons of Grow beds. Once again how does Species effect this ratio??

    Aquaponics is Green Growing which uses 1/10 the water of normal farming and the fish waste is the organic Fertilizer that grows the crop. Both Fish and Plants are produced from aquaponic.

    BTW I found aquaponics on U tube very interesting with many different way to use inexpensive materials to build a system.

    PS I have a small 20 gallon fish tank and a 3 gallon grow bed in my Living Room for experimentation. I have well over $ 200 tied up in this using a lot of stuff I already had, So it isn't a cheap venture. Plus all I am growing right now is Colored Greens and Flat Head Minnows. My goal with the Flat Head Minnows is to produce Feeder Fish. I also want to experiment with growing insect larvae for feed.
  2. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    Aquaponics is a melding of 2 independent systems---Aquaculture (fish) and Hydroponics (plants) in a balanced symbiotic relationship. One would need to know the requirements of each as stand-alone systems in order to achieve balance when combining the 2. This can easily become a sizable investment.
  3. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I thank you for the Reply. However I have developed Legs and I am a little past that section. Agronomics is the study of crops grown in SOIL while Hydroponics is the study of crops grown SOILESS. I have been involved in Hydroponics for a while now. Water quality is very important. My well water has a high Biocarbs so I have RO water. The pH of RO water is not stable and must be buffered where my Well water is buffered by the Biocarbs and soluble metals. Therefore I have been mixing both to achieve the perfect nutrient level for plants. Throw in Fish and the whole water balance changes. Plants like a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 while most fish like 7.5 to 8.0 pH. Plants will grow in 8.0 water as most fish can live in 6.0 water. Dissolved solids are totally different also. It is the Nitrite from Fish waste that fertilizes the Plants. Nitrites must be kept in balance also.

    Back to my original questions. I have chased these answers on the Internet and my County Extension Agent. I just can't under stand why these facts are not published somewhere. They are the Back bone of the profit margin when doing a Commercial operation. If we were to talk about Cows or Pigs Etc these production number are everywhere.
  4. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    Hope that I didn't insult you with my reply. It is hard to tell the level of a poster's knowledge from the initial posting, so I always respond with the basics.

    Aquaponics is still an infant industry as compared to pig, cow, or poultry production. Many have never heard of it. So it is no wonder that data is sparse. Have you tried locating and contacting an existing operation. They may be able to lead you to the info that you require.

    On a side note, pH value requirements will vary from specie to specie. This applies to fish as well as plants. Most natural woodland ponds have a pH of 6.8 and support populations of Bream, Bass etc. Trout will tolerate a pH as low a 5.5.

    You might give a call to the folks at Aquatic Eco-systems. They just may know where to find what you seek.
  5. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

  6. hurryrainscomin

    hurryrainscomin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    This thread is two years old, but I'll chime in for any late readers.
    From The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Homesteading, feed-to-meat production ratios include fish = 1.7 lbs of feed for 1 lb of meat, chickens 2.4 lbs of feed for 1 lb, turkey 5.2 lbs of feed, and beef 9.0 lbs of feed.

    Aquaponics may be unfamiliar in many areas, but it is not new. The hanging gardens of Babylon were thousands of years ago. Hawaii has had active aquaponics for centuries.

    If you are in zone 4 or 5, Ohio State has developed a single-season Yellow Perch that is very close to marketability. This will open new crop potential for any pond owners in cold winter areas.

    It is interesting that a regular pesticide poster began this thread. In an aquaponics system, if plants are not healthy or fish are not healthy, both die. There is no need to certify an aquaponic system as organic. An organic field farmer can cheat because it takes human detection to catch the act, but any pesticide introduced in an aquaponics system destroys the system. It is beautifully self-regulating.

    One can see from the feed conversion ratio and growing process that aquaponics is one partial solution to reducing fossil fuel needs, growing locally, and growing more of what
    overweight Americans need. It's also a great, growing niche market for the landscape construction industry.
  7. 44DCNF

    44DCNF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,827

    Will Allen of Growing Power is big into aquaponics in Milwaukee. Tilapia and Yellow perch are the fish used. I've oft considered going to their workshop to learn it.
  8. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

  9. hurryrainscomin

    hurryrainscomin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Ohio State has an intensive boot camp beginning in Jan 2013. This is for serious people who are very likely to invest in or expand their current operations.

    The program is sponsored, at least in part, by the Soybean Council (feed market). The overall program goal is to develop growers who can net $50K/yr - enough to modestly support a family.

    There are already part-timers making money at this, but for most it is not their primary source of income. The goal is to make this a viable industry in the midwest.

    For the less immediately serious, they had planned to webcast the (weekend only, I think) training that covers several months.

    The lawnsite connection is probably most relevant for those who have or plan to add pond construction and maintenance to their business plan. Freshwater prawns are already grown in the midwest, but the single-season Perch development could change a bunch of Koi/hobby ponds and farm ponds for irrigation/runoff into profit centers.
  10. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    You obviously don't know many Koi Keepers. They aren't going to part with their "kids" for any amount of money.

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