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YoBob's avatar

Anybody out there played with Aquaponics?

Asked by YoBob (12823points) August 31st, 2011

I have recently become interested in aquaponics. In short, this is a hybrid system in which one raises fish (generally talipia) in a tank and recirculates the water through a garden system to water/fertilize the plants.

In theory, in addition to getting an almost unlimited supply of fresh fish, the nutrient rich water can support a very healthy organic garden, and since the water gets recirculated the overall water consumption is less than a traditional garden.

I’m curious if any of you environmentally conscious jellies out there have tried this. If so, please share your experience.

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7 Answers

Blueroses's avatar

I recently saw the show Living for the Apocalypse on TLC which featured the McClung family from AZ. I thought what they did with their swimming pool was fascinating and it led me to look up their garden pool website. Dennis is apparently quite willing to share information and answer questions either through that site or on his evolvernet page.

YoBob's avatar

@Blueroses – Yep, I saw that same show. In fact it was the segment on the McClung family that was kind of a eureka moment for me with Aquaponics.

I am curious about how productive one can make a scaled down version of those systems. The McClung family system is much bigger than average because they had a swimming pool to start with. I am wondering how much production you can get out of a more modest design and what challenges people have run into in the real world.

There are a few Aquaponics groups here in Austin and I plan on taking part in building a system this weekend. Should be an adventure!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@YoBob I’ve known two people that worked with this. One had a greenhouse and raised tilapias and the other worked at a college. To make it work they both had to have some kind of filter in addition to the planting medium. Unfortunately one just died and the other left the area and I have no idea where he is now.

AmWiser's avatar

@YoBob I applaud your enthusiasm; enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Blueroses's avatar

The earthship people do a lot of this on a smaller scale than the garden pool. They have a huge network and tons of educational materials – much of which is probably available through your local aquaponics groups. It seems you are in a great climate for raising tilapia without having to worry about adding solar heaters. Please keep us updated on your project. I’d like to see how practical it is for the average person.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I haven’t tried it @YoBob, but recently found out about a local place here in Milwaukee that is making a go of it. Sweet Water Organics is selling their fish & herbs to local restaurants and has a small retail space for walk-in customers.

YoBob's avatar

I went to an Aquaponics meetup this weekend and helped install a system. I learned a heck of a lot and met some great folks ranging from local growers doing this commercially to regular folks like myself interested in learning more.

One of the commercial growers is claiming profits of around $5 per sq/ft of facility. That’s a pretty respectable living in an area the size of a large backyard!

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