Changing Earth Podcast Episode 6 Questions
Is Aquaponics a Viable system?
Aquaponics is an extremely valid system.
What is an aquaponics system?
Hydroponics is cultivating plant life in a bath of nutrient rich water solution, instead of soil, for large scale production in a smaller area.
Aquaculture is a design to grow fish or aquatic life like shellfish, crawfish, snails, or ……….. to help meet the popular fish demand with little impact on the overall aquatic population.
- Aquaponics is a marriage of aquaculture and hydroponics.
- Uses fish to provide the nutrient content for plant life.
- It gets rid of agrochemicals from typical farming:
- Problems like the delta of the Mississippi where a wetland is turning into an uninhabitable area
What materials are required for building an aquaponics system?
Typical Aquaponic system components:
- Rearing tank:
- Tanks for raising and feeding fish.
- Large barrel or a stock tank, glass fish tank
- Settling basin
- Catches uneaten food and detached biofilms, settles out particles
- Where nitrification bacteria can grow and convert ammonia into nitrates
- Bucket of pebbles or other high surface area media
- Not absolutely necessary though with a good grow bed
- Hydroponics subsystem
- Where plants grow
- Grow bed
- Flood table
- Frame it above the fish tank
- Half barrels
- Bath tubs even!
- Lowest basin where water gravity flows. It is then pumped back up to the rearing tanks
- Water Pump
- Mag Drive Pump
- Submersible fountain pump
- Pump from fish tank to grow bed
- Air Pump
- Get an aquarium air pump to oxygenate the water
- Bell Siphon
- 30 bucks on amazon, or you can make one from pvc components.
- Raised pipe in a bigger pipe
- Bigger pipe has holes drilled in it
- Medium pipe in top with an air lock on top making it float
- Drain from grow bed to fish tank
Different applications to grow plant life (this could be considered as the Hydroponics Tank):
- Deep-Water Raft Aquaponics
- Plants float in Styrofoam rafts in a deep basin
- Recirculating Aquaponics or Closed-Loop Aquaponics
- Solid media: (Gravel or clay) in a container. Container is flooded with the aquaculture water.
- Best for beginners because:
- Easier to learn
- Less parts, so it is cheaper
- Media bed mechanically filters (solids), performs mineralization (breaks down solids), and biofiltration (attachment of bacteria).
- Reciprocating Aquaponics, Flood-and-Drain Aquaponics, Ebb-and-Flow Aquaponics
- Flood and Drain is simplest
- Easy to build
- Best for a 1:1 ratio (grow bed to fish tank)
- Easier maintenance
- Same media but it is flooded and drained using siphon drains.
- Vertical Tower Aquaponics
- Uses vertical towers that are trickle fed from the top
- Nutrient Film Aquaponics
- Sloped bed of 1.1 to 1.4
- Flow around 1L per minute
- Plenty of root oxygen, water, and nutrients
- Usually Freshwater Fish and Life
- Tilapia is most common
- Silver Perch
- Eel-tailed Catfish or Tandanus Catfish
- Jade Perch
- Murray Cod
- Gold Fish (Edible, but many don’t do it)
- Temperate Climates and you don’t want to maintain water temp:
Bacterial Cycle (Biofilter)
- Fish release ammonia through crap and gills
- Toxic above .5 to 1 ppm so it needs filtered
- Plant absorb it, but not efficiently or at high levels (nitrates are easier)
- You will not add fish the first day, so you may want to add just a small amount of dead fish to give ammonia off
- if you don’t take lots of medication, you can use pee
- direct or aged
- you can just use your fish.
- Keep feed to a tbsp/day
- if you see algae bloom, cut back a bit until it clears
- this could take up to two months
- We convert it:
- Nitrosomonas convert ammonia into nitrites
- Nitrobacter converts nitrites into nitrates
- They create a biofilm on all surfaces in contact with water including roots
- Using a bio filter essentially raises surface area
- Seed your system with the right bacteria
- aquarium or pond filters
- aquarium or pond water
- existing aquaponics system water or media
- A test kit which tests pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate is best
- Let system run a day or two prior to fish
How Practical is an aquaponics system for Long term survival?
In survival situations, you may have issues achieving recirculation and water temperatures
- You may lose energy input for pumps
- A single failure point could lose all of your fish stock