Aquaponics & Growing your own food

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Aquaponics & Growing your own food

This is a discussion on Aquaponics & Growing your own food within the General Prepper and Survival Talk forums, part of the Survivalist, Prepper, Bushcrafter, Forest Rangers category; Just wondered if anyone has their own aquaponic setup on the forum? I have a 29 us gallon aquarium tank (24 uk gallons / 110 ...

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Aquaponics & Growing your own food

    Just wondered if anyone has their own aquaponic setup on the forum?

    I have a 29 us gallon aquarium tank (24 uk gallons / 110 litres). I haven't used it to keep fish for some time, many years in fact due to house moves, and not getting around to it, but now starting to become interested in this idea again and also the idea of a aquaponic type of setup.

    If anyone on the forum has their own setup I would love to hear what size your system is, what you grow and what fish you keep?

    I'm particularly interested in which types of fish are best for food source as well particularly in what is a relatively small aquarium such as this.

    I have read somewhere one guy had tilapia in his setup. I'm sure that is a warm water tropical species. I am wondering whether it is better to keep cold water species or warm water and which species in general have the best returns in terms of production?

    As far as growing your own food is concerned I am not a big veggie kind of guy though I do like fruits.

    I am wondering what foods you can grow yourself that produce a lot and fill you up?

    At the moment the only things I can think of that I wouldn't mind growing, that would be worth my while are things like potatoes, strawberries, blueberries, corn, tomatoes, and maybe a little spinach.

    Spinach is probably one of the few vegetables I don't mind so much.

    I actually have some Blueberry plants already, they have been at my mums home for some time in the garden in tubs. I did have three but one died. I have one blackcurrant plant as well. I did have a vine but that died, and it was a supposedly hardly variety.

    What do you grow if you grow your own food with or without aquaponics?

    Wondering if anyone has their own small paddifield in an aquaponic setup and producing rice?

    Besides what you grow, the other question I have is your filtration system.

    I already have an external eheim canister type filter for my aquarium, brand new, never yet used.

    In an aquaponic system can you still use this or would it be of no use?

    The way I understand it is that you're meant to filter the water directly to the top of the system and into what you are growing without filtering out beforehand so that the water feeds the plants you are growing.

    If I understand it correctly I don't want to use a normal filter in such a setup but to use a pump instead which just sucks the water up before gravity lets it come back down again?

    Where I live at the moment (urban flat) I do have a lengthy window that's probably about 6th long, it is north facing though.

    My aquarium is not near the window but has plenty in the way of lighting as I was going to set it up as a planted aquarium with a few tropical fish and you need a lot of lighting for this.

    I have an old fluorescent system using 20w triton tubes that are 24" in length and can use three of them all at once if I wish in the canopy that I built with reflectors.

    I could instead divert some of that lighting above for two separate layers of plants in such a aquaponic system I would just need some sort of shelving system above to do that, and a way of draining water back into the tank with tubing.

    Eventually I would probably need to replace the fluorescent tubes with less energy consuming bulbs and go to LEDs once the tubes eventually die.

    If you have any advise on aquaponics or just growing your own stuff I'd love to hear from you.

  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    It's on my list of things to do, but it will probably have to wait a bit unless I do something extremely small scale inside with a fish tank or something. I'm still a short term renter while finishing school, so I can't do any of the large scale projects you see out there yet.

  3. #3
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    I was hoping you'd tell me
    For growing plants to eat,you want to use power compact,t-5 or led lighting in the 6500k spectrum.I'm an avid aquarist which is mostly geared towards saltwater reef,but for food in a shtf type deal,it would consume far more energy that would outweigh the amount of food you could grow in a 29g setup.Tilapia is a decent sized fish and tropical,which would require heating a much larger multi scale setup with a refugium which grows plants/algae that can feed the tilapia.The tilapia produces nitrates which feed the vegitation side of the system which in return feeds the fish.It's a circular cycle.But to breed and raise enough to supply food plus reproduction of the fish would take at least several hundred gallons in several different very large tanks/containers (grow out,breeding,fry raising,refugium) to be worthwhile if the power went out.The setup would far outweigh the benefits unless you go very large scale.But in good times a large scale setup could be quite profitable after a well planned large setup was completed and running.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    North Texas
    Lot of discussion points to cover here, so I will just touch on a couple for right now.

    Think of a aquaponics system as a fish aquarium that uses a refugium to cleans excess nutrients from the water. If you look at Salt Water Reef Tanks you will see many such filters in use. Aquaponics amount to little more than a slight variation of the concept. That being said yes you could use your filter as the water pump to pump the water to your grow beds and allow water to gravity feed back into the tank. Just leave out the carbon, particulate filter pads and run it "empty". Yes that would make for a very expensive water pump but since you already have it why not use it?

    With just a 29 gallon tank, I am not sure there is much in the way of edible fish you could produce and you certianly couldnt produce much in the way of fish in that small of a set up. However it could hold a number of small fish that could be your nutrient factory to feed your plants still the same. With this small of a system I dont think your going to be able to produce enough waste to feed a very extensive garden. If you plumbed a 55 gallon poly feed trough into a 29 gallon tank I would suspect that you could grow a pretty fair number of Strawberries, 2-3 Squash or Zucchini plants just fine maybe even a second 55 gallon trough. Beyond that I think your asking for more than the 29 gallon tank can produce.

    As for lighting, I would not light the tank up any more than neccessary for your veiwing pleasure. Instead I would concentrate more on light for the plants whether its artifical or natural. The last thing you want is algae growing in the high nutrient rich water of the main tank taking those nutrients away from your veggies. That would sorta defeat the purpose of the exercise.

    As for things I grow...I have a small conventional in the ground out door garden and due to the limited space and my desire to cut my food cost as much as possible I have mainly concentrated on growing the things that cost me the most at the grocery store. For example I eat a lot of asian dishes and salads. So for me I grow a lot of Bell Pepper (mainly the Yellow, Orange and Red types), lot of Strawberries, Cherry Tomatoes for salads and just plain snacking on. I also grow a lot of Snow Peas in the cooler portions of the growing season here. In the early spring and late fall I will grow a lot of Swiss Chard and Spinach. While I cant grow that much the fact that I am growing the things that run my grocery bill up the most except for meat, allows me to make my money for grocerys go a lot further and eat a lot more.



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