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Self-Sufficiency Basics: Aquaponics

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posted on Jun, 7 2020 @ 11:40 AM
a reply to: Mandroid7

As someone who also has experience in hydroponics.. I completely disagree.

The initial setup might be a bit different, but the benefits are substantial. Just the ability to produce protein almost makes it a different conversation.

Over time, the aquaponics system becomes significantly easier to maintain than any hydroponics system.

That said.. There are a lot of ways to accomplish it. We are just mimicking natural processes, and combining flora and fauna in a symbiotic system. Imagination is really the limiting factor in what we can really accomplish.

posted on Jun, 7 2020 @ 11:44 AM
a reply to: Serdgiam

Depending on what tub you get, catfish use the bottom meaning you would need a wider footprint but not as much depth. Surface area on your water can help or hurt. You have more area for evaporation, but you trade off in that you have more area for gas exchange making aeration easier so you wouldn't need as much active aeration.

Of course, they have pretty big mouths and wouldn't hesitate to eat your shrimp.

posted on Jun, 7 2020 @ 11:48 AM

originally posted by: Aldolas
Please give us some more info!

Where do the plants get their nutrients?
Do you collect and reuse the water?
Do you use rain, tap or aquarium water?

You mentioned 20 plants?
Are you speaking of seedlings, lettuce or full grown tomato plants ?

Essentially, the plants get their nutrients from fish poo

The water is in a closed system, so it collects and reuses itself. We pump the water from the fish tank into the growbed with the plants, and that drains back into the fishtank.

You can use any water ya want, really. However, we just have to make sure that when we add it to compensate for water loss, we do not shock the system. We can get a good feel for how the system will act during the first weeks of the initial cycling. There are different considerations for each.. Using tap water, we need to think about things like chlorine. Using rainwater, we can add things into our tank that we might not want there (bird poo).

The number of plants in a given growbed will vary greatly. Its a good idea to plant them with their full growth in mind, as well as any training techniques that might be used.

We can go for seedlings, lettuce, or tomato. All up to you

posted on Jun, 7 2020 @ 12:00 PM
a reply to: ketsuko

I think thats a key point in the conversation: the amount of variety on this topic is extensive.

The basic principles remain about the same, we are just utilizing every part of the nitrification process to benefit us.

But the sheer volume of choices is staggering. I really debated on how to handle the topic, but settled on starting with the very basics, with a specific system, and then (hopefully) expanding through discussion.

I even thought about adding info about composting, but the OP is already very long. There is a lot to learn.. I only recently learned of composting with black soldier fly grubs. Neat stuff!

The shrimp are just kind of a fun addition
Without a lot of water volume, its tough to make them a food source for us.. But they can definitely help with the ecosystem of the tanks.

For larger systems though, microfarm type deals, they can even earn some good money.

All that said, its definitely a consideration to really choose what fish first, then build the system. It might not necessarily make the difference between success or failure, but different species will thrive differently.

And for me.. Even if Im eating 'em, I want them to have a damn good, happy life.

posted on Jun, 7 2020 @ 12:07 PM
a reply to: Serdgiam

trout is another great option, but their temp range can make them a bit tricky in the warmer months. They also tend to like more water flow.

Salmon would be nice too. But, has a lot of the same considerations as trout.

I figured a indoor lap pool would work for that.

edit on 7-6-2020 by neo96 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 7 2020 @ 12:24 PM
a reply to: neo96

Would kinda bring a whole new meaning to "swimming with the fishes!"

Theres a Kanye/South Park in there somewhere...

The small stream/rivulet system Ive been thinking about was actually going to be for salmon. For areas that dont have the space for a pond, but do have gardens or decorative plants.. I think itd be pretty cool.

Theres this random neighborhood in my city that has streams running through the entire thing. It looks like a pretty typical 80s/90s suburb until you look closer. Between houses, by the streets, small bridges everywhere, etc. Always thought that was neat

posted on Jun, 7 2020 @ 01:22 PM
Some other things I've seen are people building setups with ponds in their basements. Obviously if you get too much water volume in your house, you will need to start exploring a dehumidifier, but that would help solve the issues of climate control on the other hand. If you're going to be investing in LED lighting systems anyhow, then you can also think about that.

posted on Jun, 7 2020 @ 01:42 PM
a reply to: ketsuko

Location might be one of the biggest considerations in the topic.

If for no other reason than we really dont want to move a system once it is set up. Its a total PITA! Doable, but proper planning can save a lot of work.

Basements can be great though. I think that in many homes, it tends to be an underutilized space anyway.

They are very temperature stable, can be controlled with less effort, and tend to have concrete that can better support the weight of what we are dealing with.

The lack of natural light is certainly a downside, but we can mimic that with full spectrum lights as well as inline UV disinfection.

If we try to go for typical lighting setups, this pretty directly translates to increased costs and heat. But as you mention, LEDs have come a very long way in the past decade. Both from a general lighting perspective as well as the actual grow lights. They produce much less heat, can produce fantastic PAR for their size, cost less to run, and last substantially longer.

posted on Jun, 8 2020 @ 02:18 PM
a reply to: Serdgiam

The best aquaponics need electricity.

For real survival you need to make an ecosystem set up.

posted on Jun, 9 2020 @ 04:05 PM
a reply to: Serdgiam
I'm quite certain you know what you're doing , you produce high quality posts too well worth reading

posted on Aug, 30 2021 @ 12:21 PM
Great post! I was asked a couple days ago by my farmer neighbor if I had any interest in trying to do aquaponics! Can't wait to show him this, thanks for the product links too.

In my area, the difficult part will be maintaining heat in tanks. I've considered recirculating systems for DIY soaking tubs to maintain heat, so a similar, but larger setup should work. I welcome any additional ideas you may have !a reply to: Serdgiam

posted on Aug, 30 2021 @ 01:11 PM
a reply to: WR7701

I think that aquaponics also provide this massive, incredible platform for creativity, innovation, and even art too!

We are creating closed eco-systems here, so we have an enormous amount of wriggle room. Its also highly scalable, so this can be a simply 10'x10' area for a single person using IBC totes.. or an entire multi-acre park that uses native wildlife and modern agriculture to create almost entirely edible environments.

That can also go a good ways in addressing problems that arise from grey manufactured spaces, like dysbiotic drift.

So, while this post may provide a basic foundation, keep getting creative. Please. Steal my ideas, make them your own, improve them, and share them back with the world!


Maintaining thermal stability is absolutely going to be one of the trickier tasks, particularly in harsher environments.

The most straightforward might simply be incorporating the aquaponics system into a living space, much the same as one would do with houseplants and aquariums. Many folks already have the building blocks, they just havent connected them together into an actual ecosystem.

That isnt feasible for everyone though, thats for sure.

The most traditional approach would be a highly insulated structure, with a somewhat traditional HVAC system. Due to the nature of the aquaponics system, we can take advantage of some additional things like evaporative cooling too.

However, we can also utilize a bit of cleverness, from the basic all the way up to some truly innovative stuff!

We can use solar collectors to heat the water a bit in environments that get some decent sunlight. Solar thermal collectors can be designed in quite a few ways, from pretty basic units that are meant for hot tubs/pools like this or this or this. Im not personally endorsing these products, just giving an idea base.

We might even be able to hack together some solar showers.

The next option, and kind of a neat one, are tankless water heaters like this one (120v). There are also ones that operate on gas, etc.

To get more advanced, we can start looking at parabolic troughs. Important note: if moving in this direction, also consider how it might be used in a general application beyond simply heating water.

An important thing to keep in mind is that the thermal stability of the system will depend largely on the water volume itself. However, we do not need to keep this water all in the same place or tank. That is the most efficient way, but we are moving it around anyway (into the crop areas) and by distributing the water volume through the structure more widely.. it opens up a lot of possibilities.

Meaning, we can start examing the potential of using hydronic heating. It is very efficient and actually provides a decent thermal barrier as well. Depending on the environment though, the water that is cycled through this heating system may not be suitable for the actual aquaponics themselves. Sometimes additives like anti-freeze are required to maintain the liquid state. In that same vein, it is very important to make sure that anything we add into the system is not compromising the integrity of the food supply to any meaningful degree (contamination, etc.).

One more possibility is the installation of vacuum panels/chambers that take the place of more traditional insulation. This starts to veer into much more uncharted territory though, and is probably best explored when there is actually a stable system already up and running, or a structure where it is ok to mess around with thermal stability (like a work shed, or experiment space, etc.).

In any application, it is very likely that using several approaches may end up working best. So, lets say an aquaponics installation that is built with hydronics, uses some typical HVAC methods, but supplements all of it with some solar thermal collectors and a tankless heater. If you go down a bit more experimental route, I strongly suggest having a system that is already pretty stable though (so you are not relying on untested methods for your food, eh?).


posted on Aug, 31 2021 @ 11:55 AM
a reply to: WR7701

I wanted to hone in a bit on using vacuum chambers integrated into these systems.

I mentioned used panels that replace traditional installation in wall cavities, and systems can be built using them for HVAC. The latter uses a misting system that evacuates water into a vacuum chamber, creating a very fast change between liquid into gas.

We can also use it a bit more simply as well, both to replace lost water in the system as well as create a bit more efficient energy collection systems specifically for cold environments (perfect for your situation).

This is an "ok" link to a solar powered condenser (mainly for the picture and contained links lol), but we also have some like this that are a nice example of a combo system. Here we finally have a system that harvests energy from its own processes and uses vapor to do some cool things. Only took 'em 'til 2020... but I dont want to take away too much from their achievements. They really are neat, and many will perceive such criticism.. poorly ;P

Here we just have a general primer on vacuum tube integration into these other processes and is a good gateway into general research articles for those so inclined. Its still largely new in mainstream industry, but absolutely do not be intimidated by that. In the current system, this usually just means ease of access in mainstream markets. For our purposes here, this is actually a critical aspect. We want to establish these systems ASAP.

We can create a lot of these things ourselves without massive industries though, usually better in many ways and certainly years and years before they usually even have the glint of an idea or figure out how to make it proprietary & patented. We just need to build the structures that bring that information exchange to life, the tools to manufacture them in a decentralized way, and of course, the decentralized energy grid to power it all.

posted on Sep, 14 2021 @ 02:15 AM

off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


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