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Aquaponics: Another step to self-sustainability for us.

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by Asia-Off-Grid, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid God Bless those who have served. Site Supporter

    I have been browsing this forum and seeing a few topics here and there on both hydroponics and aquaponics systems. This just happens to be a topic I have been doing extensive research on, in recent months. I had a choice to go with either, but chose aquaponics for two reasons.

    The first reason is to have a second "crop" to help sustain us, and to have something to trade with others in the area, if necessary. (I would much rather barter, than to buy and sell for cash.)

    The second reason is, to see if I can create a 100% self-sustaining ecosystem, with little interference from me. The fish should provide the nutrients for the plants. The plants, in turn, will provide clean water for the fish. I believe that is how it is, anyway.

    I have already sourced Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL), Duckweed, and other dietary needs for the fish (Tilapia). I will also put some Red Worms in my grow beds, as well as creating a worm digester. They may also be something the fish like to consume as well.

    By the way, if you don't know about them already, research Black Soldier Flies. They are great for both fish and chicken food, as well as helping you process your compost bins. They also seem to be territorial, in that they keep other flies away. They also have no interest in food as adults. So, unlike house flies, they are are easy to tolerate.

    My g/f has 2 hectares (~5 acres) of land here in Cambodia. It already produces rice (rainy season) and sesame seeds (dry season). I want to repurpose most of the land and do something more with it, especially wanting it to produce less water intensive crops. Not to mention, this is more than enough land to start a small aquaponics system on. So far, she seems happy about it. And, as they say, "Happy wife, happy life."

    Part of what we have begun doing with the land, over the past two years or so (we have been together about three years), is to raise (Silkie) chickens. (We failed miserably and lost an entire flock prior to then.) Also, she had some cows and ducks when I came into the picture. We also want to add some pigs, maybe some goats, to expand our farm.

    If this works out with the aquaponics, we may actually expand the system. After the initial setup costs and once it is up and running on a full head of steam, an aquaponics system should be fairly self sufficient and low maintenance.

    Aquaponics eBooks Resources

    Anyway, I guess what I have been trying to get around to here is, what type of farming, if any, are you doing to help achieve self-sustainability? Or, if not to become self-sustaining, what, if any kind of farming do you do as a hobby?
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
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  2. pearlselby

    pearlselby Monkey++

    @Asia-Off-Grid, good luck with this. Sounds like your have it figured out. I have heard of people draining their swimming pool and putting in a system as you speak of. We got some books and information on it. We have a store 50 miles from here, where they let you taste the lettuce and tomatoes, plus other vegetables they grow 12 months a year.

    We have a 60 FT. by 60 FT.garden plot. It feeds us and we give a lot to the church. We have cabbage and onions and garlic, turnips in the winter.

    I would love to have a set up like you are talking about!
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  3. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid God Bless those who have served. Site Supporter

    The most important part of growing our own food and fish that way, is knowing what chemicals are not in it. Today's world is just so danged questionable.

    I forgot to share a link to aquaponics eBooks (and other) resources I have. I started adding them to my DropBox account, at this link: Aquaponics eBooks
  4. pearlselby

    pearlselby Monkey++

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  5. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid God Bless those who have served. Site Supporter

    As any reference (DropBox or Google Drive) folder links I post on sites for others, I continue to add files as I come across them. So, please check the folders from time to time, for more files / information. In fact, I added more files to that folder, this morning.
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
  6. yeti695

    yeti695 Monkey

    My wife and I are about to install a commercial sized Aquaponics system, due to the lack of a store close. We have read alot about it and done alot of research. One of the biggest reasons for Aquaponics is you dont you anything thats already in your body to help with the process. We hope to have this up and going in about 4 months. We took a class at a local college here and we are excited to get this going. We are starting out with goldfish, but plan to add another tank for other fish.
  7. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    There's a big food bank at a city a ways up the road that has a large garden and teaching center attached. They hold free classes for anyone who is interested on things like starting a garden, raising meat rabbits, etc. A few years ago they added a deep water raft AP system and were having classes on setting up one like it at home. We were using a media based setup with bell syphon flood drain beds at the time but were building a larger system and the idea of not having to lug hundreds of pounds of gravel to the new beds was appealing so we went. The guy who did the class had a huge commercial DWR system at his house and afterwards we talked to him a bit. He invited us over for a looksee and while the raft system does require some additional tinkering to make it viable for larger plants like tomatos and zucchini, it's pretty perfect for salad greens and herbs. We're running a hybrid setup now. Flood drain media based for taller stuff that needs more of an anchor support, raft for the greens and herbs. I've designed some beds using 55 gallon drums for dwarf citrus trees, but that'll have to wait until we get a greenhouse built. For the stuff that seems to dislike a lot of water (my peppers never did like the AP system) I'm using wicking beds. And then of course a lot of in-ground beds fueled by a few tons of rabbit poop, chicken poop, and all the coffee grounds Starbucks throws away.

    Our fish are Coppernose Bluegill. Got them off the fish truck that runs through every few months. There's also some goldfish in there that are five times bigger than they were when I got them from Petco, ha. They've been the ones to survive everything. The catfish die in the winter. Will give them another try when we get a greenhouse, them and tilapia, but for now it's just too cold for them to overwinter in an above ground, unheated tank.

    The Asian grocer nearest me sells processed Silkies. For anyone unfamiliar with the breed, they have black skin, black bones, black meat. More of a super dark purple under the right light. Americans would shudder at the sight, but it's popular in the Asian markets I'm told. Anyway there was a project at some Aussie producer years ago to produce a Silkie crossbreed that had the black carcass of the Silkie but the size and growth rate of a more commercial breed. They worked on it for years but I don't think they ever could get what they were after. I had some Showgirls (Silkie X Turken) at one time but there's just not a lot of meat on 'em. :D
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
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  8. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid God Bless those who have served. Site Supporter

    Absolutely. Those are the only chickens we keep. My problem is, I am too much of a wimp to kill 'em. I make the mistake of naming, and spending time with them.

    You are probably correct concerning the former; most definitely regarding the latter.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
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  9. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    Silkies were the only breed I ever had that I made pets out of. I had one hen who would sit on my lap while I was shucking corn and wait patiently for me to find a worm in an ear. I'd hold the ear out and she'd pluck the worm out faster than you could blink. Also had a little Silkie roo who would follow me everywhere like a puppy. I always had 2 or 3 for broodies.
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