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Old 11-25-2010, 08:45 AM
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Ok so I am going to try my hand at Aquaponics. I'm trying to do this as a self renewable system. So I can save the seeds from the grown plants and re-use them. I can also have a seperate tank for breeding more fish. So now I have to figure out a few other things

1. Food for the fish. how do I breed grubs,worms, blood worms, etc without soil?

2. How do I power my pump without electricity? I'm thinking solar or wind.

3. Due to evaporation and plants using the water how do I replace it? I was thinking a few rain barrels, but if it doesn't rain for a while......?

Anyhow if anyone has any suggestions on this I would appreciate the feedback.

Now that I think about it I did see something about fish solid waste being filtered and dried out to make fertilizer I could probably even use left over plant scraps and make a compost. So I guess my soil question is answered.
Old 11-25-2010, 09:42 AM
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I"ve been experimenting with this myself. I'm starting with a fishtank and if it works out, I'm going to build a pond in the backyard. I'm going to raise Tilapia, so I'm growing duckweed and they feed off algae to. I have several rain barrels and plan to get more. The rain barrels is not only good to keep the water level but plan to drink it after using a bio-filter and Berkley.

My problem is the the water pump. I've thought about solar, but you need to rely on a battery unless you want the solar panel to run the water pump directly (which I think would mayby make the pump just drizzle if I'm lucky). Even then, you need to rely on the solar panel not going out (which it eventually will over time). I have also thought about wind, but it's sporadic around here. There are several different types of manual water pumps, but I would have to remember to go out daily to run it.
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by kenser321 View Post
Ok so I am going to try my hand at Aquaponics. I'm trying to do this as a self renewable system. So I can save the seeds from the grown plants and re-use them. I can also have a seperate tank for breeding more fish. So now I have to figure out a few other things

1. Food for the fish. how do I breed grubs,worms, blood worms, etc without soil?

2. How do I power my pump without electricity? I'm thinking solar or wind.

3. Due to evaporation and plants using the water how do I replace it? I was thinking a few rain barrels, but if it doesn't rain for a while......?

Anyhow if anyone has any suggestions on this I would appreciate the feedback.

Now that I think about it I did see something about fish solid waste being filtered and dried out to make fertilizer I could probably even use left over plant scraps and make a compost. So I guess my soil question is answered.
1. You can't. You need good ol fashioned dirt for the insects/annelids or you can buy fish food.
2. You can't. Solar or wind makes electricity for the pump.
3. Matur water from your city water or well by letting it age in a bucket for a few days. You can then add it to your system.
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Old 11-25-2010, 03:49 PM
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1. You can't. You need good ol fashioned dirt for the insects/annelids or you can buy fish food.
2. You can't. Solar or wind makes electricity for the pump.
3. Matur water from your city water or well by letting it age in a bucket for a few days. You can then add it to your system.
Thank you, but thats exactly my point. I am trying to find a completely self contained system that will last near forever obviously with parts changes. I guess if I want something out of nothing I need to get a Starship Enterprise.
Old 11-25-2010, 03:54 PM
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Two 55 gallon drum halves with dirt for the little bugs to grow in. You will need dirt, and litmus paper to make sure the dirt doesn't get too acid on you. If it does, you got no worms....

Electric you can make. OTOH, the use of wind to drive a windmill pump is old, old tech, and it runs well without much attention. Just ask West Texas ranchers about this one. You ought to get plenty of wind, depending on elevation, to keep your pond full up....
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Old 11-25-2010, 04:18 PM
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Just thought of another question? I realize fish food is made up of plant and animal products to get essential vitamins. Is their any possible way to make your own fish food from what you are already growing from you aquaponics system? And in that case what plant can you grow to make the food out of? I would have to assume that you could use scraps of fish to make up the animal side of it.

Also I meant renewable soil. I know you would have to start off with it, but what if you couldn't get outside to get more? ex. nuclear contamination. I read that earth worms can eat up to three times their body weight a day. And they can multiply into the billions in a few years. Obviously I wouldn't have enough soil in a bunker to contain billions of worms eating that much soil a day.
Old 11-25-2010, 04:23 PM
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Google duckweed. I'd feed the fish parts to the earthworms or other critters, to get a breakdown and break any bacterial cycles. Not to broach a sensitive subject, but your own nightsoil contains nutrients you need to cycle back also. A totally closed system had better give you some way to get lots of sunshine, one way or another, or you are going to come to a bad end in short order.

As to the billions of worms, they start dying out when the nutrients run out. They come back when the nutrients are right for them to come back. The population cycles. Same is true for the whole of creation. When people outgrow the supply of sanity, we have a die-off same as happened when Rome died back about 400 AD, and will happen when the lights go out here.
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Old 11-25-2010, 04:28 PM
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Google duckweed. I'd feed the fish parts to the earthworms or other critters, to get a breakdown and break any bacterial cycles. Not to broach a sensitive subject, but your own nightsoil contains nutrients you need to cycle back also. A totally closed system had better give you some way to get lots of sunshine, one way or another, or you are going to come to a bad end in short order.

As to the billions of worms, they start dying out when the nutrients run out. They come back when the nutrients are right for them to come back. The population cycles. Same is true for the whole of creation. When people outgrow the supply of sanity, we have a die-off same as happened when Rome died back about 400 AD, and will happen when the lights go out here.
So I can assume that this system is highly flawed in a bunker type setting because I cannot renew basics. i.e. water, sunshine, nutrients.
Old 11-25-2010, 04:33 PM
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Plan your bunker with access to sunlight, and arrange for decontamination as needed. For that you will need much water too. Have your setup, tested, inside the bunker and move it back outside when the rad level drops, or the cannibals eat themselves out of house and home....
Old 11-26-2010, 01:23 AM
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Make a water pump using hamsters on a spinning wheel, back that up with solar and wind, back that up with a generator, back that up with a bicycle, back that up with a steam pump run off a wood stove or you could say F all this and spend your money wisely somewhere else.
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Old 11-26-2010, 01:51 AM
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A successful garden (hydroponic, aquaponic or standard yard dirt) will have LOTS and LOTS of leftover plant material that has to be composted. The compost pile will give you all the insects/worms you need for the fish.
Old 11-26-2010, 06:38 AM
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Make a water pump using hamsters on a spinning wheel, back that up with solar and wind, back that up with a generator, back that up with a bicycle, back that up with a steam pump run off a wood stove or you could say F all this and spend your money wisely somewhere else.
Their's an idea. I can eat the hamsters also lol.
Old 11-26-2010, 11:53 PM
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the only self contained, maintence free that has lasted for pert near ever is my pond in the back yard. Anything you build that will be outside of nature will require a pump for aeration and filtration, it would be almost impossible to get the right balance outside of nature to not require it at some point. By all means, try explore all options, but understand that there will be no sure fire, or easy way to do it, it will be labor intensive and you will really have to keep an very regular eye on ph levels, o2 levels, temp, etc... otherwise you could literally lose your investment, meaning your fish, overnight... start out small to get the feel for it...
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Old 11-27-2010, 02:08 AM
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So in the spirit of self sufficiency I bought a tote, a heat lamp, and fish food today. I also took the time to price out hydroton, seeds, fish, pvc piping, pumps, etc. I spent about $30 dollars today just for the basics I think my father will have the piping, pumps, lumber, and maybe even a few seeds I can experiment on. I need to start somewhere right?

tote- $7 walmart
Heatlamp housing and bulb - $15 Walmart
Fish flakes $3 Walmart
Hydroton 10 lbs and shipping- Roughly $15 Ebay
Comet Goldfish $.13 Petsmart
PVC pipe - Free Dad
Submersible pump - Free Dad
Pump Tubing Thanks Again Dad
Seeds- Dad to the rescue
etc. Prob DAD

I got most of the basics I still need to figure out a sediment filter that I can take out the solid fish waste for composting. I also watched a video from Disney's The Land ride how exciting. Here's the video.

I'm still trying to figure out how to use this system in a human controlled enviroment in a bunker without having to ever leave the bunker. Still taking suggestions. Thanks to everyone so far for giving me great ideas.
Old 11-27-2010, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by kenser321 View Post
So in the spirit of self sufficiency I bought a tote, a heat lamp, and fish food today. I also took the time to price out hydroton, seeds, fish, pvc piping, pumps, etc. I spent about $30 dollars today just for the basics I think my father will have the piping, pumps, lumber, and maybe even a few seeds I can experiment on. I need to start somewhere right?

tote- $7 walmart
Heatlamp housing and bulb - $15 Walmart
Fish flakes $3 Walmart
Hydroton 10 lbs and shipping- Roughly $15 Ebay
Comet Goldfish $.13 Petsmart
PVC pipe - Free Dad
Submersible pump - Free Dad
Pump Tubing Thanks Again Dad
Seeds- Dad to the rescue
etc. Prob DAD

I got most of the basics I still need to figure out a sediment filter that I can take out the solid fish waste for composting. I also watched a video from Disney's The Land ride how exciting. Here's the video.
YouTube - Living with the Land Ride - Epcot Walt Disney World

I'm still trying to figure out how to use this system in a human controlled enviroment in a bunker without having to ever leave the bunker. Still taking suggestions. Thanks to everyone so far for giving me great ideas.
I realize that this is probably just an "experiment" and that you intend to drastically increase the scope of your project to get some meaningful protein out of the system eventually. BUT. You really need to take a look at the size of your intended system. A fish tank or a tote no matter how large is not going to be large enough to provide more than a meal or two on a fairly irregular basis. The more protein you hope to produce the more space you need. A "system" large enough to produce enough fish (say Tilapia as they are about the best aquaponics fish I know of besides carp) for a Friday fish dinner for yourself every week for a year (say two 1.5 lb fish) would have to be quite large (many hundreds of gallons) in volume. You (for the most part) would need a series of large (100 gallon ) tanks to keep a succession of fish going. You can't keep all the different age classes of fish together as the baby fry quickly become fish food for the adults in the sytem.

It takes a lot of trial and error to get a large aquaponics system functioning over a period of time longer than a few months. Once the initial golden first 3 months is over you quickly see how much waste a fast growing fish like a tilapia produces and how much filtration a small sytem needs.
I'm not trying to discourage you in this endeavor but you really should get a few books on aquaculture from the bookseller or library and look at the calculations for size of system. Then decide if it worth the expenditure of time, space (those big tanks take up a lot of space) and money over the cost of buying a few cases of canned tuna, salmon, and mackerel. I have a half acre pond on my property. I have an advanced degree in fisheries management with slew of courses in aquaculture and I am not expecting to get more than a meal of fish each week for my family of 4 when the shumer finally does hit the fan.
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:30 AM
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I got most of the basics I still need to figure out a sediment filter that I can take out the solid fish waste for composting.
I'm confused. Are we talking Aquaponics or Hydroponic???

The reason I ask.... you want the fish waste in a AQUAponic system.

But if you really want a filter, try this....

http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...53&pcatid=4353

As a 20yr hobbyist, not only are they awesome at polishing the water, but they are reusable. I purchased one pkg of the 50 and one pkg of the 100... that was 5 yrs ago. Having a 55 gal AND a 75 gal tank... I'm still using the same packages. How's that for frugal?
Old 11-27-2010, 09:33 AM
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I was under the impression that the OP wanted to set up a system whereby he could produce plants and fish using the waste products of the fish to feed the plants and the waste of the plants to feed the fish food. My bad if I was in error.
Old 11-27-2010, 12:52 PM
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jandlms- Yes this is just and experiment im going to have a desktop setup in my spare bedroom and keep expanding. I plan on buying a house in the next couple of years and really get into it if it pays off. Also that's my plan I have already scoured the internet and spent an large amount of time at the bookstore. I don't have a degree in anything, but I have seen people run successful farms with a 6 grade education.

123testing- I may have used a biofilter as a terrible example. I think I may have meant sediment filter. What I meant by filtering it to remove the solid fish waste to use in composting. If you leave the solids the they will eventually break down and settle into the rockbed in the fish tank and can cause all sorts of diseases for the fish.


Also my OP was started as a can I keep using left over products to keep renewing the system? Ex. re-using fish by breeding, using fish and plant waste for compost, using compost to reproduce worms for fish food. I also was trying to get ideas for a DIY and nuclear aftermath kind of deal. Through everyones postings I learned that:

1. I cannot regenerate the water.
2. I cannot regenerate nutrients and I will have a mass die off without said nutrients.
3. It is extremely difficult to control an aquaponics system without good ol mother nature.
4. I need a way to create energy. I believe a wind farm was my personal favorite answer.( the hamsters were up there also )
5. I need a heat source. Heat lamps, natural sunlight, etc.

So out of those 5 reasons It's not a perfect system and I would have to leave the bunker eventually to retrieve more resources.
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Old 11-27-2010, 01:09 PM
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Bro, my brother and I are setting up an outdoor fish farm, and we got our initial feet-wetting with a very small system. Heat source is best (cheapest) if you can use solar to heat water for the business, and you can use sunshine most of the year here in Arkansas.

The trick to a closed cycle system, which is what I thought you were getting at earlier, is to avoid poisoning the nutrients you are recycling, That means that things like antibiotics are pretty much taboo, if you are making methane to burn from your personal effluents. It's a big balancing act, and it changes all the time. That is why the study of ecology (not the parroted idiocy that passes for ecological knowledge) is such a complex business.

Gerbils and hamsters, and Stirling Engines are all very low-torque resources....
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Old 11-27-2010, 01:17 PM
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http://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua/extensi...Aquaponics.htm

I found this link in another thread about raising catfish in a barrel. It suggested using a settling tank for solid fish waste. I believe that solves my filtering problem.
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