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Starting With Hydroponics In Order To Transition To Aquaponics

 
Posts: 16
Location: Green Bay, Virginia
dog fish chicken
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Hey everyone,

I am looking at investing in a 960 sq. ft. greenhouse that is a turnkey hydroponic system. This will become my livelihood. I will be serving local restaurants and farmers markets. I am starting with hydroponics because it will be 40% cheaper for me to start, and then I will use the profit to transition to aquaponics, which is most definitely my end goal.

Also, here is Geoff Lawton addressing individuals that feel that hydroponics isn’t natural:

“Hydroponics, I’d say they’re quite correct and they should be careful about hydroponics for sure, but aquaponics creates soil biology that replicates high quality soils, from what we can see when we get the microscope out and have a look once you’ve built up a stable and functioning aquaponic system. The biology that we pick up in amongst the grow media, whether its gravel, clay balls, or whatever it is, appears to be exactly the same as a nice diverse healthy soil. When you look at the nutrient density of the food it comes up very high as well. So I don’t think there’s a lot of difference. It’s a lot better than anything you buy normally, and obviously potentially a lot cheaper, and a lot fresher, and a lot more potentially local. All of those are worth going for.” ( [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3Oe0_6RLIY)[/youtube]

Has anyone tried this before? Do you see any potential problems with this? Is it "permissible" if it allows me to transition to living a life of permaculture and gets me out of my desk job?

Thanks!
 
Posts: 55
Location: Valley City, ND.
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I am curious how this operation is going.  Are you up and selling stuff to restaurants yet?

JR
 
pollinator
Posts: 596
Location: Southern Arizona. Zone 8b
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You might want to do some additional research.

From what I've read, small scale hydroponics can sometimes be profitable, but small scale aquaponics rarely is.  The exception is people that primarily make money from teaching, selling equipment, selling knowledge, etc.

The cost of the fingerlings and the food to grow them out, is typically more than you can sell the fish for.

Larger operations, where you can raise your own fingerlings, and buy food in bulk (thousands of pounds) can swing the scales in favor of aquaponics.

 
Posts: 82
Location: mid Ohio, 40.318626 -83.766931
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Isn't this doing things backwards? I thought the idea of aquaponics  was to use the fish waste to feed the plants. If you have no fish you'll need to add additional chemicals to replace the nutrients and minerals.
 
Peter VanDerWal
pollinator
Posts: 596
Location: Southern Arizona. Zone 8b
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Using chemicals instead of fish waste is called "Hydroponics"
 
Posts: 234
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
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Peter VanDerWal wrote:Using chemicals instead of fish waste is called "Hydroponics"



Well, first, could someone explain why hydroponics are ever used? I always felt that anything that can be grown hydroponically, could be grown in soil with less intense inputs. Am I missing something here?
 
pollinator
Posts: 2602
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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I like the idea of buying a conventional farm and slowly convert it to 'permaculture'.
For the same reason I like the idea of taking a hydroponic farm and turning it to aquaponic.

Is hydroponic the most natural way of procuring food .... NOPE
I think it is an acceptable way to make money to start your real permaculture farmstead later in life.
Way better than working at a coal power plant/sweatshop to save up money to fund a permaculture farmstead.

I like Zip Grow Towers. What system are you thinking about using?

Once you do have enough 'outside' money coming in from the hydroponic setup.
How much money do you think it will cost you in fish feed to to 'import' enough minerals to grow your vegetables/herbs?
How does that compare to the cost of buying organic liquid/hydroponic fertilizer or regular artificial hydroponic fertilizer?
Is it possible to tap into a waste stream to make your own hydroponic fertilizer?
How much will it cost in energy/fossil fuel. To grow hydroponically vs getting a farm much further out and driving into town?

If you had 'unlimited' resource for your size market what would the most natural/permaculture aquaponic look like?
*pond uphill filled with 'fish/duckweed/life/nutrient'
*growbed downhill gravity feed (solar/wind+pump)
*possible an enrichment pod between the two above (extra nutrient/life/waste + aeration+ sand filter).

To me organic hydroponic is very similar to aquaponic to me. Except the fish food comes pre-digested for you.
So how could you do your own fish food digestion onsite. (I am a genius with a fish tank).
But other than a fish tank what would life forms could you use.
I say ferment the fish food, not only that don't even buy fish food. Get it from a waste stream, or grow onsite.
 
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