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Hellbent
April 28th, 2011, 08:31 AM
Not Hydropoincs, but aquaponics. I noticed that nothing has been posted about this here, so I'm posting about it to spread the word.

I got into aquaponics 2 years ago and am trying to start a business doing aquaponics. I've got a website and a few clients but am not sure on the rules of linking to another website so I'll leave off that for now.

Aquaponics is the combination of the best of hydroponics (growing vegetables in nutrient rich water) and aquaculture, which is the growing of fish. In both you have to dump the water and refill, but in aquaponics the fish waste (ammonia) is converted by nitrifying bacteria into nitrates which fertilize the plants. A water pump moves the water from the fish tank to the 'growbed' which contains dirtless growing media (where the plants are at and the bacteria live). The 'cleaned' water is then returned back to the fish.

All you need is 1) a container to act as the fish tank, 2) a water pump, 3) a container to act as a growbed, and 4)a drain. Instead of dirt, you use growing media like black cinder.

I am growing sunfish in my backyard that both is the engine of my system (they provide the fish waste) and I can eat the fish when it gets big enough and it grows my vegetables at an accelerated pace.

Its super-low maintenance. It waters itself. It re-uses the water, so I'm not just throwing away water into the ground. It uses raised bed gardening which also means less bugs and weeds.


I know its starting to sound like an advertisement, but I'm trying to spread the word about this awesome but simple way to grow your own food.

If youre interested in this, post your questions and I'll answer them!

Hellbent
April 28th, 2011, 08:38 AM
Of course, its not a new thing, in the 70's the University of the Virgin Islands did work on this, and of course the ancient Hawaiians had Taro Loi's and the Chinese had rice paddies. But now we have electric pumps to move the water more efficiently.

Combine raised bed gardening, worm composting, container gardening and organic growing (by neccessity) and youve got a neat little system to grow fruits and veggies.

A few more pics:

matapule
April 28th, 2011, 09:11 AM
I've got a website and a few clients but am not sure on the rules of linking to another website so I'll leave off that for now.!

I am very interested in this technology. Any links you can give would be most appreciated.

tutusue
April 28th, 2011, 09:16 AM
This is great. I live in a condo (no lanai) so can't take advantage of aquaponics but I'll follow this thread with interest. I'd love to see your web site. Please post the URL.

Hellbent
April 28th, 2011, 09:51 AM
Hi all,
I am checking with the admins if its okay to post links to my website. Its been awhile and not sure on rules of posting links and advertisements.

tutusue, its totally possible to do it in a condo, even without lanai or balcony. i saw a system someone made next to a window that consisted of a rubbermade bin, a pump, some hoses, and 3 short pieces of rain gutter, but id probably recommend a small aquarium with a rubbermade bin on top of it.

matapule, if you dont mind googling 'aquaponics', you'll find a ton of websites. one might be mines =)
otherwise recently there have been articles in the star advertiser. alot of schools are building or have systems (Midpac, Palolo, Iolani to name a few)
there was a nice piece on msnbc (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/40203746) recently.

aquaponics, or AP for short has become really popular in Australlia, where several forums have become popular. because of the drought conditions of late, a growing system like aquaponics is popular. you could argue that this is hawaii, stick a seed in the ground it'll grow, but when you add in the fact that you have to water it, that you have to remember to water it, about pests and stuff, the system sounds like a better idea.


if you grew up in hawaii and dont know that 'sunfish' is another name for red tilapia and also think of tilapia as a dirty fish, its actually not bad when its raised in a farm. however any fresh water fish can be used. ive got chinese catfish in another system, malaysian prawns in under a raft system. if you dont like to eat fish, you can use koi, goldfish, guppies, etc.


i've uploaded a few pics of different systems.

MyopicJoe
April 28th, 2011, 12:17 PM
Aquaponics is an interesting system. Efficient use of water and efficient production of protein, because fish use less energy floating in water than land animals who fight gravity. That auto/bell siphon used in some ebb-and-flow systems is pretty cool.

I toured Olomana Garden's aquaponics operation. One thing they do is put earthworms (composting type I think) in the bio-filter/black cinder section to clean up the muck, so they don't have to do it themselves.

Olomana grows Azolla in their system and claims it's good fish food for their tilapia. Some people say it's hard to get fish to eat Azolla unless they're starving. I don't know much about that, but I guess people will disagree about everything.

Someone I met says he likes Friendly Aquaponics on the Big Island. He says their operation is more large scale and "industrial" oriented than Olomana.

Do you have to monitor pH daily in your system?

Hellbent
April 28th, 2011, 12:53 PM
i went to olomana for their classes 2 years ago, after reading everything in the australlian forums. i now host my forums meetups there and am glad to call glenn a friend.
i have worms in my growbeds... now i dont have to clean up the muck!
i like to think of azolla like natto... some people like it, some dont.

i should but do not monitor any of my 5 systems anymore. after a year they get pretty stable.

LikaNui
April 28th, 2011, 04:03 PM
In today's mail I received the new issue of UH's "Malamalama" magazine, and there's a full story about aquaponics starting on page 10. Remembering this thread title, I checked and found the story online at http://www.hawaii.edu/malamalama/2011/04/aquaponics/ .
Hope that helps some of you!

Hellbent
April 28th, 2011, 07:21 PM
Awesome! Another article about aquaponics!
I havent heard back from the admins, I hope they wont mind me posting my website. Its http://aquaponicsinparadise.com/
The front end is for my consulting, which I do part time (I still work in IT) and the forums is where all the DIYer's are at.

MyopicJoe
April 29th, 2011, 03:46 PM
i should but do not monitor any of my 5 systems anymore. after a year they get pretty stable.

It's great that your systems are stable enough so that you don't have to monitor them all the time.

Do you use black soldier flies in your systems? Is that your adorable daughter in the pictures? Great to see the keikis being exposed to gardening.


I havent heard back from the admins, I hope they wont mind me posting my website.

You've been pretty polite and patient. I'm sure if they have an issue with it, they'll simply edit it out or something.

Hellbent
April 29th, 2011, 04:05 PM
heres some of the stuff that i am growing:
lettuce
basil
spinach
kale
kalo
mint
okinowan sweet potato
strawberry
papaya
tapioca
white snow eggplant
eggplant
bell pepper
lilikoi
grape
watercress

Hellbent
April 29th, 2011, 04:07 PM
yes, thats my oldest, she'll be 3 in may. shes a ham for the camera.

tutusue
April 29th, 2011, 07:03 PM
[...]Great to see the keikis being exposed to gardening.
A high school classmate of mine, Dr. Charles Majuri (http://www.kidsgrowgreen.com/), is a practicing clinical psychologist and has specialized in children and families. He'd agree with you MJ! His new book was just released: Growing Up Green: a simple gardening book for children and adults (http://www.amazon.com/Growing-green-1ST-Charles-Majuri/dp/1935638076).

You've been pretty polite and patient. I'm sure if they have an issue with it, they'll simply edit it out or something.
I may be ignorant about this but I can't see why admin or mods would have a problem with linking to your web site. Sometimes they switch the thread to what they consider a more appropriate forum topic.

ETA: Hellbent, have you made kale chips for your daughter? I'm addicted!

Hellbent
April 29th, 2011, 07:19 PM
I may be ignorant about this but I can't see why admin or mods would have a problem with linking to your web site. Sometimes they switch the thread to what they consider a more appropriate forum topic.


Just playing it safe... I also sell aquaponic starter kits and sometimes some forums prefer you clear advertising with them first.



ETA: Hellbent, have you made kale chips for your daughter? I'm addicted!

i have, i have it posted in my recipe section... except i put too much EVOO and salt, so i made 'nori' instead!

Walkoff Balk
April 29th, 2011, 11:28 PM
You have to check if there's baby mosquitos in the water because of possible spread of Dengue Fever.

MyopicJoe
April 29th, 2011, 11:51 PM
You have to check if there's baby mosquitos in the water because of possible spread of Dengue Fever.

Time to file for 10 different permits from Hawaii Department of Health!

I assume the fish will eat the larvae. If not, I hear you can throw in some mosquito fish (hopefully the bigger fish don't eat them!).

Hellbent
April 30th, 2011, 07:15 AM
baby mosquitos = worms = fish food

i forgot to mention, in one of the pics where my daughter is holding up a big leaf, the leaf is portuguese cabbage. its 4x bigger then my sisters one, which was bought at the same time. my sister said somethings wrong with mines =)

Ron Whitfield
April 30th, 2011, 10:25 AM
I started doing this years ago on my own, pre interwebs, and nearly had great success.
It's yet another way this State could be self-sustaining, I'll bet they can't ignore this fast enuf.

pzarquon
April 30th, 2011, 06:03 PM
Thanks for sharing your passion, Hellbent. There's a pretty robust community in Hawaii (across most islands, and especially on the Big Island) doing aquaculture and aquaculture evangelism. Do you know the folks at AquacultureHub (http://www.AquacultureHub.com)? It's basically a big forum and social network for aquaponics fans.

Hellbent
April 30th, 2011, 06:29 PM
Hi, you can call me Albert if you want. Hellbent is my video game name =)

Yes, Dr Ron gave a workshop at our meetup at Olomana Gardens on how to sex tilapia last month.

Besides aquaculturehub, there are also:
http://www.aquaponicshq.com/forums/forum.php
http://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/index.php
and
http://aquaponicscommunity.com/


I find aquaculturehub leaning more towards the academics and hard science while i consider my forums more DIY'ers

MyopicJoe
May 1st, 2011, 07:10 PM
A high school classmate of mine, Dr. Charles Majuri (http://www.kidsgrowgreen.com/)

He's was your classmate? Pretty cool. I agree with his theory. I find gardening to be very therapeutic, and as challenging as any engineering problem.

Thanks for pointing him out, Sue :)

Hellbent
June 24th, 2011, 07:06 AM
If anyone is interested in taking a trip to Waimanalo, I am organizing a potluck on July the 30th. It is being hosted by Olomana Gardens and includes a free tour.
Info and pictuers of past meetups here:
http://aquaponicsinparadise.com/APforums/index.php?topic=883.msg6987;topicseen#msg6987

Its a great outing for families and its free (except the potluck part). Please let me know if you would like to attend so I can update my list.
I would like to break 100 this time!

Hellbent
July 30th, 2011, 08:17 AM
If youre not doing anything today, come by Waimanalo and stop by for a tour of an aquaponic farm. There will be a potluck and a movie at 6 - Fresh, the Movie.

Pohaku
July 30th, 2011, 03:06 PM
Looks like my old high school is having the kids do aquaponics as a school project. Wish they'd done stuff like that when I was there! https://sites.google.com/site/seaburyhallengineering/hydroponics-1