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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm thinking sense my wife likes gardens and I like fish that a agroponic system would be awesome.
From what I gather... the water from a fish tank is pumped through a pipe that has plants planted in holes in the top, so the fish waste fertilizes the plants and then the water is filtered before going back to the fish tank..

What do you guys think??
 

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I think the plants will grow out deficient. Fish waste generally doesn't contain enough of each nutrient that a plant needs so you'd need to supplement the water with fertilizers.
 

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well there is way to much interest and to many people pouring their time money and lively hood into agroponics for it to not work. for one instance I was on vacation in Hawaii, there is a family there that uses this system and in a 3,000 square foot area they get 4,000 pounds of produce per growing season. they use no extra plant food or anything like that. they said all they do is plant the plants, feed the fish, and harvest the produce from the plants.

http://www.geoerosion.com/agroponicsystems.html

you do have to have either large load fish like a gold fish or ALOT of fish lol. agroponics farms are generally fish farms as well as produce farms...

im just concerned about how I would incorporate my existing fish tanks into such a system...
 

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Actually set up an NFT (nutrient film technique) recently (adding plants this weekend) and done a lot of research before setting it up on my 55. Aquaponics uses in what would otherwise be considered overstocked tanks by most aquariests standards (fish end up being food rather than pets in most cases but plenty of people use 'pet' catfish (pleco) and goldfish as big waste producers to feed their plants (also seen on large heavily populated cichlid tank). The plants get nutrition from the water from fish waste (through nitrogen cycle) and fish foods most people in aquaponics use to help added needed nutrients. Iron seems to be the main thing people add to the systems as and there has been several threads/sites that cover different types of iron supplements to sue depending on your pH (as some will not be properly absorbed at higher pHs.
Hydroponics utilizes a lot of supplement additives and is very precise, aquaponics is more 'free form'/'nature takes it course' you could say and not so anal about nutrients.
Keep looking up aquaponics on youtube, there's a ton of helpful and informative videos.

added info: as for adding to an existing tank many use a single pump in tank (or canister filter if pre-exsisting like mine) pump water up from tank to aquaponics system above tank (usually grow beds) and use constant fill (with bell siphon) or ebb and flow method (pump on a timer + bell siphon or simple drain) siphon drumps water right back into tank with gravity. Some people use 2 pumps and have a sump system added in, I don't like the idea of one pump can fail and you end up with a drained tank and a giant mess.
Look up aquarium aquaponics or something simular on youtube, plenty aquarium based videos from small betta boxes to large aquariums.

I am using a simple setup over my 55 gallon tank with my poop monster pleco as the nutrient producer. I actually set this system up (with huge help from hubby) to help keep nitrates lowered in the tank, added bonus is getting food we (or the pleco) can eat ^^. Mines a small NFT system using pvc tubing (6 openings for plants in it), connected outflow from canister filter to one end, have other end (past plants) dump out into the tank with a 90* elbow and shut off valve to control how high water is in the tube.
Went with nft to avoid grow bed siphons turning on and off, since the system is inside and in a room below the bedroom, don't want to hear it go on and off (it gets quite loud) as you may notice from watching videos of aquaponic setups using bell siphons.
 

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It's a pretty interesting system. I attempted on a 10 gallon tank. Over stocked the tank, created a sump system that sprayed the water over a substrate medium above the tank which then trickled back into the tank. It grew a few heads of lettuce but as usual the smaller the build the more difficult to maintain. Would be a great system to supply fish and vegetables if you could overstock a pond with tilapia and create an ebb amd flow system
 

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well there is way to much interest and to many people pouring their time money and lively hood into agroponics for it to not work.
The original poster asked if it would work for a fish tank, not an industrial shrimp/fish farm which has far higher levels of nutrients.

It will not work for an average fish tank, I know this because aquatic plants which are adapted to low nutrient environments compared with terrestrial plants often develop deficiencies when the sole source of nutrients is fish waste. Deficiencies are made worse when the light is brighter, so growing terrestrial plants (higher nutrient demands) outside in the sun (higher growth rate) is asking for deficiencies unless the water is fertilized with dry chemicals.
 

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Locally there are a number of folks who do this. But the definition of fish tank has to change from what most of us have. It requires LOTS of fish and tank space to grow very much. Your area may be way too cold to do this without a large investment in greenhouse, etc. Also I get the feeling that these often turn out to be interesting but to make it work we have to adapt things so far that many no longer find it fun. Switching from pretty fish to tilapia might be my first objection and then the work involved also loses me pretty quick. Others like it though, so it much work for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
hmm

The original poster asked if it would work for a fish tank, not an industrial shrimp/fish farm which has far higher levels of nutrients.

It will not work for an average fish tank, I know this because aquatic plants which are adapted to low nutrient environments compared with terrestrial plants often develop deficiencies when the sole source of nutrients is fish waste. Deficiencies are made worse when the light is brighter, so growing terrestrial plants (higher nutrient demands) outside in the sun (higher growth rate) is asking for deficiencies unless the water is fertilized with dry chemicals.
Well you would need to use a large bio load fish... which is why people are using a larger fish like tilapia which you could also eat... but you can also use koi which is a colorful fish ;) or a bunch of crown tail gold fish, or sense bettas are such a poop bucket you could use one of them if ur growing just 1-5 plants and of course what you feed the fish can also affect what nutrients are passed by them into the water... and some garden plants do fine in the house :) I have grown tomato and different herbs in the house with a plant bulb on them... as far as aquatic plants idk you would need low tech plants I'd imagen perhaps mosses and sag?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
awesome

Actually set up an NFT (nutrient film technique) recently (adding plants this weekend) and done a lot of research before setting it up on my 55. Aquaponics uses in what would otherwise be considered overstocked tanks by most aquariests standards (fish end up being food rather than pets in most cases but plenty of people use 'pet' catfish (pleco) and goldfish as big waste producers to feed their plants (also seen on large heavily populated cichlid tank). The plants get nutrition from the water from fish waste (through nitrogen cycle) and fish foods most people in aquaponics use to help added needed nutrients. Iron seems to be the main thing people add to the systems as and there has been several threads/sites that cover different types of iron supplements to sue depending on your pH (as some will not be properly absorbed at higher pHs.
Hydroponics utilizes a lot of supplement additives and is very precise, aquaponics is more 'free form'/'nature takes it course' you could say and not so anal about nutrients.
Keep looking up aquaponics on youtube, there's a ton of helpful and informative videos.

added info: as for adding to an existing tank many use a single pump in tank (or canister filter if pre-exsisting like mine) pump water up from tank to aquaponics system above tank (usually grow beds) and use constant fill (with bell siphon) or ebb and flow method (pump on a timer + bell siphon or simple drain) siphon drumps water right back into tank with gravity. Some people use 2 pumps and have a sump system added in, I don't like the idea of one pump can fail and you end up with a drained tank and a giant mess.
Look up aquarium aquaponics or something simular on youtube, plenty aquarium based videos from small betta boxes to large aquariums.

I am using a simple setup over my 55 gallon tank with my poop monster pleco as the nutrient producer. I actually set this system up (with huge help from hubby) to help keep nitrates lowered in the tank, added bonus is getting food we (or the pleco) can eat ^^. Mines a small NFT system using pvc tubing (6 openings for plants in it), connected outflow from canister filter to one end, have other end (past plants) dump out into the tank with a 90* elbow and shut off valve to control how high water is in the tube.
Went with nft to avoid grow bed siphons turning on and off, since the system is inside and in a room below the bedroom, don't want to hear it go on and off (it gets quite loud) as you may notice from watching videos of aquaponic setups using bell siphons.
Can you please post a picture of your setup id love to see it :)
 

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Can you please post a picture of your setup id love to see it :)
Plecoponics! Will be updating with more photos (now with plants!) hopefully today or tomorrow.
This is teh most recent photo (about a week old.. added a few things since then)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
:)

Plecoponics! Will be updating with more photos (now with plants!) hopefully today or tomorrow.
This is teh most recent photo (about a week old.. added a few things since then)
Did you glue the T's together? I keep wondering what would happen if all those came apart :(
 

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Did you glue the T's together? I keep wondering what would happen if all those came apart :(
Yes using primer and pvc glue, they aren't coming apart. Though most that make NFT systems just buy a solid piece of 4" pvc pip and cut holes into it.

Wouldn't it have been simpler to just dump your waste water from WC's into the garden?
Probably! But where is the fun in that?

Exactly.. though actually i wanted to set this up to ultiamtely reduce the amount of water changes (10 gallons 3x a week ...4x 5 gallon buckets x3 = my back [censor] hurts!)
 

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Can't blame you for wanting less water changes! I used to do 50% water changes on 7 large tanks every week with buckets. Later I switched to using a hose/python and later I built a totally automated water change system which made life so much easier.

Unfortunately, the need for water changes can't be reduced by using plants. Plants will take up some of the mineral wastes like KNO3 etc. but they will not remove detritus and dissolved organic wastes (fats/carbs/proteins). These will build up and can eventually stress tank inhabitants and promote algae (which can directly consume organic wastes to some degree).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
lol

Wouldn't it have been simpler to just dump your waste water from WC's into the garden?
The whole idea behind the concept is to have no weeds to pull or watering to do... your garden is watered and fertilized 24/7 thus you get a better harvest with less work and time put into it. A general garden takes 3-4 hours of your time per day if your dedicated and you have a pretty good size garden. Doing aquaponics it takes 1 hour per day for the same size garden that will generally take 3-4 hours of your time a day.
 

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Hydroponic (and aquaponic) gardening also have the benefit of using as little as 10% of the water you would need to grow the same crops in soil. Counter intuitive, but it's true.

I do hydroponic gardening on a small scale, and I'm amazed at the quality of greens that I can grow. My hydroponic lettuce lasts a month in the fridge....it really puts into perspective just how long it takes to transport food from the field to your table using the regular supply chain.
 
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