048: Raise Life with Aquaculture, Hydroponics and Aquaponics Systems

Military Tactical Maneauvers: Reconnaissance Techniques
Military Tactical Maneauvers: Reconnaissance Techniques
September 29, 2014
Slaughtering Chickens
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October 6, 2014
aquaculture

The Aquaculture System

Small-scale aquaculture requires low-cost labor and doesn’t require much investment and effort once the ponds have been set up. – Patrick Dugan

 

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Show Notes: theprepperpodcast.com/048, theprepperpodcast.com/aquaponics

Discussion:

Purpose of Aquaculture

  1. Primary objective is to raise fish or aquatic life like shellfish, crawfish, or snails.

Benefits of Aquaculture

  1. Helps meet your fish demands with little impact (reduce over-fishing)

Drawbacks of Aquaculture

  1. Nutrient Pollution
    a. Via fish gills, feces, unconsumed fish pellets
  2. Causes eutrophication
    a. Definition: excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water, frequently due to runoff from the land, which causes a dense growth of plant life and death of animal life from lack of oxygen.
    b. Reduces water quality
    c. Causes excess plant growth and decay, certain species favored over others like choking aquatic vegetation
  3. This causes things like Lack of O2

Purpose of Hydroponics

  1. Cultivating plant life in a bath of nutrient rich water solution instead of soil.
  2. Created to raise production in a smaller area.

Benefits of Hydroponics

  1. Cycles water efficiently, uses around 5-10% of water required in soil
  2. Can grow diverse plant life in very little space
  3. Can extend your growing season (location, and water temp)
  4. Use in locations where water or fertile land is scarce

Drawbacks of Hydroponics

  1. Eventually becomes too nutrient dense
  2. The effluent needs to be disposed of
  3. This is cost-inefficient and unsustainable commercially
  4. Because you dump tons of nutrients
  5. Pythium (root rot)

Introducing Aquaponics

  1. Aquaponics is a marriage of aquaculture and hydroponics.
  2. Use fish to provide the nutrient content for plantlife.
  3. It gets rid of agrochemicals:
    a. Problems like the delta of the Mississippi where a wetland is turning into an uninhabitable area

Benefits of Aquaponics over Hydroponics

  1. Little to no toxic waste, toxic levels of phosphorus or nitrates

Benefits of Aquaponics over Aquaculture

  1. It becomes a wetland environment, removing nitrogen by plants and biological conversion

Benefits over Both

  1. Less input and waste:
  2. Feed: only add fish food
  3. Water: never replace full volume
  4. Losses due to plant absorption and transpiration, evaporation, removal of biomass or waste
  5. When hot, fish are largest, you still would probably end up only replacing 20% of water in 2 week intervals.

Typical Aquaponic system components:

  1. Rearing tank:
    a. Tanks for raising and feeding fish
  2. Settling basin
    a. Catches uneaten food and detached biofilms, settles out particles
  3. Biofilter
    a. Where nitrification bacteria can grow and convert ammonia into nitrates
  4. Hydroponics subsystem
    a. Where plants grow
  5. Sump
    a. Lowest basin where water gravity flows. It is then pumped back up to the rearing tanks

Different applications to grow plant life (Hydroponics Tank):

  1. Deep-Water Raft Aquaponics
    1. Plants float in Styrofoam rafts in a deep basin
  2. Recirculating Aquaponics or Closed-Loop Aquaponics
  3. Solid media: (Gravel or clay) in a container.  Container is flooded with the aquaculture water.
    1. Best for beginners because:
      1. Easier to learn
      2. Less parts, so it is cheaper
      3. Media bed mechanically filters (solids), performs mineralization (breaks down solids), and biofiltration (attachment of bacteria).
  4. Reciprocating Aquaponics, Flood-and-Drain Aquaponics, Ebb-and-Flow Aquaponics
    1. Flood and Drain is simplest
      1. Easy to build
      2. Small
      3. Best for a 1:1 ratio (grow bed to fish tank)
      4. Easier maintenance
      5. Same media but it is flooded and drained using siphon drains.
  5. Vertical Tower Aquaponics
    1. Uses vertical towers that are trickle fed from the top
  6. Nutrient Film Aquaponics
    1. Sloped bed of 1.1 to 1.4
    2. Flow around 1L per minute
    3. Plenty of root oxygen, water, and nutrients

Typical Animals (Aquaculture or Rearing Tank):

  1. Usually Freshwater Fish and Life
  2. Tilapia is most common
  3. Barramundi
  4. Silver Perch
  5. Eel-tailed Catfish or Tandanus Catfish
  6. Jade Perch
  7. Murray Cod
  8. Gold Fish (Edible, but many don’t do it)
  9. Koi
  10. Temperate Climates and you don’t want to maintain water temp:
    1. Bluegill
    2. Catfish

Bacterial Cycle (Biofilter)

  1. Fish release ammonia through crap and gills
    1. Toxic above .5 to 1 ppm so it needs filtered
    2. Plant absorb it, but not  efficiently or at high levels (nitrates are easier)
    3. You will not add fish the first day, so you may want to add just a small amount of dead fish to give ammonia off
      1. if you don’t take lots of medication, you can use pee
        1. direct or aged
      2. you can just use your fish.
        1. Keep feed to a tbsp/day
        2. if you see algae bloom, cut back a bit until it clears
        3. this could take up to two months
  2. We convert it:
    1. Nitrosomonas convert ammonia into nitrites
    2. Nitrobacter converts nitrites into nitrates
    3. They create a biofilm on all surfaces in contact with water including roots
    4. Using a biofilter essentially raises surface area
  3. Seed your system with the right bacteria
    1. aquarium or pond filters
    2. aquarium or pond water
    3. existing aquaponics system water or media
    4. A test kit which tests pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate is best
    5. Let system run a day or two prior to fish

Inputs for aquaponics systems:

  1. Water
  2. Oxygen
  3. Light
  4. Feed
  5. Electricity to pump, filter, and oxygenate

Building an aquaponics system:

  1. Your feed input needs to be constant and Calculated
  2. Stock Feed (fish meal), Organic fish feeds, growing duckweed in your aquaponics system, excess worms from vermiculture, or growing black soldier fly larvae
  3. You will probably need to supplement calcium, potassium, and iron
  4. Keep water aerated
  5. Remove solids
    1. Many people use worms to liquefy wastes
  6. Whatever hose size you think you need, go bigger.
  7. Watch your pH and biofiltration
  8. Overflow discharge can be put in a holding tank to be used as makeup volume, or used for soil crops.
  9. May be used as a Controlled Wetland
    1. Meaning it can treat typical household sewage
  10. Always think about where you put it
    1. Backyard
    2. Inside
    3. Backyard and inside for climate
    4. Greenhouse (best)

Don’t think that you will be using only this system for sustainability:

  1. In survival situations, you may have issues achieving recirculation and water temperatures
    1. You may lose energy input for pumps
    2. A single failure point could lose all of your fish stock
  2. This is why, you use:
    1. Multiple crop planting methods
    2. Reduce failures in your systems with:
      1. Raising efficiency and using alternative energy
      2. Identify single point failures and what you can do to make a backup method.
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