The Philippines have been hit by a super typhoon. Whole villages and towns in the Philippines have been washed away. Aquaponics and sustainable typhoon and earthquake resistant housing in the Philippines are practically unknown. Please go to our campaign page and help us change this!
Before you embark on a sustainable aquaculture business, ‘Aquaculture Economics and Financing: Management and Analysis‘ should be read with care and notes taken. You have to write a business plan for your project, with all the right spreadsheets and costings, and this book will save you months of work.
A Generous Framework
It supplies a generous framework on which you can build the structure and market research for your business. By the time you have read this book, you will have a much more down-to-earth idea of what you are actually getting into as an aquaculture farmer.
For Feasibility Studies
Any feasibility study for sustainable aquaculture should take note of this book and keep it handy when you have boots on the ground, to remind you of where you stand financially.
And the helpful observations about aquaculture farm management will help you continue to plan and manage your aquaculture business realistically.
Towards Sustainable Success
‘Aquaculture Economics and Financing: Management and Analysis‘ will certainly help you towards making your aquaculture projects a permanent and profitable success.
This book is the ‘recirculating aquaculture Bible’. It contains everything you need to know about recirculating aquaculture, in tanks. Aquaponics systems are a form of recirculating aquaculture systems, that use hydroponic beds full of vegetable crops as the biofilter for the fish farm. This is true whether you are using tilapia as your stock fish or some other species such as trout. This form of fish farming is very sustainable aquaculture.
How to breed and keep fish commercially.
The various ways of keeping and breeding commonly farmed fish such as tilapia (oreochromis spp.) in these aquaculture systems are described in detail.
Technical details and explanations.
It is a heavy tome full of all the technical details and explanations you could wish for. It is used as a textbook on aquaculture in university agricultural science courses. It is a standard required textbook on most high-level aquaculture courses, including aquaponics courses.
The science of Recirculating Aquaculture
If you want to know about the scientific basis for recirculating aquaculture in tanks of water, and tilapia husbandry, here it is. All the biology, physics and chemistry involved are described here in detail.
The tanks and plumbing.
If you want to know about the plumbing of these recirculating aquaculture systems (R.A.S. systems) then it is explained here.
How sustainable is it?
If you want to know how sustainable aquaculture in recirculating aquaculture systems can be, you can get down to basics with it here.
Tilapia feeding schedules, and the results of decades of aquaculture research on how to get these fish to grow to standard and to schedule, are described.
Recirculating aquaculture systems can be easily included in any sustainable aquaculture project as part of a sustainable farming business.
Science training required.
You will, however, require some previous science training, this is not for complete beginners. Sustainable aquaculture requires some previous experience of keeping fish and running a market gardening operation successfully as a business to prosper.
Aquaculture reference manual for farmers.
However, having read this book, and having it to hand as a reference manual, can only help you understand the advantages and the risks of sustainable aquaculture and running aquaculture systems as part of your farming enterprise.
Different from extensive aquaculture.
Sustainable aquaculture using recirculating aquaculture systems is quite different from extensive aquaculture farming in ponds. The environment in ponds is not as controlled or water-efficient as that in recirculating aquaculture systems. All the inputs in recirculating aquaculture systems are far more controllable and usually less than in extensive aquaculture.
Closer control on aquaculture inputs.
For instance, you can far more closely control your tilapia feed rate in recirculating aquaculture, and get more weight of fish for your feed dollars. Decades of aquaculture research have gone into this book to prove that this is so. To find out more details on how this is done, I suggest you invest in a copy and read it! Click here for Recirculating Aquaculture or on the picture below to obtain a copy/
Aquaponics Problem Solver
If you are deep in aquaponics and come up against a technical wall of some sort, this is the book to reference. ‘Aquaponics Q & A ‘, written by the inimitable and charming Dr James Rakocy, emeritus professor of the University of the Virgin Islands Agricultural Experiment Station at St Croix, and doyenne for many years of that institution’s world-famous aquaponic farming course (for farmers, not hobbyists), it will surely have a solution for your headache.
Aquaponics FAQ Manual
This little book is an aquaponics FAQ. All those frequently asked questions are answered here in full, by the world’s leading expert on aquaponics as a farming business. Aquaponics FAQs are not usually this terse, and can go on for volumes. This is not what you need when you are in a tight spot, so here is an authority with the short answers at a practical level.
Written By An Experienced Teacher
A very experienced teacher as well as an agricultural scientist of eminence, Dr Rakocy has here listed and categorized the kinds of begging questions that come up again and again in aquaponics. This aquaponics FAQ manual is designed to sit in your back pocket as you go fishing for cures to your aquaponics problems.
Well And Clearly Written
Unlike many technical writers, Dr Rakocy can actually write, so you will not find yourself swimming in abstruse terminology when you need a quick fix to your aquaponics life cycle. This aquaponics FAQ is a classic in aquaponics farm management and care literature.
Essential Reading For Aquaponic Farmers
Every aquaponics farm will find this essential reading, and a must-have for the office bookshelf. Aquaponics farm staff and family will need this on every training session and maintenance excursion. This aquaponics FAQ manual is a classic of its kind and also collectible as part of the history of this farming technology. Newbies and professionals alike need to have this to hand at all times!
Before seriously considering aquaponic farming, please do your market research. Aquaponics enthusiasts often forget that farming is a BUSINESS.
In business, before you start, you thoroughly research the market for your product or service to find out who your customers are, where they are, and what they are willing to pay for your product or service in the first place.
From that, you can work out the INCOME. See the chart above for a project I have on hand in Jamaica.
Once you know what probable income you are going to get from a certain area under cultivation, then you can assess how long it is going to take for you to get a return on your investment in constructing, staffing and running your aquaponic farm! Market research, properly done, will tell you this.
However, without doing your market research, your aquaponic farm business plan will be missing vital statistics.
These days, with all the banks in disarray, investors are really what you need for a commercial-scale aquaponics operation. But how do you know whether there is any real reason to go into aquaponics commercially in your part of the world if you have not done proper market research homework and identified what to grow, who will buy it, and how much you are likely to get for it?
First, for getting some idea of your market, you will need to market research who your customers are likely to be, and if possible, get some letters of intent to do business with your new farm from restaurants and local farmer’s markets. Unless you are going to be a mammoth aquaponics operation, your best bet is to sell retail and get the best prices you can locally. But how are you going to do this? You make money selling aquaponic food, not growing it!
Your market analysis for aquaponic food is likely to take some time, unless you have the services of a professional market research analyst to count on, who has previous experience with aquaponics and aquaponic farming, as well as the local food markets.
Consumer behavior is similar with aquaponic food to organic food. Your product research will also have to sort out what kind of food that you can reliably and quickly grow, will sell most reliably and at the best price. This may vary seasonally with demand as well. Market analysis of this type also has to take seasonal changes in demand into account.
Consumer behavior will also vary with fish as against vegetables, because they are two totally different products. Fish consumer behavior is notoriously unreliable, while vegetable consumer behavior is more dependable. Remember that is the VEGETABLES, not the fish, that are the main earner for your aquaponic farm.
Here at Aquaponics Global you can commission us to do this market research for you, and determine whether the possible income in your area or region is sufficient to pay the estimated costs (which we can also be commissioned to work out) of constructing and installing your aquaponic farm equipment and buildings in the first place. If consumer behavior pans out after we have done your market research for you, and all the facts are in and the spreadsheets compiled, and if our market analysis suggests that the project is feasible financially from the word go, then you can move on to the next stage with a light heart: financing the construction and establishment of your aquaponic farm.
To get in touch with us about your aquaponics project please contact me here for a chat:
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Here at Aquaponics Global Consultancy we are getting busy. At the moment we are partnering with the Green Man Solutions company based in Florida, USA to roll out some medium sized aquaponic farms there very soon, as well as doing a feasiblity study and funding drive with a church community here in London, UK for what is very possibly the first large-ish scale urban aquaponic farm and community in London, UK.
The logisitical and financial challenge of setting up urban and suburban farms, fish farming and vegetable farming right by the consumer market in these interesting times is very stimulating. A lot of the cost and funding details necessary to do this internationally have not been sufficiently well examined before, and as a result, I find myself writing the book on this with my partners here in the UK and elsewhere.
As a consultant, I am not a charity however, and charge fees for my services. This is because I am not an N.G.O. but a business person who is obliged to pay bills and so has to make a profit from my activities!
In cases like the church hall, of course I cannot charge anything until funding is acquired, but my time is nevertheless extremely valuable. There are few qualified and experienced aquaponics professionals in the UK, and they are still thin on the ground in other parts of the world as well.
To be an aquaponic farmer, you first have to have some years of experience of ORGANIC FARMING.
Organic farming is farming as a business, not a hobby, while using no artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, antibiotics, etc. on your livestock and plants. Aquaponics is a marriage of intensive aquaculture with intensive hydroponics. You have fish in your recirculating aquaculture system as well as the plants, and so cannot use any pesticides or nitrate fertilizers because they will kill off the fish within around 30 minutes, no joke since you have thousands of fish in the aquaculture sections of these systems.
DIY aquaponics is becoming popular as a hobby, but there are still very few self-built DIY aquaponics large-scale aquaponic farm operations out there. Aquaponics requires a static tank and pipe system of a specific, carefully calibrated plumbing and water flow rate design. You are going to have to fit a whole riverine ecosystem in there and the aquaponics system will have to serve this ecosystem with the right dissolved oxygen, flow rates for the water, filtration parameters to keep ammonia and nitrite levels extremely low, and so on.
High ammonia and nitrite levels in your water will kill your fish very fast, as will inadequate added oxygen levels. Intensive fish farming as here in commercial aquaponics systems requires very high levels of additional bubbled-through air in the water throughout the system at all times to supply the fish and plants with enough oxygen to keep them healthy and comfortable. You want them to grow!
Feeding your fish involves the main external input to your aquaponics system apart from water and electricity, namely, fish feed. Aquaponics fish require a measured amount of feed every day to be split up into three human person-observed meals, where you allow the fish to eat as much as they want for five to ten minutes. Overfeeding the fish, which often happens if you use an automatic feeder, will only leave uneaten food in the tanks and cause rotten food to make ammonia and nitrite levels spike, killing off thousands of your fish.
Since the cost of feedstuffs for farm livestock, including fish, is currently soaring we are, like many other fish farmers, currently looking at alternative sources for fish food, such as black soldier fly larvae farming. The most commonly farmed aquaponics fish worldwide is the tilapia fish, because it is an increasingly in-demand fish, it grows fast, and is tough and relatively human error tolerant.
Plants growing in an aquaponics system however are not so human error tolerant. You need to be pretty expert in spotting pests that have set up home among your crops, so you know what kind of integrated biological pest management tactics to use, and when to use them., you can only use green, pesticide-free integrated pest management, usually a combination of companion planting of pest-repellent herbs and flowers next to crops, such as marigolds and garlic.
In aquaponics you can also employ the judicious use of non-toxic sprays such as bacillus thuringensis spray (not the same as when it is inserted genetically into GM crops, this is the old-fashioned method) and pH-altering anti-fungal washes of a non-systemic and non-toxic nature (usually based on potassium salts). You need to have studied this properly for quite some time in the field. This is one of the problems with DIY aquaponics hobby enthusiasts, pest management is often hardly considered until the pests are well established and difficult to treat.
This goes far beyond the scope of the back garden DIY aquaponics hobby into the world of intensive agriculture. As you can see, training and experience are necessary to understand not only how to construct your DIY aquaponics commercial farm, but how to produce food intensively on a large scale aquaponic farm with fish farming and hydroponics working together. A large aquaponic farm has aquaponics system after aquaponics system in use.
We are convinced here at Aquaponics Global that the aquaponic farm is the way forward for many farmers both in Western and developing countries, and that building costs need not be too extortionate if you use local materials and technologies wisely. However, this is not fish farming using ponds! I get a lot of requests about ponds, and we never use them. Aquaponics requires a controlled growing environment, fish farming and hydroponics in tanks of water!
In order to find out how we can help you with aquaponic farm construction and aquaponics system professional training, please do not hesitate to put in a request here:
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We can work out all the details of your aquaponics project from startup costs to break-even studies, construction planning and site management.
Don’t forget to bookmark this site to be able to find our next aquaponics update!
Drought has struck again in the African Sahel. Most of these people are nomadic herdsmen and there is no grass or forage left. War in Mali has sent millions of refugees pouring over the border into Niger, where conditions are no better.
They have, as far as I know, no aquaponics.
Aquaponics is an organic food factory that produces up to four times more food than conventional soil agriculture, using 90% less land and WATER than conventional agriculture in the process. This is revolutionary.
No expensive chemical fertilizers or pesticides are needed or can be used. Not only do you get vegetables and soft fruit such as melons out of an aquaponic system farm, but also tonnages of TILAPIA FISH to solve the famine problem. Using far less water than conventional farming.
So you can provide the refugees with food, stop the famine, and also, after a little basic on-site tilapia fish aquaculture and horticulture training, jobs and skills to take them further in life.
Famine, given this aquaponics technology, can be eradicated quite quickly. Green leafy vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage varieties come out of an aquaponics system as harvest only 8 weeks after switching it on, and continue to be harvested weekly thereafter, as long as the aquaponics system is correctly managed and maintained.
This is only intermediate technology and can be run of alternative energy systems such as concentrated solar power and anaerobic digesters.
The tilapia fish and vegetables all are in tanks, in a closed-circuit recirculating aquaculture system. This system can be built and set into motion within eight weeks of the equipment and stock ( tilapia fish fingerlings and seeds) arriving on site.
Only a half horsepower pump and two regenerating blowers (air pumps for water aeration) are needed to service 0.05 of a hectare of aquaponics system. This produces 5 metric tonnes of tilapia fish and weekly continous harvests of vegetables in quantity.
These units can be built using simple materials like concrete and plastic water piping.
Here at Aquaponics Global we are available as consultants on contract to mitigate famine and food security emergencies using aquaponics technology anywhere on the planet, for reasonable fees. We are all multilingual expatriates with years of experience of coping with unusual and stressful conditions and have the requisite qualifications and experience to be rapidly effective in problem-solving on the spot in our various disciplines of aquaponics, aquaculture, construction (architecture), and business administration.
If you are a logistics professional looking for rapid ways of slowing or halting famine situations in drought areas without needing vast inputs of fertilizer, water, and expensive genetically altered organisms, Aquaponics Global can help. Why not give us a call?
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Cold water fish species such as trout can be reared in aquaponics systems, but at much lower densities than tilapia in warm water aquaponics.
This is partly because these cold water fish species are less tolerant of the presence of ammonia and nitrates in the water than tilapia, but also because at lower temperatures nitrifying bacteria are less efficient at disposing of ammonia and nitrite.
Like all bacteria, they get their energy from their environment and with less heat in the water, the nitrifying bacteria can only dispose of the ammonia that is being produced by the fish in the aquaponics system at a slower rate than in a warm water aquaponics system.
You still need to protect the cold water aquaponics system from extreme temperatures, so it will still have to be in a greenhouse, since below 10 degrees centigrade the action of nitrifying bacteria is very much suppressed. Fish such as trout and perch also do not grow well below this temperature. So you are looking at a temperature range between 10 and twenty degrees centigrade.
This is usually easy to maintain in a normal greenhouse in temperate climates, but in Arctic conditions you will still need some way to heat the greenhouse. Your cold water fish species will not be comfortable if their water freezes solid!
This is where your electricity bill comes in, since you will need to heat the greenhouse so it stays constantly above 10 degrees centigrade, AND ALSO pay what it costs to run the pumps and regenerating air blowers 24/7 to keep your aquaponic fish and vegetables alive and growing at optimum rates.
In Milwaukee, both tilapia and coldwater great lakes yellow perch are raised at Growing Power and Sweetwater Organics aquaponic farms, by the thousands.
The market for sustainably farmed yellow perch, a favourite frying fish for the local population, has increased since pollution in the great lakes caused a massive die-off of the wild version of this species.
Which brings me to the problem of water filtration.
If you have cold water fish species such as trout and perch in your aquaponics system, you MUST make sure you have adequate filtration and solids removal, to keep dissolved ammonia levels to a minimum.
At the Herbs From Wales aquaponic and hydroponic farm in Anglesey, Wales, they have both aquaponic media beds filtering the water, and mechanical sponge filters that remove additional solids. These are regularly cleaned out to make sure that the water for the cold water fish species (in this case, brown trout) is not stacked full of ammonia and nitrite.
Stocking density (carrying capacity) there for their cold water fish species is much lower than for tilapia, at around 6 kilogrammes of fish to 100 litres of water to 200 litres of grow bed. This is basically the same as that advocated by Backyard Aquaponics in Australia. In Australia the ubiquitous tilapia fish is banned for fish farming, since it can be invasive if it escapes. So more nitrate sensitive kinds of fish including Australian native varieties of river perch are used, which are much more susceptible to disease if they are kept in dirty water, with medium to high ammonia levels. Using the above ratios and either growning media beds or deep water culture (DWC) raceways topped with floating raft growing systems, you can keep your ammonia levels down to the nearly nil levels required to raise these kinds of ammonia levels sensitive cold water fish species.
Make sure you have enough plants growing in the hydroponic part of the aquaponics system to soak up the ammonium nitrate that the nitrifying bacteria are digesting out of the fish waste water! Ammonia levels will soon rise dangerously if you don’t keep the fish and plant stocking levels of your aquaponics system in balance. This applies to cold and warm water aquaponics systems equally.
Making sure that the water is thoroughly aerated at all times both in the fish rearing tanks and the grow beds or DWC raceways is essential as well to provide a buffer against any nitrite or ammonia spikes that may accidentally occur. Excessive ammonia levels will certainly kill your fish. Having high levels of dissolved oxygen in the water at all times helps to prevent this from happening, since nitrifying bacteria need dissolved oxygen in plentiful amounts to digest ammonia efficiently. Also your fish and plants need to breathe oxygen too!
DON’T OVERFEED YOUR FISH. Uneaten rotting food in the system will cause major water quality problems and mean you may have to suddenly change out more than half the water in your aquaponics system to save your fish from dying rapidly of brown blood disease, or worse. This holds for any aquaponics system, cold or warm water. It’s best to feed your fish little and often, say, three times a day, and only as much as they will eat in half an hour, in a large tankful of fish, that is. For small hobby tabletop systems, make that as much as they will eat in two minutes.
Finally, remember fish have ears. They can hear. They do not like to be kept in noisy environments any more that you would!
If you like this article, I have edited the first six months of articles on this site as the ‘Aquaponics Global Anthology’ – available here: [paiddownloads id="1"]
Hunger stalks the planet. There has just been massive crop failure in the grain and soy belts of North and South America, due to drought and the failure even of ‘drought resistant’ genetically modified crops. Climate change is seriously disturbing weather and rain patterns globally. With crop failures increasingly prevalent, hunger edges closer to us all.
Conventional agriculture, organic or GM, depends on rain and rapidly depleting underground water supplies. Fertilizer is essential and made from ever more expensive natural gas and oil feedstocks. These are also finite, will keep going up in price, and will eventually run out. The cost of all these chemicals is eventually passed on to the consumer.
In many parts of the world, this means that basic staple foods are out of reach of the incomes of many people already. Hunger has become a normal daily experience for many. Food grown conventionally is just becoming too expensive, and conventional agriculture is just too vulnerable to the crazy weather. Food insecurity and downright hunger are now stalking everyone.
How, then, are we going to eat? While debates rage and conventional agriculture goes on with business as usual, failing due to droughts, storms, and new crop-devastating diseases immune to modern controls, hunger is increasing its grip on human populations across the globe. Conventional agriculture is proving totally unsustainable, if not downright unworkable in current climate conditions. Hunger is even making its presence known among the urban poor of so-called rich Western countries. Food prices are rising at a steady 140% year on year globally. That includes the food prices in your local corner shop.
The answer has already been invented and is catching on. It is totally sustainable. It does not use soil, pesticides, herbicides, artificial fertilizers, genetically modified crops or fish, or antibiotics. It wastes 90% less water than conventional agriculture, whether organic or chemicated. It does not need expensive, risky genetically modified seeds, organisms, or plants. If more generally adopted by farmers worldwide, it promises to end food insecurity for millions of people.
It is a way to raise fish and vegetables intensively in the same recirculating water. It marries intensive fish farming and intensive hydroponics and by doing so, gets rid of the endemic problems of both technologies. The vegetables clean the water for the fish, so there are no uncontrolled effluent discharges to the environment. The fish fertilize the water for the vegetables, so no artificial fertilizers need be bought. Plants love this and grow up to twice as fast at up to half the spacing.
It’s part of the Blue Revolution of aquaculture-water farming-that is taking the world by storm. It’s called AQUAPONICS.
Aquaponics farms both the fish and the vegetables sustainably. Aquaponic systems growing fish and vegetables together can be certified organic. Everything grows in tanks in aquaponics, and water evaporation is stopped by shading the fish tanks and enclosing the water almost completely in the hydroponic raceways, so at least 90% less water wastage occurs than in conventional agriculture. Most water is constantly recycled between the fish and the vegetables. Only around 1.5% leaves the system every day as a consequence of fish solids flushing and cleaning, and this can be scavenged back by dewatering the solids, and reused for irrigating soil crops such as orchards.
Aquaponics is a proven technology that has been used commercially since the 1970s. It also uses around 17% of the energy used by conventional farming, since no trucks, tractors, and other machinery are necessary. As a modest user of energy, it is also very suitable to be operated using alternative energy sources such as wind power or solar panels. It’s all on the spot and harvesting is easy, especially with floating raft aquaponics systems, where the rafts are lifted onto trestles and harvested at waist height in a few minutes.
Aquaponics is a way to build efficient, highly productive, sustainable, largely organic food factories. It is industrial agriculture gone green. It’s renewable food. And it fits snugly into a climate controlled greenhouse, and reduces water use on the farm by at least 90%.
It’s taking off right across the United States and Australia. Properly designed and managed aquaponics can easily produce far more food, far faster, than any form of conventional agriculture using soil. Aquaponic farming is the farming method of the present now, not just the future.
Due to some people having legibility issues, I have re-redone the look of the site. Can you possibly comment on how you like it and whether you want it to stay this way or go back to the old blue site?
Aquaponics Global Ltd.