Valley Permaculture Alliance

I'm very interested in setting up an aquaponics system. For those of you that aren't familar, the premise is having a fish pond (in my case I want to grow tilapia for eating) and you use that nutrient-rich water to cycle through grow trays (like in a hydroponics system) and then the 'filtered' water goes back into the fish tank. I've seen the portablefarms.com website. From poking around on the internet it looks like their systems run from about $5500 and up, which doesn't include any sort of structure for it to go in.
I'm fairly certain I could set up a small tank with one growbed system, but I'm much more interested in doing something more substantial with an in-ground pond (for keeping the water from boiling) large enough to grow at least 100 lbs of fish a year.
Here is a youtube video of a beautiful setup with an computer system operating it. Definitely more computerized than I'm capable of, but shows you what can be done. I think the fish are still babies...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CU9x_W9X-tM&feature=related

Here is a video of a much more elaborate system in the Phillapines, which even includes rabbits:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C9Ugc4ZO4w&feature=fvw

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In my web searches I keep running into different projects and people from AZ universities so it would be grand to find any of them willing to teach a class.
Hello everyone.
I have an update on the tilapia.
I have a contact name at the U of A aquaculture (the gentleman from the marricopa ag extension got back to me). I have left a message for him today, and will call him again tomorrow around noon.
The gentleman from the extension office also said that you need a permit from the AZ Game & Fish to keep and raise tilapia. He did say that if you were growing them for your own use and not resale or research they would usually give them to you free.
I also got the book on crawfish farming in today.
Nathan
Hello,
I heard back from the professor who is in charge of aquaponics at the U of A.
He suggested their web site http://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua.
He also mentioned that you need a permit from the game and fish. However, if you purchase them from a fish store or from the chinese market for pet fish then you don't require a permit.

I also found this gentleman www.arizonabarrels.com
He has 275 gallon food grade totes for $150. At 48" x 39" X 46 high it seems to be a good fit.
I ordered one and he is dropping it off tomorrow.

This gentleman also has a good website www.aquaponicsusa.com
His base price for a 120 gallon tank is $3K. Pricey but he has great pictures including some of the pumps and layouts, which could be easily backward engineered.

Would love to hear how others are doing, and what they have found.

Nathan J.
I got a kick out of the aquaponicsusa.com site, "financial melt-down is destined to bring with it hyperinflation and food shortages" But lucky for us in this new world fish food will be in great supply. Kind of hard to take a site seriously after that.
Yes he does seem to be a bit out there, but his design seems sound. He said he was a retired engineer from motorola. As for me I think our big problem will be global cataclysmic tectonic plate shifting as seen in the movie 2012;)
I also wanted to add that the permit that AZ game and fish is talking about (at least as far as I can tell) is a free permit.
Ok just a little aside here on the topic of aquaponics. Do tilapia and freshwater shrimp fall under "micro livestock", or ultra micro live stock, or do we refer to them as aquatic livestock?
Well I am out the door to pick up some clay pellets for the system.
Soup stock?

Don't call my shrimp micro! I'm looking to grow 600lb shrimp...that's dressed out. OK, a 600lb shrimp is probably a prawn.
Good point. New plan is needed.
Ok micro-aquaponic-livestock-crustacean herders, I have an updated lead on a free supply of tilapia.
I reacieved a call this morning from a gentleman who runs a tilapia farm down Tucson way. He was saying that he allows folks to come and net the stray tilapia out of his irrigation ditches.
I have his number, he is not available this week but I will try to set something up soon.
Nathan
Now that would be fun. "Wild caught" tilapia.
I know there is a farmer in Marana raising Talapia (he let us take photos for a calendar when I was working for CAP) but I can't find the phone number on-line. Did you ever get the fish from the irrigation ditches?

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