We have moved again - now at St Kilda. You can contact us on 0411 105 365. We are in the process of setting up hydroponic and aquaculture displays.

Monday 0930 to 1730
Friday 0930 to 1730
Saturday 0930 to 1230

We are available for consultation and site visits at these times- other times by appointment by email (robin@soladome.com.au)

After 35 years at 44 Chapel Street it was time for a change to a web based operation and to offer guidance based on many years of practical experience.

 

 

Aquaponics

What is Polyculture?

The word has been created from two words – poly meaning many and culture meaning a crop of experimental bacteria or the like. The general understanding of polyculture is the growing of more than one crop within the same cultivation system.

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Aquaponics in South Australia

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A system that grows fish and plants generally for human consumption. A special form of polyculture that can vary from a small hobby system up to a large commercial enterprise.

Fish and crustaceans are grown in water held in a reservoir and the water and waste products are used to provide most of the nutrient required by the plants to be grown in the system.

The secret of a good aquaponics system is to get a balance between the water volume, fish and crustaceans, the feed and the number and types of plants. The water quality parameters are also very important.

In South Australia successful ratios are 1000 Litres of water, 3 to 5 kg of fish/crustaceans and 50 plants. The optimum water quality readings are water temperature 22 degrees Celsius and pH of 6.0 to 6.5

 

Each aquatic plant or animal has it’s own special favourite environmental and nutrient conditions which will allow it to grow and reproduce. These special conditions will vary with the changing growth stage of the animal or plant.

The art of Aquaponics is the balancing of the animals and plants within the system so that each life form can receive the optimum conditions for growth.

Aquaponic systems will vary according to the local climatic conditions and the planned scale of operation. A hobbyist will accept growth rates that are not viable for a commercial operator.

Aquaponic systems can be usefully divided into hobby, semi-intensive and intensive commercial systems.

Hobby systems are just that – a hobby that is undertaken for interest, relaxation and fun. Making money is not the primary objective but it is always nice if the hobby can be enjoyed without having to invest a lot of money either on start-up or along the way to keep it going. A typical Aquaponics hobby would have some sort of fish tank and then move the fish water through a simple plant set up and return the water to the fish tank. The fish tank might be 50 to 500 litres and the plants could be in plastic containers of gravel and there might be a little pond pump and air pump to move and aerate the water as it goes round the system. The fish might be ornamental and the plants could be a few herbs, lettuces and ferns and the set up might have cost a few hours of time and less than $ 100 and take up less than a square metre of area of the balcony or garden and use under 50 watts of power which is 1250 watts per 24 hours (1.25 Kw) and at current elctricity charges would cost about 30 cents per day.

A semi-intensive system might be a working scale model of a full-scale commercial Aquaponics system to test fish and plant species that can be grown for profit and to provide experience and training before embarking on a major business enterprise. This is a sort of training stage to test out the systems and make sure that the management techniques and systems are adequate to ensure a profit. Fish and crustacean species are chosen for their marketing value and plants are selected to either provide fast turnover or high individual value. The system is designed and run to provide optimum growth for the plants and animal species with the minimum capital input and ongoing labour costs. In South Australia because of our seasonal variations some sort of protected structure would be essential to ensure all year round growth rates for fish and plants.

What is Aquaponics?

In aquaponics, one grows plants and fish together in an integrated system. The fish wastes provide a food source for the growing plants and the plants roots provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in. This can create a sustainable ecosystem where both plants and fish can thrive.

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Aquaponics Q & A

What is aquaponics? Is it a better way to grow vegetables? What is involved in setting up an aquaponics system? What sort of maintenance is involved with an aquaponics system? Is it a costly way to grow vegetables? What sort of systems are out there on the market? What are some of the best systems and why?

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