Raising Trout in an Aquaponics System

I am new to aquaponics, but I’m already hooked on the concept. This is going be the next level of DIY food at Backcountry Wealth, and I am hoping to be raising trout in aquaponics at Backcountrywealth.

Going this may be a little adventurous due to the fact that trout are not the easiest fish to raise in an aquaponics system. I have a lot to research before I take the plunge. This Getting Started Checklist is guiding my approach at the moment.Rainbow Trout

I don’t care about the easiest path, for just a little more effort, you can do something much cooler. Tilapia is the most common fish to raise in aquaponics. Trout are far more interesting, and tastier in my opinion.

Note: I reserve the right to completely back out on raising trout in my aquaponics system if it proves too difficult.

I also want to raise crayfish, and I’m not sure that is even possible while raising trout in the same system.

When I get ideas I like to make them happen.

Why Aquaponics is Better?

If you have never heard of aquaponics, it is basically the combining of a fish farm with a hrydroponics system. In my own opinion it is far better than both.

The biggest problem with a fish farm is that it creates a concentrated waste environment. If this is done in a natural environment like a river or ocean, it becomes a contaminating presence. Done in a contained system it raises the question of what to do with the waste. It In Aquaponics that “waste” is turned directly into a resource.

The problem with hydroponics is getting nutrients to the plants. The type of nutrients used can be costly if they are top quality. They can also be unhealthy if they are of a lower quality. In an aquaponics system the nutrients come directly from the fish, for the most part, provides high quality organic nutrients to the plants

Aquaponics is very close to a closed loop system. Food for the fish is the only outside product introduced.

Trouble with Raising Trout in Aquaponics

Raising trout in aquaponics presents some difficulties.  The biggest hurdle seems to be water temperature.

Most plants prefer relatively warm water. This lends itself to raising fish that thrive in similar water temperatures.

Trout prefer water temperatures below 70 degrees. Most plants will grow better in water that is in the mid to upper 70s. Raising trout in aquaponics may limit the types of plants that can be grown. Is that worth the trade off? I can only eat so much Swiss chard.

There is the option of heating and cooling the water as it moves through the system. However, that adds another layer to what can already be a complex project. That would also reduce the efficiency of the system, which is the hallmark trait of aquaponics.

It is still far more efficient than conventional growing methods, just less so than a standard aquaponics design.

I am Not an Expert…yet

I am not an authority on aquaponics so I am relying on the folks at The Aquaponics Source for just about everything. That includes training resources and supplies. If I get my head around what I want my system to look like they will be able to turn the vision into reality. They have been super helpful so far in answering my questions and getting me pointed in the right direction.

I would love to take every one of the classes they offer, but I don’t have the time at the moment to get to Denver, CO. I am a Broncos fan so I could kill two birds with one stone. Maybe I can host a course or two at Backcountry in a couple of years.

What Are your Goals for a System?

Aquaponics systems range from the simple to the extremely complex. Raising trout in aquaponics make things inherently more complex, but that’s my goal.

Choosing the right system for your goals is the most important part. I plan to sell some of the fish and plants that I grow in my system, so I want something that I can scale up when the customers come pouring through the door.

I am not sure if I will purchase a ready-made system out of the box or if I will try to create a completely custom system on my own.

Generally I prefer the DIY approach, but if raising trout in aquaponics proves to be extremely complicated I might opt to go for a professional installation.

If you prefer the DIY path, there are a ton of homemade systems out there that seem to work just fine. Raising trout in aquaponics may have some nuances that require either some homespun contraption, or may require a more commercial outfit. I’m not sure yet.

I also don’t know if having a system duct taped together is the best if people are going to see it. I’m all for function over form, but if form pays for itself through extra customers, I’m in.

If you’re more inclined to keep the cost as low as possible you can check out places like Easy DIY Aquaponics and you will definitely save some money.

Getting your head around your goals is a good first step. Then you can track down the right resources to get you where you want to go. I have some lofty ideas, but I still plan to start small.

The Dream

Raising trout in aquaponics is a key part of my overall dream for DIY food at Backcountry Wealth. The efficiency of an aquaponics system is second to none.

Now if I can combine a passive solar greenhouse with a high yielding aquaponics system, I can create a year round supply of fresh food.

If you’re currently raising trout in aquaponics, I would love to hear how things are going. If you’re still in the planning stages, like me, I would love to hear about your dream system. Drop me a note in the comments section or shoot me an email at haven@backcountrywealth.com

I’ll post some pictures when we get to the installation process, and let you all know how things progress.

Cheers,

Haven

 

 

 

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