Designing a Resilient Aquaponic System – Nate Storey

Nate Storey of Bright AgroTech was one of my favorite speakers at this event.  He is a very knowledgeable aquaponics expert, but also has a very logical and straightforward approach.  He’ll tells it like it is and he won’t try to sell you on the magical abilities of Aquaponics to save the world and make everyone rich.  If you’ve done any research into the Aquaponics world, you’ll find that as refreshing.  He also brings up a very important, but often under emphasized point of: Aquaponics doesn’t work everywhere for everyone.  Sure, as a hobby you can do it wherever you like and it will produce you the healthiest and most delicious food.  However, as a business there are certain factors that need to be taken into account to verify that Aquaponics is viable for you.  He didn’t go into those details for this speech but we’ll talk about that in the future.

For a resilient commercial scale aquaponics system, we need to pay attention to the following factors.

1. Biological

Choose appropriate organisms.  When you’re picking the fish and the produce you’re going to produce you need to know what the tolerances are for these organisms.  With any good aquaponic system you are always trying to find the perfect balance between the fish and the plants.  It’s important to choose both plants and fish that can handle a broad range of temperatures and pH levels.  Beyond that, know your market so that you know which side you need to focus on.  If you don’t have a market for your fish, focus on keeping the system optimal for your plants and write off the fish as the expense of fertilizer.

2. Ecological

The beauty of aquaponics is also one of the keys to it’s success.  An aquaponics system is just a small eco-system that you have the majority of the control over. Focus on keeping your bacteria happy and the rest of the system will take care of itself, within reason.

3. Mechanical

Essential to a resilient system is the simplicity and the redundancy of the mechanical design.  Start with top quality parts and know what your opportunities for failure are.  Knowing exactly how your system functions will help you outline it’s weak points so that you can plan properly for any issues that may arise.

4. Economical

Find your niche!  This can’t be stressed enough in any business plan for aquaponics.  Every aquaponic grower needs to understand their market and know where they fit into that market.  In addition, grow crops that allow you a quick return on your investment.  When your crops develop quickly, any catastrophic loss to your production will lead to a much smaller hit on your bottom line.

 

Those are the highlights of the speech from my angle.  If you have any specific speeches that you saw in my outline that you’d like to see, let me know.  Otherwise I’ll outline the top 3 or so that I appreciated the most.

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yang xing (2 years ago)

I would like to know more about the 10 requirements.

chris (2 years ago)

Yang – Check out the requested post when you get a chance! http://freshwithedge.com/2012/10/top-10-requirements-for-successful-aquaponics/

kerry keller (10 months ago)

I would like to know if I can use aquaponics to clean out a dugout that has been contaminated with cattle manure.

    Mr. Fresh (10 months ago)

    That’s probably not a good idea. The water quality issues would be something that would cause issues in multiple ways. We incorporate a lot of different re-use, but you have to be careful when you are considering the health of everyone/everything involved.

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