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Family turns swimming pool into greenhouse and home for chickens and fish

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Jenny View Post
    You know, even with all these pics and their fact page, I don't understand their layout at all. Now that there's a pond there, I see the grapes across the pond, I guess they wade out there to deal with them? Where are the other plants? The chickens are... behind that wall somehow? and above the pond? Huh?

    I wouldn't call myself a total expert on aquaculture even with my aquatic bio degree, but to me, this seems like you'd have water quality issues since we're bringing chicken poop and feed into the usual aquaculture equation. I do see that they have biological filtration of some kind, but don't describe it other than a Wikipedia link. Hopefully it's a nice robust filter.

    "The plants keep it clean!" doesn't cut it when you're adding so much extra waste. Yes, they use this to water the other garden plants and I'm sure those plants love it, but those plants aren't filtering the water (since they aren't dripping clean water back in).

    Also consider that tilapia tend to taste like the water they're raised in, so clean water does matter. Hopefully when they mention graywater they're able to use it to do lots of water changes, to make up for the chicken poo factor.

    Maybe the volume of food they're pulling out of this system is not as high as I'm picturing from their description -- maybe it's not all that many fish or chickens compared to the gallons of water and the biological filter. It's hard for me to tell.
    Yeah, I had issues with that as well. I am in the midst of completing my Fisheries and Wildlife/Env Science degree and quite honestly, their set-up does not look biologically sustainable or healthy, but maybe we are missing some of the picture here. I still think it's a waste of a good pool :-)!

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    • #17
      Originally posted by scubasam View Post
      ... their set-up does not look biologically sustainable or healthy, but maybe we are missing some of the picture here.
      Yeah, I'd say my main concern is that it sounds like they're using their pond to essentially compost from the chickens. Usually aquaculture set-ups aren't robust enough to handle that -- and even when they are, you get a lot of long-term nitrite build-up unless you're plowing a lot of water changes through the system.

      I'd think it would be easier to clean up after the chickens than to do water changes, but maybe I'm just burned out on doing water changes after years of aquarium maintenance.

      Nitrite build-up is the type of thing that would become more obvious over time (assuming they're testing for it) (assuming they don't have an anaerobic filter set-up in addition to the usual aerobic biofilter...)
      "Trust me, you will soon enter a magical land full of delicious steakflowers, with butterbacons fluttering around over the extremely rompable grass and hillsides."

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      • #18
        Lol, we have a salt water tank and other than massive water changes, there is little we can do about the nitrites. I did not see any water filtration system at all in the pond, but I did read something about home ponds on the page. All I know is that I would NOT feed my kids that tilapia...

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        • #19
          Well, as PB folks we try to focus on wild-caught rather than farmed fish anyway, eh. And in this case the farm has less water than some of the open-flow stream or ocean systems out there for aquaculture.

          I guess what I'm saying is -- I agree with you that it's not for me or my family, but at the same time I'm happy the folks who built this are enjoying it!
          "Trust me, you will soon enter a magical land full of delicious steakflowers, with butterbacons fluttering around over the extremely rompable grass and hillsides."

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          • #20
            Nitrites aren't a problem in aquaponic systems *provided* you are stocking at appropriate densities. This system seems like a cooln idea, but rather poorlynexecuted from the pics. Hopefully they are just bad photographers.

            Unlimited tilapia is a ridiculous thing to say though.
            http://www.theprimalprepper.com - preparing for life's worst while living for the best

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