Update 2011-04-11: The product below has been relaunched with a new name, “Aquaponics 4 You”. That’s where the links below will lead you to. I’m trying to find out what changes have been made, and if the review below is also valid for Aquaponics 4 You.
Update 2011-05-12: The product now includes a new video that shows you how to build your own system. The main manual is the same though so the review below is also valid for Aquaponics 4 You.
This 30-page ebook is written by John Fay in 2009. I paid $43.69 including taxes. You can get the ebook here: Ultimate Aquaponics Home System
How does the Ultimate Aquaponics Home System work?
I knew about hydroponics before I came across this ebook, where you grow plants purely in water with no soil involved, but this system goes a step further and introduces fish into the system.
The fish are living in one water tank and plants are growing on top of another water tank. In the standard system the fish tank is 380 liters (100 gallons) and the plant grow tank is 190 liters (50 gallons). A pump circulates the water between the two tanks.
Now why would you set up a system like this? Because fish and plants are able to help each other if the system is in balance. Fish need clean water to live and grow and plants need nutrients to grow. Fish excrements in the water can be turned into nutrients for the plants, and plants filter the water to make it clean. The pump takes care of the exchange.
The chemistry works like this:
Fish excrete ammonia -> bacteria in the tank turn ammonium into nitrite -> bacteria turn nitrite into nitrate -> nitrate is collected by the roots of the plants.
In order to collect the nutrients the plants are floating on yoga mats on top of the grow tank with roots dipping into the water. Soil is replaced with coconut fibers. Calcium carbonate, potassium carbonate and iron chelate is added to the water to keep the plants happy. The fish are fed a high protein diet to keep the nitrate level high in the system.
You can set up the system either indoors or outdoors. The advantage of setting it up indoors is that you’ll break free of the seasons, but you’ll need artificial grow lights. If you set it up outdoors you can build a really large system, but you’ll be dependent on outdoor temperature swings and seasons.
To make the system robust it’s best to have a local power backup in case of power outage in order to keep the pump running and the grow lights working.
What I LIKE about Ultimate Aquaponics Home System
- Power to the people: With this system you take control over your food supply growing your own vegetables and producing your own meat. You know where your food came from and it’s healthy.
- I was surprised to find out that the ebook only had 30 pages but at the end my head was swollen with details. You can’t find every little detail in 30 pages but there’s enough info to guide you in the right direction and set up your first system.
- There’s a useful materials list at the end of the book to get you going.
- You can build the system without owning or having access to land, and the system is highly scalable.
- The taste of your produce is supposedly better than with hydroponics.
- The system is easy to move from one location to another. Just drain it, dismantle it and set it up at a new location.
- The system is easy to customize and automate.
What I DON’T like about Ultimate Aquaponics Home System
- There are only a few illustrations of the system and the components.
- Some of the illustrations are rather poor and maybe even technically incorrect.
- There are no photos of actual real life systems.
- Some people would argue that the recommendations in the ebook regarding the number of fish in the fish tank is working against animal welfare. In my experience the aquarium experts have completely different opinions about how many fish you can stuff into a tank without stressing the fish. But then again, I’m a vegetarian vegan-wannabe 😉
Who should buy Ultimate Aquaponics Home System
Well, you’re gonna need some tools if you want to build this system. And probably some muscle too. After all the system must be able to contain half a ton of water so it has to be robust and made from strong materials.
You’ll need discipline in order to carefully monitor the chemical levels in the system, and you’ll need money to buy tanks, pumps and pay for electricity.
The ebook describes a system that can be turned into a business selling plants, vegetables, fruits and meat, and therefore it’s an interesting product for entrepreneurs.
You can get the ebook here: Ultimate Aquaponics Home System