If you are thinking you would like to design an aquaponic system, and grow and abundance of food in a perfect nutrient cycle - Then read this first.
What about those claims of "Lettuce in 5 weeks"? Is it true?
|My lettuce at 52 days Utility cost $67.00 (I now use a 400W CMH)|
|Rob Torcellini's lettuce at 58 days no supplemental light. Dec - Feb|
|My lettuce grown outdoors 49 days Dec19 - Feb 6|
The last two pictures were grown in full sun the difference is the temperature. The lettuce in the raft (2nd picture) was kept at about 68F degrees 20C, This photo was taken from a Rob Torcellini's video. There is a good discussion about it at THIS LINK.
ON THE OTHER HAND some folks do have amazing results. Maybe it's location. Here's a Hydoponic grower who produces big beautiful lettuce in 4 weeks. It may be that he grew this in late spring when the temperatures were perfect or it may be hydroponic solutions offer a more precise nutrient mix. I'm not saying it's not possible, but most aquaponic growers do not achieve these results.
Here's how production is optimized in one commercial Hydroponic Farm
The catfish in the picture above were purchased 16 weeks ago on October 16. They were all about the size of the small fish which have been kept outdoors in 50F water. The larger fish have grown much faster in 70F water. The cost of heating the system must be considered, but without year round warmth the growth rate will be substantially slower.
Here is a typical aquapponic forum discussion
You may have heard about the balance aquaponics brings to gardening. Supposedly the fish food will provide all the nutrients, save maybe the chelated iron. If so why is there so much discussion about balancing nutrients within the system?
The claims that vegitables will grow faster stronger more disease resistant can be made by a few growers, but aquaponics is not that simple. Some aquaponic farms consistently produce above average crops, but be aware they do it with professional farming techniques, and pay close attention to the details. It works if you are well trained to do the job and the temperature, and light are held within the perfect specifications. Failure to provide the perfect environment will bring disappointment.
So you say "I'll take a class and become a professional aquaponic farmer". I'm not going to tell you all these classes are a sham, but the variety of problems is so wide that class room knowledge would require a lot more than a weekend.
You may be wondering why I still practice aquaponics. It's certainly not for profit, or to lower my food bill. I simply like doing it, but after one year I have decided to sell my fish, and convert to Bioponics. I like to say aquaponics is hydroponics with complications. I've also decided to plant with the seasons and not expect much growth during the Winter. No more heating bills. No more lighting bills. No more fish food.
Good luck I hope you are one of the few that has success, and grows large lettuce heads in 5 weeks. If so tell me how.
Below is part of a discussion about the expectations of aquaponics. This is only part of the discussion. Please click on the link directly below for the entire discussion.
Vlad Jovanovic commented on Rob Torcellini's video "Aquaponic Lettuce In 5 Weeks?" on Aquaponic Gardening To view the entire discussion, visit: http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/video/aquaponic-lettuce-in-5-weeks?commentId=4778851%3AComment%3A436753&xg_source=msg_com_video
( The chronological order of this thread starts at the bottom and reads upward )
I've had several people tell me that they've heard you can grow lettuce and have it ready in 5 weeks. I've been growing lettuce for a few years using a variety of methods and have never gotten it to grow that fast.