Author Topic: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea  (Read 17365 times)

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Marco2001

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Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« on: November 07, 2010, 12:13:59 AM »

Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants
( Proposal of combining fish tanks and plant bins to make closed-circle aquaponics for the plants and fish. Aquaponics uses no additional water, fertiliser or space )



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Aquaponics is the integration of fish and hydroponic plant production in a circular system,
where nutrient-rich water is removed from the fish tank to grow plants, which, once cleansed by the plants,
reticulates back to the fish culture where the cycle begins again.



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Aquaponic systems thus provide a closed resource loop that conserves both organic matter and water.
They are designed for both commercial and domestic use existing at different scales and
are able to provide enough fresh fish and greens to feed a family or more each year.
Examples of aquaponic production in Melbourne include the semi-commercial trial aquaponic system at
CERES Community Environment Park and various household systems able which are purchased from various suppliers.

To find out more about aquaponics visit the CERES website at www.ceres.org.au or Aquaponics Solutions at www.aquaponic.com.au.
This is from “Social Innovations in Victorian Food Systems”, case studies by Ferne Edwards.
http://www.sustainablemelbourne.com/models/aquaponics-collaboration-of-fish-and-greens/

You can reed more about Aquaponics on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquaponics



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Aquaponics is aquaculture (the growing of fish) and hydroponics (raising plants without soil) put together. The fish provide nutrients for the bacteria, the bacteria provide food for the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish. It is an old system first engineered by Aztecs in their floating gardens. Although it has ancient roots, aquaponics is just starting to find its place in commercial agriculture.

If we grew only plants or only fish, it would be difficult to not give off some waste products into the environment. By growing both together, almost no waste products need to leave the system. Aquaponics also uses very little water because the water can be used over and over again by the fish and plants.
http://www.floatinggardens.ca/why-aquaponics.php
Aquaponics diagram: http://www.floatinggardens.ca/cutenews/data/upimages/aquaponics.gif

LINK: http://www.growshop.com/hydroponic-systems/aeroponics/aquaponics-revisited.html
LINK 2: http://theaquaponicsource.com/hydroponics-improved.php
LINK 3: http://hort201.tamu.edu/YouthAdventureProgram/Aquaponics/AquaponicsSystem.html
There are about couple houndrets of links about aquaponics. No sense is posting more of them here.

I found obout couple of houndrets films about aquaponics on youtube...I reely don't know which one is the best...so go ahead and check them :-)
This is a short clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUHnU2zGYrg&feature=related




The way I see it - it's perfect for Mars Colony.
Mainly I was thinking that you wouldn't need all that soil that you MUST brought from earth. Water from fish tanks would be enought.
Plant tray would be above of the fish tank - the plants would spread their roots at the fish tank. In most of the articles I've read they uses separate bins for plants and fish and then transfer the water between them. As you can see - I posted the last 3 pictures which use fish tank as the hydroponic bin for plants - so I guess it's possible to make it that way - and it would be desired on mars colony.
The plants grown there would never need fertilizer or water. They would grow idealy, without your intervention (besides the fact, that you have to seed them and harvest them).
So what about the other plant bins?
I think that "nothing". There is a limit at which plants and fish can coexists one-to-another. Fish tank can only support few plants and the same goes for plants - thay can only support one tank. The rest of the plants would be grown normally - with the use of water and fertilizer.
But...since I'am at this topic...I strongly suggest to change the SOIL-cultivation from the bins to HYDROPONIC. Hydroponics has it's obvious advantages...but that's not all! In order to grow few plants you would need to send to mars a few tons of soil! That's crazy!
It's easier to simply use hydroponics. The required water doesn't even need to be send to mars as a "water"...you can send hydrogen (which is like 17 times lighter than water itself?) and synthesize it in-situ. Morover - water in MCO can be drilled-out since the hyperia-base was estabilished on a water-spot. Water in hydroponics can be used-over and over many times, bofore you need to add new one. It holds fertilizer longer, and you can determine what does the plants consume.

Comming back to the topic...
Aquaponics has a few nice features which could be implemented in MCO.
Firstly - it uses power for heating water, pumping water and filtrating water. If the base would have a power-crysis for too long, the fish would start to die. The plant would be intact for a long time, but they would stop growing as you would stop giving them fertilizer.
Secondly - since the fish needs the plants for nutrient recuperation, in order to start a fish colony you need to fisrtly start a plant colony there. But that's not all!
What would happen if you would harvest all the plants away at the same time? The fish would be dead very quickly.
Thirdly - if the water-pump would breake and would not be repaired, both fish and plants would start to die.
Fourthly - the speed of growth both for fish and plants would be corelated. You would need to harvest them about the same time (look at one of the films I posted about that). If you would harvest one of the plants or some of the fish, the other one would suffer.
Fiftly - since the plant bin would be on top of the fish tank there is no need to make the animation of fish swiming from the above. I think some fish needs at least a little light to grow, and becouse of that - the sides of the fish tank shoud be transparent. That would give the player a possibility to "check-on" the state of the fish and plant roots. I think that animating only the sides of the fish tank with swiming fishes is easier (at least - that's what I imagine).

« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, 12:23:32 AM by Marco2001 »

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Mecanico

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2010, 09:22:02 AM »
Good job, Marco:)
What I can add more for in game. There should be few sensors in everyone tanks: temperature, pH, oxidation level. Player have to check once for some time if readings are good or bad and react (adjusting temperature, flow rate, adding some emergency chemicals for compensating pH or oxidation). Even more, if something is wrong with our tank, player can take a sample of water/fish/plant to bio-lab and check if there is everything OK with bacteria, no foreign bacterias, etc. Findings can be profitable:)
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profit004

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2010, 02:01:20 PM »
I have to admit that is really cool,

Just a side note however: not all soil will need to be brought in from earth, as  far as I can tell plants will grow quite well in the decomposing leftovers from other plants, so after a while there should be enough plant, processing (fish guts and bits of plants we don't eat) and human waste material that has composted to grow plants in.   Perhaps some martian soil could even be mixed in... Although I am thinking Styrofoam would be a more likely candidate.   Soil based agriculture would be far less energy intensive than hydroponic, so I am thinking it would be preferred.   Of course that would present a chicken egg scenario so yes, there will have to be some hydroponic agriculture unless this is like the second base on mars and compost soil can be brought in from the first base.



thedubman

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2010, 12:28:49 PM »
Great idea!

As for soil, maybe collecting some of the Mars soil and sterilizing, altering PH etc could work? I think I heard that it would be possible to use some parts of the martian soil for growing, would make for a nice side mission- finding decent soil (sample soils, test samples add or remove chemicals to create a growable soil- go to a good spot, excavate soils, return and treat for use in planters)

profit004

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2010, 12:52:10 PM »
Great idea!

As for soil, maybe collecting some of the Mars soil and sterilizing, altering PH etc could work? I think I heard that it would be possible to use some parts of the martian soil for growing, would make for a nice side mission- finding decent soil (sample soils, test samples add or remove chemicals to create a growable soil- go to a good spot, excavate soils, return and treat for use in planters)

I can assure you nothing we can do will sterilize the soil more than being blasted by solar radiation and massive temperature swings found on mars =p   But yeah, I would have to believe that martian soil has at least some of the requirements for plant growth, and probably just 1 or 2 compounds that need to be removed in order for earth plants to grow in it when nutrients are added.

aozeba

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2010, 11:46:10 PM »
Great post! I think technologies like this are going to be extremely important for long haul mars colonies. In the demo game there was a Spirulina algae tank, I would suggest that it could be connected to this system.

My dad works in aquaculture, so I have a bit of experience from playing around in hatcheries and algae rooms as a kid. One thing that I will say is that EVERY algae tank, no matter how advanced, gets dirty at some point and has to be cleaned. The "crud" left over after harvesting an algae tank is usually a waste product that we throw away on earth, but it could be a valuable source of organic matter for the aquaponics system. I would suggest that after harvesting, there is a task of cleaning the crud and flushing it to the aquaponics system.

You could even add some daphnia to the system! Daphnia are little critters that eat algae (and fish poop) and make great fish food! They would be need to be bred in a separate compartment so they don't all get eaten by the fish, so you could have a screened off area where you flush in algae crud to the Daphnia, then once in a while the compartment overflows and sends a few unlucky daphnia to the fish.




 You could also use the Spirulina crud to add organic matter to artificial soil. After oxygen reactive volatiles are taken out, martian regolith should be able to be used in that way.

pad69

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2010, 04:44:56 AM »
I love this stuff. great pictures with cometary.
Murphy's Law applies "Anything that can possibly go wrong, does." or some say it this way "If anything can go wrong, it will.

Marco2001

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2010, 07:57:05 AM »
aozeba - as much as I love the Idea of algae groving on Mars (now it's nearly 90% sure they will be used on Mars due the fact that there are strains extremely resiliant to radiation that produce more oxygen than syntetic-chemical processes) you have to realize that Algae have nothing to do with aquaponics. In fact - this whole system was designes so that there would be no algae of any kind (this is archieved by using filters, UV-lamps, and mainly - by injecting air into the water). Algae kills fish, lowers fertilizer level, and lowers efficiency of the whole system. So in conclusion, mentioning algae as potential usage on Mars is good, but not in aquaponics topic  :)

P.S.
Using daphnia for the purpose of creating fish-food is interesting. I've reed some articles about using worms as a fish food. The idea is that many fish can eat them if they are properly prepared (crusted into dust) and worms as a food source for human have less calory-values than fish. So then if worm could be harvested for humans if needed, but if not - they could be prepared and used as a food for fish, which themselves would give us much more calories. It's even more interesting knowing for a fact that we have worm-beds in MCO.

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Writing a book about Mars. Any ideas? Type to me.
I'am an Astrobiology/Biology student.

Hyper

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2010, 12:30:31 PM »
As far as soil goes we will use the Mars dirt but it will have to be contaminated with bacteria to make it work. Soil that can grow food will have to be prepped with worms, bacteria, NPK fertilizer and eventually it will start becomming a growth medium. Compost is our best friend since it will introduce the needed contaminants. Earth dirt in it's simple form is just sand and bits of rock, it's just a holder or binder for the organics.
I want to make the users collect dirt from different areas and make a growth medium for the plants but havent got to that point yet. Worms will be our best friend.

Marco2001

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2010, 02:29:01 PM »
I must sadly inform that current studies about mars regolith give no doubt that mars soil cannot be used as a growth medium for plants at any stage. It sure would be nice, but it just can't be done with our current technolgy. The problem isn't with it's fertile capability - the martian soil is greate in that field. The problem is with it's chemical composition. There are at least 3 problems with martian soil: high concentration of toxic-metals unseen on Earth, super-high oxidation level compared to those of a bleach and possible martian biological contamination.

 
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Airborne dust and soil could contain trace amounts of hazardous chemicals, including compounds of toxic metals that are known to cause cancer over the long term if inhaled in sufficient quantities. Soil analyses conducted by the Viking missions established maximum possible concentration limits for a few toxic elements based on the detection capabilities of the instruments on the landers (Table 4.2), and Mars Pathfinder measurements established that chromium is present in Mars soil. Although analogous measurements have not been made on airborne dust, soil and dust are commonly assumed to have similar chemical compositions (McSween and Keil, 2000).

The most toxic of all that is present in mars soil is hexavalent chromium.
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Given the severe toxicity and uncertainty of the amount of hexavalent chromium, the committee recommends that NASA conduct an in situ experiment prior to the first human mission to Mars to determine if hexavalent chromium is present in Martian soil and airborne dust at potentially hazardous concentrations.

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Although hexavalent chromium is not immediately harmful when inhaled or ingested, it could potentially cause problems in the future like cancer of the lungs.

Studies have compared moon dust and Martian dust and there were conclusions that the ones in Mars are worse.  Martian soil, according to Stein Sure, an engineering professor at the University of Colorado, will leave burn marks if it comes into contact with your skin. He studies dirt from the moon and Mars for NASA.

There is also arsenic, berylium, asbestos and many other.

Martian soil is full of salts of any kind. They must be removed.
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"We also found a variety of components of salts that we haven't had time to analyze and identify yet, but that include magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride."

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The mineral content of Martian soil suggests that it would form a sandy, highly acidic, saline soil if enriched with enough water for plant growth. It typically lacks carbonates (resulting in a high inherent acidity), and no ready sources of carbonates appear available in the northern plains of Mars to enrich Martian soils using in situ resources. Its lack of humus and clays also combine to give it a high water flow rate with poor water retention. These factors make it useless for agricultural purposes in its native state. Untreated Martian soil is likely toxic to most crop plants and unsuitable for plant growth as either a fertilized soil or a hydroponic medium.

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Because of its strong oxidizing power, Martian soil acts like concentrated bleach and could burn rubber and plastics.

Another problem is with soil's pH. It can be turned normal, but that requires to add another compounds and buffers.

There is also a problem of preparing transformation of small rocks, minerals and chemical compounds in situ into SOIL (which from definition is a life-supporting structure, beying alive itself. ).

Nevertheless - the problem is still beying discussed, and special probes are beying send to retrieve mars-soil samples for futher studies.

Let me just elaborate that the problem isn't with the technology of turning mars-soil into fertile-soil. The problem is how to do it economicly. Today - if we wished to transform 1 T of mars soil, we would have to bring to Mars 1,5 T of chemical compounds and instruments to do so...and that's pointless. We can still make compost tho'...but it'll take many ears before we could gather enough of it.

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Writing a book about Mars. Any ideas? Type to me.
I'am an Astrobiology/Biology student.

thedubman

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2010, 04:13:04 PM »
I must sadly inform that current studies about mars regolith give no doubt that mars soil cannot be used as a growth medium for plants at any stage. It sure would be nice, but it just can't be done with our current technolgy. The problem isn't with it's fertile capability - the martian soil is greate in that field. The problem is with it's chemical composition. There are at least 3 problems with martian soil: high concentration of toxic-metals unseen on Earth, super-high oxidation level compared to those of a bleach and possible martian biological contamination.

 
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I am sure that it was said there are some growable (after treatment) found on Mars- If I am wrong, then I use My 'Future Technolgy Card'....  :)

thedubman

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2010, 04:14:05 PM »
As far as soil goes we will use the Mars dirt but it will have to be contaminated with bacteria to make it work. Soil that can grow food will have to be prepped with worms, bacteria, NPK fertilizer and eventually it will start becomming a growth medium. Compost is our best friend since it will introduce the needed contaminants. Earth dirt in it's simple form is just sand and bits of rock, it's just a holder or binder for the organics.
I want to make the users collect dirt from different areas and make a growth medium for the plants but havent got to that point yet. Worms will be our best friend.

Great idea!

profit004

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2010, 08:08:38 PM »
Actually, now that In think about it, Marco is really right when it comes to the soils...

There is no "Future technology" besides atomic level manipulation that will result in chlorine becoming carbon and chromium becoming silicon.

I never thought about how contaminated the soil would be but without constant rain to wash the ugly out of it, it makes perfect sense that it would be an amalgam of every thing on earth with just as many heavy metals and unreacted products that would exist on earth if we did not receive constant cleansing rain showers and the continuous biological scrubbing of the soil.

*Just one more earth-centric viewpoint I would need to drop to survive elsewhere in the universe.  It's amazing how much we do not even think about these other planets being alien worlds and just ascribe in a fairly nonsensical way the attributes of our planet on to them.




« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 08:11:20 PM by profit004 »

Hyper

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2010, 10:34:41 PM »
I have to disagree about the soil. My friends at Ohio State University Agricultural Institute tell me it's quite doable to make Mars soil work. The experiments they have performed with some of the most poisionious soils here on Earth contaminated with large quantities of things like PCB can be converted into usable dirt after a few growth turns of certain types of weeds. They have taken the ground from an old steel mill that has been contaminated for over 100 years with oils and chemicals from the casting processes as well as asbestos etc and proved they can have viable soil in less than 3 years and that dirt is far more poisionious than anything on Mars. I think the technology exists to convert it at no more cost than time and some good weeds.

profit004

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Re: Aquaponics – Collaboration of fish and plants - idea
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2010, 02:11:45 PM »
I have to disagree about the soil. My friends at Ohio State University Agricultural Institute tell me it's quite doable to make Mars soil work. The experiments they have performed with some of the most poisionious soils here on Earth contaminated with large quantities of things like PCB can be converted into usable dirt after a few growth turns of certain types of weeds. They have taken the ground from an old steel mill that has been contaminated for over 100 years with oils and chemicals from the casting processes as well as asbestos etc and proved they can have viable soil in less than 3 years and that dirt is far more poisionious than anything on Mars. I think the technology exists to convert it at no more cost than time and some good weeds.

Not to diminish their technological breakthrough as it is amazing, but I would like to see them do the same thing on soil closer to Lye in a closed atmosphere volume of one of the habitats without poisoning the people in it or dissolving everything made of any metal or plastic other than gold.  Of course they might be able to.. Durn humans for all their silliness sometimes do amaze me.