Gunagulla, Loomberah NSW Live Weather
Aquaponics at Gunagulla
73 Rainbow Trout in a buried 4500 litre fish tank (holding a bit over 4000l on average) were harvested in mid Dec 2013. The largest of them was 686g, pictured below, and average weight was 432g. There are currently about 80 Murray Cod in the system, after quite a few died as they were apparently not trained to eat pellets when delivered in January, some smaller fish were eaten by larger ones. For a long time they were fed on a diet consisting of Blood Worms or a mix of Ox heart and crushed pellets. Now the water temperature is rising, they have started to eat the semi-sinking pellets, although some uneaten pellets still have to be scooped out of the sump tank once or twice per week. They love earth worms and maggots, and get them occasionally. It seems they need a water temperature of almost 20C before they will eat much, and after 11 months in the system some are tame enough to brush against my hand when I feed them bloodworms. The range in size as of November 2014 is (estimated to be) about 10cm to almost 20cm.
The system has a ~2000 litre sump tank (background, under cover), with 9 * 500 litre grow bedsm currently planted with silverbeet, parsley, celery, garlic, beans, asparagas, coriander, Peruvian ground apple, corn, beetroot, spring onions, chives, tomatoes (160kg picked between xmas 2013 and 17th July 2014 from 8 plants), strawberries, capsicum, Egyptian walking onion (aka tree onion), blueberries, and a dwarf banana (no bananas yet).
The aquaponics system is proving to be a lot more productive than growing in the soil, and uses a small fraction of the water. In summer 2012/13 the in-ground garden had to be abandoned due to the excessive amount of water required just to keep the plants alive, meaning we were close to running out of domestic water, which is only sourced from rainwater collected from the roof.
In hot weather keeping the system water under ~22 degrees for the trout was quite a challenge. Lots of ice was added to the fish tank on hot days, up to 65kg on a hot day, and the sides of the grow beds and grow media were mostly shaded. With the Murray Cod ice wont be needed for temperature regulation. It is anticipated that another batch of trout will be started in March 2015 when the water becomes cool enough.
King Parrots discovered the aquaponics vegetables on 6th Nov 2013, so I've had to enclose the greenhouse and outside growbed with netting to prevent any more attacks on the vegetables.
Ongoing operational details such as water temperature plots and other photos (Latest update on last page) can be found here:
Gunagulla Aquaponics System on Back Yard Aquaponics Forum
686g - the largest of the Rainbow Trout in 2013
Trout on the BBQ
Celery 23/7/2014, delicious raw or in soup!
Aquaponics system - 3/11/2013
3 Tomato plants overflowing Grow Bed #8 17/12/2013
Tomatoes from the plants above 24/12/2013
Videos of trout
November 2013 Trout having 2nd breakfast
July 2013 Trout eating 20g of 3mm pellets in 25 seconds
June 2013 Short MP4 movie of trout fingerlings (15MB)
Trout fingerlings 16/6/2013
Green Tree Frog on celery in Growbed #3, strawberries in background