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Farming at Sea

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This topic contains 62 replies, has 28 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Todesking Todesking 3 years, 3 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 63 total)
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  • #9108
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    A 1-cow methane digester can produce enough methane to cook a meal a day, for 1 person, not including the persons waste input. It only takes a 55 gal drum and a few innertubes to do that… It’s in an old Mother Earth News.

    Methane digesters will process anything that isn’t meat/meat-byproduct or undigestible(hair, nails, etc.). In so doing, they remove over 90% of the pathogens. Run it from there into an aerobic treatment, then, maybe, a brine-type chlorinator, followed by an aquaponics fish/vegetable produce set-up. Re-use the water to flush the head and mix the next batch of manure… Overflow from the aquaponics can go directly into the sea…

    Did I mention that rabbitt crap and chicken droppings can also be used? Goes for pet-poo, too! NOT the clay litter(undigestible), or the cedar shavings(toxic), though… Use paper-based cat litter!

    Matter of fact, some systems are designed to use specific amounts of various livestock offal, to run more efficiently.

    Bubble the digester-gas through a lime-water solution to remove the CO2. Regenerate the solution by heating it, to release the CO2. Do it in the greenhouse, for better CO2 enrichment, for the veggies.

    Fats, waxes and some plant materials, will eventually stall the methane generator. Routine cleaning, once a year, takes care of that.

    #9122
    Profile photo of wesley_Bruce
    wesley_Bruce
    Participant

    J.L.Frusha wrote:

    A 1-cow methane digester can produce enough methane to cook a meal a day, for 1 person, not including the persons waste input. It only takes a 55 gal drum and a few innertubes to do that… It’s in an old Mother Earth News.




    Good design but three things:

    UV sterilisation is safer for the fish farm aquaponics. Chlorine and fish don’t always mix. Also salt chlorination is not perfect with freshwater systems there’s a risk of saline cross contamination.

    I would add an overflow tank to avoid dumping anything over the side into the sea. Its not viable to dump any wastes if you live on or in the sea. It leads to accidents and bad habits. Not to mention flack from the greenies.

    Also the design needs aerator with a tall chimney like air venting system to vent smells clear of the sea stead.

    *****************************************************************************************

    For everyone’s information I was involved with the original Oceania Project in a small way. I’m also in several space organisations. And I have a Degree in sustainable Development, sustainable agriculture and renewable energy,water and sewerage.

    #9129
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    The chlorinaor idea is straight out of current live-aboard equipment. Only diff. is that I’ve put 2-steps of bio treatment ahead of it. Odds of ANY harmful disease resisting anaerobic AND aerobic treatmen is very slim. Add the chlorinator and the aquaponics and you have no chance of waste being harmful and you’ve cleaned it using 3 natural processes, used the available material efficiently, to produce a semi-closed process. It’s semi-closed because you still have input and the chance of overflow. Use enough plants in a greenhouse and the evaporation should stop the overflow.

    The one thing to worry about is salt concentrations. My system won’t have the chlorinator, becaus it isn’t really necessary. I included it, for others, that will have doubts, if chlorine isn’t used.

    Aerobic waste treatment gives effluent that is safe enough to use in sprinkler systems, without the added processes, I’ve included. I’m going for maximum use of the otherwise wasted sewage.

    Saline-chlorinator is all they use, currently, on most live-aboards, before it is dumped into the water.

    Use Duckweed as part of the aquaponics. It’s highly nutritious, with complete protein that can compete with or beat Soy.

    #9634
    Profile photo of CrosiarCM
    CrosiarCM
    Participant

    Hi. I think what you’re doing is great, and it is basically my own plan for later on. The only reason I can think of that many discussions have leaned to hydroponics and “complicated” farming is because they are thinking of production on an industrial scale to feed hundreds if not thousands of people. See the “high road vs. low road” debate- basically, people who want a single platform to hold a city vs. people who want a mobile home on the sea. Anyway, I get the impression that many potential ‘steaders (myself included) don’t know how to raise so much as a simple houseplant, much less a farm. Do you know any good resources for learning how? For getting to know what you know? Your sailing info would also probably be neat. Thanks.

    I know people think that hydroponics is easier, but I have done both hydroponics and organic gardening. Here is what I can tell you. Hydroponics requires very careful control of the nutrient feed. Unless you have a small lab to do chemical analysis, you will fail. Also, while the plants are very fast growing, they have very shallow root systems. The shallow roots, lack of aeration, lack of micronutrients and finally a lack of organophosphates (not supplied by your chemical factory) makes your plants very weak and susceptible to disease. Yes, if you do EVERYTHING perfect, you will get phenomenal yields. But make a single mistake and your plants will not forgive you, they will die and you will get to start all over again. Hydroponics is unforgiving, requires constant monitoring and is extremely time intensive.

    Now compare that with organic methods. You make compost regularly – actually, you don’t make any compost, little tiny organisms do that for you, you just put in the organic waste – that you have lots of extra stores of anyways – into a big pile and turn every once in a while, and wait. And in a tropical environment, you won’t have to wait long. Out comes organic gold. Now plant, water regularly and harvest. By the way, my organic yields FAR outstrip my hydroponic yields even at their best. The original poster of this forum topic KNOWS WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT. Now combine this with aquaculture; taking the waste from fish farming and using it to water your plants, and you can get even higher yields. Your labor is minimal, your plants are strong and vibrant, you are free to go work on something else while micro-organisms, worms, fish and plants do all the work for you. And best of all, lost of fresh foods to eat!

    And yes, chickens and fish LOVE worms. Worm farming is a critical part of the life cycle. All they require is your sh*t and a little water. And what was your plan anyway? To buy fish food and chicken feed at the local market?

    And don’t forget about the bees, or you will be going hungry.

    – You may get what you want, but will you want what you get?

    #9639
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    The basic system for Aquaponics uses a grow-bed with gravel (usually 4’X8′), a fish tank (100+ gal) and a Duckweed tank. Earthworms added to the grow bed help break down organic solids, duckweed removes some of the toxic nitrogen (ammonia), while the plants consume the remaining fish waste products.

    The system uses a flood/drain cycle, giving aeration to the roots and for the fish. This can be used for almost any type of plant…

    Feeding the fish provides the nutrients for the plants. Using earthworms and Black Soldier Fly Larvae, along with Duckweed, for fish food makes it more self-sufficient, at small scale application.

    Use treated organic solids from municipal waste, to raise the larvae. Resulting in fish food and compost, which can be used elsewhere.

    Making it IMTA (Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaponics) is using several types of animal in the system… Such as having cages of Tilapia suspended in the fish tank and raising Freshwater Prawn beneath the cages… This reduces the number of fish, but retains the protein yield of the system, while increasing the efficiency of the food use…

    IMTA can be used in open-water, as well, but becomes a feed-based system. Oil-fish in pens above shrimp, with Kelp and Oysters is a common scheme being discussed and developed for commercial apps.

    Instead of using pelletized feed, it should be possible to raise feeder fish for the oil-fish to consume. Feeder fish would be picked that live on organic compounds and naturally occuring microbes and algae. The problem becomes one of scale. It takes 2-5lbs. of protein, to raise 1 lb. of oil-fish (Salmon and Tuna, for example).

    As a commercial process, IMTA can actually produce more, for a given volume of space AND feed-stock, than mono-culture (raising oil-fish with pelletized feed). The hard part is getting the fingerlings of the species desired and making the system ballanced.

    If an IMTA system is drifting, any waste is spread, instead of concentrated on the bottom, below the pens. Theoretically, this enriches the environment, while stationary pens definitely pollute.

    Later,

    J.L..F.

    If you can’t swim with the big fish, stick to the reef

    #9644
    Profile photo of CrosiarCM
    CrosiarCM
    Participant

    J.L.Frusha wrote:

    The basic system for Aquaponics uses a grow-bed with gravel (usually 4’X8′), a fish tank (100+ gal) and a Duckweed tank. Earthworms added to the grow bed help break down organic solids, duckweed removes some of the toxic nitrogen (ammonia), while the plants consume the remaining fish waste products.

    Clearly you know more about aquaponics than I, but from what little I know it sounds superior to hydroponics. I have also heard of taking organic compost and placing it in a drum and running your water through it and using the nutrients rich water to feed the grow-bed. Any reason this could not be combined with aquaponics?

    – You may get what you want, but will you want what you get?

    #9660
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    CrosiarCM wrote:

    Clearly you know more about aquaponics than I, but from what little I know it sounds superior to hydroponics. I have also heard of taking organic compost and placing it in a drum and running your water through it and using the nutrients rich water to feed the grow-bed. Any reason this could not be combined with aquaponics?

    – You may get what you want, but will you want what you get?

    Plants take-up the nutrients, either way. The easiest way I know of is to vermi-culture in the grow-beds and use Black Soldier Fly larva to convert human waste to maggots, to feed the fish. The trick is what other processes you use getting there. The converted compostcan also be applied to the grow-beds for the vermiculture.

    I’d like to see how a methane digester, followed by aerobic digester. Next, solids would be separated and go through the composting/BSF treatment, then to the aquaponics, myself. Liquids go back into the methane digester, to mix the incoming waste into a usable sludge…

    The more the system recycles, the better the efficiency. Todays food becomes food again… Just have to watch that it doesn’t get high salt concentrations, killing-off parts of the cycle.

    Can it work? Yes, BUT it will be a PITA until the system gets developed and balanced, to work in better harmony. After we buy my parents house, I’ll start working toward that system.

    Later,

    J.L..F.

    If you can’t swim with the big fish, stick to the reef

    #9669
    Profile photo of CrosiarCM
    CrosiarCM
    Participant

    J.L.Frusha wrote:

    Plants take-up the nutrients, either way. The easiest way I know of is to vermi-culture in the grow-beds and use Black Soldier Fly larva to convert human waste to maggots, to feed the fish. The trick is what other processes you use getting there. The converted compostcan also be applied to the grow-beds for the vermiculture.

    I’d like to see how a methane digester, followed by aerobic digester. Next, solids would be separated and go through the composting/BSF treatment, then to the aquaponics, myself. Liquids go back into the methane digester, to mix the incoming waste into a usable sludge…

    The more the system recycles, the better the efficiency. Todays food becomes food again… Just have to watch that it doesn’t get high salt concentrations, killing-off parts of the cycle.

    Can it work? Yes, BUT it will be a PITA until the system gets developed and balanced, to work in better harmony. After we buy my parents house, I’ll start working toward that system.

    I like your ideas, and I’m glad you are planning to actually try this. So in my mind it is only a matter of determining the most effective method(s). For example, what converts human waste the fastest, Red worms or Black Fly larva? Is there any difference in the protein content? Which requires the least labor effort? Which bio-cycles are the most resiliant?

    Yes, salt buildup may be a problem. Only way to find out is to try it.

    My only concerns with aquaculture are:

    • How labor intensive is it for maintenence, routine tasks and system supervision?
    • How resiliant is the process to operator mistakes and plant disease?
    • I don’t think cost is an issue.

    I would love to try some of these alternative methods myself, but sadly I have no place for this right now. When you do get to try this, please keep good records of your time usage, system inputs and production so it can be compared to other potential bio-mass recycling methods. I think it would make for a good Seasteading study.

    – You may get what you want, but will you want what you get?

    #9703
    Profile photo of Altaica
    Altaica
    Participant

    Just use a cyanider. That will get rid of all thous nasty pathogens.

    :P

    You’re forgetting about toxins.

    Adding a Chlorination just to contaminate the water with Disinfection by-products (DBPs)?

    Οὐκ ἐμεῦ ἀλλὰ τοῦ λόγου ἀκούσαντας ὁμολογέειν σοφόν ἐστι, ἓν πάντα εἶναι.

    #9704
    Profile photo of Altaica
    Altaica
    Participant

    CrosiarCM wrote:
    • How labor intensive is it for maintenence, routine tasks and system supervision?
    • How resiliant is the process to operator mistakes and plant disease?
    • I don’t think cost is an issue.

    agriculture is extremely labor intensive and is extremely fragile.

    http://www.environnement.ens.fr/perso/claessen/agriculture/mistake_jared_diamond.pdf

    Οὐκ ἐμεῦ ἀλλὰ τοῦ λόγου ἀκούσαντας ὁμολογέειν σοφόν ἐστι, ἓν πάντα εἶναι.

    #9708
    Profile photo of Shouri
    Shouri
    Participant

    It was somewhat a good read but foraging and hunting simply can’t support an entire civilization. It is not like people started farming cos it was easy, it was simply beacuse natural resources weren’t plenty everywhere. When there is enough food in a specific location one kind increases in number there until their population comes to an halt, this rule apllies every living thing. We simply changed our surroundings, the ecostystem we live in so that it can support more of our kind we also destroyed other kinds which have similar diets with us, protected our food sources/supplies so that we can survive. Labor intensive and fragile, yes it is but it is easier than it used to be, our current technology allows us to gather more crops than we used to gather a millenia ago, and it’s efficiency will always continue to increase as our population increases. Cultivating foods prior purpose isn’t prosperity it is existance we gather food simply because we need it to live. By nature we are social creatures and we tend to live in communities this leads to scarcity of edible resources in our communitiy’s surroundings and we use our innovative minds to find ways to gather more food. I don’t think genetic engineering regarding crops and animals became what it is today for profit or prosperity alone(i have to admit these two have bigger impact lately though), main drive was always survival.

    As for hydroponic/aeroponic systems, there are automated systems for nutrient solutions problem which filters and regulates the amount of chemicals in your solution they can even warn you for potential disease threats. Soilless farming is alot more safer and easier as long as you are doing it professionally, and i don’t understand what you mean with shallow roots, you can adjust the roots size in a proper hydroponic system, plants grow their roots if they can’t reach nutrient solution. If one plant gets sick every plant in the same unit gets sick too in hydro unless you move the sick plant in time but why does your plant get sick in the first place? There shouldn’t be any organic substance near your facility, even adjacent soil with organic substances mixed-in is a potential threat to hydroponics, best enviroment for hydroponic facilities are inorganic floored greenhouses(asphalt,cement,desert,seastead;)…). Saudi Arabia used to buy 70% of their tomato need from Turkey back some 20 years ago now they buy almost all their need from Netherlands>Spain,Italy (70%+ from netherlands) guess why? cos uneducated farmers in my country simply can’t understand that they can cultivate crops without soil(even if people try to explain them via seminars…), there is only 2 commercial hydrponic greenhouses in Turkey atm-.- 200k dollar hydroponic facility earns 220k(profit) per year in my country if it has organic licence. (Assuming it can sell its goods) Even by selling its goods to state it still profits like 160k. (the numbers given are facts, goods: californian pepper, tomatoes, it is probably far less profitable in euro countries and US i guess cos of workhour costs you can hire enginneers for 800-1k$ per month here and for some reason organic vegetables are overpriced when compared to normal crops, organic prices go toe to toe with Euro organic prices which is weird because normal crop prices here are mostly 2/3 cheaper when compared to Middle European countries) I’m planning to start a hydro facility by next summer if can manage to duplicate a certain hydroponic unit design (which i am working on atm, patent laws aren’t well regulated here thankfully).

    #9709
    Profile photo of xns
    xns
    Participant

    Actually… as a fish farmer making this post from his fish farm, It’s quite easy… And incredibly low-tech. The problem comes when you try to get greens and terrestrial protein into the food chain. Which… honestly isn’t that hard either, I’ve got several green vegetables growing. The neighbour has 5 wild boar and some chickens that live on his farm. There’s no input from the land, all base material(carbon, nitrogen) comes form the sea.

    King Shannon of the Constitutional Monarchy of Logos.

    #9711
    Profile photo of Pastor_Jason
    Pastor_Jason
    Participant

    So, taking the low road it turns out a concrete sub looks like my ideal sea-steading answer. We’re looking at one large enough to live aboard and incorporating some interesting tech (like the re-breather invented by an Israeli scientist) currently available. Self-sufficiency is still an ideal we’d like to achieve, so what’s the optimal method to grow a variety of foodstuffs in limited space? I hear good things about aero-ponics but only have a passing understanding of the methods and yield. We’d be doing fish farming from a tow-able submerged attachment but are worried about greens, starches, etc.

    Thoughts?

    #9713
    Profile photo of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    You want to check out http://www.aeroponics.com for all your aeroponics questions. While the website is poorly designed and organized it has plenty of information. On that sub your primary concern is going to be space, and an aeroponic system will give you the most bang for your buck.

    Their high-capacity, bench-top unit can grow 120 plants at once, only takes up 1.62 sq ft, and costs $1000US. LINK You would also need a compact light array…I like their butterfly design on that same page and it only measures 24″L x 20″W x 8″H.

    If you want to go larger their commerical Genesis Series-V systems take up 8 sq ft and can grow 160 plants. That system is gonna set you back $3500US ($4400US with the light array).

    I’m partial to the High Capacity Unit with the butterfly light array (http://www.biocontrols.com/secure/shop/item.asp?itemid=12). $1600US. Two of those will give you more plants than a single, larger Genesis system for less cost.

    So you need to figure out how much space you have on that sub, and how many plants you need, and then just add aeroponic units until you reach your capacity. Don’t forget about supplies, too…you need to store solutions and extra hoses and stuff. I’d factor in about 25% of the total space for system storage.

    #9715
    Profile photo of CrosiarCM
    CrosiarCM
    Participant

    Shouri wrote:

    Soilless farming is alot more safer and easier as long as you are doing it professionally, and i don’t understand what you mean with shallow roots, you can adjust the roots size in a proper hydroponic system, plants grow their roots if they can’t reach nutrient solution. If one plant gets sick every plant in the same unit gets sick too in hydro unless you move the sick plant in time but why does your plant get sick in the first place? There shouldn’t be any organic substance near your facility, even adjacent soil with organic substances mixed-in is a potential threat to hydroponics, best enviroment for hydroponic facilities are inorganic floored greenhouses(asphalt,cement,desert,seastead;)…).

    Obviously I disagree with most of what you are saying. Have you tried it? Look at the website http://www.aeroponics.com/ given by i_is_j_smith (great tlink by the way, thank you) and click on the link Aero vs. Hydro. Here is the picture shown:

    shallow roots Shallow roots




    Hydroponics doesn’t give proper aeration to the root. I have experienced this personally. That is why aeroponics is superior. I still think you will have major problems balancing the hydroponic chemicals at sea. Further, these chemicals are not freely available on the high seas, so you will not be self-sufficient. You seem to be scared of organics, as though anything organic is a source of disease. That is nonsense. Nature has a balance, good organisms and bad. Unless you are in outer space, there will always be some contamination at some point, even at sea. Strong plants have natural immunity from disease. Good organisms help keep the system in balance. All that is needed is to create an environment that favors the good over the bad, the plants do the rest.

    And I see no reason that aeroponics cannot be combined with aquaculture and composting. This will provide extremely high yields with a minimum of outside inputs; all of the materials will be readily available.

    – You may get what you want, but will you want what you get?

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