Starting you own Aquaponics for profit business? Do you have questions and need answers to how to give you aquaponics business the best chance for success?
One of the things I have discovered is that the amount of time required to have a successful aquaponics system up and running is usually grossly underestimated. Tending to the fish is not the most time consuming part although it is extremely important. Making sure the fish are fed and that the water quality is on par is crucial. When something goes wrong and your fish start to show signs of stress or worse if they start to die you might only have a few hours to correct the situation. One of the most labor intensive parts of your aquaponics business will be the plant side of the business. Seeding your plants, transplanting and harvesting them and then getting them to market will be one of the biggest undertakings of the business which brings me to my next point.
If you grow it they will come : Developing a good solid marketing plan as to where and how your produce will be sold is crucial. In fact developing a realistic strategy for producing a profit will put you light years ahead of the competition and allow you to put money back into your aquaponics system as your equipment needs replaced or repaired.
So the $64,000 question no pun intended is what kind of aquaponics income can you expect from your system. This is first determined by the size of the aquaponics system as well as a detailed understanding of the marketability to your local community. Steve Newman who is a professor at Colorado State University suggests that in a green house scenario could produce about o.75 pounds of fish per square foot. A value of $1.75 per pound for tilapia suggest the cost inputs versus anticipated revenue makes the commercial feasibility of aquaponics questionable at best.
While the scope of this article centers around the potential profitability of an aquaponics system here are a few thoughts on things to consider before installing your system.
5 Aquaponics System Considerations: Give careful thought to the 5 items listed below and you will greatly increase your chances of having a successful and profitable aquaponics operation.
- Location: Determining the location of your aquaponics systems needs to be based on two key components, temperature and light. A optimal temperature must be obtained at all times to allow for proper fish growth and plant development. Proper lighting is also essential to allow plants to flourish. When choosing a proper location keep in mind the need to protect your aquaponics environment from weather extremes as well as pollutants which can be very detrimental to both fish and plants. This will not be as much of a concern with indoor systems. Outdoor influences should be carefully considered in placement.
- Water: Oxygenating of the water is a crucial element to the fish side of your aquapnics system. Many problems can be traced back to inadequate oxygenation of the water. It is extremely important to understand how to do this properly. Successful aquaponics producers check the oxygenation of the water on a daily basis.
- Fish: Many different species of fish work well in aquaponics systems. Personal preferences and goals of your system will determine the types and quantities of fish required. Be aware of laws that govern your state or province as to any restrictions place on certain fish types.
- Additives: Even with the best of intentions and care some additional components may be required for your aquaponics system to thrive. It may be necessary to introduce potassium carbonate, iron and calcium carbonate as examples. A knowledge and understanding of these and other compounds is crucial to the well being of you aquaponics system.
- Ease of use: Simply put the time taken when constructing your aquaponcis to consider the physical movement needed to care for and harvest the product can greatly reduce physical strain and prevent injury.
Aquaponics provides the opportunity to create a real and viable income while at the same time promoting personal health through healthy eating and physical exercise.
One of the first things you are going to need to determine is how you are going to structure your aquaponics systems. Are you going to buy a aquaponics kit or are you a DIY that just needs a set of plans and a list of supplies that you can purchase at your local hardware store for a fraction of the price that the kits cost. There’s nothing wrong with aquaponics kits, they look nice and can be set up in a weekend. However there is quite a markup on them. For example a kit costing $2500 can probably be built for under $400 using locally sourced products. All you supply is the elbow grease and time. There’s a personal satisfaction that comes from building something yourself that you can tinker with and grow as your aquaponics business blossoms.
In reality-at least at the present time-creating a profitable cash flow from a aquaponics business is a gamble. This is in part because individuals believe all the hype surrounding those pushing a aquaponics for profit business without doing their due dilegence. I hate to burst your bubble but I believe it is better to be forewarned and proceed with caution rather than risking hard earned money in something that may or may not pan out. As mentioned be especially wary of those offering seminars or courses costing money with the promise of making you a millionaire on only a few acres of land. As with many things in life money is made by those selling a system to the masses without actually being successful at what they are teaching. Example: Selling a aquaponics income producing system without actually putting into practice the very aquaponics system they are selling.
My suggestion is to start small, diversify and build on your success. I believe with this approach and advances in aquaponics and the understanding how best to use aquaponics in your area as one of the many tools to feed a increasingly hungry and overpopulated world you can achieve success without the huge risk and unrealistic expectations many have who enter the aquaponics niche with visions of quick easy money. Be one of the smart ones.
Remember those that can do, DO. Those that can’t do write a book telling others how to do it.
I believe success in aquaponics as in anything in life starts with good unbiased information. I would like to offer a couple of suggestions if I may on how to obtain this information.
The first is a book available on Amazon. The author is extremely knowledgeable and gives you all the information you will need to understand how to start and maintain an aquaponics system that will be successful and more importantly that you will be able to grow as you start to see more and more success. There are over 300 reviews of the book with over 200 of the reviews being 5 star. Don’t be afraid to read the 1 star reviews (8) and the accompanying responses to see what others find disappointing about the book.
As the author states in one response to a critic of her book “As for my understanding of how money works, I don’t apologize for running a successful aquaponics business. We have helped hundreds of people successfully create, start up and operate their aquaponics systems, while supporting ourselves and five employees. No one is getting rich – far from it – but last I checked earning a living and supplying jobs was not a bad thing”.
I find Amazon to be an invaluable resource when wanting to find out what is really going on with a subject and aquaponics is no exception.
Again here is the book I suggest you give more than a passing glance.
Aquaponics Fish Species: You can basically supply your aquaponics system with any type of fish that appeal to you. There are however a few things you need to consider before adding the fish into your aquaponics system. Making sure you fish are happy and will thrive is important. Different fish species require a different water temperature. The types of food the fish eat is also something to consider. Also make sure that your fish are well adapted to each other. One fish species may eat another fish species which can turn into a very expensive mistake. In order for your fish species to survive they must not be crowded. A good guideline to follow is one pound of fish to three gallons of water at most. This may even be to much for certain species of fish. One pound of fish to every five gallons of water is probably a safer bet until you are more familiar with your system and how your fish react. When determining what to feed the fish in your aquaponics system again the species of your fish will come into play. Some fish types (bass) will require more protein and some will require less (catfish). While some individuals try to produce their own fish feed it is a much better idea to purchase a feed specifically formulated for aquaponics systems. This will not only help the fish thrive but also the plants that you have introduced into your system. If you are starting out on a small scale (as we recommend) you can get your supply of fish (gold fish, guppies, koi) from your local pet store. Hatcheries will also sometimes sell fish to small start up aquaponic operations although there may not be one in your local area. I have even seen site where you could order fish online but I have never tried that option and would be hesitant to do so but it is something you might want to consider. Feed your fish well as provide a stress free environment as much as possible and you should do well with whatever aquaponics fish species you choose to introduce into your system.
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