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SHTF Aquaponics a preppers dilemma

“The best time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining”

John F. Kennedy

Technology adoption life cycle and aquaponics

Mini green house on wicking bed

Semi mobile is also independent

A chattel House is a Barbadian word for a small movable wooden house that historically working class people would occupy. The term goes back to the plantation days when the home owners would build houses designed to move from one property to another. The word “chattel” means movable property so the name was appropriate.

Electricity may not be around

Chattel Aquaponics (AP) or semi-commercial AP is actually a part time venture which is stopped and restarted similar to how traditional farm land is allowed to rest. I hope that by defining this segment the young entrepreneur often lured by the promise of wealth, can improve their success rate.

Get a good understanding of the size you need

Understanding the requirements and having realistic expectations of chattel AP can indeed provide income and free up time for the fledgling farmer. Chattel AP should not be your only source of income but viewed as a basic income source on which you can build others, this system should be pulled out at certain times of the year and at certain intervals depending mostly on market conditions.

Avoid burnout

These systems are usually designed to be maintained by only the owner with occasional help from friends and family. One person can only do so much, therefore setting a realistic work program; accounting for sick time and not allow yourself to be constantly stretched out will keep burnout at bay, the number one killer of chattel AP.

You still need a farmers skill set

AP is the newest tool for a farmer, but don’t rely on this growing method as a selling point because, at the cash register, price and quality dictates purchase more than growing method.

%100 organic can cost you

Being too ethical and trying to achieve a 100% closed loop system, in theory can only happen if the consumers and their waste is part of that system, otherwise sometimes it makes more financial sense to flush a system weekly and maintain good growth throughout, over trying to “balance” the system and lose growth.

4 Critical points in an aquaponic farmers life

mineralizer homemade in aquaponics

Tours or farming

Diversifying and doing tours can bring extra income but people bring disease and pest to your farm, sterilizing each visitor is expensive and the major downfall of this is that the visitors don’t resist the urge to turn a valve or to throw garbage in your tanks which can damage your pump. Doing tours also means the farm’s foot print will have to be bigger with wider walkways to accommodate the foot traffic and more safety standards which translate to a higher start up cost.

know the competition

Comparing your AP plan to profitable traditional farmers can give you new ideas or show up faults before you begin building.

This one change will double your aquaponic harvest

Aquaponic machine research and development farm

Most going into this are new to farming and have impractical expectations; they often underestimate the labor involved, chose the wrong cash crop and market it wrong. What’s the traditional worker density of the cash crop you chose? Is it 3 per acre? Then you will need around 1/3 an acre to survive. A mono crop means that you don’t have to be constantly changing up your work program.

Wholesale vs. Retail

If you can sell to a processor or supermarket means less hassle for you once you can reliably meet the order as you don’t have to spend so much time marketing to the customer directly. You’re in this because you don’t want the stress of a boss so why would you want the stress of convincing 100 different customers to choose you. Fish take up a lot of time with grading and harvesting you may need a fish processor and that is more expenditure, if selling them live there simply are not enough people willing to kill their own fish in some cultures. Aquarium fish or just using them as a nutrient source is often the most financially secure options for chattel AP.


Monitoring your system is a 24/7 job any unnoticed water or power outages can prove fatal. Money is well spent on monitoring equipment so you can safely stay away from the system as long as possible. Feeding fish 3 times a day means you going to be grounded close to your system, consider automatic feeders, you took this job to free up time, not to be constantly checking on your system parameters

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