Backyard Aquaponics

cacao trees
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Author:  See Will [ Oct 10th, '18, 00:46 ]
Post subject:  cacao trees

Hello all,

I (my wife) have made good progress with our system and we are more than ever willing to pull the deadline for our commercial system in Thailand for 2020.

Step by step we tried all systems and decided to go for rafts and grow bed.
The 8000 sqm Greenhouse will be actually a roof against the harsh rain season in Thailand with fine insect net walls for best ventilation.
This greenhouse will be the main investment part and as the space is to the smallest detail planned my wife got the idea to use the fish tank capacity, which is possible to stock twice as much as we plan to do and extend some grow beds outside for the common resistant Thai veggies.

Beside this she want to protect the greenhouse against wind gusts with a wall of scrubs and trees in dutch bucket systems.
This is now the coming target in our backyard test system, adding the idea with trees and scrubs in a distance from min 15m from the greenhouse.

I think now that some trees are growing high (we will use tote cubes as dutch buckets) and because of the shade they will throw that this would be the perfect environment for cacao trees.

here the question, has anyone ever heard about cacao trees in aquaponics systems?? Under shading trees in soil they are great bearers and grow vigorous but I haven't found anyone crazy enough to put them into an AP system..

what's your thoughts about this?

Author:  scotty435 [ Oct 11th, '18, 02:20 ]
Post subject:  Re: cacao trees

I'm not familiar with how the root system of Cacao trees winds up but I think they probably would eventually plug up the system. I'd also be concerned that the trees would blow over in the wind if you have them in smaller containers. Might be good to test one out or plant them in the soil and just water them with AP water :dontknow: .

Author:  See Will [ Oct 11th, '18, 14:04 ]
Post subject:  Re: cacao trees

Cheers scotty435,

I have made my thoughts about the root system and would use river gravel in a min 200 ltr drum or even better a tote cube of 1000 ltr.
Here near Pattaya is a dealer who sells 2nd hand tote cubes (well cleaned) for just 20 USD a go..

Sure they are quite a bit oversize Dutch Buckets but worth a try I reckon. I have some huge growing trees in mind that will be added to my commercial AP plans..

Author:  See Will [ Oct 11th, '18, 14:09 ]
Post subject:  Re: cacao trees

This is what we have in mind.

Most is already tested and the outside system will be added as we have planned the fish tank double size of the actual need of the greenhouse grow beds.

Planned systems.png
Planned systems.png [ 97.53 KiB | Viewed 4067 times ]

Author:  scotty435 [ Oct 13th, '18, 02:15 ]
Post subject:  Re: cacao trees

Makes more sense now. I was thinking you were using smaller containers - they have containers called totes here that are more in the 80L or less size. Around here IBC containers like your totes go for 5 to 8 times what you're paying.

Most of the systems I can remember that do have trees have been trying smaller trees - bananas, citrus, papaya, babaco and other fruit trees - usually in 200L barrels that have been cut in half from side to side (not top to bottom)

Looks like it's going to be a fantastic system. I'll have to check back on your system thread and see how you're doing.

Here's the link if anyone else wants to check it out -


Author:  See Will [ Oct 13th, '18, 20:30 ]
Post subject:  Re: cacao trees

Sorry about my English.
Its IBC not tote containers (believe it or not I call them since 5 years tote cubes even at work)
Since I have seen Cacao trees in the discovery garden Pattaya I would not taking any risk and grow them in blue 200 Ltr barrels.
We have some tough winds in the rain season and I guess a cubic-meter of gravel will hold any tree and not clogging my system.
For me its interesting is it worth to grow cacao trees, are they capable?
Pomegranate and Grapefruits show big advantages in Aquaponics, size, taste and quality are increasing.
Since the Chinese developed a sweety tooth there is a huge demand for Cacao plants created
(beside they buy up the world production of red claw crayfish)

Also here my thanks for all info and support. There were a lot of mistakes like going vertical (which doesn't really bring much more production and sure it would have cost a fortune in electric and design..

The Pipes on my Photo will be broken down in my test system as we want now to try how red claw crayfish behave in Deepwater grow beds and how to contain the not to float all the way through the filters and system.

more lessons to be learned.. ;-)

Btw: First trials were promising. The crays did a good job and picked dead roots of the plants and stimulated the root building and grow times. So now it has to be tried in real grow beds.

I will move this reply also to my main post..

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