I was totally surprised to see no one had, let alone started a topic on, but even mentioned the word aquaponics! Well, that's fixed.
So what is Aquaponics?
Quite simply aquaponics is a combination of two existing systems, aquaculture (raising small aquatic animals such as fish, snails or prawns) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water). The "dirty" nutrient rich water from the aquaculture system feeds the hydroponics system, where the plants filter the water and return "clean" water back to the aquaculture system to complete the cycle. In real terms, this is as close as possible to simulating a full eco-system where flora and fauna compliment each other.
Well that's out of the way, so how does that work in a backyard way? The above sounds pretty complicated. Well for the backyard, there is an easy way to setup a cheap aquaponics system. Let's go through it.
I'm a Cub Scout leader, and this term we're focusing on Our Environment as the term theme. As part of that, we are examining (amongst many other things) plants. Last Monday at our weekly Cub meeting, we setup an aquaponics system in the hall to investigate and watch how a simulated eco-system works.
We broke the project into two components, the aquatic section and the plant section. Water from the aquatic section must feed the plant section, which must return filtered water back to the aquatic section. The aquatic section therefore needs a pump to move water from the tank to the pots. And if we elevate the pots above the tank and have holes in the bottoms of the pots, the water will return to the tank. And that's our basic system.
- 1 big black tub (fish tank)
- 4 gold fish (and fish food)
- 1 water pump (pond pump really)
- 2 pots (use the ones with the built in side water holes)
- growing media (something course like coir or pellets to filter the water and hold root systems is best)
So the Cubs setup the system described above, and here is the system ready to operate.
Anyone else experimented with aquaponics?
I'll keep posting updates.
Awesome, many thanks for sharing @Dale. I'm sure I'm not the only community member keen to learn more.
I'd love to give this a go. You've got me motivated again to try and find a way to have a crack at it.
It's been two weeks since we setup the aquaponics system at the Scout Hall. It's got a fantastic sunny (afternoon) window and it gets nice and warm there.
Here is the two week mark:
The sticky tape on the two posts at the front of the pots indicate planting size two weeks ago. There's been up to an inch of growth.
I had to make a modification to the setup. I replaced the drippers with variable flow taps instead (up to 30 ltrs per hour). I've got the taps on about a quarter so I'm cycling around 45 litres per hour through the whole system.
I had to do this as after a week the fish tank was really smelly and the water didn't look good at all. So I flushed the tank with new water and replaced the drippers with the variable flow taps. The smell has gone totally and the water is remaining clean.
The system I am working on -
2 x 100l tubs
Expanded clay balls
Bulkhead fittings aka tank fitting if from bunnies.
In Feng Shui
3 fish is good health
4 fish too close to the character for death.
5 fish wealth.
8 fish perfect number can add 1 black to take negative energy.
Add red rock decking, a bar fridge and some solar pannels to drive the lot.