Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Basic Aquaponics

I noticed in the pond the other day a flash of red.The pond is usually fairly murky as it gets run off from a dairy up the catchment.But I was very surprised to say the least.On making an inquiry as to the sighting I was informed that a coy was living there.

This started to get me thinking on how I can use this information.I am a real fan of a guy in Perth,Australia by the name of Joel Malcolm and his Backyard Aquaponics system.Before leaving to come to Japan, Joel gave me a DVD on his system and I have an interest to make a system here.

If there is one fish in the pond,there has to be fish poo.There is actually a heap of tadpoles at the moment due to a good breeding season of the local frogs and some guppies.This all adds up to nutrient being available to grow something.As I am not quite ready to start a full blown system I thought I would give a basic system a try and see what results were produced.

For those not aware of Aquaponics,it is a system combining aquaculture and hydroponics to grow fish and vegetables in the same system.The fish effluent feeds the vegetables and the vegetables clean the water of nitrates before it returns to the fish.Joel's kits work fantastically with some outstanding results.

We have so much lettuce in the nursery at the moment and we are still preparing beds in the garden to put the seedlings so there was an opportunity to use some of these for the experiment.Having attended and aquaponics seminar in Melbourne a couple of years ago ,I learned that lettuce was a good extractor of nitrates from water so it made sense to use them.
I found an old foam box from the grocery store and cut 4 square holes in the base as recesses for the pots I was going to use.I cut down an older pot tray to fit the holes and once fitted they could not fall straight through.I made up a potting mix and filled 4 small pots and placed them in the holders in the box,then added the lettuce.

I am expecting the roots to hang into the water,so the pot holder sits about 2.5cm below the base of the box.The only difference is that the system will not be a flood and drain system as conventional hydroponics would be.I have seen floating raft type setups before and they were working fine.I hope to put in a few more of these little grow beds in the coming weeks as I get the results back.So far things are looking good.There doesn't seem to be any pests yet and if there is the fish might eat them.

1 comment:

SoCal Aquaponics said...

Hi there. Great Job! I am starting a Commercial Organic Aquaponics Fish farm myself. If you get a chance check out SoCal Aquaponics and SoCal Aquaponics blog.