Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My First Aquaponics Garden

I have been wanting to build an aquaponics garden for quite sometime, and now that I've done it I thought I'd share my first run at it with y'all.
If you're not familiar with aquaponics, it is basically a closed loop system of feeding and growing fish in a tank, filtering the tank water through a gravel bed where you grow vegetables. The natural algae and fish waste make perfect food for your vegetables.
I am currently raising a few goldfish and koi for my first try at aquaponics, but if this is successful I will move up to a larger system where I'll implement larger growing beds, and a larger tank capable of growing several pounds of talapia, catfish, trout, or whatever else I can find to grow. Imagine growing your own fresh vegetables, fruit, herbs, and fish all in your backyard. The best part is how low-maintenance it is because there is no weeding, hoeing, tilling, fertilizing, watering, or any of the other headaches of a traditional garden. All you do is feed the fish and they'll do the rest.
Granted, the aquaponics system is rather expensive compares to a traditional garden, but the trade off is worth it to me.
All you need is a tank large enough to raise the fish, whether it's a small goldfish pond purchased at lowes, or a large tank (100+ gallons) for raising meat fish, a bed for growing, a submersible pond pump, and the hardware necessary to circulate the water from the pond to the bed and back to the pond. It's that simple!
I'll update the pictures over the next few weeks to show the success or failure that I have. The first pictures are from day 1 March 8. Plants are collards greens, 1 cherry tomato, 1 heirloom tomato, 1bell pepper, 2 strawberries, and some marigolds for color.

Notice how cloudy the water is. That's from the residue from the rocks. The green tint is from the algae in the pond. I'm anxious to see how it looks in a few days.

PhotoUpdate 4/20/14:

Already putting on strawberries!

Cherry tomatoes are blooming:)

The water has cleared up!

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