Saturday 11 July 2015

The Aquaponics Experiment

Back in 2013 I was playing around with Aquaponics, learning the basics the idea being I could set up a bigger working system. Aquaponics is a way to provide fish and vegetables for the table in a soil less environment, the fish supply the food for the plants the plants clean the water and return it to the fish is the basics of how it works both sustaining each other.
I am not going to get all technical with you
here is a short video of a small scale system I set up in 2014 before we moved here

And here is a link to a post I did back in 2013 Watercress Experiment

The other day I took some watercress cuttings and they have started to root, watercress ideally needs running water, I got out some of bits and bobs that I have used before and set up a small running system in the greenhouse, I have space in there at the moment 
 Small solar panel
 runs a pump that drives the water up
 water is pumped through the trough
 and runs across the roots of the young watercress that are sitting in gravel
the water exits the end and as it returns to the reservoir its aerated 
In a true aquaponics set up there would be fish in the reservoir that feed on plant matter and there waste provides the nutrients for the growing plants.
I haven't got any fish in this set up so will add small amounts of alpaca manure to the water, last time I set it all up I used Crayfish in the reservoir I did also set up a system on the garden pond both worked very well, my intention is to set a full sized working system and would like to have crayfish in it, this one in the greenhouse is very very small scale.
When I do get round to setting up a full sized system it will be housed in a shed and I want it running off solar. 
You can set up a three tier system with poultry above the fish, the poultry manure feeds the fish the fish feed the plants the plants feed the poultry and you have a self sustaining meat for the table system.
Anyone else tried anything with Aquaponics,


  1. Wow, looks very technical to me, and it's nice to hear your voice :) I look forward to seeing the full set up.

  2. Wow that's amazing, I never even knew such a thing existed. Well, not on the domestic front anyway. You certainly do some interesting stuff, Dawn. It's not something we'd do though.

  3. Blimey Dawn, is there ANYTHING you don't try? I would run a mile from anything "technical" like this but take my hat off to you! I will stick to jam and cakes I think!!!

  4. Wow Dawn you have set yourself a task, but if anyone can do it...........

  5. My goodness Dawn, there is no end to your talents! You are so amazing the way that you are willing to try so many different things and just have a go and they always seem to work out! This all sounds very complicated to me, but I just know that you can make it work!! xx

  6. I've looked into it but for the moment I think it's more than I can cope with. If you search American homestead aquaphonics there system looks like a good set up. They even add crayfish type creatures to keep the system clean. Hydrophonics is used so much in commercial growing now . A strawberry farmer I know wouldn't consider grpwing strawberries in soil any more!
    Combined with solar its a great system but plenty to go wrong and the choice of fish for our climate isn't great!

  7. I have read about it and seen a few small and one huge system. I like the idea of crayfish, mmm yum, but the 3 tier sounds like an excellent idea. I will have a look about.

  8. Flippin marvellous. Again I've followed a guy who experimented with guttering etc and grew salad stuff he had a tiny garden in London. He had hydroponics as opposed to aquaponics. He grew on shelves and hanging baskets to give him more square footage. Like you he tried anything AMAZING.

  9. Fascinating. Hydroponics has always appealed to me, but I thought one had to add a nutrient mixture - but, if alpaca poo will suffice, perhaps I should give it a go :) We have a small (and low wattage) pump, perhaps I should give lettuce a go in summer - our summers here are always too hot and the plants bolt too quickly.

    What is your bedding mix?

  10. This is one of Lester's 'to do' projects!

  11. I haven't used it no, too small a space here I think for it to be used at it's full advantage. I do like the idea of using crayfish though, an extra harvest? x

  12. Gosh you're very technically minded .... something I am not .... although I can be very very practical, so all is not lost.

    I was just reading about an aquaponics system using drainpipes in this months Grow Your Own magazine.


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