“Aquaponics . . . what in the world is that?”
It is the question that I get all the time when people first see the raised garden grow-beds sitting above two 50 gallon water tanks powered by eight beautiful little Koi. I’m about two and a half months into my aquaponics gardening experiment. Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.
I installed my aquaponics system in late October and look at the results in just two months:
Three different kinds of lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, stevia, lemon grass, cilantro, cauliflower, and bell peppers . . . to name a few of the plants that are doing very well. Here in Arizona, we just got our first below freezing temperatures (it was 30 degrees the last few nights) so I’ve had to cover the plants at night, but they are doing very well.
The 50 gallon trough on the RIGHT holds the Koi and the 50 gallon trough on the left acts as a sump tank keeping the water in the Koi tank balanced.
A single water pump pulls water from the Koi Tank to the highest grow-bed at the top of the image above.
Then using simple 1 inch PVC modified Venturi siphons, the water is pulled from each grow bed by gravity back into the Koi tank and sump tanks. (Yes, those are shotgun shell Christmas lights). The grow-beds are lined with 45 mil pond liner and filled with “Pea Gravel.” (No dirt – just water and gravel – amazing!) Water was crystal clear within 48 hours of starting the system. It really is THAT simple. (My father is probably rolling over in his grave.)
I have been amazed at the rapid growth of the vegetables and herbs . . . three times faster than I had imagined. The only maintenance in the last two months has been feeding the Koi once a day . . .
and occasionally topping off the water in the Koi tanks (my dogs prefer to drink the water out of the Koi tank instead of their water bowls).
My wife loves the fact that she never has to water the plants, and she has yet to pull a single weed . . . gotta love it when you provide maintenance free food for your family.