Aquaponics 101 – Spreading the word

The system, despite it’s ups and downs, is getting to the point where I am happy to show people around. We have had many visitors and I have given my “speech” on numerous occasions. This I really enjoy, not so much for the recognition, but more more the looks on their faces when they realise that what they are looking at, is the closest you’ll come to an artificially created closed-loop eco-system. The biological “Perpetual Motion” machine.

Yesterday day was the turn of the Knysna Oakhill School Matric Geography class and they seemed very impressed, and asked some interesting questions.


Some examples of the questions;

What do the fish eat?
How big do they get?
Can you eat them?
How long do they take to grow?
How can the plants grow without soil?
How much does a system cost?
How much water does the system use?
Could we build one at home?
What does Aquaponics means?
Can one study Aquaponics?

My world record beans (40 days from seed to fruiting) certainly got their attention, and it was quite an experience seeing the sudden “light-bulb” moment on their faces when they realized that ordinary people, like you and me, can grow our own food, and feed our families and communities.

I explained “food miles” to them and the importance of trying, as best we can, to eat locally produced food.

Aquaponics has often been referred to as “geek gardening” and in a way I suppose it is. Only geeks used computers in the beginning, and now everyone has a PC. Aquaponics is the same. A few of us geeks are feeling the water, and in time, it will become common practice.

We in South Africa have had it too easy, for too long. The Eskom fiasco has been a major wake-up call. We cannot go on relying on “others” to provide us with everything we need, be it electricity, water, sewerage treatment, even food supply.

Secondly, the resources we use, ARE limited. We have to save them and conserve them, and design innovative systems, like Aquaponics, to achieve this.


It was a real pleasure having these young people around, because it is their generation that is going to have to fix all the mistakes that we have made with the environment. I hope that my stupid little system, in some small way, inspired them.

Enjoy your weekend.



2 Responses

  1. Question: Do the veggies grown this way taste different or do they have any noticable differences than others grown in the soil? What I want to hear is they taste better . Another one:Has this system ever been used in very cold or very hot climates?

  2. They just taste fresher and juicier. They are also bigger but with the “baby” taste because they have grown so fast. Very cold is not a problem because you just rig a greenhouse or reasonable facsimile together. There are a number of systems in Alaska in greenhouses. Visit the Backyard Aquaponics site (see my blogroll) to see the range of environments.

    Very hot, mmm, my temperature in the greenhouse goes into the mid 40’s and the Australians have perfected it so, no, heat is not a problem. If I could get cool growing temperatures (say 12-15 C), I would grow Wasabi, without a doubt.

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