Aquaponics 101 – 38 Degrees

The temperature in the shade today in Knysna was a blistering 38 degrees, but this was mild compared to the scorching conditions that we endured on the building site of our new commercial aquaponic setup on a farm just outside town.

When the local staff become delirious and start talking nonsense (not that they talk anything else), you just know it’s HOT. We got about a third of the way concreting the slab yesterday and started earlier than normal this morning hoping to get it finished by day end, but this was not to be, with the extreme conditions that we had to endure.

Here are some photographs of the progress. You can clearly see the 4 central drains, the electrical conduits (which will take power to the pumps) and the overflow drain. That’s “Ziggy” who did all of the levelling. He works slowly but thoroughly and I hope that the ponds will sit nice and level when I place them. The problem in working with water, is that it is so unforgiving, and even a tiny deviation from square will show up badly when the ponds are filled.


The sump, which we filled with water to test for leaks, came in very handy for mixing the concrete. It just means that we’ll have to drain, and thoroughly clean out the sump before we start the system.

Here is a photo of how far we got before we decided to call it a day.


I came in for a bit of flak, because I referred to my “right-hand-man”, Denzel, as “lazy” in my blog entry on Tuesday. He thought that this was a bit unfair, especially in view of the fact that this is an Internationally-read blog and that his father also reads it daily. I think that’s fair comment, and he certainly has proved my initial assessment wrong and has worked like a Trojan these last two days and done a good job of supervising the other staff when I’ve been off drinking beer in the shade. So here’s your son Anthony, hard at work.

Denzel – The Supervisor


Tomorrow we’ll finish the slab, clean up the site and return all of the hired formwork and concrete mixer. On Monday we’ll commence assembling the four ponds and hopefully pull the electrical cable to the site so that we have power for our tools.

I just really hope that tomorrow will be slightly cooler. I’d even be happy with about 30 degrees.

5 beers later


P.S. If you think I was exaggerating about the heat, THIS is what I found the heat had done to a candle when I got home.



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