Aquaponics 101 – Document every step

I made a commitment some time last month to keep my readers updated with weekly progress reports about my 6 new growbeds. This I haven’t done and I apologise. When you don’t hear any news, it’s either a very good thing or a very bad thing. Thankfully, in this case, it is the former. All the seeds I planted in the new grow beds came up within days and the water has got a lot clearer now with the new solids filter and the extra growbeds.

I removed the tomato plants that were suffering from some mystery fruit rot and all of the other tomatoes now seem to be doing well. Strawberries are growing like crazy, but have stopped fruiting. Mint, Basil, Parsley, Lettuce and my solitary chilli bush are all also doing very well.

Here is a photo of the new grow beds (closest to the camera) after about 3 weeks of growth. This could never be achieved in a soil-based garden.

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As mentioned, the new tomato plants are thriving, and the fruit is growing well. If I was asked what is the easiest plant to grow in Aquaponics, I’d say mint, but if you asked me what my favourite plant was it would, without a doubt, be tomatoes.

bettertoms.jpg

I fetched some fish (two males and two females) from a nearby dam on Saturday to introduce to my new farm dam. It was, mercifully, one of the coolest days of the week. A mere 33 degrees.

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The fish I collected were a Tilapia called “Faure”. I would like to find out a bit more about these fish, but apparently they were introduced to this area in about 1902. This is what they look like.

newfish.jpg

A very loyal reader, who had voted for me, asked me what the first prize is, in the SA Blog Awards and why I wanted to win. This was my answer.

First prize in all categories is 2008 SA cents (ie. R20.08) plus a trophy, but more importantly, the recognition of ones peers. I have attracted considerable support from the Aquaponic community in Australia who have, to a man, voted for me. If I win, I aim to use my success as a platform to promote Aquaponics in this country as a solution for self-sufficiency, food security and the reduction of carbon emissions, by the “regional production” of food. With award in hand, it will be easier for me to approach Government and local and international NGO’s for funding to install Aquaponic systems in rural communities and train these communities in sustainable living.

If you haven’t voted yet, come on, help me get this one. I have BIG plans.

Enough for now.

Synaptoman

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2 Responses

  1. Hi, I came across your blog a while ago & have been following it religiously. I live in DBN & am very interested in starting my own system at home. You have red tilapia and plain ones. What is the difference? You obviously get different sub species, but is it important to use specific types or can you use any tilapia. Thx

  2. Hi Cathrine,

    Yes, the red and plain are both sub-species of o.mossambicus. You have to decide which you’d like to grow. They inter-breed very easily and result in a really ugly “speckled” mongrel that is good for nothing. The red could easily pass off as a red snapper and is used as such in the sushi market in the far east and the US. It also looks more like a marine species and as such commands a higher price. I have found the plain to be a little bit more tolerant to lower temperatures but if I was setting up a new system in Durban right now I’d probably choose the red variety purely because of your mild winters.

    Thank you for your comment and support.

    Synaptoman

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