Aquaponics 101 – Welcome to the Jungle

On a follow up visit to the first commercial system we built, I was amazed by the plant growth.  Fortunately the top of the greenhouse is over 4m, because at the rate the vegetables are growing, I think it will be only a matter of time before they reach the top.  Cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, carrots, mint, lettuce, spinach, squash, herbs and flowers, they’re all running wild.

Here’s a shot of the cucumbers hanging heavy on the bushes.

Three varieties of tomatoes have been planted and all seem to be doing well. Here’s a shot of the tomato jungle.

At my home system the Tilapia brood fish that I have been conditioning have started to spawn. At this stage I am merely scooping the hatched babies from the surface and putting them into a 600mm fry tank which I initially placed in the greenhouse, but that has proved to be a LITTLE too hot. For future reference, Tilapia babies can survive 40 deg, I kid you not. Getting home from the farm on Friday I was horrified to see the temperature in the fry tank.

I immediately siphoned off most of the hot water and moved the tank out of the greenhouse to a safer spot on my deck where the babies seemed quite happy. They are like little eating machines. Here’s a shot of 60-100 of the little buggers.

I have now decided to try and hatch the eggs in an incubator. Today I collected some eggs (this isn’t really rocket science, it just involves chasing the females around until they spit out their eggs)

Then I proceeded to build an upwelling incubator. I am hoping that the downward force of the water will gently turn and oxygenate the eggs until they hatch, whereafter they will exit via the overflow pipe. I’ll keep you posted. Here’s my interpretation of an incubator.

My home system is also producing a steady stream of fruit and vegetables. I have been particularly lucky with strawberries, mint, gooseberries, lettuce and various herbs. Here’s the seasons first harvest of strawberries.

The Child Bride, Brat Deluxe and I travelled through to Cape Town over the weekend for my daughters 21st and we couldn’t help but pay a visit to a wine farm on the Sunday for some “serious chilling”. Here’s a shot of the Child Bride in relax mode.

Pity grapes can’t grow in Aquaponic systems (or maybe they can !!)

Enough for now.

Synaptoman

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6 Responses

  1. Oh wow, now that looks like a good way to chill!

  2. Your produce is amazing! Thank you for sharing your wealth of helpful and informative information with the world.

    It is quite well understood that our oceans are over-fished! What “middle America” does not seem to understand is that if the ocean continues to drop its yield by only 1-2% a year, that literally translates into hundreds of thousands of people on this planet going without a source of protein in their diet (at all)!

    Who takes time to REALLY stop and think about these things? Most modern “working folks” cannot think past paying their bills and just getting by the best way they can. Understandably so.

    They do not realize the dangerous state of affairs in the world. It’s up to the aquaculture pioneers to keep making it work!

    What you are doing is showing how it can be done…and done correctly. Not only are you pioneering aquaculture, you are demonstrating that it can be done successfully with both protein sources (fish) and produce. Bravo!

    Island Bounty, SA shares your excitement and passion for aquaculture today! Not only is it vital for sustainable living…it is the wave of the very near future.

    We applaud your efforts. Good work!

  3. hello there.

    Just want to ask if its safe to eat the fishes. thanks

  4. Yep, that’s why we grow them. Tilapia are the most farmed fish in the World and are great eating.

  5. Congratulations on your effort. I have been a fan of Aquaponics for a very long time. I would love to see a commercial aquaponics and urban aquaponics taken more seriously.

  6. […] opportunity to test out my new-improved Tilapia egg incubator.  The problem that I had with my previous incubators is that dead spots developed in the corners of the bucket, eggs died and then spread a fungus to […]

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